Clarifications About “Normal” Changes…
There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about what constitutes a “normal change”. To tell you the truth, the term “normal change” is not found in the glossary of any of the five ITIL V3 core books or in the official glossary available on the OGC’s website (www.best-management-practice.com). I should know as I just checked the online glossary and all five core books on April 16. So as usual, I refer to the literature as my starting point.
The only places where you can find any specific references to “normal change” are in the Service Transition (ST) book Section 18.104.22.168 and in Figure 4.2. Since I can’t find “normal change” let me start with its closest relative; the (service) change.
From the official glossary we have the definition of a change as:
[It is] the addition, modification or removal of anything that could have an effect on IT services. The scope should include all IT services, Configuration Items, Processes, Documentation, etc.
From the Service Transition book section 4.2.2 we have the above definition applied to a service change. The Service Transition book uses “service change” as opposed to simply “change”.
The “normal change” actually applies to the procedure more than to a type of change. What is meant by the use of the expression “normal change” in the workbook is that the effect of the “change” may be transparent to the end-user especially in this day and age of duplication, redundancy, etc.
On page 48 in the ST book we find the following:
All changes, including standard changes, will have details of the change recorded. For some standard changes this may be different in nature from normal change records.
In the case the word normal (as in normal change record) is meant to say a “regular / typical” change record; the one we always use in the Change Management module of our Service Management tool.
On page 49 in the ST book we find Figure 4.2, example process flow for a normal change. Here, as above, the word “normal” refers to a “regular / typical” change that we normally assess during Change Advisory Board (CAB) meetings.
22.214.171.124 Normal Change Procedure
The text in this section sets out in detail the aspects followed within a Normal Change. The general principles set out apply to all changes, but where normal change procedure can be modified, for example, for standard or emergency changes, this is set out following the explanation of normal change procedure.
The standard changes follow a scaled down version of the “normal” procedure to handle changes. From the official glossary we have the following definition.
[It is] a pre-approved Change that is low risk, relatively common and follows a procedure or work instruction. For example, password reset or provision of standard equipment to a new employee. RFCs are not required to implement a Standard Change, and they are logged and tracked using a different mechanism, such as a Service Request.
A service request is:
[It is] a request from a User for information, or advice, or for a Standard Change or for Access to an IT service. For example, to reset a password, or to provide standard IT services for a new User. Service Requests are usually handled by a Service Desk, and do not require an RFC to be submitted.
Example of service requests if we use above definitions can be:
o A user calling the Service Desk to ask an how-to question
o A manager calling the Service Desk to inform them that a new employees starts on a specific date or needs access to something or is going on short term leave
o A user calls the Service Desk to get their password reset
o A user calls the Service Desk to report that printer is out of ink and that there are no more cartridges left
An Emergency Change is reserved for changes intended to repair an error in an IT service that is negatively impacting the business to a high degree. Changes intended to introduce immediately required business improvements are handled as normal changes, assessed as having the highest urgency.
This means that business improvement related changes use the normal procedure but have the highest “urgency” rating as defined by the organization.
So here is my interpretation of the whole thing:
A normal change or regular change applies to any change that is not an emergency or standard by nature.
Any change that is not standard or an emergency follows the regular, “normal” change procedure.
In order to assist an organization, ITIL V3 introduces the concept of a change model. The model will define service requests, standard changes, emergency changes.
[It is] a repeatable way of dealing with a particular Category of Change. A Change Model defines specific pre-defined steps that will be followed for a Change of this Category. Change Models may be very simple, with no requirement for approval (e.g.: Password Reset) or may be very complex with many steps that require approval (e.g.: major software Release).
A standard change does not need an RFC, is usually tracked using the Request Fulfillment process.
An emergency change goes to the Emergency CAB (ECAB), may forgo testing altogether and documentation will be updated after the fact.
A service change that is neither standard nor an emergency will follow the “normal change procedure”.
1. So, first create you change procedure with all changes in mind.
2. Then create a list of changes that will not need to go through this procedure as they are low risks, are relatively common, well executed and easy to document. Call these changes “standard”.
3. Identify emergency situations that would require a quick assessment (ECAB) and that could require less or no testing. However these situations should not be part of your Service Continuity Plan. Call these changes “emergency”.
All other changes will go through the regular/typical/normal procedure define in “1” above. If you call these “service changes” or “normal changes” then you’re using ITIL V3 properly.