Skip to main content

The Beginning of Good Process Implementation

Many organizations that I meet with often are struggling to implement best practice processes into their environments.  They sound completely overwhelmed and often I hear “Where do we begin?”  I smile and usually respond with “At the beginning of course”.  The beginning of good process implementation of course is “defining and analyzing your customer’s requirements”.  I once read that to provide good services a service provider must have good customers.  I think this statement also holds true for processes as well.  Good customers / employees must:
  • Understand the process
  • Understand the expected results of the process
  • Know where they fit into the process
  • Understand how they and others contribute to produce the expected results
When your employees understand the processes within your environment they can easily identify new customer requirements and positively respond to rapidly changing customer needs.  This is the basis for making it part of the service culture within your organization, ensuring that business and customer requirements are always driving process enhancements.

The first step is to understand when change is necessary and then gather customer requirements for the changing business needs.  This can take place through several mechanisms.  It can happen in one on one conversation or through town hall type meetings.   Some organizations have analysts who manage the relationship between the business and IT and meet with customers regularly to discuss these needs.  Some industry standard techniques that can be utilized are:
  • Surveying customers
  • Conducting needs assessments
  • Creating and agreeing on Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  • Benchmarking
Customer surveys are a defined set of questions that help IT to understand the how our customers perceive the services being delivered.  We want to define what they see as weakness as well as the strengths of the services and if their needs are being met.  Is the service enhancing their ability to do their jobs?  Value creation!  These surveys can then be used to identify opportunities to create process improvements.
Next we can do a deeper dive by conducting a needs assessment.  This can take several forms and,  used in conjunction with our surveys,  can lead to in depth and complete needs assessment.  By trending data received from our surveys we can then focus further with direct interviews, documentation review and analysis and physical reviews such as formal tours or demonstrations.
Through the use of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) IT and the customer can define and agree on the level of utility and warranty that will be delivered by IT to guarantee that the customers current and future agreed needs are being met.  The service provider must also ensure that the underpinning agreements (contracts, OLAs) are aligned to the SLAs.
We may also want to do some benchmarking.   This is the process of comparing your organizations practices and performance metrics to industry best practices and industry standard metrics.  This can allow you to identify practices and processes in place at other organizations that can be utilized for improvements in your own organization.
Once all of this data has been gathered you can then begin to categorize the data and prioritize your opportunities and options for improvements.  Requirements generally fall into four distinct categories:
  • People
  • Process
  • Technology 
  • Information
From all of these activities a formal Requirements Definition document can be created to define a roadmap for your organizations journey forward.


Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you. Roles and Responsibilities: Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance. Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables.  An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and th

The ITIL® Maturity Model

Most organizations, especially service management organizations, strive to improve themselves. For those of us leveraging the ITIL® best practices, continual improvement is part of our DNA. We are constantly evaluating our organizations and looking for ways to improve. To aid in our improvement goals and underscore one of the major components of the ITIL Service Value System , Continual Improvement .   AXELOS has updated the ITIL Maturity Model and is offering new ITIL Assessment services. This will enable organizations to conduct evaluations and establish baselines to facilitate a continual improvement program. A while back I wrote an article on the importance of conducting an assessment . I explained the need to understand where you are before you can achieve your improvement goals. Understanding where you are deficient, how significant gaps are from your maturity objectives, and prioritizing which areas to focus on first are key to successfully improving. One method many organi

The Four Ps of Service Design - It’s not all about Technology

People ask me why I think that many designs and projects often fail. The most common answer is from a lack of preparation and management. Many IT organizations just think about the technology (product) implementation and fail to understand the risks of not planning for the effective and efficient use of the four Ps: People, Process, Products (services, technology and tools) and Partners (suppliers, manufacturers and vendors). A holistic approach should be adopted for all Service Design aspects and areas to ensure consistency and integration within all activities and processes across the entire IT environment, providing end to end business-related functionality and quality. (SD 2.4.2) People:   Have to have proper skills and possess the necessary competencies in order to get involved in the provision of IT services. The right skills, the right knowledge, the right level of experience must be kept current and aligned to the business needs. Products:   These are the technology managem