Managing Changes in Mars IT Infrastructure

    There is nothing more permanent in our life than change. In Mars IS, the tool for registering and managing all changes in the IT infrastructure is the Change and Release Management program on the ServiceNow platform. In 2017, about 12,000 useful changes were successfully completed with minimal interruptions in the provision of IT services to the business.

    But it was not always so. Until October 2015 the situation with changejami more like chaos. Then ITSM appeared, which brought order with all unauthorized changeings. A structure has emerged that made it possible to measure the immeasurable.

    The main goal of change management is to minimize problems arising from unsuccessful changes and leading to disruptions in the provision of services. We monitor the IT planning of changes, their coordination and confirmation, thorough testing of all steps before the changes affect the users.

    The Change Manager (Change Manager) monitors the implementation of the life cycle management process for all IT changes. Mars IS has four such specialists. In a month they process more than a thousand changes. The manager controls the entire implementation process, and in case of a negative impact, the change is rolled back according to a plan prepared by its initiator.

    Mars IS uses three types of changes:
    - standardlow risk and routine operations;
    - emergency to prevent or resolve critical incidents;
    - normal , which are planned in advance.

    Every week we have a Global Change Council (Global CAB), where important and high-risk changes are discussed, requiring system outages and coordination with the business.

    The board approves standard change templates, reviews changes that caused normal and critical incidents, failed changes, the results of changes in working groups (Post Change Review), and also reviews the next two weeks to identify potential conflicts and outline an action plan for them. resolution.

    The company uses a specific set of indicators (KPIs), which allows to measure the success of the change management process for each region and team, and in general in Mars IS. We measure the success of the changefulness (Successful Change Rate), the number of “abandoned” changes that no one is watching (Abandoned Change Backlog), the quality of the Change Initial Ticket Quality and the number of procedures that caused incidents and critical incidents ( Changes Causing Incidents / Major Incidents).

    How it works The

    change manager checks for changes in terms of the availability and clarity of all the information presented on them: the reason responsible for planning, testing and execution, risks and deliverables, the plan for conducting, the resources involved, etc.

    If the necessary information is not available, the manager, justifying, rejects the change, which then comes again with the appropriate additions. The more such deviations, the lower the metric on the quality of changes.

    Our task is to maintain the quality at a high level, so we regularly conduct trainings on change management. This year 12 trainings were held, in which 200 people took part. We also have an e-learning library. This year, we have prepared 25 video lessons on change management procedures in the form of a dialogue between the controlling manager and the change owner. A change audit and training is conducted monthly for the top 10 change owners with inadequate quality.

    All changes must be registered in the ServiceNow system and approved in time. Otherwise they become unauthorized and may lead to incidents. Unauthorized changes are prohibited, so they are tracked, documented and verbosely understood in working groups (Post Change Review).

    We carry out a Post Change Review and with unsuccessful changes, which may result in fuzzy planning, lack of necessary arrangements, lack of testing, or the human factor. The reason for the analysis of the working group can be and successfully implemented change, if it was the cause of the incident. We pay special attention to urgent unplanned changes. For example, if you need to urgently eliminate the failure caused by a critical incident.

    Some statistics

    We are constantly improving and improving our change management processes. Despite the fact that Change Management has been working on the ServiceNow platform for just over two years, we have much to be proud of. For example, at the end of last year, during the New Year's Change Stability Period, when only urgent changes were allowed, we spent more than 1500, and none of them caused incidents.

    In 2017, about 12 thousand changes took place, 200 Post Change Reviews were conducted. Since October 2017, we have been supporting changes to Royal Canin, which is an additional about 300 changes per month.

    Results and plans

    One of the obvious advantages of the Change management process is a reduction in losses, an increase in the stability of the organization’s work and, most importantly, a reduction in the number of outage. We plan to work on improving the Configuration Management Data Base database, working more closely with Incident Management and Problem Management, as well as new change management optimization projects.

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