Scrum teams are made up of a set of empowered team members from the business who are assigned a specific area of business to work on and improve. These teams work in an agile project methodology, meaning that work is constantly assessed and areas for optimization or change are frequently being presented. 

Adopting a change advisory board (CAB) enables agile teams to assess and integrate change more effectively, therefore allowing the team to produce more efficient, targeted, or beneficial results more quickly. Let’s dive deeper into what a CAB is, the importance of regular CAB meetings, and the best process for maximizing results from change management teams. 

What is a change advisory board (CAB) meeting? 

Common in project management and change management teams, a change advisory board supports the assessments, decision-making, and prioritization of actions related to proposed changes within a project or organization. Therefore, a CAB meeting is used to hear proposals, make decisions, and clarify action items or responsibilities for the decided activities. 

CAB meetings worth showing up to

A well-run meeting can foster communication and collaboration by including an agenda the whole team can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow!

The importance of CAB meetings 

The change advisory board is often responsible for implementing and practicing a defined change-management process. This process is a systematic way to review, decide, and begin plans for any change within scope. Depending on the scope of the CAB, the board may be responsible for integrating change within a single project or across an entire organization. Since many stakeholders are involved in the change-management process, hosting a CAB meeting on a regular basis allows relevant participants to remain informed, keep projects on track, and divert other projects as necessary. 

How to run a CAB meeting 

1Create a meeting agenda 

Like any meeting, a CAB meeting should follow a structure laid out by a meeting agenda. The meeting agenda is the short overview of the topics that are to be presented at the meeting. This structure will also highlight any decisions that need to be made. It is important to use the agenda for planning the meeting to ensure the meeting has a defined, specific purpose and goal. Throughout the call, the meeting agenda can also be used to manage timing and stay on track with topics.

2Send the meeting agenda 24 hours before the meeting 

Sharing the meeting agenda to attendees ahead of the call is vital for several reasons. First, doing so creates an opportunity for anyone else to add necessary points or decisions they need to make. Especially since CAB meetings focus around decision-making for organizational changes, it’s highly likely that multiple meeting attendees will each need decisions made under one shared meeting topic. It’s also helpful to share the meeting agenda just to inform other attendees of the proposed discussion points so they can plan or research ahead of time if necessary. 

3Assign meeting roles 

Meeting roles are the assigned responsibilities that each meeting participant takes within the call. Depending on how many participants are attending, you may assign multiple roles to each person. However, if one person has no meeting roles, it may be worth considering if they even need to attend at all. Some common examples of meeting roles include:

  1. Meeting host
  2. Time-keeper
  3. Notetaker
  4. Decision maker
  5. Voice of the customer (or client)
  6. Optional attendees
  7. Informed participants

4Take meeting minutes

Whereas the agenda is the planned structure of what is expected to happen in the call, the meeting minutes outline what actually happened. Recording minutes is especially helpful for informing relevant stakeholders who were not able to attend the meeting. In high-stakes or important decision-making meetings, it can also be helpful to record the minutes to recall why specific decisions were made if that information is needed in the future. 

5Stay on-topic 

Using your meeting agenda, ensure that discussions stay on-topic. It’s likely that the organization or project team has a lot of issues to discuss and make decisions on at any given time. To respect the time of the attendees, focus on discussion topics that are directly aligned with the goals and purpose of the meeting. If, during discussions, it seems like there are additional topics for which decisions need to be made, consider booking another meeting time. Not only is booking this extra time helpful to ensure the first meeting ends on time, but it will give participants a chance to prepare for those additional topics and will allow the meeting host to invite any other relevant stakeholders to the next call. 

6Ask important questions 

CAB meetings assess change-management activities on the most detailed level, so it’s crucial to think ahead for these low-level questions. Additionally, CAB meetings assess risk and impact, so questions should also consider the consequence of each possible change, if each one were to be implemented. Some examples of questions to ask may include:

  • Are there any special requirements to take into account that have not already been discussed?
  • Who will be responsible for this project? Will the person responsible be someone from our team, or will we need to hire?
  • What level of expertise is needed to conduct this project? Do we have that expertise in-house already? If not, where do we find it?
  • What happens when the new change project is delayed? What is the process for managing schedule changes?
  • Who is impacted by this decision? Have we taken their concerns into account? 

7Send a follow-up email 

We can make up to 35,000 independent decisions each and every day. While we certainly don’t make decisions in each meeting, there is still a lot of information that is difficult to remember all at once. Sending a follow-up email with the meeting minutes, action items, relevant documentation, and plan for the next meeting is helpful to keep attendees organized and accountable. 

Try this meeting follow-up email template:

Dear [marketing/sales/engineering] team,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet today. I appreciate all of the hard work you put into [company name]. 

Following up on our meeting, I would like to reiterate the key decisions discussed today: 

[list key decisions discussed]

As a reminder, here is a summary of the action items and next steps: 

[list call to action items and next steps + who is assigned to them]

Attached are the documents referenced during the meeting should you need more information. 

I’m looking forward to seeing you all on [date of next meeting] for our next team meeting. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Sincerely, 

[name]

What to include in your CAB meeting agenda 

1The request for change (RFC)

The request for change (RFC) is the formal call to be made. RFC proposals are often used in project management settings when the scope needs to differ from the original proposed plan in the project charter. Some things the RFC requires for an appropriate assessment include:

  • Unique change ID
  • Owner of the change request
  • Proposed priority of the change
  • Change proposal
  • Description of change being proposed
  • Resources required
  • Budget
  • Time
  • Human resources
  • Physical resources
  • Additional supporting documents
  • Approval or rejection Area

2Feedback on the RFC

When providing feedback on the RFC, the CAB has the opportunity to either approve, reject, or approve with conditional changes. If they are approving with conditional changes they may suggest that the change is appropriate only if it meets another requirement (like a different schedule or more or less resources), or has additional supporting documents provided to prove the requirement for the change. 

3The change process

The change process begins when the change is approved. Most organizations can follow a simple change management process that involves:

  1. Creating a sense of urgency to complete the project
  2. Building team alliance and cooperation for the project
  3. Forming the strategic vision
  4. Recruiting team members to support with the changes and assigning tasks
  5. Removing blockers that may prevent the change from taking place
  6. Earning short-term wins (which maintains motivation and guides you in the right direction)
  7. Accelerating the pace of change
  8. Continuously measuring and optimizing the change activities until the change is complete

4A change schedule

Planning an effective change schedule will help keep your assigned team members on track with tasks. The change schedule includes details like who is responsible for specific tasks, the date(s) by which certain tasks need to be completed, the change-process milestones or phases, maintenance windows, and blackout dates. This calendar is then a shared piece of communication across the full change process team and can be used to hold other team members accountable. 

Free meeting agenda template for a CAB meeting

Parting advice

Change advisory boards are helpful for project-based teams and organizations. With effective, regularly held meetings, CABs can create a systematic process to quickly assess, decide, and plan for future change management initiatives. Recognizing how to make the most out of a CAB meeting will allow you to provide opportunities for all stakeholders to stay informed, guarantee a defined purpose and goal for each project, and enable your organization to practice change processes quickly. In summary, effective CAB meetings empower your organization to react swiftly to changing internal, industry, and competitive environments to maintain your competitive advantage.