Value, that’s what we are really after. To get there your organization has decided to ramp up a few practices through a continual improvement initiative.
The direction that you have been given from leadership is “to do more with less”. In other words, there is no money right now to do these improvements, but if we could prove out the value through initial actions we might be able to scrounge something up for resources or tools down the line.
The first thing that we need to do is to define the scope for this phase of the continual improvement initiative. This is critical because scope creep can spiral this work out of control. Keep in mind we are working with limited resources, and let’s face it, you aren’t dropping your regular workload to work on this so your time is precious.
As part of that activity you have identified the current status of the following through a review:
Practices with little or no traction
- Problem Management
- IT Asset Management
Practices that are consistently followed
- Service Request Management
- Service Desk
- Incident Management
- Change Enablement
The scope in this example will be to improve Problem and IT Asset practices through some formalization. You might not have any resources right now, but that’s OK. We have already identified that these are currently ad-hoc. So step number one will be to formalize the practice by putting it down on paper, as it was. The practice documentation does not have to be complicated or pages long. What it does need to indicate is:
- Who owns what within the practice. If we are using people with existing ownership ensure that they have buy in.
- What is the scope of the practice
- What the practice entails, steps and activities
- Inputs and outputs of the practice
- How we will measure success and, just as important, what the baseline looks like now
Despite the fact that you will be working closely with stakeholders you will still need to keep them and your leadership informed on the progress you are making. Do not assume they are aware of what is going on. This can be accomplished with weekly status updates to stakeholders. Include such things as timelines, successes and roadblocks.
As identified earlier, you don’t have any people who are solely allocated for this work, so we have had to user other resources from our more defined processes own them at the moment. A resource(s) from Incident Management and Change Enablement will assist with the Problem Management and those within Service Request and Service Desk can assist with Asset Management. What this does actually is to facilitate the inputs from the less formalized practices into the more formalized practices by involving the right people from the start. The key is to keep the scope small and regularly review how things are working.
Despite the fact that more ‘mature’ processes may not be initially reviewed, they too will require some review and improvements. You will find that as you improve one practice, others will also need some adjustments to improve right along side everything else.
As part of your improvement road map you should determine at what point you will be ready to implement the next phases of your continual improvement initiative. Pick a cadence that makes sense for your organization. As this is an improvement initiative you can even improve on that. you may find that the first review cycle is longer and then it can be shortened as you and the teams get the hang of it.
You will reach an point where you will need to allocate resources or implement tools. This is where you will be able to evaluate the ROI. By leveraging the initial baseline metrics vs the initial improvements get some sense of what the short term and longer term improvements on the practices you have implemented really look like. From there you will be able to quantify the value they add now, as well as the increased value you can expect going forward.
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