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The Secret to Change Success: Understanding Multiple Perspectives

There may be two problems that cause otherwise capable IT departments to fail at making changes. In the opinion of CIO Matthew Selheimer in an article posted to ITSM Review, there exists only one remedy for both – understanding the multiple perspectives that weigh in on a given change process.

Complex Environments

According to a Forrester consulting study, a whopping 40% of Fortune 1000 IT outfits make successful first-time changes less than 80% of the time. Underlying this deficiency is the simple reality that IT change occurs within increasingly complex environments that overwhelm the individual’s ability to effectively manage change. This reality sets the stage for problem two.

Too Many Perspectives

Selheimer relates that the problem of complex environments leads to a failure by IT departments to fully capture the varying perspectives that surround a specific change process. Walking us through a typical process, he illustrates how a simple change request becomes an extensive and involved exchange between the change planner, multiple relevant staff, and a company’s Change Advisory Board (CAB). He relents the frequent mishandling of such an exchange:

The information these people have to work from is…very fragmented. Yes, we have our CMDBs and CI information, but they’re often incomplete and not always trusted, so people fall back on their tribal knowledge, which may also be incomplete and out of date.  A lot of the time, we might intentionally leave out groups because we think that will slow things down…if we leave out people that may be necessary, we create unexpected ripple effects from our changes too.

Utilize the Relevant Experts

In the end, it is easy to understand how the change process can be so flawed, with certain individuals' perspectives over-valued, other critical viewpoints left out altogether, and a substitution of facts for “tribal knowledge” when time is perceived to be of the essence. That is why Selheimer recommends engaging only relevant experts in change collaboration, citing that “people are both the problem and the answer”.

Read the full article at: http://www.theitsmreview.com/2014/07/secret-change-success-understanding-multiple-perspectives/

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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