Yes it should be possible to use Design Transfer to to do this, however i would suggest looking into the test to live functionality instead purely speed and simplicity of use.
The usual caveats for making changes to an in use process apply in that you cannot remove a status from a process if there are any records at the status.
I think the tool you want to use is the "Test to Live" Tool. It compares two Service Desk Databases and transfers the differences from your development DB to the live DB. Have a look at the landing page: Design Transfer and Test To Live
As you said, you have a Dev and a Production environment (they have to be the same version). So make a backup from your Live-DB and restore it on your Dev DB. Make all neccessary changes and tests in your Dev and then use the Test to Live Tool to transfer the changes from Dev to Prod. It even works online, but you may have to do an IISRESET on your servers.
And as smiddleton said, you cannot hard-delete any status that are in use. But maybe you are able to remove them from any process but not hard-delete them. You'll notice if you're trying to change the process on your Dev DB.
As always back up your DBs and snapshot your VMs before commencing a Test to Live!
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You will not be able to use design transfer as you can only use design transfer for brand new objects, processes, windows etc. however if you production database was in sync with your development database you could then use test to love. Let me know if you have any questions.
Will | Lead ITSM Consultant | NCSI Consulting
Thank you, I figured I wouldn't be able to do it but I couldn't fined any documentation or post specifically confirming this.
The issue with Test to Live is that while I am designing a change to the system I usually end up making other changes that I will not want on my live server. What I have found is I need to create my new process, take notes, then pull over a fresh copy of Production over to Dev and build it out again as cleanly as possible. Was just seeing if there was an easier way to just do simple updates to a process.