Change Management is the discipline for shifting or transitioning individuals, teams, systems or processes through the use of structured or standardized methods, policies and procedures.   In the context of this capability, it is the managed transition from current state to future state of any change to an IT environment which can include build, configuration, release, and device management along with the supporting documentation on the change request.

A deep understanding of the importance of designing and utilizing change management processes is a critical skill for the architect to develop, along with the importance of change control to the quality of an operational design.   An architect should be familiar with one or more standard approaches to change management.


Why does an architect need this skill?

Architectural change management is the process by which the architecture is moved into production and the target business value must be achieved.   This involved both implementing the architecture into the target environment as well as monitoring and managing changes to the architecture as it moves into production environments.  As change management is where the work of the architect is realized into actual business value it is arguably among the most critical skill of a successful architect.

Common tasks involved in this skill

The architect will be engaged in multiple tasks through the change management phase of architectural development and deployment.   Among them are:

  • Building change requests based on architecture
  • Communicating nature/priority/details of change
  • Working with areas to assess and address impact concerns
  • Guide change through change control processes
  • Manage the implications of any changes to the architecture based on input of the change control process
  • Manage political and procedural concerns to ensure timely and efficient implementation

What is the architect’s ownership in this skill?

The architect will have contributor or responsible roles in developing change requests, communications with change management boards, may act as change owner either directly or by proxy, and will receive and assess architectural impact of any modifications requested by the change board.

How is this skill used by the architect in daily activities?

The architect would be expected to be able to:

  • Build their architectures with an understanding of change management (architecting for operations / architecting for change) to minimize friction during deployment and maximize business value derived from the change.
  • Have an understanding how changes are managed in an organization. This would include understanding what change management processes are used in an organization and how this may impact their architecture
  • Communicating and guiding changes through the change management process. Ensuring that change requests are consistent to the principles and goals of the architecture.   Accurately communicating impacts, dependencies and priority of the changes resulting from the architecture.
  • Managing architectural changes resulting interaction with change boards. Specific change processes may impact multiple aspects of the architecture including scheduling of changes, sequencing of activities, impacts to other changes, risk management, and measurement of architectural targets.

Engaging with operational and change management teams to learn about challenges, opportunities and other elements which would influence current and future architectural decisions.

Proven Practices

Describe why an architect should be involved in this skill at a corporate level

The architect is both uniquely qualified and responsible for the vision and quality elements of their architecture.  They should have the most comprehensive view of the nature of the change, desired outcomes, measurements, and expected value of the planned change and be best able to articulate the nature and need of the change to the change board.   In the event of required changes due to change management process or competing changes, the architect would also be best positioned to assess the impact and appropriate modifications to the architecture.

Primary push back and/or challenges for architects

The architect is likely to face challenges on several fronts in most organizations when becoming involved in the change management process.    First, historically architecture has typically been isolated from other IT management disciplines in many organizations and operational teams may historically have received architectural changes which were misaligned to their processes and/or poorly communicated.   Secondly architectural and operational methodologies and frameworks have historically both claimed varying degrees of ownership of change with little alignment on process, language, roles, and responsibilities.  Change management teams will typically welcome architectural involvement but may demand alignment to existing change management processes in use.

How would a stakeholder engage an architect for assistance utilizing this skill?

The stakeholder would engage the architect during the design process to ensure that holistic perspective of the plan, build, operate cycles had been sufficiently reviewed and considered to ensure that the quality and value objectives of the architecture are achieved.  The professional architect should have awareness of the discipline of change management and the need to consider all aspects of the change from initiation through operations and decommission.


Change Implementation Planning and Management

Change implementation planning and management is the process for deploying and integrating IT capabilities into the business in a way that is sensitive to and fully compatible with business operations.   The architect will have awareness and experience working with change management to guide their architectures to successful deployment.

