IT Governance

Keep it Simple: SLA and SLM

Service level agreements are great. Service catalogues are even better still. When you try to implement service level management without having a strong grasp on either of those two, you are going to run into trouble. Ryan Ogilvie writes at his blog about the purpose of SLAs and emphasizes the “service” in service level agreement.

Service for You, Service for Me

A service catalogue needs to outline services provided, and services should all be directly helping to further business goals. Thus, building the service catalogue requires a business perspective. There will be several times when IT thinks they understand the service that they are providing, but in reality it will not quite be true. Ogilvie thinks that IT sometimes needlessly complicates what could be pretty simple, so he recommends this instead:

In the beginning get the content from the business with their goals or outcomes in mind. Also get the information captured and validated in their terms rather than the IT (technical) viewpoint. Getting the business input might be a challenge if this hasn’t gone well before. [T]he key is to market this in a way which outlines how the success will be achieved and how their input and participation will directly contribute to that success.

Once you get these requirements down make sure that they are visible (not hidden away in a group share) and that they are in the same terms which were discussed with the business. Resist the need to make this a technical document.

You just need to make sure you are regularly revising once the thing is actually built. Ogilvie says the principles he outlines can be applied to any service catalogue, not just in IT.

To get the full story on service, you can read Ogilvie’s whole post here:

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