A Request For Change…To Change

I’ve spent the holiday period going over the Change Management process in the 2011 ITIL® Service Transition book. I know! It’s fun isn’t it?! Anyway, I remarked on Twitter that the definitions for the types of change requests ( is rather confusing. Here’s the excerpt in question (from page 65 of the digital edition):

There are three different types of service change:

  • Standard change A pre-authorised change that is low risk, relatively common, and follows a procedure or work instruction.
  • Emergency change A change that must be implemented as soon as possible, for example to resolve a major incident, or implement a security patch.
  • Normal change Any service change that is not a standard change or an emergency change.

It’s also worth noting that a standard change would not require a change request form to be filled out, as the term “pre-authorised” alludes to.

In the English language, the words standard and normal are often used interchangeably. Indeed, the Merriam-Webster thesaurus displays normal as a synonym for standard. Those who are unfamiliar with ITIL®, and there are many, are unlikely to understand the nuance. This could lead to confusion at the time of requesting change and skewed results in change management reporting. After hashing it out with a peer over Facebook I replied to Stuart Rance, a Service Transition author, that I prefer using “routine task” in place of “standard change”. It avoids confusion and still makes sense within the context of ITIL® and IT service management.

He suggested I log a change request with the Cabinet Office. So, I did.

I have logged a change request to change the label of standard change. I’ll keep you posted on the response.