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Why should you implement change control in your IT organization?

When your developers and operations people deploy changes to your software and hardware at any time of the day with little or no testing, you could have outages based on these changes, and the effects are sometimes not felt for days. The efforts to correct the changes can then cost hours of development time and soon get out of control.

THE KEYS TO CHANGE MANAGEMENT

Change control is a procedure that logs and tracks changes to your software code, infrastructure, or servers. It’s normally a part of larger IT organizations to stop unforeseen critical outages and streamline the deployment process.

Change control makes everyone accountable for changes and forces them to log tickets that allow each IT member review and sign off on the changes. If anyone has questions, they can ask before the changes take effect. It also limits developer and infrastructure changes to a specific time, so all users are aware that components of the network could run slower than usual. This limits the amount of opened trouble tickets.

When a developer decides to make changes to code, the first step is to create a change control ticket. The details in the ticket should include why the change is taking place, the procedure to deploy the change, and any systems affected. Each person in charge of the system must sign off on the changes. Any operations people who want to make changes to infrastructure must use the same steps before deploying hardware.

The next step is to set a date for deployments. All changes to your infrastructure must be done on the same day. This allows everyone to stay alert in case of bugs or slowness. If performance becomes an issue, everyone will know that deployments are taking place, so they can stay patient until the process is finished.

The day that deployments are done depends on your business. Most deployments can be done once a week during the day. Your IT people won’t want to work every weekend, so if it’s impossible to update any of your systems during work hours, most organizations deploy once a month on Saturday. The downside to this schedule is that many upgrades must be done sooner, so deployments are usually made once a week during business hours with the occasional Saturday deployment.

BENEFITS OF IMPLEMENTING CHANGE CONTROL

Streamlining of your deployment activity is the major benefit of change control, but there are other benefits as well. By forcing people to deploy using specific, documented procedures, you can audit the way your deployments are done and improve them. These audits give you a way to find root causes should bugs be found later. It also reduces costs associated with bugs introduced when change is deployed at random, undocumented, unmanaged times.

The cost savings alone can add up to thousands for businesses that suffer from several outages. When unmanaged code changes are turned into a streamlined deployment procedure and users are aware of changes, differences in the system don’t take them by surprise. Change control gives department heads a way to see that IT is working to help them.

The cost savings alone can add up to thousands for businesses that suffer from several outages. When unmanaged code changes are turned into a streamlined deployment procedure and users are aware of changes, differences in the system don’t take them by surprise. Change control gives department heads a way to see that IT is working to help them.