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IT Operational Excellence: How the Puzzle Fits Together

This is the final part of a continuing series with Bob Anderson, IT Operational Excellence, presented by Anne Grybowski.

Bob Anderson suggests that the major take-away from his IT Operational Excellence Puzzle is to start small, but maintain momentum. Do not try to do everything at once. Get people to take ownership and give incentives. Furthermore, Anderson stresses that executive sponsorship and involvement is an absolute must. When using the Puzzle, executives must break through their comfort zones and resist the company’s urge to stay static. Change can be challenging, but Anderson reminds us that change is inevitable, far better to be planned and beneficial than random and chaotic. The inevitable chaos caused by resistance to change will never be successful. The more you follow Anderson’s advice, the easier it will be when changing habits and the way people work within an organization. The suggested changes should be well choreographed, like a ballet. Incremental, scheduled, with good communication will minimize organizational disruption and resistance to change. People are always the most challenging part of any organizational change initiative; however this can be significantly minimized by well-planned and communicated work or process changes. Make sure you involve all those who will be affected by the changes. After all they are the ones who are going to have to make them work.

It really has to do with the whole concept of organizational excellence. Are you really committed to operational excellence or are you going to pay lip service and try to hand it off to somebody else? If you are an executive, you have got to be committed to organizational excellence because it takes effort, it takes time, it takes setting plans, checking them, communicating and making sure they are being executed in line with the elements of organization excellence that we have discussed. If the executive says to let someone else do what needs to be done, I guarantee you they will not succeed.

Critical Success Factor: Commitment to the Puzzle

Every organization has trouble with one or another of areas within the IT Operational Excellence Puzzle. After securing commitment from leaders within your organization, breaking down each step individually and looking at critical success factors will help overcome challenges. After fitting all of the pieces together, operational excellence will be much easier easily to achieve.

Proper management from the Right Management System fosters an environment of commitment and the setting of goals. Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for Best Practices, so a committed leader is able to ensure that the practice they choose is best according to the goals and needs of their specific organization. Standard Process and Process Control are two separate pieces, but they both champion the notion of repeatable processes and deliverable elements that have been selected and customized to fit the needs of the IT Organization. Process selection and deliverable elements can be simplified through the use of industry standard best practices like ITIL and CMMI,. Standard Processes and Process Control can be used to identify relevant Metrics and suggest the means of collecting required data to measure performance against metrics. The Real-Time Data Repository suggests implementing an electronic repository to keep store of all the process, metric, work, resource, knowledge data in one central location for easy access and use. Knowledge Management institutionalizes knowledge that is necessary to perform the duties within the IT Organization, specifically that knowledge that is in people’s heads. A central knowledge repository will allow everyone in your organization to access all the critical knowledge that saves time imporves productivity, reduces wasted time and reduces errors. Finally, a Learning Organization enables the processes and captured knowledge to actively be used in the most effective manner through a formal process of training and mentoring. What good is knowledge if it is not used? These are all links in the chain leading to IT Organizational Excellence.

Remember, in the example of the IT Operational, Excellence puzzle , once you understand each individual piece and how each piece fits into the overall picture, implementing each phase of organizational excellence will become easier once the foundation is laid and people can experience derived from smoother, more predictable and productive IT operations.

It is not magic; you must be committed to all pieces of the Puzzle in order to have the best opportunity to succeed. Each puzzle piece supports and reinforces each other piece where they will hold together tightly, allowing you to achieve the desired IT Operational Excellence.

About Bob Anderson

Director of Product Development & Quality Assurance for CAI, principal architect of the IT Service Management Tool: Tracer, and known author, with more than 38 years of IT experience.

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