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IT Change Request Management Process Template

Use this process template to cover everything about your change request management — from change submission, evaluation, and approval to planning, documentation, and reporting.

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IT Change Request Management Process Template

Use this process template to cover everything about your change request management — from change submission, evaluation, and approval to planning, documentation, and reporting.


What Is Change Management?

Change management in IT operations is a systematic approach to handling all changes in an IT environment, ensuring that they are efficiently implemented while minimizing risk and disruption to services. This process is critical for maintaining the stability, reliability, and security of IT systems as they evolve to meet changing business needs and technological advancements. Effective change management enables organizations to adapt to new opportunities, improve operational processes, and correct issues without compromising service quality or performance.

Types of changes covered in IT change management include:

  • Software Updates and Upgrades: Modifications to software applications, including patches, updates, and major version upgrades.
  • Hardware Modifications: Changes to the physical IT infrastructure, such as server replacements, storage expansion, and networking upgrades.
  • System Configuration Changes: Adjustments to system settings, network configurations, and security parameters.
  • Application Development and Deployment: Introduction of new applications or major changes to existing applications.
  • Security Enhancements: Updates and changes aimed at improving IT security measures.
  • Process Improvement Initiatives: Changes to IT processes and procedures to increase efficiency or quality of IT services.

By encompassing a broad range of changes, IT change management ensures a controlled and consistent approach to enhancing and securing the organization's IT landscape.

The Importance of Change Management

The importance of the change management process in IT operations cannot be overstated. It is a foundational element that ensures IT changes are implemented in a controlled, systematic manner, significantly reducing the risk of negatively impacting business operations or IT services. Change management facilitates the smooth introduction of new technologies, updates, and improvements, enabling organizations to remain competitive, agile, and responsive to market demands.

A well-defined change management process enhances operational efficiency by minimizing downtime and ensuring that changes are made without disrupting service continuity. It also plays a critical role in maintaining security and compliance, as each change is thoroughly assessed for potential risks and impacts before implementation. Furthermore, change management supports better resource allocation and planning by requiring that all changes undergo a rigorous evaluation and approval process.

By fostering clear communication and collaboration across departments, change management ensures that all stakeholders are informed and prepared for changes, thereby promoting a culture of transparency and continuous improvement. Ultimately, the change management process is pivotal in aligning IT operations with business strategies, ensuring that technological changes contribute positively to the organization's goals and objectives.

Change Request Submission

How Employees Make Change Requests

Employees initiate change request submissions through a centralized change management system, often a part of the organization's IT Service Management (ITSM) software. This digital platform ensures a standardized approach to submitting, tracking, and managing change requests across the organization. When submitting a change request, employees are required to provide detailed information to facilitate thorough evaluation and decision-making by the IT department and Change Advisory Board (CAB).

Each change request submission includes:

  • Description of Change: A detailed overview of the proposed change, specifying what is to be changed and how the change will be implemented.
  • Reason for Change: The rationale behind the request, including any problems or opportunities the change aims to address.
  • Impact Analysis: An assessment of the potential impacts on IT systems, business processes, and users, highlighting any anticipated disruptions or benefits.
  • Proposed Implementation Date: Suggested timing for implementing the change, considering the urgency and potential impacts on business operations.
  • Resource Requirements: Identification of resources needed to implement the change, including personnel, technology, and budget.
  • Risk Assessment: An evaluation of any risks associated with the change and proposed mitigation strategies.

By providing this information, employees contribute to a transparent and efficient change management process, enabling informed decision-making and minimizing the risk of adverse impacts on the organization's IT environment and business operations.

Change Evaluation

Initial Assessment

The initial review of a change request is a critical step in the change management process, designed to determine the request's validity and establish its priority within the organization's IT operations. This evaluation ensures that only necessary and viable changes proceed further in the process. Here’s an outline of the steps involved:

  1. Receipt and Logging: Upon submission, change requests are formally logged in the change management system, ensuring they are tracked through every stage of the process.
  2. Preliminary Assessment: A preliminary assessment is conducted to verify the completeness and accuracy of the information provided. This includes confirming that all required details, such as the description of the change, the rationale, impact analysis, and proposed implementation date, are included.
  3. Validity Check: The change request is examined to ensure it aligns with business objectives and IT strategy. This involves assessing whether the request is necessary and whether it supports the organization's overall goals.
  4. Priority Assignment: Based on the impact analysis and the urgency of the change, a priority level is assigned. This determination considers factors such as the potential benefits of the change, the risks involved, and the urgency of the request.
  5. Initial Decision: The request may be approved to proceed to a more detailed evaluation, returned to the requester for additional information, or rejected if it does not meet the necessary criteria.

By methodically assessing each change request at this initial stage, organizations can efficiently allocate resources to changes that offer the most value, ensuring that IT operations are both effective and strategically aligned.

