Showing posts from August, 2012

Process Improvement Paths

When it comes to processes, W. Edwards Deming stated that there are only two choices: execute the process or improve the process. When it comes to improving a process we have three basic paths we can follow: develop the process (if it does not exist), redesign the process (if it is sore need of fixing) or improve the process (tweaking it in incremental ways). So let’s explore each of these paths in a little more depth.
Develop the Process: This path occurs when you really do not have a process. You might have some loosely followed procedures or perhaps steps that people follow in their heads. There is no formally defined, developed or documented process. This path allows you to start from the beginning by gathering requirements for the process, creating a process definition document and then implementing the process. This path takes the longest time and in some ways the most work.

Redesign the Process: This path occurs when the process you have in place just does not provide the outco…

Single to Double Loop Learning

Chris Argyris is one of the most important and influential thinkers in the last 100 years. Yet, few people are aware of his efforts in organizational development and human behavior. Argyris wrote about a number of different areas of organizational change management. Perhaps one of his most important contributions has been in the area of Single-loop and Double-loop learning for individuals and organizations.
Single-loop learning is when an individual or group undertakes an action and the result is not what they expect or believe be the result should be. So they go about “correcting” their approach on the assumption that they must have done something “wrong” the first time. As a result of the “correction” they expect a different result. Some of you may recognize this as the classic definition of “insanity”. Others have called these “self-fulfilling” prophecies. Doing the same kinds of things over and over and expecting different results. Single-loop Learning results from creating what A…

Questions about OLAs and SLAs

The Professor was recently asked about the following very interesting situation.

In my organization, we have a service desk that is not part of the main IT department.  Since we are a service desk solution provider, it is actually in one of our businesses units.  So our IT department has chosen to take advantage of that in-place service desk to effectively also be the service desk for internal employees.   Is this a situation where an operational level agreement (OLA) applies?    Or are the “parts” of the internal organization too far apart and a service level agreement (SLA) is more appropriate? I think the idea is that the OLA applies to different internal groups within IT?   Is that true?Let’s first define these terms and then apply them to this situation. An SLA is an agreement between a service provider and a customer. In the case of the service desk that is in one of the company’s business units, that service desk is a Type I (internal) service provider. Since ITIL is non-presc…

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