Early Life Support
Originally Published on May 3, 2010
I have found, after doing a number of releases throughout my career, that a solid Early Life Support program (ELS) can really enhance the acceptance and support of any new or changed service. The ITIL Service Transition definition of ELS is the “Support provided for a new or changed IT service for a period of time after it is released." During ELS the IT Service Provider may review the KPIs, Service Levels and Monitoring Thresholds, and provide additional resources for Incident and Problem Management.
Although stakeholders have agreed to the entry and exit criteria in the Service Design stage, it may become necessary to finalize the performance targets and exit criteria after the build and testing of the service has been completed. This will help to clarify the deployment process and set the proper expectation of the operational resources that will perform the support after ELS has been completed. ELS ensures that appropriate resources are available to resolve operational and support issues quickly and reduce the amount of unavailability while enhancing acceptability of the new services by the user community. It will also allow the support teams to better define role assignments and responsibilities, security policies and procedures, raising incidents and change requests.
Once the agreed milestones have been met by the ELS program, Service Transition will monitor the performance and determine if the exit criteria has been achieved. Some key criteria is:
- Users can utilize the service to complete their business activity
- Service and process owners have agreed to operate the service within documented SLAs
- Service levels and performance are being consistently achieved
- Training and knowledge transfers have been completed
- SLAs, agreements and contractual obligation have been signed off
Once we move from ELS to operational support, a review of the deployment should be undertaken. It should include:
- Capturing feedback on user and service provider satisfaction
- Any criteria not met
- Check that all fixes and changes are complete
- Review targets and achievements
Formal closure should happen with a Post Implementation Review (PIR) performed by Change Management.