Friday, January 25, 2008

Where to Start: Configuration vs. Change Management?

I recently posted the following on the ITIL Forums website in response to a question regarding whether to start first with Configuration or Change Management:

It's quite simple. If you already have a Service Desk and Incident Management process, then start with Change Management. If not, start all three together.

First, you must have a mechanism for recording and resolving service interruptions (SD & IM.) And second, the effectiveness of Change Management cannot be measured without Incident Management. Afterall, the whole point of Change Management is to minimize risk. And that risk is called Incident(s).

Also, we know, Incidents are largely the result of Changes--for various reasons, they are either poorly planned, poorly tested or poorly communicated. If we want to reduce the frequency of the occurence of Incidents, we have to control Changes.

Also, if we want to measure how effective we are at reducing Incidents, we have to relate them to changes.

What you will realize very quickly is that both processes will be improved with Configuration Management. By adding Configuration Items (CIs) to the Incident and Change records, it will be come easier to determine which systems are the most problematic. This will eventually provide input for Problem Management.

The key for Configuration Management is that without any of these other processes (IM & Change M.), it is unclear which information the CMDB should be populated with first. Incident and Change Management can be thought of as the "customers" of Configuration Management.

Without these other processes being able to utilize or reap the benefit of the information in the CMDB, there is no reason to have one. Alone, it brings no value to the organization. It is only by providing information to other processes that the value is realized. Going through the long and ardous task of building a CMDB without any real use for the information is likely to result in frustration.

Further advice for starting Configuration Management: examine Incident and Change Management process metrics to determine where the greatest value can be obtained and begin there.

To read the entire thread go to: ITIL Forums

Also, check out this one on Setting Up a Service Desk

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