Change Advisory Board (CAB): Overview On Core Object Of ITIL

The change management process is the most important process in the daily routine business of an organization. We said this because many circumstances and desired returns are present before an organization implements a change. That change could be disastrous if it is implemented with poor planning. That’s why we said the change management process is important in an organization’s daily routine business.

Due to the importance of the change management process, organizations used to run it with proper plans, methodologies, tools, and techniques. ITIL is one of these. It has a wider range than that, but it also addresses the change management process in detail. It provides several roles and processes in this regard. Change advisory board (CAB) is also one of these roles that ITIL provides for change management. In this article, we have briefly discussed the concept of CAB in ITIL. We discussed this concept because there are many conceptions and misconceptions. To eliminate these misconceptions, you need to know what CAB is.

What Is Change Advisory Board (CAB)?

ITIL provides the role of the CAB for reviewing the change requests. According to Greg Sanker, “The CAB is comprised of technical staff and key decision makers. There are no set rules for who’s on the CAB. The Change Manager ensures the right people with the right information, knowledge, and background are there to effectively review each change.” The ITIL v3 Service Transition publication defined the CAB as; “A group of people that support the assessment, prioritization, authorization, and scheduling of changes.“

From these definitions, we came to know the change manager generally manages that CAB, and there are no set rules for who should be a member of CAB. But it does not make any sense if you appointed an un-experience team to review the change requests. It would be ridiculous and could result as disastrous for your organization. So, make sure that all members of your change advisory board are well-experienced. Moreover, you can set up how should your CAB should work. It means your CAB could work on a simple email distribution list as well as a chairmen-led proper speak board.

Types Of CAB

Organizations normally use a mix of all aspects, whereas some large or mid-sized organizations use the two-tier CAB. Following are these two types of CAB;

Technical CAB

It is a platform where technical aspects of the change requests are measured. In this board, experts of that certain field are the members and discuss the technical matters of specific change requests within that field.

Business CAB

After passing the change request from the technical CAB, it is forwarded to the business CAB. Service and business owners are members of the business change advisory board. In this board, business-related matters like risks, costs, and the importance of the requested change.

We hope that you have understood the concept of these types. Still, it is important to explain here that it is not about whether we should use technical or business CAB, but it’s about using them both together to get better results; as we said before, it is a two-tier CAB.

Typical Members Of CAB

Now the question is, if it still needs to be determined who should be the member of the change advisory board, then how could we formulate it? To answer this question, we have given the following some CAB roles commonly chosen to formulate it.

  • Senior Network Engineer
  • All Operations Managers
  • Senior Application Development engineer
  • Server/Infrastructure engineer
  • Service Desk
  • Senior Security Engineer
  • Business Relationship Manager
  • Information Security Officer
  • Business users
  • Service Owners

You don’t need only to use these roles. It is a common methodology that you should include all stakeholders from all the operational aspects of your organization. The change manager is responsible for organizing and running the change advisory board’s meetings and functions.

CAB Agenda

Now the question is, what is the agenda of CAB? The answer is CAB generally covers the assessment, prioritization, authorization, and scheduling of changes. For further explanation, we have discussed these aspects following;

Review of upcoming changes

The change advisory board reviews the architecture, plan, priority, and possible risks and impacts of upcoming changes.

Review of past changes

CAB also measures the previously implemented changes’ success, failure, advantages, and disadvantages.

Review of change process

CAB also reviews the dependencies, business needs, compliance needs, and the running change process improvements.

What Authority Does CAB Have?

The change advisory board absolutely reviews the change requests, recommends the changes in the implementation plan, and it also recommends whether the change should be implemented or not. But, CAB is not the actual decision maker. Now, the question is; if the CAB is not a decision-maker, then what is the value of the CAB’s recommendation? And who is the decision maker if the CAB is not the decision maker?

The answer to these questions is actual decision maker is the change approver. In many organizations change approver’s role is merged with the change manager’s role. And he normally approves or disapproves the requests according to the recommendations of CAB, except in some special cases. In this sense, the CAB’s recommendation is also valuable for organizations.

Some Misconceptions About CAB

As mentioned before, this article has been written to eliminate several misconceptions about CAB. So, it’s crucial to mention some misconceptions about it. Following are some misconceptions about change advisory board;

  • A change ticket is implemented only if the CAB approves it.
  • The CAB is a rigid, immutable institute.
  • Every change must go to the change advisory board.

A Change Ticket Is Implemented Only If The CAB Approves It

The CAB’s main duty is to make recommendations and assist the change manager in making decisions. An entire decision regarding whether to approve or reject a change rests with the change manager.

Every Change Must Go To The Change Advisory Board

Not all changes must be submitted for review by the CAB. For example, change tickets don’t need to be reviewed for OS upgrades or life cycle replacements of computers, workstations, printers, and servers. Only specific change tickets that are required should be sent to the CAB, per best practice. It’s possible to define CAB approvals in advance. Certain changes can circumvent the CAB process by receiving preapproval during the configuration of a change template or workflow.

The CAB Is A Rigid, Immutable Institute

Various CAB teams can be developed and tailored per the requirements of the new IT changes. The knowledge and experience needed to carry out a specific change are considered when choosing CAB members. If they add value to the decisions being made, CAB members can also be business relationship managers, third-party participants, customers, and end users.


From all the above discussion, we learned that ITIL provided change management process is incomplete without a change advisory board. It is important to adopt it because, through CAB, your change implementation plan could be polished more than other methods. Moreover, the CAB allows you to easily avoid harmful and unnecessary changes. That’s why we said that it’s important to use CAB. Along with its main concepts, we have also mentioned and explained some common misconceptions about the CAB.

Other Links

Organizational Change Management Checklist For Enterprises