Managing change

"Change and release control aren't optional any more. You must have adequate control of IT changes in order to stay compliant with governmental and industry regulations," says Larry Klosterboer, author of Implementing ITIL Change and Release Management. Here he offers advice for making change and release management a source of cost savings for your business.

This is part of a regular series that highlights new books and their authors. Also in this series: J. Peter Bruzzese on Exchange Server 2007, Raffael Marty on security visualization, Joel Scambray on exposing the hacker's advantage, and Scott Hogg on IPv6 security. (You can find all the installments in this series here.)

Implementing ITIL Change and Release Management

"The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) represents thousands of years of real world experience," says Larry Klosterboer, author of Implementing ITIL Change and Release Management. "It isn't intended to be an academic exercise or a new management discipline. Instead the library represents the best thoughts of people who have been in the trenches and on the front lines of IT. While the library is sometimes criticized as being too generic, it offers sound guidance that with a little extra thought can turn into huge cost savings for almost any size organization."

Who should read this book? This book is for IT operations managers and anyone else who needs to gain control over the growing number and complexity of change in the IT environment.

What can readers expect to learn? This book will teach you proven, practical ways to manage change through the ITIL disciplines of change and release management. Every chapter provides insight into industry best practices that have been tested in dozens, if not hundreds, of IT environments. Specific coverage includes how to establish a change control board, how to create and manage a "forward schedule of change", tips for setting up and managing a definitive media library, and reports which measure the effectiveness of change and release controls.

Can you offer some words of advice for those just getting started? Release management is critical, but often misunderstood. There is a macro level of release management that looks at least six or eight quarters into the future, and a micro level of release management which concerns itself with the two or three days immediately surrounding a change window. Ignoring either of these views is the most certain path to failure.

Bio

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Name: Larry Klosterboer

Bio: A certified IT architect specializing in systems management, Larry Klosterboer works for IBM's Technology Integration Management Center in Austin, Texas, designing and implementing ITIL solutions for many of IBM's largest customers. He has 18 years of experience in service delivery, spanning systems from mainframe to midrange to desktop. He has been responsible for virtually every role in the trenches of IT operations.

5 must-dos

  • Engage the organization-- implementing change and release management cannot be done in a corner.
  • Establish strong policies so process documents never need to be interpreted on the fly.
  • Use tools to automate the process rather than defining a process which fits the tools.
  • Train each person for the role they will fill rather than creating generic process training.
  • Build reports that people will use.

5 don'ts

  • Don't forget to gather and agree on solid requirements before moving on to implementation.
  • Don't believe implementation of a tool is the hardest part.
  • Don't think you can implement release management without appropriate staffing.
  • Don't underestimate the importance of a definitive media library.
  • Don't settle for a general, high-level process that nobody really follows.

Parting words Change and release control aren't optional any more. You must have adequate control of IT changes in order to stay compliant with governmental and industry regulations, so change control is now a cost of doing business.

Larry Klosterboer is author of two ITIL books from IBM Press, including "Implementing ITIL Change and Release Management", ISBN 0-13-815041-9, Dec. 2008 and "Implementing ITIL Configuration Management", ISBN 0132425939, Dec. 2007. Copyright 2009 by International Business Machines Corporation. For more info, please visit www.ibmpressbooks.com Safari Books Online subscribers can access both books here: http://techbus.safaribooksonline.com/browse?publisher=50&publishername=IBM%20Press

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