Updated: May 29, 2019
I am not suggesting my article refers to all IT organisations’ however, I am suggesting this applies to many.
IT is probably one of the few organisations within a company that very rarely measures itself, and I ask myself why is this? Is this because IT is completely disconnected from the business? Is this because IT consumes itself in throwing money and resources at projects without aiming to solve the problem? Do IT know what the problem is?
I appreciate the issue differs from one IT organisation to another however, I do question the relationship between the service management office (SMO), the project management office (PMO) and learning and development (L&D). These three elements play a major role in contributing to the value chain from an IT perspective.
In the eyes of many businesses, IT service management (ITSM) is typically perceived as operational, incurring ongoing running costs translated as indirect costs (overheads), projects as triggered initiatives incurring capital/investment expenditure, and where the PMO directly impact the SMO accordingly, and L&D as an indirect cost that indirectly impact both the PMO and SMO.
If we cannot define something then we cannot control it, if we cannot control something then we cannot measure it, and if we cannot measure something then we are unfortunately managing nothing.
So, firstly taking a brief look at project management; what is defined as a project? I once reported to the business that there were 38 projects currently outstanding which was consuming time and resource to find that the business was only aware of 2 of these projects! So, what did the remaining 36 projects comprise of? What was it that initiated these projects in the first place? And, was the impact on service management considered as part of the project approval process in terms of operational funding including skills and capabilities etc? Were these projects not really projects and just expensive service requests based on luxury or executive privilege, or were these projects initiated internally from within IT itself with zero consideration to the business, e.g. were these projects based on improving business efficiency, solving a business problem, enhancing the business service portfolio or based on just someone’s personal preference?
Secondly, service management appear to be keen telling you things like:
How many IT changes were implemented?
How many incidents occurred
Peaks in technology usage
But how many tell you:
What is the efficiency and effectiveness rate for processing IT-related changes?
How much operational labour is waste versus providing value to the business?
What is the customer/business impact rate for incidents and problems?
Based on objectives, critical success factors (CSFs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) service management are able to define the metrics for measurement, in other words adopting a service measurement model that would be incorporated into the service value system (SVS) or otherwise known to many as a service management system (SMS). But many SMOs do not have such a model, ITSM in some organisations just fix things and do stuff. How can we measure “things” and “stuff”?
L&D authorise and/or sponsor skills development and in some cases have internal L&D systems that provide a platform for developing staff skills and capabilities. In fact, as a result IT personnel have undertaken industry recognised training courses and have even become certified however, we are still waiting to see any evidence in the workplace! Where is the service configuration system? Why do we still have an expensive service desk management system tool that performs no better than an excel spreadsheet?
What is the intended business outcome? How does the business perceive value? What outputs are required to satisfy these outcomes? If we cannot define something then we cannot control it, if we cannot control something then we cannot measure it, and if we cannot measure something then we are unfortunately managing nothing….