Continual Service Improvement: The Six Steps to Success

  • By Doug Tedder - Principal Consultant, Tedder Consulting
  • 16 June 2015
  • Adopt and Adapt, Change Management, Continual Service Improvement, Frameworks, IT Service Management (ITSM), ITIL, Management, Vision
Continual Service Improvement: The Six Steps to Success

Doug TedderWith Continual Service Improvement (CSI), the six step CSI model is my secret weapon to ensuring IT Service Management (ITSM) practitioners implement changes and service improvements efficiently, effectively and continually.

So, what are the six steps and how do you follow them?

Step 1: What is the Vision?

Why: ITSM implementation is not for the faint of heart and requires concerted commitment from practitioners. Too often IT organizations become enamoured with the concept that to implement ITSM you must base it on ITIL® without first asking “what is the vision?”

How:

  • Clearly articulate the problem you are trying to solve.
  • How does the problem impact the objectives of the business?
  • Take the time to integrate with the business objectives what you want to achieve from ITSM.

Outcome: Begin to identify problems, build an understanding of how ITSM can solve them and how they align with the business objectives – the critical first step in successful ITSM implementation. Focused effort here will really pay off throughout the life of the implementation.

Step 2: Where are you now?

Why: Once you’ve obtained the big picture you need a reality check: ask tough questions and understanding what’s holding you back.

How:

  • Ask an objective third party to assess the state of the organization and create a report on what’s stopping the business from being where it wants to be. This can be done internally but needs a lot of discipline and emotional detachment to avoid a biased report.
  • The report is not an end in itself; it’s fact gathering and identifying issues in order to begin the service improvement process.

Outcome: The assessment should give you a clear picture of where you are now and where the issues lie so you can take that first step towards your vision.

Step 3: Where do you want to be?

Why: The vision is a perfect “glittery” goal in the future. But you won’t get there in one step, therefore, you must plan the various steps to reach that vision eventually.

How:

  • Keeping in mind the business’ objectives, start with improvements that will deliver the biggest, quickest and most tangible returns.
  • This six-step model scales upwardly and downwardly, so you can use it for the entire organization, in one department or on one project; in any case you’ll see measurable results if you use it correctly.

Outcome: You’ll begin to understand and formulate a plan that can be taken to the shareholders, senior management and others involved in the ITSM implementation in order to build the appetite for change and understand how much tolerance people have for it at this stage.

Step 4: How do you get there?

Why: This is the step that gives us valuable feedback from the business, the shareholders and employees. By explaining your findings, your initial plan and targets you are encouraging their engagement with the proposed changes and gaining their support and commitment.

How:

  • Share your findings from the assessment and your planned next steps.
  • Encourage feedback in order to define more solidly the next steps, your targets and goals
  • Leverage multiple frameworks – your tools in the ITSM toolbox – to help meet your targets
  • Take advice from two or three of the frameworks, such as ITIL, DevOps or COBIT and adopt and adapt them to suit your purpose

Outcome: You are able to devise a plan and define your approach as a team, building the support, commitment and engagement with the changes. The most important part of ITSM is the people; processes and technology come second, so make sure everyone is engaged.

Step 5: Did you get there?

Why: By setting your targets and goals in step 3, you will have dates by which to complete certain goals.

How:

  • Build check-points along the way to review your progress with each target.
  • Each time you reach a targeted date and are reviewing your results consider if something has changed that needs to be accounted for.
  • Plan to review your progress quarterly not annually; it needs to be regular.

Outcome: As things begin to take root, regularly reviewing and understanding your progress will enable you to address any issues early on. If something isn’t going as planned you are in a good position to redirect it before it causes more problems.

Step 6: How do you keep the momentum going?

Why: if you are following a road map to get you from point A to point B and you take a wrong turn without correcting yourself, you will get somewhere but it won’t be point B. Taking that approach when reviewing your progress is hugely important to keep the momentum going.

How:

  • Have the business objectives changed; do you need to amend the steps to reach the vision?
  • Fix any problems and celebrate your successes – tell people when you’ve reached a goal.

Outcome:  Once you implement ITSM successfully, the model feeds itself and success breeds success. By telling those involved where you are going right and giving the business tangible results you are creating the next steps on the path towards that perfect, glittering vision. That means absorbing the learning points, understanding the value of ITSM and developing a great partnership between all departments to push the business forward together.

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Comments

17 Dec 2015 LB_IncidentManager
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I'm preparing for Continual Service Improvement training, so this article is very useful.
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