Your ITSM Dream Team: Fitting Everything Together

InvGate October 5, 2015
- 6 min read

Over the past few weeks, we’ve posted a number of articles in our series on Building Your ITSM Dream Team.  If you haven’t had a chance to read through them yet, here they are in order.

Get In The Game! Do You Know Your ITSM Role?

How To Build Your ITSM Dream Team

How To Empower Your ITSM Dream Team

How Mobility can Benefit Your ITSM Dream Team

In today’s post we’re going to continue the discussion with a particular focus on engagement and morale.  We’ll give you some tips on getting your team members pointed in the same direction.  We’ll also show you how to keep annual performance reviews from being the bane of your existence!

Morale Matters

In an article I read recently, it was pointed out that only 13% of employees are engaged at work.  I started to think through the impact that has on a team’s morale, productivity, and in ITSM terms, how that might affect relationships with customers.  

When I envision the ITSM Dream Team, I am picturing a collection of helpful problem solvers that have a talent for listening.  The outcome is better resolution times, happier customers, and a team that takes a lot of pride (rightly so!) in their own consistent success.  For that dream to become a reality, I’ve got to pay a lot of attention to morale if I’m managing that team.

Another interesting nugget from that article is that by cutting through hierarchy, you get incredible access to the shared expertise of your team.  That immediately got me thinking about ways to enable and support team chemistry.  

Chemistry 101

When it comes to building team chemistry, there are no shortage of management methods to study, books you can read, seminars you can attend, or research sources to consider.  However, we find that the simplest approach is often the best.  With that said, we can look at the chemistry problem through the lens of something we’re well versed in here at InvGate - agile development principles.  

One nice thing about agile is that it’s inherently a problem solving methodology which makes it an excellent fit for the ITSM Dream Team.  Your techs are uniquely positioned to realize some of the best advantages agile has to offer but the benefit to team chemistry can’t be overlooked:

  • Agile keeps your entire team working towards a common purpose, instead of as a group of individuals
  • The iteration schedule and daily stand-ups give you a chance to quickly identify problems so that they don’t turn into systemic issues.   
  • Collaboration between team members is highly emphasized which means you have team building and the service desk manager doesn’t have to force it.

Now let’s take things a step further.  As a service desk manager, one of your primary drivers probably centres around keeping the team intact, and turnover at a minimum.  There’s a lot of information to support that engaged employees are more likely to stick around for the long haul so your starting point has to be engagement.  Here’s one process that might help:

  1. Start with your ideal customer review (or customer experience) and share that with your entire team.
  2. Let them brainstorm as a group and get some ideas going on how they will make it happen.  I find that Steven Covey’s philosophy is useful in this situation if your team needs help on where to start.
  3. When team members offer up complimentary contributions, encourage them to align and collaborate on the execution portion.
  4. Monitor the team’s execution on their portion of the vision with daily and weekly progress meetings.  Keep these meetings short and sweet, 10 to 15 minutes is all it should take.
  5. Share credit with your successful team members and publicly acknowledge their efforts among their peers.
  6. When a particular team member exhibits consistent excellence, make sure you’re sharing that up the chain of command.

This leads us right into the final element of today’s post - de-emphasizing the annual performance review.

Once a Year Just Isn’t Enough

Recently, Accenture decided to eliminate annual performance reviews from their operation.  On the surface this seems like a huge change but, in reality, it was a natural conclusion to a successful experiment.  Essentially, what they found is that managers and HR are better off when they spend their time providing employees ongoing feedback on their performance.

Circling back to the agile discussion, you can use things like a bi-monthly Sprint Review as a mechanism for providing real time feedback to your team.  Keep in mind, those meetings need to be a two-way street.  If a team member highlights a gap in terms of tools, process, or company culture - this is your chance to document and plan out a solution.  After your review session, take a couple of days to process the information and then meet with HR and your C levels to share your insights and recommendations for improvement.  

What’s Next?

Over the past couple of years there has been an increased emphasis on the #DevOps movement and it’s something we’ve watched closely.  The joining of development, operations, and IT means that teams are working together to reach the lofty business goals of tomorrow.  Historically these elements of the business operated separately so we’re going to give you some actionable tips to help you incorporate #DevOps into your ITSM Dream Team!

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