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Process Improvement is Like Driving a Stick Shift Car

Have you ever driven a stick-shift car?

At first, it feels as if there are way too many steps to remember just to move from park to drive. Step on the clutch, put the car into gear, ease off the clutch as you gently press on the gas. Once you are moving, you then have to upshift and downshift to navigate thru traffic, all the while hoping not to stall the car or strip the gears. What if you get stuck on a hill? It takes all of your skill not to slip into the car behind you.

You may have thought, "Is this really worth it? If I were in an automatic, I could just put it into "Drive" and go. This stick-shift is slowing me down".

So why do race cars choose manual transmissions over automatics? The answer is simple - it gives the drivers better control, helps them meet the challenges of the track and allows them to go much, much faster.

IT Service Management process improvement is similar to driving a stick-shift car. At first, you may perceive newly implemented processes as more of an obstacle than an enabler. Too many forms, too many delays, too many interfaces with other processes, people or technology.

You may think "Is this really worth it? Before we implemented this process, I could just make that change and move on! This process is slowing us down. "

Clear, repeatable, effective and efficient processes give an organization better control, improve their ability to meet to changing business requirements and, once mastered, allow IT to go much, much faster at a higher level of quality. It may not seem that way at first - staff needs time to adapt to a new set of procedures and processes need time to demonstrate benefits. As processes mature and become part of your organizational culture, a natural order will evolve for performing the right steps at the right time. When process becomes "just the way we do things here", you will be able to go much faster with better control.

This is the type of analogy that can make ITIL, MOF or other ITSM organizational awareness campaigns more relevant. Maybe include a poster of your favorite NASCAR or Formula One Driver? Just a thought.

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