Monday, March 21, 2011

Use metrics to improve service not punish the delivery team

To improve service delivery, you must measure it but before you start there are a few things you should think about.

If you just use metrics for Service Level Agreement Management to ensure vendors are delivering agreed-to levels of service you are missing out on an opportunity to make your organization more competitive and reduce business risks.
Firstly define what measurements are important to your organization.  Are you trying to improve service quality,  the cost or value of service?  Whatever you decide you should measure these factors consistently and make sure you report on measures consistently.  This consistency will ensure that the audience sees the metrics as legitimate.

Ensure those resources being measured understand why and the goal of the measurement. Primarily use metrics to improve service not punish the delivery team and make certain that the delivery team understands that this is what's happening.  Without this you will not get their buy in and probably find that if they have control over the measurements there will be a lack of consistency that we already noted needs to be in place.
Ensure the audience of metrics understands what is presented, how the metrics support the goal of the organization and that the metrics are presented in context to the goals.

Increase morale with the good news stories from metrics.  There's bound to be some so make sure that the good press gets out there.

Capture metrics in as few places as possible as they happen.  The fewer places used to capture metrics in your processes, the more consistent they will be.

Utilize real time metrics for better and faster business decisions.  Do metrics show a pattern?  Do metrics show a change in business environment?
Use metrics to control costs by looking at factors like, are your most expensive services producing their share of revenue?

Build a continuous improvement culture from your metrics.  Use trending to identify areas of improvement.  Value metrics can help make governance decisions.  Use your metrics to set metric based goals.  Set future goals on improvement of current metrics.
Use metrics to control change.  Implement change when it makes sense to do so and ensure changes stabilize before additional changes are made.

Be aware of “cause and effect”.  Measurements can cause unwanted behaviour.  I once had a client who wanted to improve their service desk's "Resolve on first call" metric.  They did this by spending much more time on each call and the net result was dropped calls.  Sure, the percentage of calls answered that were resolved without the need for a callback increased but customer satisfaction dropped through the floor and caused the user community to bypass the service desk altogether.

Be willing to refine measurements as more information becomes available or the situation changes.

Understand how the metric related to either revenue or cost.  If a service is 5% less stable does that cost you $10 or $10,000?

Record metrics so they can be presented at different levels of abstraction.  The same metrics should be able to be presented at a team level, department level and corporate wide.

If you follow these tips you can really use your service metrics for service improvement.

For more information on service metrics contact

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