A solid review cycle is an essential part of any IT practice – with IT organizations that review and improve their processes and practices more successful than those that are stuck in firefighting mode and/or are in no position other than to maintain the status quo.
Reviewing the maturity of your IT service management (ITSM) practices means that you get to sense check what you’re doing day in, day out and to look at opportunities for improvement. To help, here are ten tips for conducting ITSM maturity assessments.
Tip #1: Understand your business
Know your organization and set your assessment cadence accordingly. What are your key drivers? To be agile? To demonstrate best practice? To meet regulatory requirements? Check your business-level requirements, and then you can start to plan.
Tip #2: Select your assessment methodology and scoring approach
There are lots of maturity rating methods out there. These include:
- The AXELOS ITIL maturity model.
Spend some time figuring out which one is best placed to support your organization such that you can focus on the right areas. The right methodology will also help you to plan your approach, suggest questions, help you to structure your assessment, and help you to use the results.
Tip #3: Set your scope
Don’t try to tackle everything in one go. Take your time such that you can really get a better picture of the end-to-end processes as well as any opportunities for improvement.
Tip #4: Conduct stakeholder mapping
Identifying and understanding the key players in your ITSM operations is a key step in any improvement activity. Stakeholders can include process owners, managers, customers, users, senior management, and third-party vendors. Book people’s time well in advance so that they can contribute to your maturity assessment.
Tip #5: Use the “chunk” approach
Don’t try to cram everything in one afternoon. You’ll end up rushing and people will get frustrated. Instead, break the work down into small achievable chunks of focused work – from where you’ll get the most value.
Tip #6: Use questionnaires to do some of the heavy lifting
Make it easier for people to give feedback – use questionnaires ahead of your scheduled workshops to get people in the right mindset. One question we always like to ask is, “If you could improve one thing, what would it be?”
Tip #7: Make your workshops count
Review the questionnaires and look at each ITSM process from triggers to outputs. What works well? What are the pain points? Is there anything that could be improved on? If the workshop stalls, try asking open-ended questions to encourage your attendees to open up, for example:
- “Tell me about the incident management process”
- “What works well in the current change management offering?”
- “Is there anything you would change around how we currently manage problems and known errors?”
A key activity in running maturity workshops is making people comfortable enough to talk honestly and to share their ideas. If you establish the right environment, then it’ll make the workshop flow and you’re more like to capture what’s working well and what needs to be fixed or improved upon.
Tip #8: Focus on process consistency and compliance
Look for gaps in process consistency. Are processes clear and easy to follow? Are hand-off points to related processes clearly documented and understood? If there’s inconsistency, it should set alarm bells ringing.
Tip #9: Evaluate maturity carefully
Score your ITSM maturity based on the questionnaires and workshops such that you have a tangible score for each process area. And when evaluating the maturity results, make sure you have someone else sense check the scoring so that you have an accurate representation of the relative process maturity.
Tip #10: Communicate results widely
Share your results as part of a CSI (continual service improvement, or the continual improvement practice if you’re already in an ITIL 4 world) approach so they drive further process refinements. Also consider adding the maturity assessment outputs to your CSI register so each improvement idea is documented, prioritized, and acted on.
So that’s our top ten tips for conducting ITSM maturity assessments. What would you add to this? Please let me know in the comments.