For example, consider the following issue:
The FAA is considering eliminating a circling approach procedure to an airport where you operate. You have an older aircraft without approved area navigation equipment.
Will you be able to serve your customers during IFR conditions?
What impact will there be on your organization? Possibilities include:
- Advising customers on the change and alternatives
- Chartering an aircraft capable of flying the required approach
- Installing equipment capable of flying straight-in approaches
- Amendments to the policy on circling approaches
- Crew training
- New maintenance requirements
- And the list goes on…
“System description is one of the fundamental preliminary activities in the planning of an SMS. The objective of the system description is to determine a baseline hazard analysis for the baseline system.”
Consider the following:
- Critical nature of systems in this process
- Stability of systems and operational environments
- Past performance
Identify each specific area that will need to be addressed such as management, equipment, operations, training, etc. Identify each and every aspect that the change will touch. Once each area is identified, document and do the following for each:
- Describe how the change will impact this specific area and how critical it is
- Assess the risk and resulting exposure
- Document the mitigation implemented to decrease risk to its lowest reasonable level
- Assign a champion to be responsible for this specific area of change
This is a proven plan for managing a change in your organization. Spend time to ensure everyone who is impacted is briefed and understands what is expected.
“As the system evolves, seemingly small, incremental changes in the system (or the environment which provides the context of operation) can accumulate over time, which will mean the management of change, the system description and the baseline hazard analysis should be reviewed periodically, even if circumstances of change are not present, to determine their continued validity.
When changes to the system are made, and periodically thereafter, an organization should go over its system, its anticipated, and its actual operational environment, to make sure it continues to hold a clear picture of the circumstances under which the provision of service takes place.”
The time spent on your change management process will be beneficial in reducing and mitigating future operational risk. It is well worth the small effort to avoid a significant mistake.