Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Importance of People

At a recent IT breakfast event I was sitting with an IT director who was complaining about his current ability to deliver top quality service. What he was looking to achieve was to not only satisfy the business but also to be able to do that consistently from his teams perspective. Common enough situation I thought.

He outlined that their challenge was that IT is not performing on a level that was satisfying the business needs. This, despite recently reworking their processes and implementing a new tool to facilitate the newly adopted process changes.

My father once told me that  when you put a tool in the hands of a craftsman you can see remarkable results. On the flipside some people are all thumbs and not matter how good the tool or instructions are is the results will only be so good.

By the initial look on his face I could tell that he was getting the idea but more explanation was required. In this brief conversation it sounded like he had the process part down, and the tool to assist, so the next logical question I had to ask him was about the people.

He looked confused, “yeah, we have loads of them around, and they have all been trained on this stuff”

I could see that more of an explanation was required. I asked him about the expectation of the people element as it related to the managing of the process, the facilitation of the tool etc. His confused look became static on his face. “We have told the teams what was required of them, they had training, I still am not sure why this is not working as well as it could be.” I could hear the frustration in his voice.

I went on to explain to him that while the process and tool requirements were assessed and considered. The fact that you “trained” people on what to do may not have been enough. People really need to know what they are Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed about as it pertains to these processes. Having even a simplistic RACI would allow people know what is done by whom and when. His facial expression changed a bit and admitted that his team did not have things broken down that way.

Confusion can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. By not addressing this over time, people may still feel confused on some components of the process and as a result may start to ‘give up’ citing that there is no organization on how this is working in the first place.

People need a sense of direction. It will enable them to get past the confusion and spend time on delivering service, rather than figuring out how best to actually deliver service. Once people are on top of things they will be able to see potential gaps as it pertains to staffing levels or training internally - which are more people focussed items.

I told my colleague that the people component can be easily overlooked when you are working with professionals as they will dig into the work and get things done. However, when you have improved on the process and tool you need to account for the people component in a continual service improvement plan. In other words ensure you craftsman on your team.


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