Home �   ITIL�  Index

How to "Play the Game" of Good Service Management

Dec 12, 2006

Michael Cardinal

Well, go back to the basics. You have the rules, now ask the questions that help you interpret them—just like you did when you were young. What are the types of events, problems or changes that we encounter (playing field)? For which events will we open tickets and track (in-play)? Which events will we not track (out of bounds)?

What roles will we need or have (captains and teams)? How will we enforce the process (breaking the rules or cheating)? These are just a handful of potential questions. The important point is that you begin with questions and answers, not assumptions. Once you have answers put them in logical order and educate everyone about the rules.

Now that you have the rules, figure out if you have the right “equipment”. Do you have processes and procedures? Tools? Safety equipment? Uniforms? Are all these things necessary to play the game?

Without the right equipment it is often more difficult to play the game well. Once you know what you have, figure out what you need. What condition is the equipment in? Does it need repair? Determine where you will get those pieces of equipment and how you will get them.

Can they be built in-house? Purchased from a vendor? Do they need to be specialized like a cricket bat or a hockey stick? Can they be generalized like a ball that can be used for soccer/football or basketball or volleyball?

You may want a volleyball, but a soccer ball/football may suffice to get you started. For your equipment a well-know phrase applies: "No tools without the rules." The rules help you determine what equipment you need.

Once you have gathered the right equipment, make sure everyone knows how to use it. Conversely, make sure you know what skills your “players” have.

If you are playing baseball or cricket, can anyone serve as a catcher or wicketkeeper? For rugby or American football, can anyone serve as scrum-half or quarterback?

Make sure you match the correct skills with the correct role and the correct equipment. Can anyone serve as incident or problem or change manager? Perhaps, but you would be best served to find out before throwing someone into that position hoping they know what they are doing. The “game” could turn ugly very quickly.

As you can see, there is more to “playing the game” of good service management than just picking up a headset and answering calls from customers. It takes understanding and preparation, which in today’s fast-paced, get-it-done-cheap and get-it-done-quick world often gets overlooked.

Michael Cardinal is a business analyst at a large Midwestern insurance and financial services firm. He has been involved with service management for eight years. He is currently a Local Interest Group President for the IT service management Forum (itSMF USA) and served as the Conference Chair for the 2006 itSMF USA National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.