ITIL v3 Foundation Certification Notes: Continual Service Improvement


itil v3 foundation: continual service improvement

[ITIL® v3 Foundation Notes]  Continual Service Improvement affects all stages of service management. It aims to improve the overall service in an organization in a continual manner. The Seven-Step Improvement Process is introduced as the major process for the Continual Service Improvement stage of the ITIL® service lifecycle.

Service Measurement

  • Measurements are critical to the success of continual improvement
    • all processes must be measurable in an objective way
    • role of measurements:
      • assessment of the current status
      • identification of improvement areas
      • assessment of the improvements made
    • types of measurements
      • availability
      • reliability
      • performance
  • [definition] Critical Success Factor (CSF) is something that must happen if an IT service, process, plan, process, or other activity is to succeed
    • no more than two to five CSFs per process for manageable results
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are used to measure whether the critical success factors are achieved
    • no more than five KPIs, two to three KPIs in the early stage when maturity level is low
    • can be quantitative (e.g. cost) or qualitative (e.g. customer satisfaction)
    • check whether a KPI is fit for use – relevant, accurate and useful
  • Types of Metrics
    • [definition] a metric is a scale of measure that allows you to define what is to be measured
    • e.g. percentage reduction of unsuccessful changes, average cost of testing a change
    • Technology Metrics – associated with managing service components using monitoring systems, e.g. availability and performance
    • Process Metrics – captured in terms of the CSFs and KPIs, to assess quality, performance, value, and compliance of the process
    • Service Metrics – a measure of the end-to-end service performance, results from technology and process metrics

Purpose, Objectives and Scope of Continual Service Improvement

  • Continually searching for enhancement to improve the whole lifecycle, including CSI for cost saving and enhanced capability
  • a closed-loop feedback system, based on the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) model specified in ISO/IEC 20000, is established and capable of receiving inputs for change from any planning perspective

Purpose of Continual Service Improvement

  • to continue to support the business with IT services in response to changing business needs
    • including all processes, management, 3rd party suppliers
  • to seek ways to improve service effectiveness, process effectiveness and cost effectiveness

Objectives of Continual Service Improvement

  • ensure correct and ample measurements are collected from processes
  • recommend improvement opportunities by reviewing and analyzing measurements from processes
  • review service level achievements by comparing to SLA
  • improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of IT service without affecting the quality

Scope of Continual Service Improvement

  • all aspects of the service lifecycle, from strategy through design, transition, and operation
    • overall health of IT service management
    • alignment of IT services to business development by measuring values of CSI and conducting customer satisfaction survey
    • maturity and capability of the organization and people by carrying out maturity assessments and compliance audit
    • continual improvement of all aspects

ITIL® Continual Service Improvement Approach

  1. Identify the vision that drives the improvement initiative – alignment with business strategies
  2. Objective assessment of the current state – baseline of business, people, process and technology
    • baseline is verified snapshot of the environment at a particular time
    • baseline is to be captured at regular intervals
  3. Identify an achievable target – better in smaller steps
  4. Identify actions to meet the target – process / technology improvement, staff training, etc.
  5. Measure the achievements – review whether targets are met with measurements like maturity matrix
  6. Keep on improving

Output of Continual Service Improvement

  • CSI Registry
    • record all individual improvements as improvements may be made concurrently
    • is a service asset managed by the service knowledge management system (SKMS)
    • includes: ID, Relative size, Timescale, Description, Priority, KPI metric and Justification
  • Improvement Program Documentation

Deming Cycle (PDCA Cycle)

  • proposed by W. Edwards Deming
  1. Plan – planning the activity for improvement (define metrics and measurements) (for governance control)
  2. Do – implementing a new project for improvement initiatives
  3. Check – checking and reviewing results of the improvement through measurements
  4. Act – implementing modifications / corrective actions to the actual process and to determine whether a new project is needed

Seven-Step Improvement Process

  • While these seven steps appear to form a circular set of activities, in fact, they constitute a knowledge spiral.
  • Purpose
    • to define and manage the steps required to implement improvements successfully
      • identify and define the measurements and metrics
      • gather, analyze and report the data
      • manage the implementation
  • Objectives
    • identify improvement opportunities in cost and quality with financial justification (a business case if more complex)
    • identify the measurements and metrics
    • continually review services to ensure they are aligned with business objectives
  • Scope
    • analyze performance and capabilities throughout the lifecycle (maturity)
    • make the best use of latest technology
    • improve organizational structures

Seven Steps (DIKW Model)

  1. Identify the Strategy for Improvement (Wisdom)
    • establish the overall vision for the business – how to best benefit the business?
    • all initiatives being considered are entered into CSI register
  2. Define What You Will Measure (Data)
    • confirm a finalized improvement measurement plan with service strategy and service design
    • perform gap analysis to identify improvements
  3. Gather the Data (Data)
    • monitor and capture exceptions, resolutions and trends with the data
  4. Process the Data (Information)
    • process data into information (analyzed in context)
  5. Analyze the Information and Data (Knowledge)
    • understand the trend in data and the reasons behind
    • compare data to KPIs and targets
  6. Present and Use the Information (Knowledge)
    • present in the correct format with the appropriate details according to audience types:
      • customers – meet targets?
      • senior IT management – CSFs and KPIs
      • internal IT – KPIs to help planning improvements
      • suppliers – KPIs of their own services
  7. Implement Improvement (Wisdom)
    • implement the improvement (including submitting a business base if required)
    • a new baseline is established after the improvement and the whole cycle begins anew

Conclusion: ITIL® v3 Foundation Continual Service Improvement

This ITIL® v3 Foundation study note touches upon the definition, purpose, objectives and scope of Continual Service Improvement. The Seven-Steps Improvement Process is introduced together with the Deming Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act), the DIKW model as well as measurement.

This is the last part of the series of ITIL® Foundation study notes. I have also published an article on last minute ITIL® Foundation revision notes for the exam by extracting all the essential bits from all of the notes in this series. I personally brought the last minute notes to the exam centre for really last minute revision.

 

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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2 Responses

  1. Philip says:

    Are there courses that teach metrics?

    I have been tasked to measure network operations center (NOC) performance. Thanks