Change Management Principles

Note: The most important section of this document is the definition of the policies, principles, and rules, which govern the implementation of change throughout UITS. There is no intent to define here the detailed procedures needed for various units in implementing the principles. The following are the fundamental Change Management policies guiding the actions of all UITS staff:

  1. To the fullest extent possible, changes should be tested in an isolated environment that most closely approximates the "production environment". Each unit should have as a high priority the acquisition and availability of test platforms and environments.
  2. Those responsible for making or sponsoring changes to the production environment have the obligation to fully inform and coordinate with end users and all parties within UITS that are affected. the sponsoring individual may not be the person performing all of the contact, but is responsible for seeing that it is done.
  3. UITS units involved in the change, or supporting the change, must agree to the readiness and timing of the change. If any unit does not agree, or is not ready, then the implementation needs to be renegotiated.
  4. User Notification: The degree and lead-time associated with user notification is dependent on the nature and complexity of the change. Changes involving conversions or change in procedure for the user will involve more notification, support and training than other types of change. The main principle is that, irrespective of the complexity of the change, and irrespective of whether the change is thought to be "transparent" to the user, notification MUST be made. It is better to notify users of changes and receive false reports of problems blamed on the change, than it is not to notify users and have a single problem associated with the change.
  5. UITS staff are users too. All principles and procedures applying to end-users apply to changes that can potentially impact UITS staff as well.
  6. One set of detailed procedures will not necessarily fit all types of change. It may be entirely appropriate for UITS to follow a single set of procedures to address changes, but it does not necessarily follow that all changes are incorporated into a single procedure. As an example, one single "Change Management meeting" may not be appropriate to address all changes, individual units may exercise their own change management meeting and the results will be fed into the central change management system.
  7. All units within UITS must document and implement a procedure that addresses change.
  8. The scheduled implementation date and time should be such as to minimize downtime and impact for the users. The date and times should not be solely for the convenience of UITS staff and should utilize published change windows where available.
  9. Scheduled dates and times for implementations should recognize other schedule and known events for that same time period. Although certain changes may not "technically" conflict with other events, recognition of overall user impact and allocation of UITS staff, in the event of problems, would be considered.
  10. Before any changes are implemented, fallback procedures must be developed and in place, to be exercised if needed. Implementation time schedules should reflect the length of time to institute fallback procedures if needed.
  11. Before changes are implemented, success criteria are to be identified. Testing in a "test environment" is one prerequisite. During and after the actual "implementation" or migration to production, how can we know the implementation was successful?
  12. Unless specific arrangements have been made to the contrary, all problems resulting from the change, or thought to be from the change, should be reported, following the standard Problem Management Principles and Procedures are in place.
  13. All UITS units and appropriate staff have an obligation to become aware of scheduled changes for his/her own unit, as well as other units, and raise questions or issues. Don't complain after the fact.
  14. Managers have the responsibility to review changes in their area and it is assumed that all changes submitted by a staff member have the default approval of their management.
  15. Each staff member is to become aware of our Change Management principles and procedures. Personnel evaluations will specifically mention the degree to which Change Management principles and procedures have been followed.
  16. The focus of Change Management in this document is oriented towards the technology units and other types of changes that directly impact users.
  17. Changes by other departments, outside agencies: There will be changes made by other University departments and outside agencies that can impact the service UITS provides. When these changes are known, we have an obligation to notify the users with an assessment of the impact as accurately as possible. Just because UITS does not control or initiate the change is no reason not to inform the users or follow our Change Management procedures.
  18. If in doubt: Not all situations and changes can be enumerated in advance within this document. If in doubt as to whether a particular change circumstance should follow the Change Management rules and procedures, include it.