My last post described a CSI Register as defined by the ITIL Continual Service Improvement book. In this post, I will dig deeper into some additional aspects of a CSI Register. I will discuss three important factors to creating a successful and useful CSI Register: accountability, the link to service level management, and prioritization.
Accountability for production, maintenance, and ongoing management of the CSI Register must be clearly defined and understood throughout the organization. ITIL indicates that the CSI Manager role is both accountable and responsible for the production and maintenance of the CSI Register. In my experience, in the absence of clearly defined and understood accountability, organizations tend be fairly good at identifying improvement opportunities but not very good at tracking or implementing any of those improvements. Those organizations that I’ve witnessed that have clearly defined accountability for various aspects of their CSI Registers tend to get more benefit from tracking, managing, and implementing improvements.
Link to Service Level Management
Many organizations think that service level management is all about documenting service level agreements. In fact, that’s only a small part of service level management. One of the key activities of service level management is a service review meeting—a regular meeting between the service provider and its customers to review the performance of a service in the context of a service level agreement and identify opportunities for improvement. Ideally, these opportunities for improvement are documented as part of an actively managed CSI Register.
Prioritization helps the organization determine what to work on next from a group of opportunities. ITIL describes priority for a CSI Register the same way it does for incidents. In other words, we have to consider the impact and urgency of the improvement opportunity and make decisions about which improvement opportunities to pursue based on those opportunities that offer the most benefit to the business. Assessing the priority of an incident is much more clear-cut than assessing the priority of an improvement. Organizations implementing a CSI Register must consider how they will establish the relative priority of various competing improvement opportunities.
A CSI Register is really easy to build. Notice how I haven’t said anything about tools in this post? That’s because everyone already owns the tools to easily build a CSI Register. What’s much more difficult about a CSI Register is clearly establishing accountability, defining a clear link with service level management, and determining an effective prioritization scheme for improvement opportunities.
ITIL Service Lifecycle: Continual Service Improvement