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  • Making Sense of Vision within the ITIL Continual Service Improvement Model

    Written by Graham Furnis

    This article discusses the Continual Service Improvement (CSI) model and its top level step of “what is the vision”. The model is easy to understand, but not as easy when applying to day to day work. The problem I find is that Vision is too high level in concept for guiding day to day improvements. In absence of this guidance, I often find my clients trying to improve everything. I always remind them that “just because we can improve everything; does not mean we should”. We need to be focused.

    I’ll list the ITIL described CSI Model steps below as our initial reference point:

    1. What is the vision? (and mission, goals, and objectives)

    2. Where are we now? (baseline assessments)

    3. Where do we want to be? (what are the measurable targets)

    4. How do we get there? (do our improvements)

    5. Did we get there? (measure)

    6. How do we keep the momentum going?

    The CSI model and top level step helps us accomplish identifying “what we should be improving” when asking “what is vision”. But we need to interpret vision into practical terms. The practical terms that I suggest that we focus on for improvement initiatives are defined Critical Success Factors (CSF) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). The ITIL publications refer to CSFs and KPIs within each of the process and lifecycle sections. Each service and its end-to-end supporting technology would also have CSFs and KPIs. These KPIs and CSFs are products of the Vision; where Vision is interpreted into Goals and Objectives followed by CSFs and KPIs being derived from the Objectives. 

    Therefore, KPIs form our service and process dashboards that keep us focused on knowing when we are on track and doing the right things. When we are off track with our KPIs, then we have a need and priority for beginning an improvement initiative. And so I suggest an alternate view of the CSI model that I can be used for day-to-day use: 

    1. What are the KPIs that we should be maintaining and improving?

    2. What are we currently achieving with our KPIs?

    3. How do we want to incrementally improve the KPIs that are deficient?

    4. Plan and implement the improvement

    5. Measure and check for success

    6. What have we leaned and how do we keep improving?

    As with all concepts, there’s much more within the CSI model than I discuss here. However, I have find great use from the model above and hope that this may be of value for you and your improvement initiatives as well. 

    Graham Furnis is fully immersed and passionate in providing ITSM solutions. He is a business-driven IT professional with 20+ years of technology and management experience. He is certified as an ITIL Manager and Expert as well as an accredited instructor.

    To learn more, join Graham in his upcoming Thought Rock Live presentation titled "Continual Improvement: What's your Vision?".  This free webcast is taking place Tuesday July 12, 2011 at 12PM EST. REGISTER HERE
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