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Posts Tagged ‘Incident Management’

A New Year’s Resolution for the Service Desk

January 5th, 2011

I love the New Year.  January is about fresh starts; hopefully you have had a break over the holidays and feel revived for the challenges ahead. On the Service Desk this is a time for renewal too, and there is no better time to evaluate your current Service Improvement goals for the year.  The business case for Service Improvement is easy to make – identifying ways to reduce costs and improve service is something all levels of management get excited about!

One of the easiest things to do is to find out what your customers’ think of the service that you provide. Many Service Desks’ find all kinds of excuses not to do this, however, by following some simple guidelines you can do a survey and get a snapshot in time of how your customers feel about the support you provide.

#1 Establish a repeatable approach to assess satisfaction and action improvements as part of a continual improvement practice. Make a commitment to survey and re-survey at regular intervals and if you want to improve response rates then share the results with your customers.

#2 Collect information within a Satisfaction Framework to create “actionable” information and simplify analysis and trending. You can measure satisfaction in key dimensions of the service for ease of analysis and action. Use a Service Quality Model to measure important service quality dimensions like: “ON TRRAC” – Timely, Reliable, Responsive, Accessible and Cost effective (see Survey Framework Overview below for more details).

#3 Focus initially on Client (IT User)  and Practitioner(IT Provider) satisfaction with the Service Desk and Incident Management Practice. (Later, you may want to consider adding a survey of the Business-Level Client (Business Executive) to help understand their satisfaction with key elements of your overall IT Services and IT Executives to see how well aligned they are with their Business’s satisfaction/importance ratings.)

#4 Execute an annual survey to baseline the satisfaction and inform annual improvement action plans. Client Surveys target users collected by business area. Practitioner Surveys target both the Service Desk and Technician level collected by group.

#5 Schedule “Checkpoint” surveys to gauge progress and to provide needed information to flag in-year corrective actions.

Client Surveys at targeted intervals throughout the year:

  1. Auto-generated short survey at the closure of every incident;
  2. Call-back short survey to a set # of users every month (closed tickets); and
  3. Optional – Warm call transfer short survey to users upon completion of their call to your Service Desk.

#6 Ensure that all survey results are routinely analyzed and incorporated into the Service Improvement Plan (SIP), results are presented to primary performance stakeholders AND that feedback is published back to survey recipients, provide them with the ‘What We Heard’ along with planned actions, ‘What We Are Doing About It’.

We make many of our tools available for use at no charge.

Start surveying your Clients (IT Users), Practitioners (IT Providers), IT and Business Executives today with ITSM Coach: Satisfaction Surveys (included as part of ITSM Coach).

To learn more click here…

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Continual Service Improvement (CSI)

December 8th, 2010

Most IT organizations, if asked would say that they ‘continuously improve’; however there is a gap between saying it and being able to demonstrate that it exists.

For CSI to work in the long term, a culture of improvement needs to be instilled within IT. 

If the culture of improvement does not exist, the first step is to identify improvement behaviours and perform them consistently and repeatedly (let’s call the identification of these behaviours; performance tweaks).

Overtime these behaviours will begin to take root and become part of ITs fabric, impacting every project that is taken on board.

What is CSI?

Simple Behavioural Steps

For an organization who wants to get started with Service Improvement, there are some simple behavioural steps that can be followed to get started:

#1 Baseline your current performance (pick an area you suspect there could be an opportunity to improve upon and measure what you are doing today),

#2 Analyze your performance data and build a list of wins based on cost/technical complexity and benefit (this is key, as the organization will resist change unless you have the numbers to back up the benefit),

#3 Identify a group of people within the organization that need to be involved to address the issue you identified,

#4 Set a realistic meaningful goal and timeframe,

#5 Implement the agreed performance tweak, into your environment

#6 Track and measure how performance is changing with the performance tweak in place,

#7 Report on your success and set a new goal to sustain your improvement,

#8 Repeat this process for something new!

The key is to focus your initial performance tweaks on something that won’t cost a lot of money to change, but can provide a big impact.

If you follow this process just once a month, you will be taking the necessary steps of instilling the culture of improvement within your IT department.

About Us (ThinkITSM Corp.)

ThinkITSM Corp. manufactures tools that help organizations implement practical CSI initiatives within their organization. Our service (which we call ITSM Coach) takes a snapshot of your current service desk performance and baselines some key measures.

We help you learn how to analyze the information you gather in your service management tools to inform service improvement goal setting and help you establish internal changes necessary to meet your desired goals.

We make many of our tools available for use at no charge and you can get started today with a free baseline assessment of your Incident, Problem and Change processes.

To learn more click here…

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , ,

Signs that a Service Management Initiative has Stalled

November 8th, 2010

Continual Service Improvement is the fuel that provides long term momentum for any Service Management initiative. The fuel of momentum is vital; great IT Service Delivery is a journey that can take months and sometimes years to reach the productivity and cost savings that were sold at the beginning of a project. 

