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Change Freeze Types?

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:27 pm
by Lokaj
Hi All,

I was recently tasked with looking into change freezes, I know many of them lock the entire system down, but I wanted to see if anyone has had any experience with pinpoint Change Freeze (by application, environment, etc)

What are the positive and negative aspects of it?

Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:51 pm
by Diarmid
A change freeze is more of a psychological prop than anything else. It is a way of emphasising that there is high risk and/or cost in allowing changes for some period for some reason.

It may be because of a holiday period when company policy allows a thinning of staff for a few days, leaving, say, some support areas vulnerable. It may be because there is critical activity going on in some business area and this dare not be interrupted.

In reality, the "freeze" makes it much harder to justify any change at that time. Harder, but not impossible. A situation can arise requiring a change for a more important reason than the "freeze", even if the risks are greater than normal.

So long as the reason for the "freeze" is understood clearly, then it seems logical to confine it to the areas affected (even indirectly, perhaps) by that reason.

In theory there is never a need for a freeze. In theory the risk assessment of any proposed change should recognize and take into account these temporary additional risks. So, advertizing a "freeze" may save a little resource by discouraging change requests, but not much because these changes have to be put through the mill some time and it is mostly the scheduling that will be affected.

An interesting area is so-called "standard changes". If these have been used as a way round the change protocols and have not been put under their own defined processes, then the announcement of a "change freeze" may be the only effective way to prevent them going ahead willy-nilly. This could even be a reason for announcing a global "change freeze" just to be sure.

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:07 pm
by Lokaj
So if its a psychological prevention, then if the application, environment, or enterprise it makes no real difference in the eyes of ITIL as long as the process itself is following the necessary procedures. So moving this forward as a company to allow more narrow focus when specific areas or products are having difficulties.

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:35 pm
by Diarmid
ITIL has no eyes. It is your own review and audit activities that have eyes. They can determine if what you have done is appropriate and effective.

I'm not at all sure that the ITIL books even mention "change freeze", but I am sure that they say nothing prescriptive about it. It is really not an ITIL issue.