You have the incident management process defined. There is a process flow, priority matrix, a policy document, procedures, defined roles and responsibilities, and even a major incident process. The team understands the process and the customer expectations and IT is staffed appropriately to meet the needs of the business. Why is it that challenges continue to exist with responding appropriately and meeting expectations?
Incident management is a foundational element of IT service management and the process efficiency and effectiveness are very visible to the customer. When there is an incident, the end user is impacted and when the process breaks down, the end user feels the pain. If there are routine issues with responding and resolving incidents, the business will lose faith in the IT organization.
Perhaps the issue isn’t the process but it is the culture within IT that is affecting performance. While IT leaders may have stressed the importance of teamwork and meeting the expectations of the business, staff may not change their behavior.
Consider taking the following four steps to make incremental progress toward changing the IT culture as it relates to incident management:
1.) Deliver the message that everyone in IT is responsible for responding to and resolving incidents. Define what is meant by everyone to ensure the entire team is on the same page.
2.) Metrics, metrics, metrics – Develop and routinely review department and individual level metrics. Publicize department level metrics and talk with HR about publicizing individual metrics. Ask lots of questions to ensure your understanding of the metrics and to let the team know that the metrics are undergoing in depth review. Address issues quickly to reinforce the message about responsibility.
3.) Add incident related performance objectives into individual performance plans and be sure the objectives link to compensation. Ensure that changes to compensation are supported by the metrics.
4.) Ensure accountability exists within the leadership team for department performance and the performance of the individual team members. Provide training to leaders who appear to be uncomfortable having performance related conversations.
The above steps will require some time and energy. You may need third party assistance to assess the current situation and develop a focused plan based your organization. Be sure to consult your Human Resources team for assistance with employee issues. Long term, consider creating a focused initiative to change the overall culture of the IT organization. It is not an easy or quick process but it can produce some dramatic results which will translate to stronger employee engagement and higher customer satisfaction.