Table of Contents
Introduction to Process Management
|"A process that is never the same twice is not a process at all."
Michael Bays, Software Release Methodology
|"A process is a leverage point for an organization’s sustained improvement."|
CMMI Version 1.1 Continuous Representation, p. 1
A growing number of IT organizations are exploring how to develop and execute an IT process improvement program. However, for a variety of reasons many have simply not been able to address this issue. Some of the most often cited factors include not having the time, resources, or the skilled personnel to commit to developing a comprehensive IT process management program. And, of course, the budget tightening that has continued over the past few years has forced many IT organizations to focus on other initiatives. IT budgets are increasing, but the history of a high degree of IT failures and seemingly unchecked spending of the late 1990s has had its affect. [Note]
While IT organizations may measure and track certain aspects of the IT environment, (ie., database transactions, network uptime, trouble tickets, change requests), the ability to provide the end-to-end measurement and reporting of the IT transformational processes that govern these and other important process activities is often overlooked. There are many processes required to manage a technology organization. These include processes to manage customer-facing functions, internal department support, finance, procurement, and asset management. The issue is not whether IT has "business" processes, the concern is how they manage and measure the effectiveness of these processes and the value to the business[Ref].
The magnitude of such failures was recently highlighted in an informal poll conducted at a web seminar. Computer Economics, an online computer research outfit, co-hosted a web seminar, attended by over 75 technology leaders, on the topic of the importance that IT process architecture plays in developing an adaptive and agile IT organization. An interactive, online poll of the audience was taken regarding the effectiveness of IT process management. The seminar participants were asked the following question: "How effective is your IT process management strategy?" 70% responded that their strategy was NOT Effective while only 8% cited an effective strategy[Note].
Process Description - definitionA documented expression of a set of activities performed to achieve a given purpose that provides an operational definition of the major components of a process. The documentation specifies, in a complete, precise, and verifiable manner, the requirements, design, behavior, or other characteristics of a process. It also may include procedures for determining whether these provisions have been satisfied. Process descriptions may be found at the activity, project, or organizational level.
Capability Maturity Model, Integration (CMMISM), Version 1.1, Glossary, p. 642
Many organizations are concerned about the quality of their IT service management and are addressing this by implementing ITIL best practices. These best practices are described over ten sub-disciplines divided into two categories - service management and service delivery. The practices are described in each area, but the descriptions will vary by the requirements of the organization to successfully implement the practices in the area. In addition, there can be variability in how easily the sub-practices can be implemented. However, for the most part the best practices are geared towards enterprises with organizational capabilities between levels 2 and 3 on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) scale.
A key to achieving level 3 - a Defined level of management is the ability to develop, maintain and utilize process descriptions. These processes are intended to achieve operational consistency and to reduce process and hence service variations to the Customers. The delivery of services of known quality and consistency is a prime characteristic of a Customer-focused organization.
|A process-managed enterprise makes agile course corrections, embeds Six Sigma quality and reduces cumulative costs across the value chain. It pursues strategic initiatives with confidence, including mergers, consolidation, alliances, acquisitions, outsourcing and global expansion. Process management is the only way to achieve these objectives with transparency, management control and accountability
Howard Smith and Peter Finger, Business Process Management, Appendix B
|Firms seek to standardize processes for several important reasons. Within a company, standardization can facilitate communications about how the business operates, enable smooth handoffs across process boundaries, and make possible comparative measures of performance. Across companies, standard processes can make commerce easier for the same reasons—better communications, more efficient handoffs, and performance benchmarking. Since information systems support processes, standardization allows uniform information systems within companies as well as standard systems interfaces among different firms.
Standard processes also allow easier outsourcing of process capabilities. In order to effectively outsource processes, organizations need a means of evaluating three things in addition to cost. First is the external provider's set of activities and how they flow. Since companies have not reached consensus on just what comprises cost accounting or HR benefits management, for example, it remains ambiguous what services should be performed between buyers and providers. Therefore, organizations need a set of standards for process activities so that they can communicate easily and efficiently when discussing outsourced processes
Thomas H. Davenport, The Benefits of Business Process Standards, July 11, 2005
The goal of this process description is to develop a process "for managing processes". The importance of this is clearly cited in Business Process Management - The Third Wave".
|a company must manage its process portfolio with the same rigor that a venture capital firm uses to manage its portfolio of investment. They must organize a disciplined search for the best practices, inside and outside the firm; nurture and enhance promising processes; and consider the option of acquiring process from third parties through collaboration, purchase or alliance. Process portfolio management is a business process like any other and we recommend placing it too under "process management"
Howard Smith and Peter Finger, Business Process Management, p. 179
Process Management addresses the needs for CMMI enablers cited in the Appendix, most prominently - ’Establish and maintain the plan for performing the organizational process definition process.’
