Change advisory board (CAB) meetings are essential as they ensure business growth and increase customer satisfaction. However, many companies underestimate them and consequently lose the value they could bring to the whole organization.

This article aims to answer such questions as, “What is a CAB meeting?”, “How to run one effectively?”, “What to include in the agenda?”, and “What are CAB meetings best practices?”

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What is a CAB meeting?

A change advisory board (CAB) is a group of people that participate in changing the management process, including assessment, prioritization, authorization, and scheduling of change requests.

A change request is a proposal to alter certain aspects of the production environment. It’s usually brought up by a client or a team member.

Therefore, the purpose of a CAB meeting is to hear proposals, make decisions, assign responsibilities, and set deadlines for the decided activities. All CAB attendees should make sure the proposed changes deliver value.

Who are the CAB members?

The CAB normally includes:

  1. Change manager
  2. User managers
  3. Technical experts
  4. Third parties, like customers
  5. Operations managers
  6. Services desk analysts

What do the CAB members do?

The major responsibilities of a change advisory board are:

  1. To review the proposed changes before the meeting
  2. To attend CAB meetings or send a representative
  3. To assess resources, risks, and consequences of requests
  4. To review and control the approval process
  5. To communicate with other business leaders about the change processes
  6. To leverage change management software
  7. To assess failed changes, define their reasons, and consider possible solutions

Types of CAB meetings

There are three main types of CAB meetings.

1. Pre-approval CAB meetings

During pre-approval meetings, CAB members:

  • Discuss if the change will bring value to the customers
  • Consider in what ways the change will affect the organization
  • Identify if the organization has enough capabilities for the successful change
  • Evaluate the cost of the change and decide if it’s worth the investment

2. Post-approval CAB meetings

Post-approval meetings occur when the change management process moves to production. There are two main reasons for this type of meeting:

  • To monitor the change process and see if it requires more management
  • To review the results of changes, assess the risk level, and decide whether the change should continue through to pre-approval 

3. Emergency CAB meetings

Emergency change advisory board (ECAB) meetings take place when an organization is under immediate threat and business leaders announce an operational emergency.

The major reasons for emergency meetings include:

  • Security breaches
  • System failures
  • Data hacks 

When any of these happens, engineers, cyber security specialists, change managers, and change owners meet to discuss emergency changes and risk management.

Benefits of CAB meetings

Here’s how every organization can benefit from CAB meetings.

1. Proper decision-making

As a CAB consists of representatives of different teams, it can explore the change request from different perspectives and come up with the best decision. For example, a decision made just by IT specialists may fail to recognize the concerns of accounting.

2. Risk reduction

An organization needs an advisory board because it can balance the need for change with the need to minimize risks. That’s why a CAB has become an essential element of a defined change management process — it helps a company to grow and control inherent risks. 

3. Quick response to security threats 

Thanks to ECAB meetings, IT experts can react to cyber threats and eliminate their consequences quickly and efficiently. Additionally, such meetings help to prevent security problems. 

How to run a CAB meeting

These five steps can help you set up a CAB meeting to add value to your organization.

1. Create a meeting agenda

Choose a board meeting agenda template and fill it in with discussion topics, allocate time to each, and propose potential decisions and their outcomes. It will help to stay on track, control the timing, and avoid irrelevant conversations.   

2. Share a list of proposed changes with CAB members

Make sure CAB participants have enough time to review potential changes and ask questions before the meeting. If CAB members send requests too close to the meeting date, consider implementing lead times for the CAB-routed changes. 

3. Don’t avoid uncomfortable questions

To make the CAB meeting process effective and to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, discuss and answer the following questions:

  • Do we have enough expertise to conduct the change?
  • What are the consequences if something goes wrong?
  • What is our backup plan?
  • What do we do if this change doesn’t fix the problem?

4. Take meeting minutes 

Use one of the board meeting minutes templates to outline what happened during the change advisory board meeting. This information can be later shared with stakeholders that couldn’t attend the meeting. The records can also be referred to later to recall why the board made specific decisions. 

