An example of a measured change

In our first two articles we highlighted the importance of measurements and why opportunities identified in this manner many times face an uphill battle.  To continue the thread of “Service Management in the real world”, I thought it would be a good idea to share a successful change that was identified and supported by measurements from our own backyard.

When MSCOM Operations initiated our Account Management team they quickly established monthly meetings with our clients/partners - Product Teams – and one of the first areas of opportunities identified was our ability to procure and provide new servers in a predictable manner.  Service Management sprang into action and opened a Service Improvement Program (SIP) around our Hardware Fulfillment process following the standard approach

·         Become familiar with the input, outputs and end-to-end process by embedding themselves into the process, attending meetings and open-minded but critically questioning the rational for decisions

·         Examine the data captured during the lifecycle of a hardware fulfillment.  In this case the process was facilitated by a mixture of SharePoint lists, InfoPath forms and Excel worksheets

·         Identify the critical milestones and associate specific measurements form the data sources to these.  Our critical milestones turned out to be

o    Capture the request, project, time needed and environment (LAB or Production)

o    Validation by the Engineer team for cost, server details and approach

o    Ordering from our data center provider

o    Delivery from our data center provider

o    Operational Quality Assurance test and verification

o    Hand-over to the requestor –> Product Team/Client

·         Implement reports based on the data sources used to measure this life cycle.  Since the majority of this data was in a SharePoint solution it was extremely easy to create an excel powered report that dynamically updated a report for these milestones as the process moved along

The first indicator highlighted by this approach was a bottleneck in the Engineering team around approval authority which was quickly remediated moving the spotlight to a larger problem with our data center provider and their lead time to fulfill our client’s requests.  During a couple of months tracking and several meetings it became clear that MSCOM Operations had to implement a server buffer allowing us to meet our clients agility needs with our usual high quality service while we continue to work on the root problem. This is another example of the difficulties you may meet to implement an “obvious” change as outlined in our March article.

The Service Manager and Operations have continued to monitor the process, implemented several minor tunings to the process and are migrating to a MOSS (SharePoint 2007) solution in the coming weeks for improved data capture, KPI reporting and visibility.

After three months of engagement I am happy to say that we are at 72% delivery (up from 49%) and expect to reach inside the 90% of predictable delivery as our server buffer comes in place over the next couple of weeks.