Top Three Critical Success Factors for Setting up a Change Advisory Board


One of the most important tasks in a change management process implementation is to setup the Change Advisory Board (CAB) “right” from the start. This will give change management the credibility and authority to successfully manage the process. Let’s look at the top three things that must be done “right” for the CAB to be successful.


1. CAB Composition

The Change Advisory Board should consist of those people who have a clear understanding of business needs, technology trends, regulatory requirements and the organizational culture and be able to quickly assess, prioritize and authorize a request for change.

The CAB may include people from various stakeholder groups such as customers, users, developers, testers, project managers, and technical specialists.


2. Documented Guideline

Clearly documented and approved Change Advisory Board guidelines will ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used by the CAB for overseeing the change management process. Typical CAB guidelines will contain the following sections:

  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • Overview
  • Role and responsibilities
  • CAB Composition
  • Meetings Agenda
  • Meeting Frequency
  • Emergency Change Advisory Board guidelines
  • Change classification guidelines (urgency, impact, priority)
  • Change types (major, minor and emergency)
  • Critical success factors


3. Standard Agenda

A standard CAB agenda will assist the CAB to formally review any authorized changes in terms of impact, urgency, benefits and risk. A standard CAB agenda should include the following: 

  • The status of previously deployed changes (success/failure)
  • A list of the “Requests for Change” to be assessed
  • Status of testing (verification and validation)
  • Status of release planning activities such as training, documentation readiness and rollback procedures
  • Assessment of impact, urgency and priority
  • Assessment of risks and business benefits
  • Schedule of changes to minimize risk
  • Review of all unauthorized and emergency changes
  • Suggestions for improvement of the change management process
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