One the most overlooked aspects of ITSM is Continual Service Improvement (CSI).  CSI can be a heavy overhead for an organization especially if there is a lot of resource overlap between services. It’s also a scary thing for IT departments as it requires changes to existing processes which introduces additional risk in their services. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are small steps you can take to implementing CSI in a simple low risk manner.


4 small steps for initiating CSI

1. Gather information on what the current pains of the organization are
This can be done through simple customer/staff surveys or more comprehensive interviews.  It will boil down to what fits best for your companies internal culture on how to get the best feedback. Getting customer feedback is crucial and should be a major driver of the improvements.
2. Design a plan to improve the service based on feedback and findings
This should be done in a small iterative approach. Don’t try to change everything at once. Quick wins should be chosen over large expansive changes. One of my favorite tenets on change is from Jim Collins in his book Great By Choice. His philosophy is to shoot a few bullets and then fire your cannonball. Meaning making small calculated provable changes and only once you can prove your small changes have worth can you make the big sweeping changes that are required. This allows you to get customer and internal staff buy in before taking on a lot of risk from change.  So the key here is to prove your bullets are close to the target. You do this by building out KPIs before implementing your small changes, this also facilitates a better design by putting what matters first and gives you an ultimate goal. Far too often I have seen new implementations where the waterfall approach is taken to get everything right the first time to perfection instead of getting a good base to work from and building on top of it. Something else to consider in your design should be a way to educate all the people impacted by the changes and specifically what it means to them.
3. Implement the designed service improvements
Implementation can vary widely depending on the type of improvements you are looking to make. The main focus should be on collecting the data needed for your KPIs. If you have done your due diligence in the design phase the implementation should go smoothly.
4. Review improvement KPIs
Review KPIs with stakeholders. Determine what is working and what is not. Decide whether or not to fire a bullet or a cannonball. Once you have completed your review and analysis of all your improvement changes you start the process over again in the gathering stage.
This is process is merely to get you started in Continual Service Improvement. Once you have gained success you can move to a more conventional ITIL based CSI approach.
by Collin Parker, RightStar Systems