Who should log the RFC

By ITIL® from Experience©

The person or group responsible to perform the change should log the Request For Change (RFC). They are in the best position to describe the work that will be done and to identify the Configuration Items (CI) on which it will be done. Others make a service request.

Let’s discuss two scenarios:

  1. An application developer needs a server rebooted for a configuration to be active.
  2. A user contacts the Service Desk or uses the Service Catalogue tool to request a software.

The application developer simply wants the server rebooted. The developer often does not know if other applications are hosted on the same server, if a procedure is required to gracefully shut it down or if the restart must be done in a specific sequence. Thus, it makes sense that the request from the developer be logged as a service request. The data center team can then evaluate the request and log the appropriate RFC describing the work that will be done and the time window required. Of course many will argue that a reboot is not a change however, this is the topic of another article (see Is a server reboot a change).

It is similar to a restaurant. The client orders a meal in the dining room. The waiter takes the order and brings it to the kitchen. There, upon review it is determined that 3 groups will be involved to prepare the client’s entrée. The client has a general sense of the food that will be prepared but does not know how it will be assembled which is left to the kitchen staff to figure out.

The same goes for a user's request for an application. When the request is for standard software, its access or deployment can be provided automatically by launching and completing a workflow sometimes without human intervention. However, when the request is for non-standard software, someone has to evaluate the request and ask for an exception to the standard. The user made a request and the fulfilling team needs to decide if an RFC is required to complete the work.

Now to ITIL®. ITIL® version 2 recommends that anyone can request a change however, only certain people should have access to the system to log the RFC1 ITIL® Service Transition v3, 2007, Section Create and record Request for change, p. 50. ITIL® v3 (2007), has a similar approach and states that changes can come in from any of the service lifecycle stages2 .

Continuing from there, ITIL® 2011 Edition formally defines that the RFC3 and the Change Record4 as separate entities. The RFC is a formal proposal for a change to be made. On the other hand, the Change Record contains the details of the change which should reference the configuration items that are affected by the change. That being said many ITSM tools on the market today simply have one record that covers both which they commonly refer to as an RFC.

The challenge in allowing anyone to log an RFC, including the Service Desk for user demands, is that a high-volume of RFCs need to be filtered or categorized properly to avoid flooding the Change Management process (see When should we log an RFC - Is it when IT gets the call). Thus, the simpler approach is that everyone makes a service requests and the team responsible to fulfill it logs an RFC if required.

Finally, when a debate occurs, the quick answer to “Who should log the RFC” is: a) whoever is responsible for the CI being changed or, b) whoever will do the change.

Published on: 2016-12-22
Last updated on: 2017-04-06

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