Many Service Management initiatives stall soon after the beginning because, as we try to achieve efficiencies we generate organizational resistance (the human condition is that most of us resist change) and if we don’t have the ammunition to overcome the resistance then the project stalls, inertia overtakes and the Service Management initiative never has the opportunity to reach its potential.

Signs that a Service Management Initiative has Stalled:

You implemented a Service Management tool a few years ago and you have not performed any significant customizations to the tool since it was implemented;

You implemented a couple of practice areas (Incident, Problem, Change) but have not been able to move much beyond those areas due to time and cost restraints;

You did a Process Maturity Assessment over a year ago and have not completed a re-assessment to measure the differences over time;

You generate reports for management but there are no defined ‘next steps’  to improve service after looking at the information;

You survey your customers but do little with the results of the survey;

You are not sure what the business outcomes are for a successful ITIL or ITSM Practice;

And if you do know the business outcomes, you are not sure whether you are meeting them.

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , ,

Reporting is the soufflé of the IT Service Desk.

April 21st, 2010

For those of you that are culinarily inclined you will know that a soufflé is made with a couple of basic ingredients; a cream sauce and egg whites, and yet the final dish remains elusive to the many that simply don’t pay attention to the details for prerequisite success. Oh, and such success is wonderful to observe - fluffiness contained within a towering cloud of caloric goodness - it is truly an elusive culinary accomplishment.

Figure 1 – The rare object d’art itself – a light fluffy soufflé produced at L’Atelier by Joel Rubuchon.

Figure 1 - The rare object d’art itself - a light fluffy soufflé produced at L’Atelier by Joel Rubuchon.

Like the fracturable soufflé, good service desk reports are easy to order but more difficult to enjoy. 

Although the ingredients are simple, the execution is questionable and the ultimate result is often unsatisfying. The particular reports I am thinking of are not operational in nature (the wham bam thank you ma’am of reports). The ones, I am thinking of are tactical in nature. These require a little more finesse, they are the thinking persons’ report, a tactical view of service desk performance that can enable service improvement and actually inform decision making. In other words, reports that provide information that is ‘actionable’. How delicious!

Anyhow, so many of these failed attempts leave me wanting more. Inadequate execution reduces them to merely visually appealing, useless and perhaps even inconsequential. 

So perhaps we should examine the ingredients and execution that can turn a miserable meaningless humble report into something worth consuming.

Ingredient 1: Consistency

Consistency is one of the few things that matter when generating decision support material. Everyone should be saying the same thing when answering the telephone, asking the same questions, and documenting the information received in the same way.

Ingredient 2: Track the right stuff!

Set yourself up for success and build a support model. Outside of the obvious items like impact, customer information etc. there are three things that the service desk needs to capture:

#1 –what was the customers’ perception of the failure (i.e. the end to end service),
#2 - what was the underlying IT reason for the failure (i.e. the provider service) and,
#3 - finally what infrastructure item was involved in the failure (i.e. the component category).

See the figure below to see a breakdown of the critical criteria that should be captured in the incident.

figure-2-the-essential-elements-fo-information-capture-for-incident

Figure 2 - The essential elements of information capture for an Incident.

These items enable simple and easy information gathering from the customer plus makes escalation of the issue through the IT organization easier to manage.

Ingredient 3: Focus on the WHAT, the WHY and the ACTION.

Generating reporting for reporting sake doesn’t work. It sounds obvious but many of us get in the habit of reviewing the same reports every month and then do nothing with the information.

If this sounds like you, STOP! 

Ask yourself three things when looking at a report:

Do I care about what this report is telling me?

If your answer is NO, move on and deal with something more important.

If your answer is YES, then you need to figure out WHY the information in the report is occurring.

Once the WHY has been determined, implement a performance tweak or involve the relevant stakeholder group and share the information with them as part of the ACTION.

In my next blog (on Monday), I  will explore a real life example of how this process works.

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Charles Cyna Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , ,

ITIL Case Study – If you want to Lose Weight, Get on the Scale.

August 25th, 2009

Like a successful weight reduction plan, service desk improvements need to be defined based on a good knowledge of where you are and how far you want/need to go. Taking a little time at the beginning of your improvement planning to baseline your service desk practice and inform your improvement priorities will provide you with a surprisingly valuable set of information!

This blog is a follow on to the “ITIL – Not a Cure for the Common Cold!” blog where I provided an overview of a large government’s service management journey and outlined their 5-Step Roadmap to improvement.  This article will focus on getting started, using the case study organization as a guide….

Where do you start with no money, no credibility and no time?

The answer is not really all that difficult.  You have to start with a solid understanding of where you are and knowledge of where you want & need to be.  The art is then to pick the combination of outcomes and activities that will generate momentum, produce useful improvements and build credibility. Read more…

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Maria Ritchie Uncategorized , , , , , , ,