Roles in Change Management: ITIL Edition

ITIL has specific roles in change management, just as it has specific roles for every other aspect of its IT Services Management process.

These roles are responsible for managing:

  • The review and approval of changes
  • Implementation 
  • Completion and evaluation 

Each change pipeline follows a set procedure and each role is clearly defined.

This makes ITIL’s change pipeline easy to follow and delegate.

It is important to note, by the way, that the ITIL change management process differs from organizational change management

For details on organizational change management duties, feel free to browse other articles on this blog.

Let’s look at the ITIL process in detail.

The ITIL Change Management Pipeline: A Quick Crash Course

The ITIL change management pipeline – the request fulfillment process – is specifically designed for changes to IT services.

It is a process aimed at:

  • Managing risk
  • Categorizing types of change
  • Assigning change management responsibilities to the appropriate parties
  • Documenting changes and requests

There are plenty of benefits to using ITIL versus other systems or ad hoc change management.

A few of these include:

  • Increasing efficiency and effectiveness of IT service changes
  • Reduced negative impacts of changes to IT services
  • Improved employee productivity 
  • Optimization of future IT process changes through data collection and continuous improvement

The ITIL framework is wide in scope, stretching far beyond IT services management.

Naturally, the ITIL guidelines are not perfect. 

For this reason, many IT change management approaches revise the framework during application. 

ServiceNow, for instance, implements a solution that is similar – but not identical to – ITIL.

However, ITIL is the most widely accepted IT change framework in the world.

ITs change management function is absolutely critical because it often directly impacts customer-facing products and internal IT solutions.

ITIL’s Personnel and Roles in Change Management

Here is a very abbreviated ITIL change management workflow:

  • A request for change is assigned a priority and submitted
  • That change request is reviewed, then accepted or rejected
  • Rejected requests are revised and resubmitted
  • Accepted requests are executed
  • Upon completion, the change is evaluated and closed

This is a short version of the request fulfillment pipeline.

Here are ITIL’s roles in change management workflows:

Change Requester 

This is the person who initiates the change request. 

They define the problem, design a solution, then include these in the request. 

The request is assigned a category – standard, normal, or emergency change – then submitted to the Change Manager.

Change Manager 

The ITIL Change Manager reviews requests, then authorizes changes. 

High-risk changes or emergency changes will be presented to the Change Advisory Board or the Emergency Change Advisory Board. 

He or she is also responsible for facilitating and overseeing a change.

Change Advisory Board (CAB) 

The CAB is a group of individuals responsible for reviewing higher-risk changes, including others within and outside of the organization. 

Their job is to assess risk level, potential change impacts, and authorize or reject changes. 

Some of these members will also be members of the Emergency Change Advisory Board (ECAB), designed to review and authorize changes that must be implemented immediately.

Change Implementer 

The change implementer actually executes the change. 

This person may or may not be the one who requested the change. 

Duties include coordinating change efforts, allocating resources and team members, testing, implementing, and documenting the change. 

They report to the Change Manager.

Other Roles

In some cases, other roles will be involved in the change management process.

During analysis and assessment of change requests, for instance, IT analysts and other IT personnel can become involved.

Applying these Roles in the Real World

As mentioned, ITIL is often modified slightly before its application in the real world.

However, these modifications generally stick to ITIL’s overall model. In practice, the principles remain the same.

During real-world ITIL change management, these roles can often be recombined and renamed. 

How this occurs can depend on:

  • The organization’s size. Smaller organizations will often combine multiple roles into a single role. In small organizations, the same few people may act as change initiator, manager, and CAB, for example.
  • Its implementation of ITIL. Some companies may abbreviate the change management process. Or they may use different roles altogether, such as the RACI Matrix
  • The software it uses. Some software programs implement ITIL, precisely because it is so widely accepted. However, labels and change request pipelines may differ slightly, depending on the ITSM platform.

In short, ITIL offers an excellent set of guidelines and principles.

However, guidelines are just guidelines – they are meant to be adjusted to fit the circumstances.

Final Thoughts

ITIL’s roles in change management offer a good framework.

They can help organizations define and assign responsibilities. And the ITIL change request pipeline can increase the efficiency of IT change management.

However, as we have seen, these roles are malleable. They should be adjusted to fit the needs of your organization, your change management platform, and your IT change workflow.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.