Measure what is measurable …

… and make measurable what is not so.
(Galileo Galilei)

Today, IT Organizations are facing the challenge to provide proof that they deliver qualified services as agreed with their customers. For sure, ITIL and IT Service Management are useful tools that help you to give that proof, but still they are not working miracles. Anyone who is dealing with ITSM and ITIL soon realizes that some customers are far from being open to enter into a binding mutual agreement about Services or Service Features. And they have several good reasons for it. The same counts for many members of the IT staff. But what’s really behind all this?  – It’s the fact that we are only human!

How to deal with different expectations regarding Service Delivery

Almost everyone has experienced it at some time or another: You are convinced that you did everything right, but still your customer is not satisfied. In terms of Quality Management this phenomenon is caused by so-called GAPs – or in other words, the different perceptions about the services delivered.  Dr. Friedemann Schulz von Thun, well-known German expert in Communication Psychology, explains that “The truth is not what you say, but what someone else understands.” This statement shows that it is essential for the IT Service Organization to deal with customer requirements carefully.

Gaps between customer expectations and their perception by the Management must be identified at an early stage. This requires a high level of sensibility and an affinity to the liability of commitments from the IT Organization. Moreover, a successful IT Organization must be able to critically question requirements in good time. It’s not about knowing it all, but to ask the right questions at the right time.

How KPIs provide transparency and a sound basis for argumentation

This specific ability is a big challenge for all members of the IT Organization. They need to perform a balancing act between social, professional and methodological competence.

The IT Organization is supposed to support the business processes of its customers. It provides proof for performance with the help of measurements that lead to a validation and justification of past decision-making.

According to ITIL, measurements are also supposed to support the management of processes and services. Monitoring and measuring are both activities supporting the organization to reach defined goals – and in the end, you will always have to justify yourself for what you did. In this case, measuring can also protect you from unjustified criticism.

One step ahead with a proactive approach and professional Management

Measuring helps you to engage early in order to avoid undesirable consequences. Activities like counting screws and determining rejection rates are based on hard facts and figures. Therefore it is rather unlikely that provider and customer will have different opinions about the method used to measure.

But this is slightly different with IT Services. This business needs people with a special sense of empathy and a lot of social competence, who can introduce their ideas for improvement and promote identified potential for improvement on the basis of valid and solid measurements. And it also needs a common understanding about the measurement methodology. Finally, this is the only way to secure smooth communication between Service Providers and Service Recipients.

Quality Assurance made easy – With the right tool and an efficient measuring method

It is essential for service departments and service companies to include methods for measuring quality as complementary actions in their strategic planning.  If you are not measuring today, you are just acting presumptuously. And the same goes for IT Service Management Tools. Of course, technical tools for example need a modular, solid architecture on the one hand – but on the other hand, they also need profound measuring methods.

Only tools that offer measurement features have a high value for the IT Service Organization and provide the necessary room for reliable quality verification. Even if your customers don’t want specific measurements yet, you should better consider to introduce them anyway. Because in the end, a professional and objective kind of justification might help you to provide your customers with some unexpected insights. And nobody is immune to that.

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