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Change Management Webinar – The Listeners Speak

By | January 6, 2016 in ITIL

Change management poll

In my recent webinar for SysAid, Never Underestimate the Importance of Change Management, I had the chance to ask three polling questions to those listening. Encouragingly, we got around 160 answers to each question – easily enough to justify us talking about the result.

First though, a gentle warning. This wasn’t a professional survey with a balanced sample of people. It is what those who attended the webinar thought. So, we can assume this is the situation for interested people in the ITSM profession who are motivated enough to subscribe to a change management webinar.

My webinar (which by the way you can still listen to if you haven’t already) set out to make a few simple points:

  • Don’t have IT change management as something separate from an organization’s overall change management. Since IT is part of every aspect of the organization, it should be involved in changes from the beginning.
  • Focus your change management efforts on the changes where you need to make a decision, accepting high-level instructions that you cannot alter, and delegating as much authority as you can via standard changes.
  • Look at how a changed service, or a new one, performs – not just immediately after go-live but also a while later, seeing actual behaviour, adoption, and usefulness of the service.

Polling Questions

So, what I wanted to find out from the listeners was how some folks were doing with those ideas. Therefore, I asked the following poll questions.

1. “When is your CIO/IT team asked for input on business changes?”

This question relates to my first bullet above, and here were the results:

  • Only 25% felt IT in their organization provided input to business change, and are able to improve and suggest aspects.
  • Nearly 33% never get asked at all – just hearing about the change when it is implemented!
  • 45% get a chance to comment after a decision to proceed is made, so, 70% do get a voice at some point before the actual work starts. I was actually pleasantly surprised at that level of involvement of IT in the business changes, I had feared it would be lower. But in an age where every change in an organization has IT involvement, with IT well placed to offer added value, then it is a shame how many organizations don’t actively seek that input.

2.“Do you find yourself listening to – or even contributing to – a change discussion when the real decision has already been made?”

This second question relates to my second bullet about accepting what is inevitable – such as senior management instruction, compliance to legal and industry requirements etc.

What we discovered is that a massive 88% answered either ‘yes’ or ‘sometimes’. That’s over 140 skilled IT professionals wasting their expensive time talking about the merits of something that they have to accept anyway. How many person-years is that across our industry when you scale it up? Most likely, the reasoning behind it is more based on psychology and office politics than core ITSM practices – but we should be aware of the consequences. Surely it’s better to spend our time and effort in discussing those changes where we do need to make an informed decision!

3. “Do you look at what a change actually did to the working environment (or just if it does what you thought it would)?”

Obviously, this question relates to my last bullet point and the last section of the webinar dealing with judging whether a change is actually beneficial after it has been in place for a while; seeing how it is used in the live situation.

The answer to this one surprised and genuinely delighted me.

  • Nearly 40% said they always do
  • Over 80% do so sometimes or always.

That sounds like a ringing endorsement for some level of holistic vision of the change and all the consequences of that change after it has been installed.

So What Does This All Mean?

Overall, I felt this was both interesting and encouraging feedback. I think this maybe offers an insight into a broad truth around change management – that we aren’t getting asked enough beforehand but are getting better at seeing the wider implications of our efforts after the change is implemented. I hope that this is true and the trend towards holistic change across an organization is one we see grow. The benefits are there for all of us if practiced properly.

Does your organization match these answers? Or do you feel ahead of the game? Why not let us know what your answers are to the three questions, and help build an understanding of holistic change management?

Image credit

Ivor Macfarlane

About Ivor Macfarlane

In 23 years working for the UK government, Ivor moved from forestry to ITSM via prisons, warehousing, and training. In 1999 he became an ITSM consultant and trainer. His authoring credits include ITIL versions 1, 2, and 3, as well as ISO/IEC20000, itSMF, and ITSM Library publications; and has been an ITIL examiner since 1991. An active contributor to social media and blogs (more can be seen at, Ivor is well known at ITSM events and has presented around the world (40 countries so far and on every continent except Antarctica).

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