Change Management People

“Those Change Management people make my life so difficult sometimes!”

I heard this from one of my students the other day. In this person’s organization they have made a common error. They have confused the process of Change Management with the Service Desk, Technical, Operations and Application Management functions. In other words the people who use the Change Management (and other processes) have become the same as the process itself. This is an often misconstrued and misinterpreted idea.

We must remember that ITIL makes a distinction between Functions (groups of people who use processes to complete similar types of work) and Processes (sets of activities used to complete various types of work). I like to remind my learners that Functions use Processes (or people do activities). Functions are not Processes and Processes are not Functions.

There may be groups of people or work teams who use a process as their main tool. As an example, the Release Implementation Team could use Release Management as their main set of activities. But, they may also use Change Management (and probably will) or Configuration Management or any other process to implement a Release.

This is also true of the Functions. The Service Desk does not only use Incident Management. They certainly will also use Request Fulfillment, Access Management, possibly Problem Management, Change Management and many others. The goal of the Service Desk is to use whatever processes and tools available to restore normal service operations as quickly as possible.

The people in the Functions wear many hats and fulfill many process roles. Generally they can only wear one hat at a time, but could have a number of hats in their wardrobe. They may do Incident Management activities for 30 minutes and then need to switch to Problem Management for an hour and then over to Availability Management for the afternoon. They are still the same person with the same title, but they have many roles and responsibilities.

When a person tries to do many roles simultaneously they often find it difficult to juggle. It generally works better that we each do one role at a time and we each follow one process at a time. When we complete a given set of process steps we go on to the next or another process. And then to the next.

Because we can wear many hats and use many processes as a set of tools or a “kit” to complete an action or produce an outcome or output it should not be thought of as only one group of people who do Change Management. The processes are spread across the functions. You might have a group of people dedicated to the support and care and feeding of the process as their full time responsibilities, but those who do the process can reside just about anywhere!

So next time you hear someone mention the “Change Management people” remember they are talking about the people who are currently using the Change Management process. They might be members of Application Management or the Service Desk, or they might be you!

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