Improving the Chances of Success with a new ITSM Project

An emailer I’ll refer to as Peter asks what he can do to ‘improve the chances of success’ with his ITSM project. He describes his help desk as being reactive ('being honest, we just fix things when they break') and describes his users as unimpressed with the quality of IT Service. He adds that ‘I have no additional budget at all, and face losing one member of staff through cost cuts over the next 6 months. I have a simple helpdesk tool, and cannot buy anything else. But I need to start doing more and providing a more professional support service or I won’t be here next year’. Peter has 8 staff, and with staff costs his IT spend last year was £280,000 – this year it will be less to an unspecified amount.

First of all Peter, there are a lot of resources like this blog that are free that you can use – a spot of googling will locate them. I’d start by saying have a look at the IT Service Management category here, and at some of the white papers you’ll find on our home page.

Peter specifically asks for things that will improve his chances of success, and appears to be familiar with ITIL – indeed he mentions it twice in his email.

Firstly, I’d say you should be clear in what you want to achieve, and be wary of seeing ITIL (or any other service management framework) as an end in it’s own right – you should not be aiming to be ‘ITIL compliant’ because that of itself my not deliver what your company needs. Instead, look at things such as ITIL as a way to help you deliver improvements to service.

My editorial guidelines for blog articles require me to be practical, and so I’ll try to expand the paragraph above and be both practical and specific. When I say ‘be clear what you want to achieve’ I mean set real, tangible, specific objectives for yourself, and avoid generalities like ‘improve Incident handling’. Specifics might include things like:

  • Reduce the number of Incidents measured month-on-month by 10%
  • Improve our first-time fix rate
  • Reduce the downtime experienced on our key systems
  • Reduce the amount of time taken to resolve Incidents
  • Find out why our users/customers feel the way they do about us

..and so on. The objectives you set yourself will probably be linked to the weaknesses of your current IT support operation as you see it, but be specific and be ‘outward looking’. One of the traits which successful managers involved in ITSM seem to have is that they are outward looking – towards the organisation, business, and customers.

Properly set out, your objectives will help to keep you focussed and on-track.

I’ll continue this interesting topic in later posts.