5. Send a follow-up email

To summarize everything, keep every team member informed, make sure everyone is on the same page, and send a follow-up email after each meeting. It should include minutes, key decisions, action items, an implementation schedule, deadlines, and relevant documentation. 

To improve collaboration, enhance decision-making, and make the change advisory board meeting process even more efficient, board portals are recommended for organizations. These are centralized and highly secure platforms where board members can conduct virtual board meetings, store and share board materials, assign tasks, and set deadlines. 

You can have a look at the board portal software comparison tables to learn more about the providers and the tools they offer. 

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What to include in a CAB meeting agenda

Here’s what an agenda for your CAB meetings should contain.

1. New requests for change

A request for change (RFC) is a formal proposal that describes the details of a change. It’s requested by stakeholders and clarifies what impact the change will have on the product or organization.

Send the list of RFCs to CAB attendees for review at least a week before the meeting so that they can review them, ask questions, and prepare.

2. The change process

When a change request is approved, the change management process begins. It usually involves:

  • Assigning roles and tasks
  • Building a strategy
  • Removing blockers
  • Monitoring and accelerating the change process
  • Measuring and optimizing the change activities

3. The change schedule

An effective change schedule keeps the whole team on track. It can include:

  • Tasks and whom they’re assigned to 
  • Deadlines
  • The process phases
  • Maintenance windows
  • Blackout dates
A tip: To speed up the change management process and make it easier, use templates. Our team has made them available free of charge for you:
Board meeting agenda template
Board meeting minutes template
Board resolution template

Mistakes to avoid during CAB meetings

For an efficient CAB meeting, try to avoid the following mistakes:

1. Having no agenda. Not preparing for a meeting leads to several negative outcomes:

  • People attending the meeting won’t be prepared. 
  • Participants won’t know the meeting’s purpose.
  • The team may have irrelevant discussions.
  • Key decisions might not be made.
  • No one will know what to do after the meeting.

2. Taking unclear change requests into work. This mistake can also result in a number of negative consequences:

  • Unclear understanding of the change goals
  • Difficulties with assigning roles
  • Not proper change implementation

3. Not learning from previous changes. You can use a Continual Service Improvement (CSI) model to evaluate changes and their impact on the organization from the business perspective. More specifically, CSI allows to:

  • Avoid mistakes made in the past
  • Improve the process for future changes
  • Discover efficient and cost-effective ways to improve processes and services
  • Develop the team’s efficiency and effectiveness

Board portal as a tool for successful CAB meetings

To make the change management process easier, faster, and more efficient, change advisory boards should use board portals. These are the platforms where board members can store board materials, collaborate, and communicate.

Here are a board portal’s main advantages:

  1. Centralized storage. Store board materials, change requests, agendas, and meeting minutes in one secure space.
  2. Secure file sharing. Share the agenda or other relevant documents in advance so that all team members can prepare for the meeting.
  3. Mobile user interface. Collaborate with the team, share documents, and stay up-to-date on the change process by accessing a portal from your mobile phone.
  4. Improved collaboration. Conduct virtual CAB meetings, vote online, sign documents electronically, and see how quickly the change process is progressing.
  5. User-friendliness. Start using a board portal right away, regardless of the level of your technical skills.
  6. Eco-friendliness. Conduct paperless board meetings to reduce your environmental footprint.
  7. Customer support. Contact a support specialist 24/7 with requests or questions.
If you want to take your CAB management to a new level and implement changes faster, try the board portal by iDeals. It is our experts’ TOP choice.

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FAQ

What is a change advisory board, and who are its members?

A change advisory board (CAB) is a group of people that participate in the change management process, which includes assessment, prioritization, authorization, and scheduling of change requests. It usually includes a change manager, technical experts, customer representatives, operations managers, and services desk analysts.

What are the types of cab meetings?

The main types are pre-approval, post-approval, and emergency CAB meetings.

What should be included in the CAB meeting agenda?

The agenda for your CAB meetings should include the discussion of the new change requests, the change management process, and its schedule. 

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