Why is the ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principle, Be Transparent, so important to get right?
In the scenario dramatized by the animation below, a lack of updates about incident resolution creates complaints and an image of a service desk “black hole”. How does this happen?
At times, incident resolution doesn’t get communicated back to the service desk and they can feel exposed as they may have nothing more to report than “it’s fixed” rather than sharing learnings about how to spot a problem in future and how to lessen impact. Equally, it might be about perceived lack of time and resource to communicate.
And, as laid down in service level agreements, IT may be allowed to resolve an incident, send an email and close down the incident after a couple of days. However, that might not work well within the culture of the organization.
Deploying the “Be Transparent” approach well (and the risks of not doing so)
The guiding principle “Be Transparent” recommends meeting the customer, gathering feedback, being transparent and managing expectations. It’s pertinent to people leading service improvement initiatives and they should understand that transparency starts at home: if a service provider is transparent internally then it will be with the external customer also.
I will share an example of successful transparency but, first, it’s useful to recognize what can happen when an organization isn’t transparent:
In this real-life scenario, an organization was looking at service improvements and introducing an ITIL-based problem management process. But, as there was a lack of transparency about what they were trying to achieve in looking for underlying causes and reducing incidents, the staff saw it as a way of putting incident management out of business and making service desk people redundant.
Ultimately the organization’s goal was not to do that, but to reduce the number of incidents particularly where a customer was unhappy with a repeated problem. But by not being transparent and communicating fully, the IT department created its own negative story which had a direct effect on the team’s enthusiasm for the job. However, with the appointment of a new Service Delivery Manager, the full facts were communicated and everything changed almost overnight.
Conversely, in a different organization, transparency was used to impressive effect:
As the organization was considering service improvement, the CIO wanted to ensure as many people as possible were involved. So, teams were brought together in “Town Hall” style meetings and were asked what would they do to make their jobs easier and what effect would that have on the customer.
This generated a wealth of ideas about toolsets and ways of working across the organization. Each idea was recorded in a Continual Service Improvement (CSI) register and made available so everyone could see the ideas. This resulted in about 35 different ideas for improvement that could be used, with transparency about why and who would be using them. This created a completely different environment for service improvement and customer focus and the IT team felt, for the first time, measured on the value it added to the organization - a real boost and bonus to them.
Going back to the “Be Transparent” animation, it talks about a “shift in culture”. Well, it requires a change in attitude to drive transparent behaviour which then starts to affect and change a culture.
Transparency shouldn’t be difficult but, as my experience in organizations has shown, the lack of it will affect people’s state of mind for the worse.
See more blogs and animations about the ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principles
Observe Directly: how to avoid the "watermelon effect"
Why transformational projects go wrong unless you Work Holistically
Them vs us: the importance of Collaboration
ITIL® Practitioner: why it’s always best to Keep It Simple
The past and the present: why it's always important to Start Where You Are
ITIL® Practitioner - Focus on Value
ITIL® Practitioner - Design for Experience
Read more AXELOS blogs by Barry Corless
Using ITIL® Practitioner to solve challenges of ITSM
CX = BRM + SLM?