Specifically, this means:
Development of processes, procedures, policies and guidelines governing the storage and usage of the Process Library and supporting practices designed to ensure that activities conform to process descriptions and contribute to the continuous improvement of those processes.
|"institutionalization is further strengthened by the institutionalizationgoial in every PA [process area]. It indicates a set of prerequisites needed for implementing specific practices and ensuring that those practices are implemented"|
Boris Mutafelija, Harvey Stromberg, Systematice Process Improvement Using ISO 9001:2000 and CMMI, Artech House, 2003, ISBN: 1-58053-487-2, p. 133
How the Process Scales
How a process scales will reflect the manner in which adding resources results in additional capacity. In this regard good process "Scaling" facilitates good Capacity management.
Small organizations can benefit from ITIL as easily as large organizations, but, the manner in which the benefits accrue may be vastly different. Small IT units usually have two main responsibilities. [Note]
The larger the IT unit the more specialized will be the departments. A few characteristics of small IT units are:
Consequences of these characteristics are:
This results in the following characteristics of small enterprises with regard to ITIL.
|"... combining the roles and responsibilities of ITIL as described below, small IT units can easily benefit from ITIL as larger IT organizations do.|
Interprom, How ITIL works in Small IT Units
Enterprise Process Modeling
The five Process Levels are:
The information about processes, the process diagram itself and possibly even the experiences of the organization's use of them will be captured in a repository. The repository will be accessible to stakeholders (including internal customers) or performers of the business processes. The repository will be maintained as one of the process management responsibilities. Even if the repository is a file cabinet, there should be a central place to store and retrieve process related information. The Process Manager is responsible for selection, communication and maintenance of the repository.
Toolsets & Notation
Business process modeling was all the rage in the early 1990s, and business and governments everywhere embraced the technique to rethink antiquated ways of doing business. "Re-engineering" became the vogue, and practitioners worked to discern an organization's as-is environment and define the to-be environment of smoothly flowing processes.
However, re-engineering proved to be excessively time-consuming and expensive, and the concept fell out of favor. While it never completely disappeared, it assumed a vastly diminished profile.
Like the phoenix, however it arises from the ashes - morphed into a new and different creation. Driven by the Bush administration's enterprise architecture mandate in the United States, government agencies are using various approaches and support tools to get their architectural house, and uses in order.
The new field is a mix of old stand-bys and newer methods. Integrated Computer-aided Manufacturing Definition (IDEF) was the approach of choice in the 1990s and remains the only one compliant with the U.S. Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS). Joining it are two other techniques: Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN).
UML comes from the object-oriented software design world and has been pressed into process modeling chores. Meanwhile, BPMN is an emerging approach that is gaining credibility among software tool vendors. It promises to do what previous approaches have failed to accomplish: integrate systems development from the business process model to actual code generation.
Process Asset Library
In a recent publication Eugen Oetringer comments on the importance of an IT Strategy Management Process.
|"Because of the importance of agility, the company that more effectively manages its IT is ina better competetive position. An important piece of the puzzle are the structures to direct and manage IT in an optimum way while positioning it for quick - but smooth - changes"|
Eugen Oetringer, The IT Strategy management Process, 2004 ISBN: 90-77212-26-4, p. 7.
To Oetringer the solution is "a single respository or a definitive document library" to hold official IT documents.
Process descripotions are an extension of this thinking. All process documentation should be retained in the DPDL - a logical extension of the Definitive Software Library (DSL) and CMDB. The DPDL should be accessible from an intranet web portal. The repository or process library will store processes and supporting information. At the enterprise level (Business Control Level 1 in the hierarchy described above) the library would contain the ITIL best practices for easy reference. Process templates for each level in the process hierarchy will also be available from the process library.
