Change Management and How To Prevent IT Outages

The value of Change Management comes from the controls and processes that are put in place to prevent unintended outages. It is anticipated that more than 70% of all Incidents (i.e. outages) within an IT organization are the direct result of a change being made; as was evidenced by the most recent Amazon ELB Services outage that lasted almost 24 hours and was attributed to a change made by a developer (http://aws.amazon.com/message/680587/ ).

By formalizing a Change Management process, organizations can reduce the impact of or eliminate these outages altogether. This is accomplished through both proactive activities (such as robust impact analysis, improved planning and coordination, management of access controls, clearly defined separation of duties, formal change approvals, and detailed implementation planning) and reactively (through activities such as planning how to respond to outages, setting and managing to rigorous timelines for the change, improved communications among change implementers, and developing well documented back out plans).
 
If the Amazon developers and infrastructure technicians had more robust and adhered to Change Management processes, Amazon could have prevented the outage entirely or minimally reduced the time to resolution, the impact on customers, and the negative publicity in the press.  

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