Ever get frustrated on an inability to improve your service delivery? I recently spoke with a service delivery manager who was feeling stuck in this very way. Her top concern was that no matter what they were doing from an incident perspective they couldn’t make any real dent. I asked her if she looked outside incident management to change management.
She said that their Change success rate was through the roof—almost at 100%—but for some reason incidents were still coming up. Immediately an alarm went off in my head. She continued to say that even with the success of change management, the other processes couldn’t seem to make the same level of improvements.
It sounded as though the service management processes were attempting to operate in a silo even though that was not the intention. I asked her how she was planning to address the fact that incidents were on the increase despite a nearly spotless change implementation record. The smile on her face suggested that she was hoping I could help with that. I decided it would be best to share an example.
Assume for a moment that a challenge faced by your business (remember, it’s about them and achieving their outcomes) is that small issues seem to arise with regularity after IT implements changes. Sometimes these small issues appear right away, while others seem to take a while to bubble to the surface. While some people might have the gut feeling that this issue was the result of the change put in last week, no direct relationship was established, and the Service Desk who receives the initial escalation may not be in a position to put the two together.
This is where having a collaborative approach to service management is beneficial.
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If, as my colleague suggested, Change is the driver in all things service management, then the IT organization may look to the Change owners to connect the dots after changes are implemented. However, gathering the process owners (or those responsible) for each of the processes on a regular basis to discuss what is working well and what is not will lend itself to a practice of breaking down internal silos. In a discussion, the following dialog may occur:
- Change owners are quick to point out that these identified issues were small enough not to have been caught in testing or validation, and that in future deployments of this type this testing will be included.
- The Service Desk Manager indicates that the defect wasn’t identified right away, and when it was, it may not have been recognized as a result of the change completed due to misaligned timelines. Initially they created low priority incidents, which they forwarded to support teams.
- In receiving this multitude of incidents, the Incident and Problem Managers should have communicated to all parties to tie all things together. Unfortunately, they kept the information close and worked solely with support resources to correct the issues.
Because all these activities were worked on in silos within service management, the ability to make improvements through a collaborative spirit is diminished. Just because you work together, doesn’t mean you should assume that you actually are doing the “together” part. What should happen when we have issues like this that we are trying to tie back to a change is some form of weekly review. In this particular example in ITSM alone we had several stakeholders from the service desk to Incident, Problem and of course Change.
Remember, the issue has already happened. We need to learn from this experience and endeavor to not have this happen again if possible. We should ask questions like:
- What could we do better next time?
- What have we learned?
However, to get lasting improvements you may need to look at these gaps from a big picture perspective. With regards to this example what if I asked you to also consider some the following:
- Configuration Management
- Knowledge Management
- Event Management
At the end of the day, IT has a goal to provide services. There should be no internal finger pointing with an “us vs. them” mentality. You need to collaborate with all teams to ensure lasting success. You also need to ensure that all this is documented and shared with not only service management but in IT as well, to grow on what has been begun.