As mentioned by Phil Factor during the previous post’s comments regarding an example disaster recovery template/plan, and to keep in line with providing DBAs with an easier way to process through our typical stack of tasks when supporting application upgrades or development, here is a COBIT-inspired Change Management / Deployment / Risk Management Template. Admittedly, it is quite long, thus I’ve made a quick and dirty version here, because one colleague at the time joked to me that it resembled a NASA level type of documentation, but for publically regulated environments the former template is completely necessary for compliance.
These types of documents have made it way, way easier to handle all the checklists required to place code into production. Here’s an exemplar analogy: place yourself in the seat of a Pilot for a huge airliner, loaded with people - just think of this as your checklist before taking off the plane. Knowing that you've documented all steps indicates clearly (i.e. your behind is covered) that you have taken every step in due diligence to avoid possible issues, and that all risks have been taken into consideration. Because when things go wrong, and you’ve just crashed a production server. it is much easier to simply run for the documented rollback; meaning you’ve got an easy path out of trouble, with the minimal affect on critical systems. On the whole, the CM/RM document is hopefully self-explanatory and optimised with the use of checkboxes to allow for quick repetitive bureaucratic work. What's more, I have left it filled with a dummy case for ease of comprehension.
Honestly, I can see that some might not be so keen to use such long templates, but after a while they become automatic and allow you to be more productive. During a seven month stint on contract, I was able to produce up to 35 change management docs thanks to a very efficient IT team and having independent dedicated Change and Risk Managers (which is ideal, because you want Fresh Eyes to approve the work, not your buddy next to you wanting to get X update/change pushed through quick). That was a positive situation for the client, because the tendency to work too much takes over, and next thing you know your partner is calling you a ‘room-mate’ instead of a Husband: no wonder that specific organisation is known to work their resources ‘off the clock.‘
Again, looking forward to your comments, and possible ways to improve these templates.