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My new job

I want to give a bit of background into how I got the role, what it’s about, and how I see it moving forward. In my previous post I called it an ‘ideal role’, so I wanted to talk more about it.

I gave my CV to Deidre, to have it passed on to appropriate people at her workplace. It went through a ‘passing around’ process for a few weeks, sitting in people’s in-trays before being passed on again, until it reached the director of IT services. They took a look at it and could see that I had the potential of fulfilling a need they had. So they contacted me and we had a meeting.

When I discovered that their service desk had no key performance indicators (KPI’s) for the staff, nor any service level agreements (SLA’s) with their clients, I knew they had some problems. They’ve apparently been this way for quite a few years now, with no one taking ownership of putting these things in place.

Without KPI’s the staff have no measurement of their performance. This means that there’s no accountability – they can do whatever they like, however they like, because there’s no processes measuring their performance. It also means that there’s no incentives like bonus schemes, performance rewards, etc. Staff morale can suffer as a result.

Without SLA’s with the clients, there is no standard agreement of what service can be provided, or what the expectations of both the client and the staff are. As a result, the client can make any demands of the service desk that they like, because there’s no agreed service provision.

So you have a situation where the service desk can receive unreasonable demands from the client, who expects to get what they want because there’s nothing saying they can’t. Then you have the service desk that can’t be bothered giving the service the customer demands, because there’s nothing saying that they have to.

It results in dissatisfaction at all levels.

Lucky for me my IT career came to fruition in a service desk environment that had efficient processes already in place. I ‘grew up’ in a ‘best practices’ environment. I also underwent training and became qualified with ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a standardisation of service desk, service delivery, and service management processes). I’ve also gained experience with implementing ‘best practices’ on a service desk that catered to over 8,000 client staff.

I can understand why the IT director thought that I could be an ideal candidate to implement changes in a service desk that currently has no ‘best practice’ processes.

I’m really looking forward to this role. It’s going to be highly challenging, but also highly rewarding. It will be a coming together of a lot of my past experience and interests, working with process improvement and management. I can see it opening a whole new pathway ahead of me, moving away from my technical background and into business management.

One of the first things I’ll be doing will be to understand the expectations of those I’ll be reporting to, and set in place weekly progress reports for them. I’ll also need to start the analysis process by meeting everyone that’s currently experienced in the service desk, one at a time, and spending time with them to understand what it is they do, and how they do it, and also take note of how they think it can be improved.

This will be important to analyse those processes and work out how to improve them, in relation to ITIL ‘best practices’. I’ll be creating improved workflow diagrams and process charts, which will then need to go through reviews to see if it actually improves how they do things, and refinements will be made.

Once the service desk processes are improved, based on what services they can deliver, SLA’s will need to be drawn up with the clients so that they not only get the service they’re expecting, but that it’s also the service that the service desk can actually deliver.

It’s at this point that the KPI’s need to be worked on. There needs to be penalties for not meeting the SLA’s, and these penalties need to be managed through the KPI’s. Staff will need to know that if they don’t meet client expectations – according to the SLA – that their performance as individuals suffers, because of the effect is has on service delivery.

Everyone needs to be onboard with these changes, because each person on the service desk is responsible for meeting the SLA’s. When service delivery is exceeded, there needs to be rewards for those staff that go ‘above and beyond’, and KPI’s help ensure that. It also helps ensure that when service delivery is not up to scratch, that the responsible staff might receive more training or development, etc.

This is the kind of stuff I loved being part of when I was in New Zealand, and my involvement in it has helped me get this job now. I’m really looking forward to it, and where it’s going to take me in the future.

I can see it helping me move forward as a manager, doing what I love doing – process improvement, business analysis, that kind of thing. This is an excellent step for becoming a consultant and working for various client organisations, helping them improve their processes and practices.

With improved processes, work gets done more efficiently. Productivity, morale, client satisfaction… these all improve, and the end result is that the business makes more money. These are important to a business, whether they’re a commercial entity or a government department. Doing things better is what it’s all about.

I can see myself going a long way with this, possibly even starting my own process improvement consultancy some years in the future, having business and process analysts available to contract out to businesses and organisations.

Every business can find room for improvement. Increased revenue resulting from more efficient processes justifies the expense of initiating process improvements.

And I love doing it. 🙂

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