I recently heard that a managed process was
referred to as a “push button” activity. When I asked my colleague about this
she said that the process pretty much handled itself. I would say that I have more questions on this
subject than answers and would start with this question – When can automation
take over and are we in a position to have the process managed by itself?
Let’s assume for a moment that we have
achieved a high level of capability for a particular process. For an example we
will use… change management.
Taking a closer look we can see that our example IT organization has
been using this process for almost a decade, the stakeholders
who leverage it take part in a semi-annual CSI review to see where it can be
streamlined further. At the latest
stakeholder meeting the question was asked “Do we need to have people to facilitate this
process in a day to day operational way any longer?”
are always going to be pro’s and con’s for this discussion point depending
which side of the table you ask. The real question is “Can you mitigate the
risks that present themselves as a result of the automation activity?” It
doesn’t only apply to this example, but in general.
Back at the stakeholder review
the subject of who is on the hook for change management comes up as whether or
not they think this is even possible from a governance standpoint. Looking at
their RACI chart they see that someone is responsible and / or accountable to
the process. Can they be either if they do not actively take part in the day to
day management of this process?
Take a closer look at the general definitions for
responsible and accountable:
- an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one's job or role.
- (of a
person, organization, or institution) required or expected to justify actions
… so could it be possible that a person(s) could be
either and not actively “do” anything?
Going back to change
management, if we automated the daily activities for changes in a ticketing
system to only request approvals if the fields were filled in for example would
we need someone to review the documentation within the record itself. This is
where the challenges lies with PEOPLE, remember them... one of those "P's". Since not all people are created equal
we might find that in the beginning that there were very few issues with
automating this. However after a while some people might take the route where
less is more and over time there is less documentation in the change record. It can
be a bit of a tightrope. We might have to have some level of oversight on what
goes in the record, which means we might not truly be able to automate this
level of work. At the end of the day we still have someone who is responsible
for the output of the change. If it is not successful who will we look to for
answers? It is likely that the ones responsible for the process would not see
the automation as a way to improve anything with regards to the delivery of
services to the customer. Since providing an exception customer experience is
the top priority the automation might not be worth pursuing
Labels: Continual Service Improvement, ITIL, ITSM, Service Management