Change Management with No CAB Meetings?

We are all bombarded with meetings. Often most of the day is packed with them and we barely have the time to do some "real" work. Isn't there a way of getting the required approvals through email, or specialized web workflow in your ITSM software? Yes, there is.

The Good Side

Nothing stops you from automating the entire Change Management process as much as possible. ITIL Service Transition publication mentions that specifically. Change approval is not about getting people together and talking about it, but it is about them taking a conscious, informed decision.

The primary benefit of not having the meeting is that meetings are costly. They take people's time not only to attend, but also to prepare and summarize the meeting. You also might have some extra work to do in order to get the business representatives to join the CAB.

The Bad Side

However, be careful with getting rid of the meetings all together. Meetings in general are a very effective tool for reaching decisions. There are risks associated with having approvals done on the fly:

  • Person approving the change in the system will consider it approved, but it does not have to be the case. Most likely, you will need more than person for complete approval. That will create misunderstandings.
  • Changes can be rejected by certain people due to lack of information, which could otherwise be obtained on the meeting.
  • Change reviews might be continuously pushed back for later. Approvals might be given in on last notice, without adequate consideration.

My advice is not to abandon CAB meetings completely. They will serve a good purpose when discussing more risky changes. Consulting experts on the meeting might avoid you the need to back out the change later. Limit your CAB agenda only to changes with:
  • High risk
  • Cross-service impact
Have the rest of the changes utilize more streamlined approval channels. You will see the benefits.


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