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General Chat Thread, Change Management in General; Originally Posted by CyberNerd You could simply categorise your support request tickets into a "change request" queue, that is different ...
  1. #16

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    You could simply categorise your support request tickets into a "change request" queue, that is different from general incidents.
    You can then deal with 'normal' change requests that already have a written procedure (such as creating new accounts and other mundane things) by resolving them as usual.
    Other change requests should be delt with by the change advisory board (CAB) who approve/deny the more adventurous requests. You can probably add some fields to the RT as a checklist so that the CAB can approve or deny them. We combine the change advisory board meeting with weekly team meetings and document it in the meeting minutes.
    I think I'm gonna try and do this, using custom fields - and when I've learned more than basic perl, scrips and templates. Actually, looking at it, change requests simply need a set of fields, such as 'Initial Approver', 'Peer Approver', 'Final Approver' and 'Implementer' - which each person simply initials when they update the ticket. Plus a 'device/system' field to list the systems affected by the change.

    Should be quite simple.

    (Note, that at the moment, those roles in our school would be myself and my manager (assistant head), so it'd be like bouncing something back and forth - until we get a third person).

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    @mattx The problem is that whilst the cowboy attitude to ITSupport works well in small organisations it doesn't scale very well if you have multiple technicians, hundreds of computers, and conflicting user requirements. The ITIL (and FITS) processes may seem like a lot of work to begin with, but once the processes are up and running things work very smoothly. Having a process for documentation and change is just good practice for the school. There are so many conflicting software/hardwares and user requirements in a school that having a transparent process to manage how changing one thing may effect another is essential.

    (Note, that at the moment, those roles in our school would be myself and my manager (assistant head), so it'd be like bouncing something back and forth - until we get a third person).
    You could do it with just your manager and yourself - the change process doesn't have to be complicated. THe important part is that you have a procedure to document everything you do and time to discuss implementation and to make sure the change falls in line with the school stragegy. It's too easy to fall into the trap of 'just doing X' for somebody only to find that it has caused problems elswhere.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    You could do it with just your manager and yourself - the change process doesn't have to be complicated. THe important part is that you have a procedure to document everything you do and time to discuss implementation and to make sure the change falls in line with the school stragegy. It's too easy to fall into the trap of 'just doing X' for somebody only to find that it has caused problems elswhere.
    I see the value of the stages outlined in FITS (the different approval stages) as this ensures that it isn't just down to a single person. It is just that at the moment it will go:

    Me -> My manager -> Me -> Me.

    When ideally, it should be:

    Technician -> Me -> My manager -> Me or technician.

    ie. it adds an extra eye to look things over and adds a bit of extra oversight.

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    I think localzuk hit the nail on the head - you don't really need a whole process, with all its attending forms in triplicate, complex processes, LooRoll Change Manager, etc, etc, if you're working alone - which is a typical scenarion many NMs find themselves in. However, the minute you start having to work with someone else, e.g. a technician or two, you have to start putting procedures & processes in place or you end up falling over each other, repeating some work and not doing other work at all. I was fine muddling along with my own system for years but once I got a tech to work with me I had to start bringing in FITS processes (start with the helpdesk!). It completely changed the way both of us work and, although our workload has massively increased, we're at least getting everything done now and in the right order.

    FITS is a slimmed down version of ITILv2 so it removes a lot of the tedious paperwork mattx is (rightly) moaning about. You need all that in big business but you really don't need the whole ITIL framework in a school. Many of the ITIL roles are unnecessary in a typical school and most roles are covered by just one person - hence FITS' scaled down version covers what's appropriate for a school support network but would be insufficient to use in a big corporation.

    I did the ITILv3 Foundation (which is even more complicated than v2) and to be honest it seemed like I was studying Quantum Physics just to learn how to change a plug.

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    The whole thing about FITS (and ITIL) are that they are frameworks. You use the bits that work for you and leave the other stuff as long as you *choose* to leave it as it does not add anything useful or help things.

    The other thing to remember is that change management is not just about keeping a track of when you are swaping cables, doing upgrades, etc ... it is not just about you ... it is about your whole school. Change Management also needs to consider user training (upgrading to Office 2007? Who is goign to traing the staff? How are you going to work out what problems might occur with some of that old software that drops templates into Office for staff to work on?), when it is being rolled out, how you will dea with problems when they arise (saying that you will just go and sort them is fine if it is only affecting a small number of machines or users but if it requires widespread work on policies, permissions, scripts, etc then an ad-hoc approach is not efficient ... and I am a lazy person, I don't want to create extra work if it is not needed!)

    So it goes a fair bit deeper than most people realise.

    The Art Of Service is a good resource for getting into this aspect of things, and is a refreshing approach to what is a very dry subject.

    FITS is being reworked to take more of ITIL v3 but some of the business approaches will be removed as the almighty RoI is not an easily quantifiable indicator in education. Change Management is not something that tends to be viewed favourably in education anyway ... even though most of the processes are used in one form or another. I'm not even talking about in IT either ... I'm talking across the board ... changes to pastoral, changes to curriculum, changes to school buildings ...

    Perhaps people don't like change?



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