Documentation forSolarWinds Service Desk

Change calendar

A change calendar can drastically improve your change processes, allowing your team to be more successful by causing fewer impacts to the services you offer your employees.

Navigation

Service Desk > Changes > Actions > Change Calendar.

Schedule changes

Properly scheduling changes ensures you are aware of upcoming and/or overlapping changes prior to deployment. Many CAB meetings focus on validating the correct build for change and making sure it is scheduled at a time that makes the most sense for the services that may be affected. This helps ensure the least impact on daily productivity. Having a visual representation can help you:

  • Avoid Change Collisions. There may be several changes on your organization's calendar at any given time. It is important to look at multiple changes holistically, as one change could greatly impact the success of another. Using the Change Calendar to visualize all the upcoming changes can help you ensure they are scheduled in a way that supports the business.
  • Align with other calendars. A major benefit of pushing your changes to your own calendar is that it allows you to overlay your change calendar with other calendars to promote better scheduling. Some examples are:
    • Black-out Dates. Some organizations use black-out dates, which help the business avoid disruptions by disallowing change implementations. You can align a black-out calendar with your change calendar to avoid scheduling during those dates.

    • PTO Calendar. Many organizations use a PTO (or time-off, vacation, out-of-office) calendar where others can view who will be out of the office during a given period of time. By aligning your PTO calendar with your change calendar, you can ensure you the availability of the proper people to implement a change and adequate support staff in case you get an influx of tickets associated with a larger, more impactful change.

    • Projects/Tasks. Other departmental projects not considered a change could still impact scheduling. Project milestones or tasks on a calendar, you may need to align your Change Calendar with those projects or tasks to assure successful deployment and minimal effect to employees.

  • Consolidate Changes. Find opportunities to optimize your release cycles. For example:
    • There may be two upcoming changes that impact the same server. Each individual change will take the server offline for 2 hours, however, you may be able to combine the changes and only take the server offline for a total of 3 hours. Consolidation can effectively reduce downtime through more efficient change management.
    • A patch is required on a test Windows VM. Your infrastructure team would like to set the install to Friday night and monitor it over the weekend. This approach would bring the test machine down on Friday night. In addition, a product team is updating the test region of an app running on that same machine on Saturday. If the teams sit in different offices, there might be no way for them to know they should collaborate on the upcoming changes.

Best practice

After changes are on your calendar, you can start to think about who needs visibility into the changes that are planned. SolarWinds recommends you designate one individual to own the change calendar and share it with the proper parties rather than having everyone who might need visibility create their own change calendar. This makes it easy to scale and allows visibility for those who are not agents if they need visibility. Your calendar will offer the option to make the newly created calendar public or to invite specific individuals to view the calendar.

SolarWinds suggests that you keep the calendar private rather than allowing all employees in the organization to see it. This will give you better control over who accesses the Change Calendar. Depending on the type of calendar you use, for example Google or Outlook, you may need to send the change calendar subscription link via email to whomever you would like to view it.

Export the change calendar

SWSD's Change Calendar feature generates a URL, which you can then take to your work Calendar in another application, such as Google or Outlook. The Change schedule then overlays your work calendar and refreshes periodically. (Additional information is in Things to note.)

  1. Navigate to Service Desk > Changes.

  2. Click the Actions dropdown, and then select Change Calendar.
    SWSD generates a Calendar URL that is fully secure using token encryption.

  3. Copy the URL.

  4. Go to your calendar application (Outlook, Google, Apple, or another application).

  5. From there, follow your application's instructions for adding a calendar. For example:

    1. Open your calendar.

    2. Click Add Calendar.

    3. From the dropdown, select Subscribe from web.

    4. Paste the URL you copied.

    5. Click OK.

      These step-by-step instructions may not work for all calendar applications.

Things to note

Which changes are pushed to the calendar. The calendar pulls all changes unless they are in a Declined or On Hold state.

Change visibility is role based. The calendar reflects changes available to the person who creates them via their roles and permissions. If someone shares the calendar with another person who has restricted visibility to the change records, those permissions will not be transferred to the calendar.

Change calendar refresh time is dependent on calendar type. Updates will reflect any modifications made to the change record, but the updates will not be reflected instantly in your change calendar. The refresh time will vary depending on the type of calendar you are using.

Related topics

Changes

Change management

Change catalog