What are the impacts when people are not following the process

By ITIL® from Experience©

The consequence of not following the established process1 results in various impacts that in some cases endangers people and can even result in loss of lives (e.g. disinfecting before a medical procedure is recognized worldwide as a necessary task, completing the airplane's pre-flight checklist to prevent in-flight issues).

When people do not follow the process they discard the wisdom built into it from the experience and knowledge of the people who developed it and best practices like ITIL®. It also throws away the lessons learned and refinements made over time through continuous improvements. Moreover, not following an established ITIL® process has affects the value and benefits specific to that process like Change Management as well as affecting the integrity of the overall framework.

The following are some general examples of impacts when Clients and IT Staff do not execute processes.

Clients are:

  • Confused since they don't know where to ask for service (i.e. no single-point of contact)
  • Frustrated since they get inconsistent answers from IT and unpredictable service levels (e.g. “last week it was this, now it’s this #%$@!”)
  • Shopping around for the answer they want (e.g. “I’ll just call back later”)
  • Creating their expectations and after a while never know what to expect from IT
  • Adopting the most helpful and agreeable IT Staff as their favorite and personal service provider
  • Relying on their favorite IT Staff to get service instead of using the established channels (i.e. backdoor access to services)
  • Enduring unnecessary delays as they wait for a particular IT Staff:
    • To have time to address their issue
    • To come back from vacation since it is the only individual who knows what needs to be done and/or how to do it because they do not trust that they will be served well by someone else.

IT Staff:

  • Take more time to deliver services because:
    • Meetings are needed and emails exchanged to figure out who does what, or
    • Decisions are required and waited upon instead of relying on business rules
  • Deal with unnecessary incidents because services were not rendered accurately or appropriately
  • Cause additional service requests when services were not rendered completely (e.g. computer was re-imaged but the printer drivers were not re-configured)
  • Make it difficult for IT Staff to go on vacation or turn off their smartphones while on vacation because they are the only ones who know what was done or how to do it
  • Have no reliable process documentation since it does not reflect what is actually being done
  • Are needlessly interrupted (phone calls, emails, chats or walkups) to assist other staff resulting in two more people being needed to deliver the service instead of RTFM2
  • Cannot provide standardized training which increases the learning curve of new staff
  • Spend more time troubleshooting and identifying root cause to figure out what someone has done and unnecessarily rely on key Subject Matter Experts to resolve issues
  • Don't know which Clients are entitled to request services, who has the authority to approve it or if they should be providing the service or not so they either:
    • Incorrectly tell Clients that they are not entitled to the service, or
    • Are providing the service anyway to please Clients regardless of IT’s strategy or long term impact to both IT and the business (e.g. increased support cost and effort, lack of sustainability of funding or adequate architecture to meet business requirements)
  • Are making impossible for the Service Desk to provide clear and definitive answers. Thus, Clients second guess the Service Desk Agents which cause them to confirm their answers with other IT Staff which uses resources unnecessarily and increases service delivery time and Client frustration
  • End up with incomplete and inaccurate data in ITSM tools which means that the data cannot be trusted and management cannot make accurate decisions and the impact of a change cannot be determined based on the CMDB
  • Strain supplier relationships and increase costs due to one-off and urgent orders
  • Increase risks of:
    • Vulnerability and reducing the IT security posture
    • Invalidating Business Continuity Plans and recovery capabilities
    • Unavailability (resilience and redundancy)
    • Loosing compliance
    • Not scaling the capacity to meet the demand
    • Having a complex and fragile infrastructure
  • Are unable to develop SLAs or adequately manage service levels to meet commitments

These examples describe an environment where the service delivery is not under control, in other words in chaos. This leads to unnecessary delays, wasted resources and frustration.

Accurately applying the process, procedure, work instructions, policy, Standard Operating Procedure3 standardizes outputs and makes it easier to improve since pattern of issues can be identified (i.e. quality, wait-times, bottlenecks4 . It also standardizes actions and decisions and ensures that services are delivered consistently. Simply put, the fastest and simplest way to deliver services is for both Clients and IT to follow the established process.

Last updated on: 2016-04-01

"We should work on our process, not the outcome of our processes." W. Edwards Deming

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