Process diagrams and related information to be included in the repository must adhere to accepted, standard enterprise process guidelines. Furthermore, each process must be sanctioned by a process governance structure before inclusion in the repository or before invocation of change management processes. The process repository is authoritative - all other illustration, diagrams, flowcharts not contained in the repository can only be considered work in progress.
Documents are to be placed into the appropriate part of the repository in order to be accessible and easy to locate. The Process Classification Framework discussed below illustrates a preliminary structure of the DPDL.
The root of the document repository should be located on an intranet website. Initially, the repository will have two main branches: one branch may be structured around processes associated with adoption of the ITIL framework while the other branch will form a structure analogous to a Service Catalogue. This latter branch is needed to gather process and procedures relating to services. The website content management capabilities will be the primary method of managing and controlling the documentation.
|.1||The first written draft - unreviewed.|
|.x||Subsequent reviews of a written draft. Process description is still in development and not subject to Change Management procedures regarding check-in and check-out. The units developing the process description may, however, impose its’ own rules for checkin-checkout in order to impose order with regard to simultaneous review and revision to versions.|
|1.0||First authorized version. Version has been reviewed and modified by stakeholders and is ready for employment within the production environment. All processes are to be used in the environment as described in the process description. Deviations from described practices are 'process faults' which can be referred to Problem Management for analysis. Recommended improvements must be made to the process documentation using prescribed Change Management methods.|
|1.x||A new version of the process approved through Change Management to describe how the process is now to be conducted. Revisions will usually be to Section 8 - the Process Description (with perhaps some minor modifications to Section 5 - Basic Concepts. The documentation should contain a reference in the Revision History to this version and a description of the changes. If the changes are extensive the Revision citation may contain a reference to a Section in the Appendix where the revisions are itemized.|
|y.x||A new complete version. Changes to the process involved fundamental re-work of the process. The revised process involved re-work of all or most sections.|
With the release of version 1.0, the modification of a process comes under the purview of Change Management. This responsibility should be delegated to a Local Change Manager with specific responsibility for process documentation and authority to authorize release from the Definitive Process Document Library (DPDL).
Process Quality Considerations
Characteristics of a Robust Process|
Rich Schiesser, IT Systems Management, 2002, ISBN 0-13-087678-X, p.341
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are short, focused and measurable indicators of performance of the enabling factors of the IT processes, indicating how well the process enables the goal to be reached. While Key Goal Indicators focus on "what", the Key Performance Indicators are concerned with "how". They will often be a measure of a Critical Success Factor and, when monitored and acted upon, will identify opportunities for the improvement of the process.
Critical success factors (CSF) are those primary process performance measures that most closely define and track how the process must perform to be considered successful. CSFs are directly related to strategic and business plan objectives and goals. For each critical success factor there must be an associated key indicator that provides the measure and a standard of performance or allowable variance from planned performance. The most effective key indicators are those designed into the process in such a way as to provide a readily available or continuous reading of performance. Many of the instruments on a car dashboard can be considered examples of key indicators.
CSFs provide one means of assessing the need for process improvement actions or projects. This is especially true when the key indicator relates directly to stakeholder interests. For instance, if customer satisfaction survey results are a key indicator for a process and the standard of performance is set at 90%, any reading below 90% suggests the need for corrective action.
Process measurement and metrics should be identified during the definition of the process. These measurements can be driven from Six Sigma Voice of the Customer (VOC) and Critical to Quality (CTQ) exercises.
There are four types of performance measures. Specific measures within these categories provide the basis for evaluating both the satisfaction of stakeholder interests and the performance of all process participants.
There must be a well-documented or illustrated standard in place. The standard must state the requirements, the authority for the standard, and the applicability. New standards of performance should be validated before being put into service for a given process. Benchmarking is a particularly good technique to use in establishing standards of performance in this category.
While all four process stakeholders are concerned with CTS, Higher Authority (see Roles below) is particularly interested because it is the source for most conformance standards. Customers are also interested in CTS as it applies to output products and services.
FFP also applies to other stakeholders. Higher Authorities need to measure the relevance of standards, rules, and regulations to the processes on which they are imposed. Suppliers are becoming more proactive in supplying processes with just enough value-added materials and data to meet process requirements with a minimum of waste. Resource providers are concerned with providing suitable facilities, equipment, and funding vehicles to maximize process performance.
