ITSM emphasis on aligning underpinning contracts with SLAs

Here's another sacred cow of ITSM that I'd like to turn into sausage: "the underpinning contract service level targets (SLTs) must align with our SLA's SLTs".

Use SLA response metrics that matter

Using indirect KPIs is always a dangerous distorter of behaviour. if you want the SLAs to ensure the appropriate resources are applied and to drive the size and location of teams required and the spare part/hot swap stock size and locations, then write the SLAs so they define the appropriate resources to be applied by priority of incident for that service and define the size and location of teams required and the spare part/hot swap stock size and locations by priority of service. Don't make the behavioural causal chain any longer than it need be - you'll get all sorts of unintended consequences.

The most important IT monitoring tools are those that measure the end user experience

It has always seemed to me that most IT monitoring and measuring tools are very self-serving. They look at the world from the internal IT silo perspective. In ITSM terms they are mildly interesting diagnostic tools for incident and problem resolution, but in terms of service level measurement the only really useful tools are the ones that measure the end user experience.

SLAs that promise a resolution time are like firemen promising to put a fire out

Some SLAs assign a key metric to how long IT is going to take to resolve incidents. Really. This is like firemen promising to put a fire out in ten minutes. Worse still if an SLA makes this mistake it almost always also has it the wrong way round.

SLAs: measuring an ITSM service as a black box is essential

Measuring a service as a black box is essential. Simply because it is impossible (in a practical sense) to discover and measure every link in a service chain, it is impossible to build a complete composite view of a service's performance bottom-up from the component CIs.

SLAs undermine business alignment

With the exception of outsourcers, IT departments are not a distinct business inside the business, and they should not behave like one. We are all on the same team, so we should be working in a spirit of trust and collaboration. SLAs introduce an adversarial formal negotiated relationship which is inappropriate when two units of the same organisation interact.

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