Do You Need to Invest More in Your Continual Improvement Register?

Continual Improvement Register
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When undertaking ITIL continual service improvement (CSI), or continual improvement as it’s now called in ITIL 4, it’s advisable to have a list of what you’d like to improve. ITIL v3/2011 called this list of improvement ideas a CSI register, with it now a continual improvement register in ITIL 4. Although feel free to call it whatever you like as long as you have one and use it well. This article looks at what’s needed to keep your continual improvement register useful.

This article by @Joe_the_IT_Guy looks at what’s needed to keep your continual improvement register useful. #ITIL4 #ITSM Click To Tweet

The continual improvement register

The CSI register was new in ITIL v3 and the idea behind it is simple – capture all the possible opportunities to make things better and then prioritize the ones to action first (and potentially at all).

The continual improvement register can be a valuable tool. However, it’s often seen as being a project-like capability – with a single list created and then ditched once the entries have been addressed. In fact, ITIL v3/2011’s CSI improvement process probably reinforced this. Where the CSI process generates the ideas that populate the CSI (continual improvement) register, the ideas are then analyzed and prioritized, action is taken, and voila things have improved.

But continual improvement isn’t a project-like thing

The word “continual” is important here. It means that the improvement is never over. It doesn’t matter what has already been achieved, there’s still going to be scope, and the need, for more improvement.

When you created a continual improvement register it probably felt like a project. However, it’s not a case of simply populating the register once and working through its entries until they’ve all been addressed or dismissed. Instead, it should be a living thing.

When it comes to a continual improvement register, it’s not a case of simply populating the register once & working through its entries until they’ve all been addressed or dismissed! #ITSM Click To Tweet

Your continual improvement register will need:

  • Feeding – with the addition of new improvement ideas over time. Without this, your continual improvement register will diminish in terms of both size and value.
  • Spring cleaning – ideas will leave the register as they’re addressed or rejected. But there’s also a need to periodically update those that still remain. Why? Because as the technical and business landscapes change over time so will the improvement opportunities and their worth. Those environments change and so each idea should continually be reviewed and updated.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

Feeding your continual improvement register

Genuine continual improvement should include the continual capture and consideration of improvement ideas. However, it’s easy for new ideas to go unnoticed and unactioned. Why? Because how often do staff and other business stakeholders have ideas about how things could be better, but they’ve nowhere to send/put them.

Genuine continual improvement should include the continual capture and consideration of improvement ideas, says @Joe_the_IT_Guy. #servicedesk Click To Tweet

So, to feed your continual improvement register, expand your continual improvement procedures to cover the capturing of improvement ideas on an ongoing basis. There are many possible ways to do this. For example, formal staff-suggestion schemes, discussion groups, and incident and problem record reviews.

Spring cleaning your continual improvement register

The entries in your continual improvement register might be categorized based on a range of factors. For example:

  • Cost
  • Speed to implement
  • Speed to deliver returns
  • The scale of return/degree of business benefit
  • Difficulty – any or all of technical, procedural, and in selling the idea to business or staff
  • Political impact.

All of the factors will change over time. This means that every one of the entries in your continual improvement register will need to be reevaluated frequently.

I suggest that you regularly schedule time for continual improvement register entry reviews. Where you and your colleagues consider a range of aspects for each entry. For example:

  • Is the basic information still valid?
  • Has the priority-level changed?
  • Has a technological change made a significant difference to an idea?
  • Have senior management changes affected the buy-in for each idea?

The effort spent wisely on this review task should more than pay for itself in terms of keeping your captured improvement ideas accurate and relevant.

How do you ensure that all your organization’s improvement ideas are captured and kept fresh? Please let me know in the comments.

Joe The IT Guy is a native New Yorker who loves everything connected to IT service management (ITSM). He's a passionate blogger and twitter addict, and is also the resident IT guy at SysAid Technologies.

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