Process time measures fall into three sub-categories. Operations Time is defined as the time spent within a process transforming inputs into outputs. It is the direct application of resources or factors of production in making the transformation. Non-value added time is time spent in the process other than operations time or quality-related time (described next). It includes delay or wait time, meetings and report writing, supervision and oversight, compliance with unnecessary or inappropriate regulations, planning and budgeting, employee relations, acquisition and procurement, and internal paperwork. Quality-related time includes inspection, rework, error prevention, problem determination, problem solving, quality-related maintenance, and training.
There are also fixed process costs not directly associated with process operation that must be measured, managed, and controlled directly. These include cost of excessive benefits and prerequisites, cost of facilities not directly related to work processes, and cost of non-productive (non-income producing) assets.
Roles and Responsibilities
Many of the best practices outlined by ITIL are based upon the assumption of specialized roles in the organizations (eg., Service Desk as generalists specializing in 'First point of Contacts', Availability and Capacity Management focuses independent of the infrastructure components under consideration). The assumption of these roles is predicated on the IT organization being of a sufficient size to economically justify the diversification. While it is possible to group ITIL roles in new ways (eg. Change Manager and Configuration Manager) even this grouping implies a certain size threshold.
The organization's ability to specialize along ITIL best practice areas correlates with its' ability to assume higher maturity practices. The prime ingredient in achieving greater maturity is the ability to undertake continuous improvement. This occurs in a number of stages:
The assumption of higher maturity characteristics implies the infusion of resources - first to define and operate from those definitions, later to undertake ongoing, meaningful performance measurements. It involves specializations in the same way that ITIL practices do, but, there is no guarantee that adopting ITIL specializations will lead to significantly greater organizational maturity - the specializations reside in different strata. Any one of the three grey lines in the above chart is possible. The steeper incline portrays an organization moving rapidly to greater organizational maturity. This organization will instill in itself the internal capabilities to find its' own best practices. The lower incline reflects an organization dependent on thye reported best practices to garner efficiencies. The middle line is perhaps optimal. It allows the organization to build upon the best practices of others to achieve some quick wins while putting in place operational characteristics which will allow it to build upon this start and tailor those practices to its own internal cultural and size characteristics.
Maturity characteristics have been identified in COBIT for 34 IT governance practices - which include the majority of ITIL areas. The Key Goal indicators for these practices are to achieve the characteristics described by higher maturity implementations of each practice. You can refer to the COBIT description for these determinants.
Requirements can originate from a number of sources but chief amongst them are Service Level Requirement and Service Improvement Plans developed by Service Level Management.
Process Improvement Plan initiatives may also focus on such issues as organizational visioning or people, technology or cultural impediments to process quality. In these cases, the relevant stakeholders need to be involved and adequate feed-back given to make improvements for the future. At any time, a number of separate initiatives that form part of the Process Improvement Plan may be running in parallel to address difficulties with a number of services or processes.
|A set of organizational process assets is established and maintained. Standard processes may be defined at multiple levels in an enterprise and they may be related in a hierarchical manner. For example, an enterprise may have a set of standard processes that is tailored by individual organizations (e.g., a division or site) in the enterprise to establish their set of standard processes. The set of standard processes may also be tailored for each business areas or product lines. Thus “the organization's set of standard processes” can refer to the standard processes established at the organization level and standard processes that may be established at lower levels. |
Multiple standard processes may be needed to address the needs of different application domains, life-cycle models, methodologies, and tools. The set of standard processes contains process elements (e.g., a work product size-estimating element) that may be interconnected according to one or more process architectures that describe the relationships among these process elements. Processes may be composed of other processes or process elements.
CMMI, Process Definition
The benefit of a more process centric IT organization is in the way work is undertaken and completed. Expected results and performance measurements will be better documented and become accessible to those who need them regardless of location. Thus, individual knowledge and experiences become corporate knowledge and procedures and work become regularized with less variation between instances. Work becomes more predictable and to established and measurable standards.
The following are some of the core questions that need to be answered when modeling process improvements.
