Let’s talk about getting work done in IT. Today’s technology leaders are managing huge change portfolios. There’s just so much going on, in terms of moving technology operations to the cloud and adopting new development practices such as DevOps. Add to this the need to transform how technology teams are organized, the adoption of IT operating model changes such as service integration and management (SIAM), and aligning with digital transformation objectives through frameworks such as VeriSM. Plus, amidst this turmoil, we can’t turn off business demand. Business stakeholders still want business projects delivered, incidents resolved, and requests fulfilled. They still move offices with alarming regularity, onboard new staff, and initiate major change programs seemingly on a whim. So, how do you actually get any work done with so much competing demand for your time and efforts?How do you actually get any work done with so much competing demand for your time and effort? Here @SteveBMorgan shares his advice. #ITSM Click To Tweet
Getting work done
In my experience, there are some constant truths or guiding principles that every IT leader must recognize in managing inbound work and getting work done. Here are six of these “truths”. You need to:
- Think of the technology team in the context of a demand and supply model where every item of new work coming in should be viewed as demand. This work must be categorized, and workflows defined for each work type. You also need to have a workforce to deliver this work, comprised mainly of people but supported by automation and processes.
- Have a process to capture incoming work, assess its category, and send it in to the correct workflow. This is critical for handling new work effectively.
- Have the means to consistently categorize work (as per #2). This is vital. For example, what differentiates a project from an enhancement, a small change, or a request? All of these potential categories must be defined, and the characteristics of each work type defined to enable them to be easily recognized.
- Ensure that each work type has supporting workflows to get the work to the teams that can do it quickly.
- Ensure that each work type has an appropriate level of supporting governance to handle exceptions.
- Set an expectation around how quickly each work type will be able to be fulfilled. I’m hesitating to write the term “service level agreement (SLA)” here, as I believe the concept is outdated nowadays because customer experience is difficult to reflect in a one-dimensional target. However, understanding how long it typically takes to deliver a piece of work is important for resource planning as well as business expectation setting.
Let’s just make everything a lot harder!
Creating definitions of our incoming work types, developing workflows, employing automation, and setting targets, as well as having some form of resource management process, are all pretty basic manufacturing concepts. However, in technology, we seldom embrace these principles and often fall into the trap where all incoming work is subject to little or no consistent categorization.There are some constant truths or guiding principles that every IT leader must recognize in managing inbound work & getting 'stuff' done says @SteveBMorgan. Here he shares 6. #ITSM Click To Tweet
But wait! We’re in technology, so we’re certain to make this problem a lot harder than it needs to be – let’s adopt rapid development and deployment approaches and multi-vendor operating models where it’s a lot harder to have a single view of demand! Under these circumstances, we should seek to centralize the roles who perform the guiding principles above, not duplicate them in various parts of the organization.
In a SIAM model, we have the perfect opportunity to centralize these activities in a Service Integration function. A single team that has accountability for demand, resources, and workflow. Unfortunately, these aspects are rarely recognized in today’s multi-vendor, SIAM, operating models which tend to overly focus on the incident, request, and change processes.
To address this, start by recognizing the need for the guiding principles I outlined above. Assess your demand-management status quo in light of them and start to make changes for the better. As ITIL 4 states – “start where you are.”
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