Somehow the highly advanced process documentation of ITIL® and other frameworks seem to omit the more down to earth advice. One of these simple things is how to organize and arrange for a proper change meeting.
So here is my 2 cents worth of advice on this:
- Do hold a regular CAB Meeting! Even if you prefer to have a virtual CAB managed by a workflow tool, a recurring meeting is required to keep the process alive.
- Try to meet in person if possible and feasible.
- Group or sort changes so that the part time attendees (e.g. application specialists, customer representatives, management) time is utilized in an optimized fashion.
- Hold the meeting as often as needed, but not too often. A daily meeting is too often in most environments, weekly or twice a week is quite common, bi-weekly is for well planned organizations, and monthly is only for slow changing companies.
- In order to reward good planning, decide on a change as soon as possible. I have seen companies that delay the CAB decision for a change to a date close to the implementation date and they all suffer from a lack of planning.
- Discuss new standard change models as a fixed topic on the agenda. Decide on new standard change models, communicate revoked standard change models and provide feedback in the form of reports on existing standard change models (I used repetition in this sentence to stress the importance of the standard change models 😉
- Discuss the change schedule for the upcoming period as a fixed topic on the agenda. Repeat the planned changes, releases and other events that will happen between this meeting and the next.
- Discuss the outcome of the change reviews for the most recent period. Make sure that all participants see the importance of the review and that the outcome is honored.
So a sample agenda could be
- Meet & Greet
- Upcoming events
Changes to be approved
- High Risk Changes
- Application A Changes
- Application B Changes
- Server Infrastructure Changes
- Datacenter / Facility Changes
Standard Change Models
- New standard change for “open new firewall route”
- New standard change for “modify firewall route”
- Revoked standard change model “force cluster switchover”
- Reports on standard changes (top change models, failed standard changes, standard changes causing incidents)
- High Risk/Impact Change Review
- Failed/Rolled Back/Modified Changes, Changes causing incidents
- Lessons learned
- Change Process News
- Other topics