Information from all sources should be considered in order to validate and clarify survey results. Many gaps may be cultural in nature and require ample time to correct. Gaps in IT skill enhancement and organizational change may be significant.
|Terms||ICOM Model||CMMI Descriptions||Process Template||Six Sigma Overview|
|Activity||A unit of analysis involved in a process (ie. a collection of individual tasks). Activities can usually be sub-divided though an “Atomic Activity” cannot be sub-divided any further.|
|Activity-Based Costing (ABC)||A process-oriented approach to accounting that starts by determining how much it costs to perform each activity and then adds up activity costs to determine process costs, and so forth.|
|Balanced Scorecard||A movement, method and technique for aligning measures from an organization's strategic goals to specific process measures. It stresses measuring a variety of things to obtain anoverview of what's actually happening.|
|Baseline||Measurement or known state by which something is measured or compared.|
|Benchmarking||Data about process measures obtained for specific types of processes.|
|Business Process||Any set of activities performed by a business that is initiated by an event, transforms information, materials or business commitments, and produces an output. Value chains and large-scale business processes produce outputs that are valued by customers. Other processes generate outputs that are valued by other processes.|
|Business Process Reengineering (BPR)||Fundamental redesign of an organization's business processes to make them more efficient|
|Business Rule||A statement that defines or constrains some aspect of the business. It is intended to assert business structure or to control or influence the behavior of the business. In this regard they are Constraints (ICOM) to business process models.|
|Client||People and/or groups who are the targets of service. To be distinguished from User - the consumer of the target (the degree to which User and Client are the same represents a measure of correct targeting) and the Customer - who pays for the service.|
|Capability Maturity Modeling (CMM)||A model developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) of Carnegie Mellon University that describes how organizations develop software. The model identifies five levels or steps organizations go through as they become more sophisticated in their use of process.. Level 1 organizations aren't effective in using processes. Level 5 organizations are mature in their use of process and routinely manage and improve processes. Most organizations fall between Level 2 and 3.|
|Configuration Item (CI)||Component of an infrastructure - or an item, such as a Request for Change, associated with an infrastructure - that is (or is to be) under the control of Configuration Management.CIs may vary widely in complexity, size and type, from an entire system (including all hardware, software and documentation) to a single module or a minor hardware component.|
|A database that contains all relevant details of each CI and details of the important relationships between CIs.|
|Core Business Process||A process that relies on the unique knowledge and skills of the owner and that contributes to the owner’s competitive advantage.|
|Constraint||A limiting factor that prevents us from obtaining our goal(s).|
|Critical Success Factor (CSF)||Critical Success Factors - the most important issues or actions for management to achieve control over and within its' IT processes.|
|Customer||Payer of a service; usually theCustomer management has responsibility for the cost of the service, either directly through charging or indirectly in terms of demonstrable business need.|
|Definitive Process Document Library (DPDL)||A documents repository where the current and archived copies of process descriptions are retained. The current operational process description should be available for quick reference via an intranet web portal.|
|Environment||A collection of hardware, software, network and procedures that work together to provide a discrete type of computer service. There may be one or more environments on a physical platform e.g. test, production. An environment has unique features and characteristics that dictate how they are administered in similar, yet diverse, manners.|
|Goal Hierarchy||A hierarchical tree that shows how organizational goals, pictured at the top or on the left are subdivided into more specific goals for value chains, processes, sub-processes and ultimately to activity goals. For every goal there are measures - specific tests of whether the goal is achieved or not. Thus, there is also a measures hierarchy that shadows the goal hierarchy.|
|Key Goal Indicator (KGI)||
Key Goal Indicator - measures which tell management - after the fact - whether an IT process has achieved its' business requirements, usually expressed in terms of information criteria:
|Key Performance Indicator (KPI)||Key Performance Indicator - measures to determine how well the IT process is performing in enabling KGIs to be reached: lead indicators of whether a goal will likely be reached: and are good indicators of capability, practice and skill.|
|Line of Business (LOB)||A part of an organization that functions as separate business entity when viewed from the highest level|
|Metric||A data element that indicates something about the behavior of a system, subsystem, application or process.|
|Model||A formal set of relationships that can be manipulated to test assumptions. A simulation that tests the number of units that can be processed each hour under a set of conditions is an example of a model.Models do not need to be graphical; although that is the way we have used the term throughout this book|
|Modeling||Creating a simplified representation of something else. A model can be a picture, a diagram or a mathematical formula.|
|Parallel Process||A process in which two or more sequences of activities are going on simultaneously. If a physical document is being passed from one person to another, the process is necessarily a single sequence. An electronic document in a workflow system, on the other hand, can be sent to several people, simultaneously.|
|Place in Production||To use a process description as the definitive source for the operations of a process. Deviations from the prescribed process must be addressed through organizational Change and Release Management processes.|
