deals with incidents in their own way. At a recent networking event I was speaking
with a manager whose main responsibility was to manage the incident process
from escalation to resolution. During the conversation he explained that they
managed it much like a medical triage. Since I must have had a somewhat
confused look on my face he outlined that in a past career he worked in a medical
center and that this triage seemed similar since his organization was dealing
with a multitude of incidents every day (I will get back to that). He said,
"You probably already manage your incidents in a much similar way, but let
me break it down for you in this way."
Like an emergency room, escalations will come into the service desk and we need
to identify which one of the incidents needs to be managed first.
We need to
assess which incident has the most immediate need for restoration based on
severity and impact. In a medical sense this might be represented by a red tag.
The red tag symbolizes those who cannot survive without immediate treatment but
have a chance of survival. In this organization they treat critical
applications as priority 1 incidents and are managed by all available
After this assessment the triage identifies what incidents are not immediate
but will need to be addressed once the resources are no longer working on the
priority 1 incident. Much like a medical yellow tag these patients are not in
immediate danger of death but do require attention.
Not yet, I
Lastly, he explained that there were also escalations which were low on the
priority scale. These 'walking wounded' or green tags would represent issues
that would get looked at after all other issues were addressed or might have
had a workaround that would get them by.
I asked what about the ones that couldn't be saved, the black tag..... he
didn’t find that amusing. “We don’t have those.”
The first thought that I had as he described this method of triage was whether
this was improving service delivery long term or not. The issues that are less
impactful may in reality be slowly bleeding the organization to death, to
follow the medical theme. An initial review of the health of the organization may
give us a better picture of what requires improvement to build a long term
strategy. This way we do not need to worry about the triage as much as the
resolution of the issue at hand
continual service improvement perspective it might be time to take a look at
the bigger picture and see where the support teams may be spinning their
wheels. In this particular scenario the manager indicated that this might be
impossible since all hands are on deck every day. The focus of improving the
customer experience clearly needs to be changed from a reactive to a proactive
perspective. This means we need to STOP, think, and re-focus on how we are
providing the support.
business angle we can all agree that while issues are addressed quickly they
would really rather not have to deal with them at all. Some time and effort
must be taken to see what recent issues are in the green, yellow and red tags
before the IT department becomes a black tag.
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Labels: Continual Service Improvement, CSI, Incident Management, ITIL, ITSM, Problem Management