To check dates specific to a particular year please refer to the shared calendar in MS Outlook/Office 365 (from your Outlook calendar > click on Open Calendar (under the Home tab) > click on From Address Book... > search for ‘[Shared] ITS Change Schedule’).
The table below outlines the various event driven IT change freeze periods throughout the Academic year (September to August). A freeze on changes to the IT environment is imposed during critical events to minimise the risk system failures and downtime impacting critical and high profile events.
|Period of Year||Freeze Period Name||Freeze Type||Services Frozen|
|September - October for three weeks||Main Enrolment||Usually approximately three weeks hard freeze preceded by one week soft freeze||For the list of essential services during enrolment soft freeze check the shared Outlook calendar|
|November||Reading Week||Heightened awareness|
|January||Mini Enrolment||Soft freeze||For the list of essential services during enrolment Soft Freeze check the shared Outlook calendar|
|February||Reading Week||Heightened awareness|
|March/April to May/June (spanning six weeks from the first full week after Easter Monday)||Exam Period (computer based exams only)||Heightened awareness||Mainly for awareness but when computer based exams are scheduled the Student Desktop Service may be frozen on those days|
|August for one week||Clearing||Usually up to two weeks hard freeze preceded by one week soft freeze||For the list of essential services during enrolment soft freeze, please check the shared Outlook calendar|
|August||Late Summer Resits (LSR)||Soft freeze||Mainly for awareness but when computer based exams are scheduled the Student Desktop Service may be frozen on those days|
|December 2019||REF Results||Heightened awareness||Note: This takes place every five years|
Note: The timetable will be aligned to the calendar publicised on Connect regarding QMUL specific annual events and periods.
Exclusions: Pre-approved, standard, low risk changes are excluded from change freezes.
Change freeze exceptions process
During a change freeze the individual responsible for implementing a change will need to consider the following:
Q) What is the effect of delaying implementation until after the change freeze? (the Business Service Owner will need to be consulted)
i) The change implementer (Change Builder) must make an assessment and a recommendation. If their recommendation is that the required change cannot wait until after the change freeze period, they or their line manager, or deputy, need to discuss with their IT Head of Service (HoS), or deputy, and IT Change Manager, details of the proposed change and their recommendation.
ii) If the IT HoS agrees that it cannot wait until after the change freeze, they need to raise the change request with the IT Assistant Director (AD) of their IT services.
iii) If the AD agrees that it cannot wait until after the change freeze, the AD should email the AD of IT Student and Staff Services (cc the IT Change Manager) the detail of the change request and their recommendation to proceed and reason(s) why.
iv) If both AD's agree that it cannot wait until after the change freeze, the AD Student and Staff Services will notify AD of the IT service that approval for the change has been given and can proceed ensuring that the Change Builder and IT Change Manager are notified.
v) If both AD's cannot agree on whether a change should proceed, final approval will be via the Director of IT Services.
For audit trail purposes, the IT Change Manager, or designated deputy, needs to ensure there is evidence of these written approvals by pasting the emails into the Note(s) of the change ticket.
Soft freeze or 'change frost' (heightened awareness): Some services, dependent on infrastructure and/or interfaces might be more critical during certain periods where the impact of a service interruption due to a change would be greater. Those services should be itemised where possible so it is clear which ones are 'frozen' and which services are excluded from the freeze. The list of frozen services should be added to the Change Schedule on the calendar in Office 365 for the period of the freeze (see calendar named ‘[Shared] ITS Change Schedule’). If changes are planned to happen during the freeze they will need to follow the Change Freeze Exceptions Process. Greater due diligence regarding the risk assessment should be given and assess the risks of delaying the implementation until after the 'soft freeze'. If in doubt, ask technical peer/teammate or line manager. If still unsure, ask the IT Change Manager.
Hard freeze: No non-standard changes to any IT service to be implemented during a hard freeze. Standard changes will normally be excluded from change freezes but this will be a conscious decision.