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The importance of CSI

CSI – that’s Continual Service Improvement, by the way, not Crime Scene Investigation – is, to my mind, the single most important stage in the ITIL service life cycle. It evaluates what has gone before, identifies areas for improvement, and aids in the implementation of improving. In an ideal situation, CSI informs all the other stages, and is the main driver for the service life cycle.

The basic premise and assumption made, is that there is always room for improvement, revision and change. By tightly controlling it, using metrics, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and CSFs (Critical Success Factors), we move ourselves, our business and our customers onward to better reliability and service.

A recent article in the Norwegian press dealt with the retirement from professional shooting of the premier Norwegian Skeet shooter, and London 2012 Silver Medalist, who used the opportunity to send some pretty scathing criticism in the direction of the leadership for the National team, saying that the manager was “the biggest amateur of them all”. In response to this, the manager of the national shooting team commented:

Following the evaluation of the last season, the most successful in several years, the shooters’ association found no reason to make any changes. That can’t be amateurish.

Now, the premise that the manager lays down is that, because they were unable to find any areas for improvement, they are not amateurs. My contention would be that they a) are amateurs and b) haven’t been looking hard enough. Sure, the current premier shooters may be as good as they will ever get, but that doesn’t mean that nothing can be changed or improved.

The arrogance of saying “we can’t find anything to improve, so we must be professionals” is staggering, and indicates to me that he is, indeed an amateur. Imagine if the foremost athletes in the world, on winning an Olympic gold medal, were to say “well that’s that, then, I have no room for improvement now”, how would the world of sports look?

No, we must define metrics, measure them and compare them to KPIs and CSFs. That is the way forward, onward and upward. Following the national team manager’s lead means that we can only ever be as good as we are, and will likely become worse.

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