Have Change Control become the new Health & Safety?

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All organisations need Change Control to make sure that changes are applied correctly and so on. However, have Change Control departments become the new “Health & Safety” and gone beyond being useful to being a disruptive and obstructive unit interested only in getting in the way rather than getting work done?

I’m all in favour of change control – it serves a purpose and helps prevent invalid changes being applied to production (or test) systems without them having been checked, tested and applied correctly with full cooperation from the system’s users.

However, I’m seeing a trend develop whereby the cascade or new rules and regulations, redesigned forms, consultation matrices and all the attendant palaver have simply become a joke. Change Control are rapidly hurtling down the road to becoming the new Health & Safety with all the ludicrous diktats that they produce.

These people are left in control of whether a change is applied or not and as to the quality of the code being applied, they care not a jot. However, get a date wrong on a form (filled in in multiple copies of course!) and all hell breaks loose with arrogant emails winging their way around everyone in the entire universe to let them know that you failed to fill in a date correctly.

Finished the task? All went ok? Now fill in a Post Implementation review form or else. Even when there are no actual changes taking place – which they will know from reading the myriad of forms we have sent them prior to getting approval for the ‘change’ – they insist on knowing what was changed and how well it went!

If a change is raised as an emergency, I need to apply it now and right this minute. I do not need or want some numpty who doesn’t know what the change is actually doing or for telling me that it’s not really an emergency because I put a date on to start the work in 5 days time – which is what I have to do in order to get a change approved.

Then, equally, when we agree that perhaps maybe it might actually be an emergency, they then spend the next three days trying to get me to update the work plan to insert the correct end dates and times for the various parts of the change.

My advice is this, change happens, it needs to be controlled, and this is a good thing. However, Change Control departments need to butt out and start doing their job and stop telling the rest of us how to do ours – after all, we don’t go to their office and tell them how to sweep up do we! 😉

I have worked with lots of Change Control people who knew what they were doing, but in recent times they have become few and far between.

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