|Process Architecture||Awritten or diagrammatic summary of the value chains and business processes supported by a given organization. A good process architecture shows how value chains and business processes are related to each other and to the strategic goals of the organization.|
|Process Model||A representation of a real world|
|Role||A set of responsibilities, activities and authorizations.|
|Service||An intangible set of benefits provided by one party to another.>Servicesare created by performing certain activities. Services are usually created by a large number of activities that create the benefits together. Each activity contributes directly or indirectly to the set of benefits. Activities that directly create a benefit are calledservice delivery activities. Activities that indirectly contribute to the delivery of services are calledservice support activities.|
|Service Level Agreement||A written agreement between a service provider and Customer(s) that documents agreed services and the levels at which they are provided at various costs.|
|Service Level Management||Disciplined, proactive methodology and procedures used to ensure that adequate levels of service are delivered to supported IT users in accordance with business priorities and at acceptable costs.|
A movement, method and set of techniques focused on improving business processes. Relies heavily on statistical techniques toidentify, root out and eradicate deviations, defects and other types of deficiencies in processes.It relies upon a small number of key best practices that can be taught and practiced in any business
|System||An integrated composite that consists of one or more of the processes, hardware, software, facilities and people, that provides a capability to satisfy a stated need or objective.|
|Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)||A model developed by Gartner Group to analyze the direct and indirect costs of owning and using hardware and software. Managers of enterprise systems use various versions of TCO to lower costs while increasing the benefits of information technology deployments.|
|Total Quality Management (TQM)||Amovement, an industrial discipline, and a set of techniques for improving the quality of processes. TQM emphasizes constant measures and statistical techniques to help improve and then maintain the output quality of processes.|
|Value-Added Activity||A process or activity that adds value to a product or service. Value is judged by the customer, who can be the customer of the company, or an internal customer who receives the output of the process or activity. An activity or process adds value, if it satisfies all three of these requirements: (1) the customer is willing to pay for the process or activity, (2) the process or activity physically changes or transforms the process or activity, and (3) the process or activity is performed correctly the first time its undertaken.<|
|Value Chain||A very large-scale business process that is initiated by a customer request, or by the decision of the company to enter a new line of business, and results in the delivery of a process or service to a customer. A value chain includes everything that contributes to the output. By adding up all of the costs of each activity in a value chain, and subtracting the total from the sale price, an organization can determine the profit margin on the value chain.|
A significant difference in results between observances. Two kinds of variation are possible:
Input, Control, Output, Mechanism (ICOM) Descriptions
Beyond this, there is a new class of business mapping capability occurring with the introduction of Business Process Management (BPM). As BPM continues to develop and mature, you can anticipate the development of products and solutions that help the business to integrate its process management, performance management, and information management strategies. From a position of closer process management, businesses may be able to respond more rapidly and with greater confidence. Information generated at the process layer will be fed back for analysis, giving the necessary management controls and a closer understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships that exist between process elements and indeed between disparate processes. As a consequence, change management will become less fraught with risk and danger.
CMMI Maturity Levels
Candidate improvements to the organizational process assets are obtained from various sources, including measurement of the processes, lessons learned in implementing the processes, results of process appraisals, results of product evaluation activities, results of benchmarking against other organizations' processes, and recommendations from other improvement initiatives in the organization.
Process improvement occurs within the context of the organization’s needs and is used to address the organization's objectives. The organization encourages participation in process-improvement activities by those who will perform the process. The responsibility for facilitating and managing the organization's process-improvement activities, including coordinating the participation of others, is typically assigned to a process group. The organization provides the long-term commitment and resources required to sponsor this group.
Careful planning is required to ensure that process-improvement efforts across the organization are adequately managed and implemented. The planning for process-improvement results in a process-improvement plan. The process-improvement plan will address appraisal planning, process action planning, pilot planning, and deployment planning. Appraisal plans describe the appraisal timeline and schedule, the scope of the appraisal, the resources required to perform the appraisal, the reference model against which the appraisal will be performed, and the logistics for the appraisal. Process action plans usually result from appraisals and document how specific improvements targeting the weaknesses uncovered by an appraisal will be implemented. In cases in which it is determined that the improvement described in the process action plan should be tested on a small group before deploying it across the organization, a pilot plan is generated. Finally, when the improvement is to be deployed, a deployment plan is used. This plan describes when and how the improvement will be deployed across the organization.
