Driving Inertia on Service Improvement Initiatives

Newtons first law of inertia states:

“an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force”
We have all been in this position at one time or another before. We have made some level of improvement and then for whatever reason we seem to drift back into a state where we were before the improvement initiative was implemented. So the question of how we avoid losing momentum in these initiatives becomes paramount.

One of the challenges with continual service improvement initiatives is that they are continual. Unlike other initiatives where there is a finish, this marathon like work continues cycle after cycle. In the beginning there is a sense of excitement and this is evident in the work that is done around the processes which are in the looking glass for CSI. As this momentum starts to lose ground we may start to see evidence within these processes.

To continue inertia on our improvement initiatives, we need to start to look at how we define this improvement journey. While it is continuous in nature, we should set up timed check points during the initiative where we can showcase the success or additional areas to improve. (Quarterly for example) Because this process has no real beginning or end and is cyclical in nature we need to build in our own start and end components.
As I have outlined before we need to ensure that we are focusing on business objective. The first step is to ensure that we understand the business vision and how IT strategies will line up to this. In order to start us off on the right foot we need to keep this improvement initiative as agile as possible so that we do not bite off more that we can chew. In my opinion when we have too large of an initiative underway which does not line up to the business momentum will drop off before it even begins.

The next set of activities will review what we are current capabilities are and then decide what we want to improve. Remember that we are keeping it simple over several cycles of improvement so small moves in the beginning. We may want to fix everything all at once but in doing this we have deliverables that are taking too long to produce results which are a detriment to momentum.
Once we know where we want to go we can outline what actions need to be taken to get there. Since we have chosen to keep things simple in the beginning we should have a shorter list of activities to manage.

The last component allows us to measure what we have done and then begin the cycle again to add on to what we have started to get us close to the business objective. At each measurement cycle we need to communicate back with our stakeholders to celebrate wins as well as having transparency on areas that did not go as planned. These items are NOT losses, rather they are areas where we can learn and re-focus our improvement efforts.
Keeping things simple over the long term will allow your teams to make iterative improvements that they will be visible to the teams which they will ultimately serve.

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