Impact Analysis

Assessing the potential impact of a proposed change on IT operations and business processes is a crucial phase in the change management process. This assessment helps in understanding the breadth and depth of the change’s implications, ensuring informed decision-making and preparation for any outcomes. Here’s how this process typically unfolds:

  1. Impact Analysis Meeting: Convene a meeting with stakeholders, including IT staff, business process owners, and any other relevant parties, to discuss the proposed change. This collaborative approach ensures all perspectives are considered.
  2. Review of IT Infrastructure and Applications: Examine how the change will affect the current IT infrastructure and applications. This includes assessing dependencies, system compatibility, and the need for updates or modifications to existing systems.
  3. Business Process Impact: Evaluate how the change will influence business processes. Identify any processes that will need to be modified, temporarily halted, or completely redesigned as a result of the change.
  4. Resource Assessment: Determine the resources (time, budget, personnel) required to implement the change and any impact on resource availability for ongoing operations.
  5. Risk Identification: Identify risks associated with the change, including potential disruptions to services, security vulnerabilities, and compliance issues.
  6. Documentation: Document the findings of the impact assessment, providing a comprehensive overview of the anticipated effects of the change on IT operations and business processes.

This thorough assessment ensures that organizations can proactively address potential challenges, minimize negative impacts, and leverage the change for maximum benefit.

Change Risk Assessment

Evaluating the risks associated with a proposed change is a critical component of the change management process, aimed at identifying potential issues and devising strategies to mitigate them. This evaluation follows a structured method:

  1. Risk Identification: Begin by identifying all potential risks that the change might introduce to IT operations and business processes. This includes technical risks, such as system incompatibilities and security vulnerabilities, as well as operational risks like potential downtime or disruptions to business activities.
  2. Risk Analysis: Once risks are identified, analyze each one to understand its nature, causes, and the likelihood of occurrence. Assess the potential impact of each risk on the organization, considering both the severity of the impact and the probability that the risk will materialize.
  3. Risk Prioritization: Rank the identified risks based on their analysis, prioritizing them according to their potential impact and likelihood. This helps focus attention and resources on managing the most significant risks.
  4. Mitigation Strategies: For each high-priority risk, develop mitigation strategies. These strategies may involve modifying the proposed change, implementing additional security measures, preparing contingency plans, or even deciding against the change if the risks outweigh the benefits.
  5. Documentation: Document the risk evaluation process, including the identified risks, their analysis, and planned mitigation strategies. This documentation is crucial for informed decision-making and for tracking risk management efforts over time.

By systematically evaluating risks, organizations can proactively address potential challenges associated with changes, ensuring the stability and security of IT operations and business processes.

Change Approval

The decision to approve, reject, or request further information on a change request is a pivotal moment in the change management process, determined by a set of predefined criteria designed to ensure that each change aligns with organizational objectives, minimizes risk, and optimizes resource allocation. Key criteria include:

  1. Alignment with Business Objectives: The change must support the organization's strategic goals and IT strategy, enhancing efficiency, security, or competitiveness.
  2. Impact and Risk Assessment: The potential impact on IT operations and business processes should be manageable, and associated risks should be within acceptable limits. High-impact changes with inadequate risk mitigation strategies are less likely to be approved.
  3. Resource Availability: There must be sufficient resources, including personnel, budget, and technology, to implement the change effectively without disrupting ongoing operations.
  4. Compliance and Security: The change must comply with relevant regulations, industry standards, and internal security policies. Changes that pose a threat to compliance or security are subject to rejection or require further risk mitigation measures.
  5. Feasibility and Timing: The feasibility of successfully implementing the change within the proposed timeline is assessed, considering current workloads and project schedules.

Decisions are made based on a comprehensive evaluation of these criteria, ensuring that approved changes are well-positioned to deliver value while maintaining the integrity and security of the organization's IT environment.

Change Planning and Scheduling

Change Implementation

Developing a detailed plan for implementing an approved change is essential to ensure its smooth transition and success. This plan should meticulously outline the steps, resources required, and a realistic timeline, considering all aspects of the change to avoid disruptions. Here’s how to construct this plan:

  1. Define Clear Objectives: Start by defining the goals of the change, ensuring they align with broader organizational objectives. This clarity helps in steering the direction of the implementation plan.
  2. Detailed Steps: Break down the change into actionable steps, detailing each phase of the implementation. This includes preparation, execution, testing, and finalization stages, ensuring nothing is overlooked.
  3. Resource Allocation: Identify the resources needed for each step, including personnel, technology, and financial resources. Assign roles and responsibilities to team members, ensuring they have the necessary authority and expertise to carry out their tasks.
  4. Timeline: Establish a realistic timeline for the change implementation, setting milestones for critical stages of the process. Factor in buffer times for unexpected delays to maintain flexibility.
  5. Communication Plan: Incorporate a communication strategy to keep all stakeholders informed throughout the process, ensuring transparency and readiness to adapt to any feedback or challenges that arise.
  6. Risk Management Plan: Outline strategies for managing identified risks, including contingency plans to address potential issues during the implementation phase.

