IT Change Management – Love it or fear it, are you an optimist or a pessimist?
We are in a constant state of change, scientists call it entropy, teenagers call it acne and IT professionals call it life.
When you’re an IT professional there’s no standing still, there’s always the next upgrade, the next software patch, the next PC, the next server. Some of this is driven by corporations wanting to make money selling their latest version of your client’s favourite software. Some is due to the never-ending battle against viruses and vulnerabilities. Some of it is down to end-of-life hardware that must be replaced with something shiny and new (always my favourite).
On the face of it these changes might appear quite different and at the detail level they can be but at the higher level or the process level they are all the same. Once you understand the change management process you can apply it to any change.
The adage of “If it isn’t broken don’t’ mess with” just doesn’t work in our technology packed workplaces. However, neither does the risk of the “I’ll just make a quick change” mentality.
So, when it comes to change it the world of IT, which are you… optimist or pessimist?
Optimist sounds like the right answer, very positive, glass half full, that must be right. Or is it? A true optimist will be in the “I’m sure it will be okay” camp or will anticipate success without the proper planning. “I don’t need to plan the change, I did it before and it worked fine”. An optimist may get away with this when carrying out similar repetitive changes, but this complacency and lack of practice planning changes can cause poor or wrong planning when changes to different systems or hardware are required.
Do you want to be the person who doesn’t have a change plan, test plan or backout plan when something goes wrong?
Pessimist, this doesn’t sound like something I want to be called. Maybe you should think again. Your typical pessimist will worry about every possible issue and will have all the plans to try to mitigate them. The change plan will be a work of art covering every eventuality, the test plan will involve half the employees in the business and the backout plan will almost be time travel. Maybe being a pessimist isn’t so bad after all. Hold that thought, there are one or two problems. Time, your pessimist will spend hours and hours creating change plans because they worry about every detail. This can be called analysis paralysis where over analysing the details takes too much time and possibly hinders completion. This leads me on to the pessimist’s worst attributes.
The pessimistic fear of what could go wrong causes low productivity and ultimately an avoidance of starting and completing changes.
What’s the answer then? Perhaps there’s a third option.
The Super Hybird IT Professional
You want to be an amalgamation of both the optimist and the pessimist. To have the awareness of the risks and challenges in a change but the ability to only focus on mitigating the ones with a high likelihood of occurring or having a high impact. To apply the appropriate level of the change management process given the situation. To use the plan and stick to it during the change. To be successful at IT change management.
And what shall we call this superior hybrid IT professional?… I know… a realist.
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