Change Initiation Review for Service Providers

The nature of a hosting business necessitates adopting new technologies, adding services, and making changes to the hosting environment. In order to maintain a competitive edge, service providers must constantly consider adding new products and services to improve their customer experience. Additional changes may be requested due to legal requirements, a business mandate, or to bring systems into line with existing infrastructure strategies.

But how do you properly consider, plan, and implement change in a manner that minimally impacts your systems and your customers? What criteria do you use to determine when a change should be made? Service providers need to have a formalized process in place that helps them determine if, how, and when they initiate change in their infrastructure.

This section discusses the Change Initiation Review, which is a set of guidelines and templates that provide management with an initial checkpoint before approving a change to the production hosting environment. The Change Initiation Review considers whether to accept the change for deployment and whether to approve plans for operating and supporting the change. It also considers whether to approve the plans required for the readiness of the target production environment to operate and support the deployed change. The Change Initiation Review results in a go/no-go decision about whether to approve the request for change (RFC) and initiate spending on the development of the solution.

Through the Change Initiation Review process, the key attributes of a change-as specified in the approval process-are assessed against standards, policies, and quality metrics. In addition to these verifications, the reviewers validate conformance to other criteria. They also evaluate plans for their impact on the production environment, any supporting change package, and the completeness of preliminary rollout, training, support, and cost/benefit plans.

After changes are approved, they then proceed through the change management process into development. Depending on the size and nature of the change, the MSF or another development discipline might be involved in the development process.

The following table compares the key characteristics of the Change Initiation Review and the subsequent operations management review (OMR), the Release Readiness Review.

Table: Comparison of Reviews

Characteristic Change initiation review Release readiness review


Occurs as a change is submitted for approval and authorization to enter the Developing Phase, before investment begins.

Occurs after the change has been built, piloted, and tested, and just before it is introduced into the production environment.


To ensure that potential changes achieve approval for further investment and development only if they align with user requirements and established IT standards and policies (or approved exceptions).

To ensure that operations deploys a change only when the change fully meets user and IT requirements for operability and supportability in the production environment.


Documentation that affirms or denies the authorization of the change to begin the Developing Phase.

Documentation that supports the decision to deploy the change or to postpone or cancel the change.


Representatives of users, customers, and various operations teams representing each of the Microsoft Operatons Framework (MOF) Team Model role clusters.

Representatives of users, customers, and various operations teams representing each of the MOF Team Model role clusters.

For more information about the change management process and the methods of approval, see the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF).