Most IT operations shops establish some sort of service level agreement (SLA) with their users and customers. To my mind, these are equal parts commitment and expectation management. To a commercial vendor, the former is usually the focus, whereas the latter is typically the focus for an in-house vendor.
Last week, I defined the three KPIs I believe are what you need to understand how well your support department is operating. Defining them, however, is just part of the job; if you don’t understand what they are telling you, you might as well not bother measuring at all. Let’s look at each in turn:
Metrics – often referred to as “Key Performance Indicators” or simply “KPIs” – are a necessity, regardless of your field. If nothing else, it’s nigh impossible to say anything meaningful about performance without them, and improving the performance is turned from something quite achievable. to a Sisyphean task.
I hold that any successful business venture must operate on three levels; the operational, the tactical, and the strategic. These dimensions must also be kept in mind when making plans. There is nothing revolutionary in the underlying ideas, but I think it is worthwhile to define the terms, to bring about a (more or less) unified understanding of them.
I have previously written about my frustration with always requiring experience when hiring. Now, I’m not saying that requiring experience doesn’t have its place – it certainly does. What I am saying is that listing it as a requirement should be justified by the needs for what the successful candidate will be expected to deliver, and that employers need to think long and hard about what they must have from their new employee, and what they can take the time to teach.