What is Change Management and Why is it Important?

In the past two weeks I have witnessed a couple of contrasting situations involving configuration changes in IT.  In one environment the client has a strict adherence to the practice of using Change Management in all their IT operations.  In the other operation the client has been reluctant to embrace Change Management.  When it came time for one of those inevitable problems that occasionally hit the Information Infrastructure, the outcomes for the two firms was very different.

What is change management?

Here is the definition from Wikipedia based upon the industry standard Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

Change management is an IT service management discipline. The objective of change management in this context is to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt handling of all changes to control IT infrastructure, in order to minimize the number and impact of any related incidents upon service. Changes in the IT infrastructure may arise reactively in response to problems or externally imposed requirements, e.g. legislative changes, or proactively from seeking improved efficiency and effectiveness or to enable or reflect business initiatives, or from programs, projects or service improvement initiatives. Change Management can ensure standardized methods, processes and procedures which are used for all changes, facilitate efficient and prompt handling of all changes, and maintain the proper balance between the need for change and the potential detrimental impact of changes.

A change is an event that is....