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Change Manager – 4 Key Attributes for this Unique Role

Change Manager – 4 Key Attributes for this Unique Role February 19, 2021
Change Enablement Practice - Change Manager

by Greg Smith

In my 20+ years in ITSM, I have backed-up, served-as, hired, managed, coached and worked with several Change Managers over several organizations.  I’ve often joked that regardless of the organization or location, all Change Managers must be related (or “separated at birth”) because they are often so much alike.  The reality is, a successful Change Manager requires a set of skills and traits unique from peers such as Incident and Problem Managers.  If you are looking to hire a Change Manager, here are four attributes a candidate should demonstrate:


The purpose of the Change Enablement Practice as defined by ITIL 4 is “to maximize the number of successful service and product changes by ensuring that risks have been properly assessed.”  A successful Change Manager must maintain dedication to this purpose when balancing the desire and need to quickly implement service and product changes against the need to properly and sufficiently assess the risks of implementing said changes. A Change Manager’s focus should be on how to best identify risky changes, the degree of risk of those changes and how to mitigate that risk while facilitating the efficient implementation of those changes with minimal risk (especially those that have are routine and have a history of successful implementations with no negative impact).


A Change Manager needs to persuade those in IT of the purpose and benefits of following the process.  Organizations often look to implement Change Enablement after recognizing that the impacts of changes are the highest cause of incidents and customer impact.  Convincing those who have previously implemented changes by their own rules to follow a defined set of rules and procedures is one of the most challenging aspects of introducing Change Enablement and a continual activity of a Change Manager.  The ability to recognize the impact implementing this Practice and coaching on the understanding of its benefits and purpose is a necessary trait.


An unexpected change is a failed change.  No matter how beneficial implementing a certain change may be, if it’s not properly communicated, you’re not likely to receive many thanks for the effort.  A Change Manager needs to ensure changes are communicated to customers in proportion to their impact on them. A Change Manager also needs to ensure communication is suitable for successful coordination within IT and other groups (e.g., Finance or HR) as needed to prevent the introduction of risk when implementing of changes.  Communication doesn’t stop when a change is implemented.  It is also key for the Change Manager to communicate successes and lessons learned as a result from implementation.


Successful Change Managers need to connect with all groups in IT and partner groups to ensure awareness of upcoming activities including projects which may result in and/or impact changes.  Being connected and embedded, a Change Manager also has more opportunities to communicate on the successes, lessons learned, benefits, and improvements of the Change Enablement practice.  A connected Change Manager is often a champion for ITSM in general making connectedness a key attribute for a successful Change Manager and Change Enablement program.

Do you have the right culture for a successful Change Enablement practice?  Check out “The importance of Safety Culture in the success of IT

Want to learn more about Change Enablement and ITIL 4, Check out our Education and Certification Services.