One of the most important steps in the change control process is the step of review and approval. This is the part of the process where people who have subject matter expertise as well as a technical understanding of the change being implemented and how it can impact other areas of your business decide whether or not the changes should be built out and tested. This is the stage where accountability reigns supreme and the ability to move forward with any change can either be encouraged or stopped in its tracks. As such, it is the stage where many changes die while others survive and thrive.
In order to go through the approval process in the best possible way, the appropriate stakeholders must be selected to be a part of the review and approval. This can take on many forms based on the size and structure of your organization, as well as the size and scope of each actual change itself. You may be going through a change that is minor and has little impact on your organization’s operational capacity, in which case you may simply need a project manager. For these smaller changes, over complicating the issue with too many authoritative voices can create a cog in the wheel that prevents you from taking the necessary steps in moving a change forward. If the change is a bigger or more complex one, then you may want to consider other options.
When you are dealing with a change that needs more attention and more checks or balances, then leaving the review and approval process up to one singular person may not be the best plan. Creating a panel or a steering committee to help guide the process may be the best bet at a successful and properly thought out decision. Often times, changes need careful consideration from a wide range of angles and in those cases, it is important to have many different voices in the mix. Having multiple voices who are attacking the issue from different angles is called a change control board. This board is set up with its primary goal being to review the change and determine whether or not approval is warranted, rather than simply pushing the changes through and finding a way to make them work. The design and implementation of a change are on the plates of other stakeholders, the change control board is simply responsible for taking the data that has been gathered at other stages in the change control process and weighing that data against their own subject matter expertise and organizational or technical knowledge before determining if the cost-benefit falls in their favor and the change is actually worth implementing.
Utilizing a change control board can relieve your organization and team of many headaches down the road. Do not rely on this board for every minor detail of your business, but do not be shy in using this tool when the situation warrants it. It could truly make or break how your team produces things or offers their services down the road and could change the trajectory of your entire organization!