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General Chat Thread, Change Management in General; I'm currently working through the FITS framework, and I'm wondering what other people have done for Change Management. What solutions ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Change Management

    I'm currently working through the FITS framework, and I'm wondering what other people have done for Change Management. What solutions have people chosen?

    I've already chosen RT for our helpdesk, to be used for Incident and Problem Management, including the RTFM system for the knowledgebase, but I'm a bit stumped as to change management - most of the open source packages available seem to be really immature.

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Or am I going to have to go to my boss with cap in hand?

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    Midget's Avatar
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    oh THAT kind of change management! I thought it was a demand at first.

    best bet is to run new system along side old system to allow people to take it on over time and then you will be able to see who is open to change and who will need the most work in being pushed in the new direction

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midget View Post
    oh THAT kind of change management! I thought it was a demand at first.

    best bet is to run new system along side old system to allow people to take it on over time and then you will be able to see who is open to change and who will need the most work in being pushed in the new direction
    That's not quite what I mean.

    One of the things FITS discusses is a system for managing change requests - ie. a teacher wants new computers in their room. This has a process which it goes through to allow it. Combined with the other processes, it should lead to a lower occurrence of incidents.

    The actual introduction of change depends on what the change is - for example, introducing a new version of a piece of software would go through thorough testing. etc...

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    If that actually works in your school, you'll have a lot of people wanting jobs.

    Hardware - requests are made, evaluated, and sometimes added to the developement report. Once a year Report gets examined by Board, if it is approved all the hardware is ordered.

    Software - don't most teachers just buy software and then demand you install it? In an ideal world software would go out via GP over the holidays only. So make a list of software to install for each holiday period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    That's not quite what I mean.

    One of the things FITS discusses is a system for managing change requests - ie. a teacher wants new computers in their room. This has a process which it goes through to allow it. Combined with the other processes, it should lead to a lower occurrence of incidents.

    The actual introduction of change depends on what the change is - for example, introducing a new version of a piece of software would go through thorough testing. etc...
    Becta has some guidelines on the templates that you can use on CM process. We have implemented this during half-term (this week) where there is a simple access database that keeps track of changes to servers, printers, switches, AP, software installs etc.

    I have told all my technicians and senior ict tech. to update the CM database if any changes occur even reboot of servers etc.

    I would say that a new ICT suite could be added to this but this would be a kind of project rather than CM but of course you can still get the CM process involved when commissioning the new hardware in the ICT suite.

    Well done for tackling this as i think its one of the most important elements in the whole of FITS process. It saves so much time during troubleshooting problems with ICT related issues.

    Some info on FITS (Becta) -> Becta Schools

    Ash.

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    Change Management - 1 Excel Spreadsheet with dates and what I have changed on what server etc / Patches / Software. Sorted.

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    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.

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    I'm also working through the FITS framework, has anyone fully implemented it and how do you find it?
    It really has been a slow, painful process so far for us as each step has required support from SLT and meets with resistance from teachers.
    I am however starting to get some major benefits from it, especially now we are breaking the back of the constant firefighting, have evidence that we really are understaffed and can target areas which generate the most problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattx View Post
    Change Management - 1 Excel Spreadsheet with dates and what I have changed on what server etc / Patches / Software. Sorted.
    Err; not really :-)

    the idea of change management is that you have some kind of proposal - "I want to install patch XYZ on server2. the purpose is this ....; the impact is likely to be this ...; my backout plan is this ...."

    this can then be discussed by the people who might be affected and, once everyone's happy that the world is not going to fall to pieces then you go ahead, check the change in the agreed way and, if necessary, reverse out the change if it doesn't work.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srochford View Post
    Err; not really :-)

    the idea of change management is that you have some kind of proposal - "I want to install patch XYZ on server2. the purpose is this ....; the impact is likely to be this ...; my backout plan is this ...."

    this can then be discussed by the people who might be affected and, once everyone's happy that the world is not going to fall to pieces then you go ahead, check the change in the agreed way and, if necessary, reverse out the change if it doesn't work.
    Yeah, I think what Mattx is describing is another stage, namely 'Configuration Management'.

