One of my followers recently asked about approaches to performing an organizational ITSM assessment. I’ve summarized some of his questions:
1. While surveys, interviews and workshops are assessment methods, would focused interviews with individuals pertinent to the process being assessed be a good approach?
2. Should my final assessment score for a process be an average of several people’s maturity level ratings on that process?
3. Should my assessment only include participants who are directly involved with that process?
Assessments should take a well-rounded approach to gathering information, input and feedback. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. If you have the ability to conduct one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders, that’s a great way to encourage dialogue through open-ended questions. While the results may not be as measurable as some other assessment techniques, interviews provide the unique opportunity for deeper probing and follow-up. Surveys and workshops also have a place in assessment – they are excellent vehicles for getting input from large and diverse groups of stakeholders. Like any good recipe, an ITSM assessment should include different ingredients.
A well-rounded approach should also include engaging a large cross-section of stakeholders from the business and IT. Each will touch the process in a different way – some may execute or contribute to process activities, some may be recipients or customers of the process, others may be observers of the process results. The more perspective that you can garner during the assessment, the better.
As for scoring, I would suggest that the narrative is more important than the number. Appendix H of the Service Design publication explains ITIL’s Process Maturity Framework. While the levels are numeric, the descriptors are not assigned a value. This approach encourages the assessor to focus more on what’s happening with the process and less on what score to assign. Process maturity is not an exact science, but it can be an invaluable asset when performing an ITSM assessment.