The organization's process asset library is a collection of items maintained by the organization for use by the people and projects of the organization. This collection of items includes descriptions of processes and process elements, descriptions of life-cycle models, process tailoring guidelines, process-related documentation, and data. The process asset library supports organizational learning and process improvement by allowing the sharing of best practices and lessons learned across the organization.
The organization's set of standard processes is tailored by projects to create their defined processes. The other organizational process assets are used to support tailoring as well as the implementation of the defined processes.
A standard process is composed of other processes or process elements. A process element is the fundamental (e.g., atomic) unit of process definition and describes the activities and tasks to consistently perform work. Process architecture provides rules for connecting the process elements of a standard process. The organization's set of standard processes may include multiple process architectures.
An organizational training program involves:
The identification of process training needs is primarily based on the skills that are required to perform the organization's set of standard processes. These skills and knowledge may be:
Effective training requires assessment of needs, planning, instructional design, and appropriate training media (e.g., workbooks, computer software), as well as a repository of training process data. As an organizational process, the main components of training include a managed training-development program, documented plans, personnel with appropriate mastery of specific disciplines and other areas of knowledge, and mechanisms for measuring the effectiveness of the training program.
Certain skills may be effectively and efficiently imparted through vehicles other than in-class training experiences (e.g., informal mentoring). Other skills require more formalized training vehicles, such as in a classroom, by Web-based training, through guided self study, or via a formalized on-the-job training program. The formal or informal training vehicles employed for each situation should be based on an assessment of the need for training and the performance gap to be addressed. The term “training” used throughout this process area is used broadly to include all of these learning options.
Success in training can be measured in terms of the availability of opportunities to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to perform new and ongoing enterprise activities.
The common measures for the organization are composed of process and product measures that can be used to summarize the actual performance of processes in individual projects in the organization. The organizational data for these measures are analyzed to establish a distribution and range of results, which characterize the expected performance of the process when used on any individual project in the organization.
In this process area, the phrase “quality and process-performance objectives” covers objectives and requirements for product quality, service quality, and process performance. As indicated above, the term “process performance” includes product quality; however, to emphasize the importance of product quality, the phrase “quality and process performance objectives” is used rather than just “process-performance objectives.”
The expected process performance can be used in establishing the project’s quality and process-performance objectives and can be used as a baseline against which actual project performance can be compared. This information is used to quantitatively manage the project. Each quantitatively managed project, in turn, provides actual performance results that become a part of the baseline data for the organizational process assets.
The associated process performance models are used to represent past and current process performance and to predict future results of the process. For example, the latent defects in the delivered product can be predicted using measurements of defects identified during the product verification activities.
When the organization has measures, data, and analytic techniques for critical process and product characteristics, it is able to do:
The term “improvement,” as used in this process area, refers to all ideas (proven and unproven) that would change the processes and technologies to better meet the quality and process-performance objectives.
Quality and process-performance objectives might include:
Achievement of these objectives depends on the successful establishment of an infrastructure that enables and encourages all people in the organization to propose potential improvements to the processes and technologies. Achievement of these objectives also depends on being able to effectively evaluate and deploy proposed improvements to the processes and technologies. All members of the organization can participate in the organization's process- and technology-improvement activities. Their proposals are systematically gathered and addressed.
Pilots are conducted to evaluate significant changes involving untried, high-risk, or innovative improvements before they are broadly deployed.
Process and technology improvements that will be deployed across the organization are selected from process- and technology-improvement proposals based on criteria:
The expected benefits added by the process and technology improvements are weighed against the cost and impact to the organization. Change and stability must be balanced carefully. Change that is too great or too rapid can overwhelm the organization, destroying its investment in organizational learning represented by organizational process assets. Rigid stability can result in stagnation, allowing the changing business environment.
Improvements are deployed, as appropriate, to new and ongoing projects. In this process area, the term “process and technology improvements” refers to incremental and innovative improvements to processes and also to process or product technologies.