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    After working in the private business sector for most of my life I know what change management is all about. Its all about management making decisions on IT related aspects in which they have NO understanding of. Its also about people 'making jobs' for themselves and trying to feel important.
    Its yet another layer of red tape which just slows any process down - for example if I wanted to install a single patch for a server for something in my last job I had to go through the chanage management process. This meant me having to fill in [ in triplicate ] forms explaining what I was doing, and sending it to the change management team. The 'managers' in the team would then discuss [ how I don't know as they had NO IT experience between them ] any impacts that it may cause. After about a week [ yes a week ] I would get a decision. [ Normally the wrong one ]
    And just to let you know how daft it really is, when I rolled out a new AV suite accross the entire head office network, they wanted me to fill in a change form everytime an update was out for the AV software. I explained to them this would mean going through the process 5 or 6 times a week for the pattern / DAT file.......[ Try explaining this to a bunch of 'managers' ]
    Needless to say I said I would but never did........
    I can understand having a system in which you know the last change what happened on your network - but as usual keeping it simple is the way forward - hence my single spreadsheet [ which is really for my purposes ]
    As for new software, install it, trial it for a set time, ask the teacher / teachers if they want it - if not send it back, if they want it, install it, make a note of the change somewhere [ not in some fancy pants OTT sexy changement management package ] and get on with other jobs.
    KIS - Keep It Simple.

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    Great thread- thanks!

    I am just studying the same FITS documents in preparation for tidying things up where I am and wondered how effective the whole FITS framework is in streamlining the whole support process. How do technicians take to having their network manager start implementing this kind of process?

    Sorry- don't want to hijack what is an excellent thread so if the admins think it wise you can move this to a new one?

    Thanks!

    Paul

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    @Mattx - That seems like a rather cynical look at the FITS process (and ITIL in general). I don't want to feel more important - that is not the point. The point is to create a process where everyone realises that change doesn't and cannot happen instantly. It means being able to control demands being made of the systems by having people look at all aspects of a potential change instead of steam-rolling ahead with it - whilst ignoring the consequences (which is how it is done in 99% of schools at present).

    What I'm saying is that just because you've had some bad experience of this process before doesn't mean that it is the process which is bad - just that prior implementation.

    With an increasingly complex ICT infrastructure, providing formalised processes is a necessity. At some point, I'll end up with another member of staff supporting me, and when that happens, we both need to know that changes that are being requested and made are being considered completely by both of us.

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    kingswood (23rd October 2008)

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    @Mattx - That seems like a rather cynical look at the FITS process (and ITIL in general). I don't want to feel more important - that is not the point. The point is to create a process where everyone realises that change doesn't and cannot happen instantly. It means being able to control demands being made of the systems by having people look at all aspects of a potential change instead of steam-rolling ahead with it - whilst ignoring the consequences (which is how it is done in 99% of schools at present).

    What I'm saying is that just because you've had some bad experience of this process before doesn't mean that it is the process which is bad - just that prior implementation.

    With an increasingly complex ICT infrastructure, providing formalised processes is a necessity. At some point, I'll end up with another member of staff supporting me, and when that happens, we both need to know that changes that are being requested and made are being considered completely by both of us.
    Have a process in place by all means - any good techy will keep notes of changes he or her has made just in case they need to roll back & certainly should not be steam-rolling ahead with changes etc. If they are then they are not very good at their job. What I am saying is don't for the sake of doing something make what should be a simple process more complicated by adding layers of red tape.
    If you are going to have another member of staff supporting you and you need to know what changes / requests are made then you don't [ in my opinion ] need some complex and ott package. There are two of us in our school, we talk to each other and any changes are made in a spread sheet and requests via E-mail.
    KIS - Keep It Simple.
    Not having a go at anyone in particular so don't get the wrong end of the stick here, but from what I read in regards to some school setups, they make something that should be simple over complicated - [ multiple domains a classic example ] - then they wonder why they have so many problems......
    IT in schools should not have to be complex. Again my opinion, but if it is then something has gone seriously wrong in the implication of it.
    Last edited by mattx; 23rd October 2008 at 09:12 AM.

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    How do technicians take to having their network manager start implementing this kind of process?
    We did it from the ground up. The technicians had to convince management that 'managing' the service might be a good idea.

    If anyone needs training in this type of stuff then I can recommend ITIL v3.
    FITS is based on ITIL, but FITS is more streamlined specifically for schools and some of the names have been changed.
    I did the ITILv3 foundation and I'd like to do some of the practitioner modules too.
    http://www.itil-officialsite.com/home/home.asp

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