How do IT teams keep up with the increasing speed of business change and demand for services that provide customer value consistently?
Optimizing work methods in service management helps to improve efficiency, effectiveness and minimize waste while ensuring that IT’s goals are useful to the organization.
For example, incident management needs optimizing as you’re under pressure to satisfy a clear goal of increasing productivity. Historically, this was relatively successful though organizations often became stuck in a cycle of escalation before an incident could be resolved.
Shifting left with ITIL® 4
Today, ITIL 4 has incorporated ways to address problems like this and particularly a mindset change. On an operational level, the guiding principle of collaborate and promote visibility embraces the “shift-left” idea (focusing on quality and early prevention of defects) and gives service desks the rights to solve incidents on behalf of application management. This instils a common goal to resolve an incident quickly, increases the first call resolution rate and – ultimately – user satisfaction.
When adopting the ITIL 4 Specialist Create, Deliver and Support module, you are optimizing workflow in a value stream. For example, delivering a new application needs continual integration, delivery and deployment. A change request from the application manager needs an integration test and documented results to move through to release. To optimize the workflow, documents need to be available on time to prevent bottlenecks.
Value stream mapping and Lean approaches
To create value while eliminating waste across an entire value stream, you need to build solutions collaboratively. Otherwise, you risk slowing down the workflow and failing to make changes on time.
For example, protocols for testing and organizational change management can’t be too complicated. So, build the protocols with the people responsible for doing the tests.
It also needs to be clear why this is mandatory, how to conduct integration tests and how to prioritize them to schedule integration. Equally, people need clear targets to progress iteratively.
Value adding vs non-value adding activities
Each value stream in ITIL 4 creates value: resolving an incident, implementing a change without issues, deploying a security policy – these are solving problems and delivering services that support business goals.
Conversely, creating a daily report of incidents you manage is probably not value-adding. Ask yourself: how often do I need to report – every day or once a month?
How can you be sure optimization is working?
To measure whether your optimization is effective, you first need to define and relate the optimization to the specific expectations and requirements of the main stakeholders.
For example, if the service desk manager says the team is overloaded and wants people to work less or more efficiently you need to measure the incidents handled per day and average resolution times. The results are then translated into SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goals to measure at the start and again after the improvement initiative.
ITIL 4 supports these methods with clear examples of how to optimize and use cross-functional approaches to add value. It also defines optimization within value streams, enabling practitioners to understand what they need to optimize.
Read more AXELOS Blog Posts by David Billouz
ITIL 4 Strategist – Direct, Plan and Improve: cascading goals
Service desk: at the heart of ITIL 4’s service value chain
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