Sunday, August 12, 2012

ITSM Fundamentals - Focus on Outcomes

This is the first of a series of posts about the fundamentals of ITSM. It is inspired by the many times when I was working in the Service Desk that my prior bosses told me we needed to focus on "basic blocking and tackling". For the non-American football fans out there, they were saying that we needed to focus on the simple items that were the foundation for everything else. While it's easy to get caught up in the bleeding edge concepts that exist in every field, success or failure is often determined by how well we execute the basics.

Although the ITIL includes a lot of processes, one theme that exists over and over is the need to understand the value delivered by our work. Too often, IT gets focused on the activities being performed and loses sight of why we do them. Over time, this results in a shift towards efficiency and convenience for IT, instead of value for the consumers of the work.

For instance, Lean Six Sigma techniques are valuable tools for improving how IT works. If they are used without understanding the purpose of the work, we may remove value without even realizing we have done so! It's useless to do something fast and with high quality if it is worthless to the customer.

To avoid this, take the following actions:

  • Regularly meet with the consumers of your processes and document the value they want from the process
  • Review ideas for changes to processes with the key consumers of the process BEFORE implementing changes
  • Perform surveys that focus on the value delivered (such as SERVQUAL) and avoid the temptation to ask about how much you are liked
Remember, the purpose of ITSM is to deliver outcomes desired by customers. Don't ignore this because you think you know best!