Establishing a Change Advisory Board or other method of approvals surrounding change management can be intimidating within the IT department. Technology teams tend to work in fairly defined silos in which they can trust the expertise of their co-workers and the expediency of their processes. Adding change approvals is frightening because it, on the surface, threatens to get in the way of this internal expertise and efficiency by getting outside parties involved. However, a CAB or similar approval setup actually delivers critical benefits that pay off for IT teams and the business as a whole.
There are many negative misconceptions surrounding change approvals, but a few that really get in the way of innovation are:
1. Including Non-IT Leaders Creates Unnecessary Interference
In general, getting non-technical employees involved in IT is a problem. It often leads to people making basic mistakes and getting in the way of IT because they don't understand the nuances of how the technology works. This is not the case, however, when dealing with CABs or change approval groups. In these situations, technical workers are present to handle the IT-specific issues, while the non-technical leaders that are present are there to analyze the business impact of change, not the technical implications. As such, the non-IT leaders don't interfere with the technology choices, they work to align those decisions to business needs.
2. Approvals Cause Delays
What's great about change approvals is that they can be structured however an organization needs them to be configured. This means that approval processes can be customized and streamlined to avoid any delays while still providing a second, or third, set of eyes to make sure changes are being handled effectively.
3. They Aren't Really Necessary
There may be some basic changes that don't require approvals, but creating a system of approvals also builds an audit trail into an organization's change operations. This makes it easier for IT service management teams to correct errors and comply with regulatory standards. The end result is a situation in which companies that employ approval processes will often find themselves wondering how they ever got by without them.
Bonus - Approvals Work Well for Emergencies
Sometimes an immediate change is needed and dealing with approvals could actually get in the way. Under these circumstances, the change tasks can be marked as emergencies and the CAB or other approval group will analyze the change retroactively to approve it and make sure any fine tuning is completed once the situation is resolved.
Establishing approvals within a change management platform may create challenges, but a good solution can overcome these issues and maximize the value of change operations.