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5 principles of the network change management process


Scope and risk analysis

The first step in the network change management process should be to evaluate the scope of a proposed change. Determine which services might be affected and who uses those services. The term blast radius is frequently used to describe the scope of effect a change can make, including the possible negative outcomes.

Teams will want to measure the scope in terms of the two following factors:

  1. the number of endpoints affected Once teams identify the scope, they should perform a risk assessment of the change. Is it something that’s been done numerous times in the past and is well understood? Is it fully automated, or is there a chance that human error will alter the change in an unexpected way? Is the involved technology well understood, or is there a chance that something unexpected will happen?

    The scope of a change figures into the risk. A change to infrastructure on which key business processes run will have a greater level of risk to the business than a change to a small branch site.

    Network teams can use a risk factor calculator that assigns values to key parameters. To create a risk calculator, average the values from the example parameters below, or search for a calculator on the web.

    • Will the effect be visible to customers? (No = 1, Yes = 10)
    • How many customers could be affected? (Range of 1 to 10)
    • How important are the services within the scope? (Range of 1 to 10)
    • Has this change been successfully implemented in the past? (Yes = 1, No = 10)
    • Is the change automated? (Range of 1 to 10, depending on the extent of automation)
    • Can the change be thoroughly tested prior to implementation? (Yes = 1, No = 10)
    • Is the vendor documentation clear and unambiguous? (Range of 1 to 10)
    • Is the peer review thorough, and did it surface any potential issues? (Range of 1 to 10)

    The greater the risk, the more careful teams will need to be during the remainder of the change management process.

    network change management process
    Follow these network change management steps to ensure successful changes.

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