Iasa Certification Level Learning Objective
CITA- Foundation
  • Learner will be able to clearly outline the planning and management functions of change management
CITA – Associate
  • The Learner will be able to articulate the key considerations and implications to developing a change implementation plan
  • The Learner will be able to describe the change management function and the concerns it addresses
CITA – Specialist
  • The Learner will be able to demonstrate having created or contributed to change plans in practice
  • The Learner will be able to develop a change plan based on their project requirements
  • Learner will have worked directly on the implementation of 2-3 medium sized project architectures
CITA – Professional
  • The Learner will have experience with change management planning and management in complex environments
  • The Learner will be able to develop change plans and guide them through change control processes in complex organizations
  • The Learner will be able to modify architectures based on feedback working with change management teams in complex environments

Transformation Management

Integrated approach to leadership and management that enables controlled and sustainable approaches to planned or anticipated changes in the organization.   The Architect is aware of, and actively leverages transformation management to ensure value is realized from their projects.

Iasa Certification Level Learning Objective
CITA- Foundation
  • The Leaner is able to articulate the concerns of the change management function and its role in ongoing operational environments
CITA – Associate
  • The Learner is able to describe the requirements and value of change management to sustained IT operations
  • The Learner can describe the key roles and responsibilities in transformation management leveraging one or more industry frameworks
CITA – Specialist
  • Learner will have worked on multiple project interacting with transformation management teams
  • Learner will be able to leverage transformation management concepts to develop architectures better aligned to sustained operations
  • Learner is able to identify and articulate challenges to sustained operations external to but impacted by their project
CITA – Professional
  • Learner is to demonstrate examples of leveraging awareness of transformation management to improve their architecture
  • Learner shall be able to assess readiness factors for architectural change including common maturity models
  • Learner will be able to articulate the risk of each readiness factor and identify mitigating actions to manage the risk
  • Learner will be able to describe having implemented risk management actions into their architectures in complex environments.

Information Systems Coordination and Control

The coordination of information strategy matters where the adoption of a common change control benefits the entire organization.   A successful architect will be aware of information sources and flows between systems in their organizations, how those sources are leveraged, and how they benefit quality and risk management.

Iasa Certification Level Learning Objective
CITA- Foundation
  • Learner is able to describe the data elements and systems required for effective change management including change request documentation, IMDB databases, and service maps
CITA – Associate
  • Learner is able to describe the components of complete and accurate change requests
  • Learner can demonstrate comprehension of sources of operational data critical to the development of sound architectural plans including standards documents, communication plans, definition documents, and change requests
  • Learner can articulate the benefits of change management communications to various stakeholders in an organization
CITA – Specialist
  • Learner will have participated in projects and can articulate their role in developing and communicating documentation through the change control process
  • Learner will be able to articulate risks in failure to clearly coordinate information sources through change management
  • Learner will be able to articulate the value to their architecture of utilizing change management
CITA – Professional
  • Learner will have experience coordinating information flow between systems on 2-3 complex projects
  • Learner will be able to articulate having leveraged information control strategies to have improved the quality, reduced the risk, or increased the value of their architectures in practice


Blogs/Webcasts/News/Reference sources:

IASA IT Architecture Body of Knowledge (ITABoK)

Prosci change management learning center blog

Accenture change management blog

Microsoft MOF Change and Configuration Service Management Function

IBM and the IT Infrastructure Library

Implementing ITIL Change and Release Management, Larry Klosterboer ISBN-13: 978-0138150419

ITIL and ISO 20000 Support Portal


IASA Architect Core

ITIL Foundation Certification

Cobit 5





ITIL Foundation Certification

COBIT 5 Foundation

Prosci Change Management Certification Program

TOGAF 9.1 (Phase H)


elton_tuckerElton Tucker
Enterprise Architect – Microsoft

Elton Tucker is an Enterprise Architect for Microsoft Canada’s Enterprise Services group.   He engages in assisting Microsoft’s largest Canadian customers and partner’s in long term strategy and planning activities to drive increased benefits from their investments in Microsoft platforms and technologies.  Elton has served as a community lead in both of Microsoft Canada and Americas geographies for enterprise strategy and architecture.  Formerly Elton worked as both a consultant and technical account manager for Microsoft Canada.

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2004, Elton worked as a consultant and solution architect for several Microsoft partners, as well as acting as an independent contractor, where he designed, developed, and supported messaging, virtualization and data center solutions.

Elton has 20 years of experience in the IT Industry and he holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Calgary, as well as certifications from multiple industry organizations including IASA.