The informative material in this process area is written with the assumption that the specific practices are applied to a quantitatively managed process. The specific practices of this process area may be applicable, but with reduced value, if the assumption is not met.
The specific practices in this process area complement and extend those found in the Organizational Process Focus process area. The focus of this process area is process improvement that is based on a quantitative knowledge of the set of standard processes and technologies and their expected quality and performance in predictable situations. In the Organizational Process Focus process area, no assumptions are made about the quantitative basis of improvement.
Process Description Template
To ensure efficient and effective operations, measures used to manage processes should be designed to support process objectives. In creating process objectives the products or outputs of the process should be clearly kept in mind - what is being created, why and for whom. There are several key elements to devising good objectives:
Characteristics describe the deliverables and services to be provided. Scope defines what must be done to achieve the objectives. It provides boundaries around the objectives, and reflects what the customer deems important to operational processes.
The benefits of defining the scope are:
The scope of processes and its activities must be defined and managed as well as the scope of work and services being provided by the process team.
Assumptions list beliefs which must be shared for the process objectives and policies and guidelines to be logically valid. If the assumptions are not widely shared then business objectives may be be aligned properly and the entire process may not be accomplishing what it is intended to.
Inter-relationships describe how this process relates to others - both ITIL and ITSM derived internal processes. Inter-relationships imply dependencies. It is important to understand the risks that are associated with a dependency. Misunderstood dependencies can doom a project before it has even started.
Policies and Guidelines
What policies and guidelines need to be agreed to and followed for the process to work as well as described. Policies describe methods by which an institution is administered. Guidelines are less directive than policies. They are statements or other indication of procedure by which to determine a course of action. Both describe courses of action to be followed.
In this section should be described the methods to accommodate increasing workloads (any expectations of this should be described under Objectives). In most cases resources, cannot be devoted to an activity in a gradual fashion. Instead, they are infused in steps (ie. a whole compliment position, a complete server, etc). This usually means that, at least during the period immediately following an increase, there will be some spare capacity.
Ramping up a process can occur for two primary reasons:
In small IT units one group (or individual) may have responsibility for a wide variety of processes. Typically such a person or group is much more effective in performing one role better than the others. Which of the processes is done most effectively is determined by the range of personalities and skills in the group. Conversely, a large enterprise is able to allocate individual processes to specialist groups comprising people with specialist skills who also have a personality that is a good match for the process. However, over-specialization has its disadvantages - it can be perceived as tedious and de-motivating if an individual is simply left in place without looking after their needs and aspirations.
The second dimension exists when the organization wishes to enhance the maturity of the process. The description for respective levels of maturity are described by CMM and within COBIT for each of 34 descriptive governance processes. Each of the best practice processes as described by ITIL exists naturally at a certain maturity level (though collectively COBIT suggests they exist between level 2 (repeatable processes) and level 3 (defined processes). However, in most instances the process can exist with certain characteristics at a specific level. In order to increase the processes maturity additional processes, toolsets and approaches must be added to support the process. In many instances, this will include the ability to manage internal processes since this is a direct an important characteristic of a Defined maturity level.
Explain basic concepts inherent throughout the approach but not descriptive of a particular activity, input or output of the process (which will be better placed in Process Descriptions).
Indicate measures which will determine how effective the process was in meeting the Objectives. Include measure of how efficiently the process was delivered (usually expressed as OUTPUT / INPUT). List known Key Goal and Performance Indicators which may be associated with the process and any Critical Success Factors which are associated with the process performing well. Describe any issues associated with measuring the process.
Roles and Responsibilities
Itemize and describe the distinct roles involved in the process. Cite accountabilities and include and RACI or RAW diagrams which expand upon the role descriptions.
Describe the process at various levels of decomposition according to the rules set out in Basic Concepts. At the highest level describe the process according to ICOM). If the process can be depicted through the use of process flows include them following the ICOM description with a textual description accompanying each process. Decompose process containing additional detail per the Levels cited in Basic Concepts, again with a textual description accompanying each sub-process. Continue decomposition until the process is described to the level of detail desired.
Include referenced material to provide additional explanation to material cited in other sections. At a minimum this will usually include a Glossary of the meaning of terms used in the process description and Connection points to related processes. Include any reference forms or lists.
Six Sigma Project Overview