3 steps to align your service management processes

Yay! You and your organization have decided to transform the way services are delivered. You have successfully implemented ServiceNow, the platform is live, and users are working with the tool. Everything seems to work smoothly, adoption is there… but over time you realize that there are things that could be improved. You’re facing one or several of the following issues:

  • People do use the tool… but in a heterogeneous and inconsistent fashion
  • The underlying rationale for why and how the tool should be used is unclear
  • Work done in different parts of the tool does sometimes not flow smoothly together
  • You want to document your processes but you are unsure where to start
  • Existing process documentation no longer correspond to the tool configuration
  • You struggle to produce meaningful management reporting

Time to align your processes
Long story short – you have realized that transforming the delivery and consumption of services might be more than just implementing a tool. You have to make sure your processes are aligned and to perform this, need to go through a structured set of activities and documentation.

But before starting: what is process alignment? It is an approach by which an organization can clarify the relationship between its processes and strategies. Process alignment allows baselining current ways of working with field-proven good practices. The overall goal is to enable continual process improvement supporting the organization’s capability to deliver services.

The 3 steps to take

1. Process review
Start with the big picture. Here are some points you should take into consideration:

  • What are your organizational drivers and pain points?
  • State clearly the mission, purpose, and objectives of the process
  • Review principles, critical success factors, as well as trigger points and main data flows
  • Agree on indicators (key performance indicators and metrics) to track performance

Once you have outlined the contours, you are ready to fill the shape with colours.

2. Procedure review
Drill down to where the real work happens: the procedures.

  • Review each procedure step: are they necessary? Can they be made more efficient?
  • Who is responsible for the procedure step? Is the corresponding role in place?
  • What are the data inputs and outputs to/from other procedures or other processes?

Each procedure step should represent a logical grouping of activities that contributes to the achievement of the overall task. Describe the actual work being performed in each step: this will be codified in instructions that can be understood and executed by any responsible role holder.

For each step, take note of your findings and the updates you want to implement to make sure you have them handy when you move to step 3 and create the final documentation.

3. Process modelling
The final step is to model the processes previously defined and more importantly: to make them accessible to everybody. For this you might want to use a Web-based tool. Try tools like axure.com, Gliffy, Creately, or the draw.io add-on for Google docs. Alternatively common tools like Word or Visio can be used, but maintenance and accessibility might prove more difficult.

Going through these 3 steps will help you adopting proven process best practices and adapting them as required for your organization. However, sometimes it can be hard to do things alone and make sure every detail is covered. This is why Fruition Partners has developed a Process Alignment Workshop service so you can save time and benefit from extra features, such as embedding your process model in your ServiceNow instance for example.

mm
Mikael is a versatile “IT all-rounder” with strong theoretical background and practical experience in application development and maintenance; data center/infrastructure operations and support; and service management process governance. He joined the company 3 years ago and works as Manager of Strategy & Advisory services. In his role, he develops methods and tools that help IT organizations navigate the road ahead and improve their performance.
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