The other day I had a chance to catch up with a colleague
who was eagerly anticipating the start of a new incident manager in his group.
He explained that they had quite a few really good candidates, but the role was
a large one and right now they were feeling the crunch being short a person.
Initially I thought that they might have been looking for
someone to oversee the process but it turned out that they really needed
someone with experience at the role of managing the incidents and to be able to
hit the ground running since there were quite a few issues each day that needed
to be managed to resolution by a seasoned pro.
Because I am curious, and this discussion was already
starting to prompt me for a blog post, I wondered what he meant by dealing with
loads of issues each day. We explained that it wasn’t one thing that always was
an issue it was that within the sea of applications and infrastructure they
supported there always seemed to be an issue with something.
“Bottom line, it’s because our change management process
isn’t very mature, we still have loads of issues as the result of a change
He also outlined that many mornings seemed to be
a panic state, people were correcting small issues from a change gone sideways or that a
change had not completed on time. The perspective from the business was that there were regular issues. The reality in these types of situations is that suppport teams tend to go into firefighting mode, and as we all know once you are in that state it can be hard to get out. we can hear our business say "Get it fixed as fast as possible"
They did this so well that the incident team was required
to have a mastery of resolving issues, so much so it was an expectation. The trouble
here is that because this process was not really working in a well-rounded way
with other inputs and outputs there was no real way to make overall lasting
This is likely a loop that will continue until they stop
and take a closer look at the big picture.
expand this one level
Why are we seeing issues in the first place? This isn’t
to say that we are looking for what caused the issues. This is typically how
this incident centric organization ended up in this rut. They are consistently
looking at the technical reason that these failures occur but are not applying what
they find to the area that will improve this situation. In reality when we
start looking at a larger, more process centric view, we can see that the
change management process clearly has some areas for improvement since we have
several failed changes or changes which exceed their windows.
The magnification for the issue shouldn’t stop there. Once
we make an improvement in the initial process we can look for what inputs and
outputs are still gaps and make some enhancements in those areas. It’s almost
like a domino effect. To continue with this example this organization might focus
on processes within Service Operation or Service Transition, but we should also
start to think about what this looks like from Service Design and Strategy. For
example as we look to make improvements within change management we might find
that this is the result of how we manage demand from the business.
If we were to magnify this again we might identify that
all causes for our challenges are the result of poorly managed communication.
Do we know and understand what the business outcomes are? Are we in a position
to know or understand what they are? When we ask these questions we need to
really be sure that we can get the answer without any level of assumption. Are
the business goals clear and do they drive the overall decisions that we make
every day within the organization.
While our ability to restore service as the result of an
incident is important, having a well-rounded approach to service delivery is
far more sustainable in the long run. Continuing to pile on resources for
break-fix work has no real value. It is also detrimental to improving and
fostering a partnership with the business
that you support.
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Labels: Continual Service Improvement, CSI, ITSM, Process Improvement