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Management Acceptance

To implement effective change control in your organization, you may need to spend a lot of time and money. This will require the acceptance of your change control process by the senior management in your organization. The simplest way to gain this required acceptance is to demonstrate the effects of change control, and more importantly the effects of no change control, in terms of dollars and cents.

A long, long time ago, in an organization where I once worked, an engineer came across a vendor patch to a piece of software that was used across the enterprise. He downloaded the patch to his computer and found that, after a day or two of working with it, he had no problems to report with his system. Without telling anyone, he implemented an automated deployment of the patch to every computer in the company. This deployment took place at midnight on Sunday, so that each computer would run the patched software first thing Monday morning. By 9 a.m. on Monday it became evident that there was a significant problem. The application would crash on nearly half of the computers in the company. By the way, this particular application was the single most important mission-critical application in the entire organization, and without it running properly the company was losing approximately $100,000 per hour.

The plan to overcome the problem was to deploy replacement workstations to every desktop in the company, while each of the company's computers was re-imaged with the previous version of the software. Can you imagine the cost of leasing a replacement for every computer in your organization? Add to that the cost of deploying those leased systems. Add to that the cost of re-imaging every system in your company. Finally add to that $100,000 for each hour that this process took to complete.

This is the cost of having no change control in an organization. Bear in mind that this was a single incident, and that there could easily be many such incidents. Present this scenario to senior management and you'll see how quickly you can gain support for an effective enterprise change control process.

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