Monday, 9 December 2013

Service Management Getting Back to Basics - Part 3 - Incidents but no Failed Changes?

Did you ever have that friend who scored 99% on the test and someone asked “what about the other percent?” By nature many of us strive to achieve perfection. It is the desire to have things "just right" that in some cases prevents us from moving forward on so many other initiatives.


Think about this example:

You are receiving reports that your IT change success rate was 99% or better for the past several months. Let’s also assume that we are in a position where our incidents are increasing steadily.


I know that the Change Management group is smiling but let's not get too excited yet. Remember we still have that thing called 'the business', that despite your change report is having issues regularly. A closer inspection of the situation indicates that the increase in volume of incidents occurs in a regular pattern. There seems to be an increase on Tuesday mornings. not by fluke one of the organizations largest deployment window occurs on, you guessed it, Monday night.

The questions you need to start asking are:
  • Are the incidents actually caused by the changes?
  • Why these changes are being marked as successful when they aren't
  • Is there a breakdown in communication between Incident and Change when the issues happen so the issues aren't recognized as related?

There are likely others we could ask but let's start with the basics here

I have always been an agent for communication. So the first thing to start with is the working relationship between the incident and change teams. Where can we improve the ability to identify when these incidents caused by changes occur? This is the start and we all know it may not be obvious in the beginning.

Does your change team know that there are issues. Working together to relate these issues will not only help to relate incidents to changes, it will help the Change team to see any process gaps they may have, but ultimately our customers get a better experience down the road. In some cases a weekly review of past changes and incidents can pull up those changes which may not be obvious or have been completed in the past week or so. 

Prepare to see a drastic change in the "successful change" metric. While it may look bleak to some it is a more accurate representation of what the business experience is really like. This will allow you to strategize a way to make improvements once you see what you are really working with. Commit to reviewing this at a regular intervals to ensure you stay on target. 



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