A well-crafted implementation plan is a roadmap to successfully enacting change, minimizing risks, and ensuring the organization can quickly benefit from the new adjustments.

Communication Plan

A comprehensive communication plan is a cornerstone of successful change implementation, ensuring that all stakeholders are well-informed about the upcoming change, its rationale, expected impact, and how it will be managed. The plan should detail the following aspects:

  1. Stakeholder Identification: Begin by identifying all stakeholders affected by the change, including IT staff, department heads, end-users, and potentially external partners.
  2. Information Needs: Assess the information needs of different stakeholder groups. While IT staff may require detailed technical instructions, other employees might benefit from a summary of expected impacts and benefits.
  3. Communication Methods: Utilize a variety of communication channels to reach stakeholders effectively. This can include emails, intranet postings, meetings, and presentations. The choice of channel should match the preferences and needs of each stakeholder group.
  4. Timeline: Outline when communications will occur, aligning messages with key milestones in the change process. Initial announcements, regular updates, and post-implementation reviews should be scheduled.
  5. Feedback Mechanisms: Incorporate feedback mechanisms to allow stakeholders to ask questions, express concerns, and provide feedback. This can be facilitated through Q&A sessions, feedback forms, or designated contact persons.
  6. Change Champions: Identify and leverage change champions within the organization who can advocate for the change and assist in communicating its benefits and managing resistance.

By carefully planning and executing a communication strategy, organizations can ensure stakeholder engagement, minimize resistance, and foster a positive perception of the change, contributing to its overall success.

Documentation and Reporting

Change Log

A change log is an essential tool in the IT change management process, meticulously recording and tracking all changes made to the IT environment over time. This centralized document or database provides a historical record of changes, facilitating transparency, accountability, and compliance. Here's how changes are recorded and tracked:

  1. Change Details: Each entry in the change log includes comprehensive details about the change, such as the change request number, description of the change, the initiator, date of submission, and the implementation date. It also records the change's status (e.g., pending, approved, rejected, implemented), the individuals involved in the assessment, approval, and implementation, and any relevant comments or notes.
  2. Impact Assessment: The log includes a summary of the impact assessment, detailing the expected and actual outcomes of the change, alongside any identified risks and the mitigation strategies employed.
  3. Audit Trail: The change log serves as an audit trail, offering insights into the decision-making process and the rationale behind each change. This is crucial for auditing purposes, post-implementation reviews, and for understanding the historical context of changes.
  4. Access and Updates: The change log is maintained in an accessible, secure location, often within a change management software tool. It is regularly updated as changes progress through their lifecycle, ensuring that the log remains current and accurate.
  5. Review and Analysis: Regular reviews of the change log can provide valuable insights into change management trends, effectiveness, and areas for improvement. It facilitates learning from past experiences and refining the change management process.

By meticulously maintaining a change log, organizations can enhance their change management practices, ensuring that changes are executed effectively and contribute positively to IT operations and business objectives.


Reporting mechanisms for change outcomes are vital for evaluating the success rates, identifying issues encountered, and assessing the overall effectiveness of the change management process. These mechanisms ensure transparency, facilitate continuous improvement, and provide stakeholders with insights into how changes impact the organization. Key aspects include:

  1. Change Dashboard: Implement a dashboard that provides real-time data on the status of changes, including those in progress, completed, and pending review. It should highlight success rates and any deviations from planned outcomes.
  2. Post-Implementation Reviews: Conduct reviews after each change implementation to assess its success and document any issues encountered. These reviews offer valuable lessons and can be used to refine future change processes.
  3. Performance Metrics: Utilize specific metrics to gauge the effectiveness of the change management process, such as the percentage of changes completed on time, the number of issues arising from changes, and stakeholder satisfaction levels.
  4. Regular Reporting: Generate regular reports (monthly, quarterly) to summarize change outcomes, trends in success rates, and areas for improvement. These reports should be shared with key stakeholders and used to inform strategic decisions.
  5. Feedback Collection: Incorporate feedback from IT staff and end-users to understand the real-world impact of changes. This feedback is crucial for identifying areas where the change management process can be enhanced.

By systematically reporting on change outcomes, organizations can maintain a cycle of continuous improvement, ensuring that the change management process remains dynamic, responsive, and aligned with organizational goals.


Have Questions?

Effective change management is pivotal in ensuring that IT changes are implemented smoothly, with minimal disruption to business operations. It allows organizations to adapt quickly to new technologies and market demands, maintaining a competitive edge and enhancing operational efficiency. By systematically managing changes, organizations can mitigate risks, optimize resources, and ensure changes deliver the intended benefits while aligning with strategic objectives. 

For questions or further information on the change management process, please contact the IT manager.

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