Originally Published on August 21, 2012
Performance (noun): The capabilities of a person, process or system, esp. when observed under particular conditions
How long can you hold your breath? How fast can you run? How long can you go without food and water? Each of these questions is tied to an understanding of your personal ability to perform. The same holds true of processes and systems. Ultimately a person, process or system can only perform to a peak or optimal level for so long. Energy wanes, process steps get skipped and system elements and components wear down or break. So how do we improve our ability to sustain peak performance? The key is to understand how the person, process or system functions, and understand its limitations and “breaking point”. Once we understand the limits and boundaries of peak performance we can implement Continual Service Improvement approaches to help improve the individual performance of a person, process or system within those limits and boundaries.
The CSI approach offers two key steps in determining just how we are going to sustain peak performance of our ITSM efforts. The first step, which asks the question “What is the Vision?” provides insight into the level of performance we seek to achieve. By aligning the business vision and the service provider vision we ensure that the entire organization sees the same expected or desired level of performance. If the service provider and the business desires are not in sync then there are different definitions and expected levels of quality, value and performance of people, processes and systems. This will lead to the business and the service provider heading in potentially vastly different directions as each tries to fulfill its own understanding of optimal performance.
The last step of the CSI approach asks the question “How do we keep the momentum going?” This step allows us to identify when our performance is potentially slipping from its optimal or peak level. Once we recognize that we potentially cannot continue to sustain the same level of performance we can use the last step of the CSI approach to possibly give us some much needed downtime by reaping the benefits of our work to that point. We can then re-invest our efforts once we have regained our energy, improved our processes or restored our systems to peak potential. It can also allow us to re-evaluate our vision and the expected or desired level of performance.
So what are some ways that you can rebuild that energy and ensure the processes and systems are working again at their peak performance?
- Identify quick wins – they use less energy and show continued commitment
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities – tie responsibilities to job descriptions and performance programs to help clarify the limits and boundaries of performance
- Keep an ear open to your people, process and systems to detect early when these are approaching their optimal limits – then resolve performance related issues through CSI
- Make sure you baseline performance – this helps you identify where performance may need improvement
- Produce meaningful metrics that are tied to business goals – this helps determine whether the performance levels are in line with the vision
These are just a small handful of options and opportunities we have to ensure we can reach the greatest level of value, quality and performance for our customers through ITSM.