Building KPIs in ITSM with a Lean Perspective

IT service management (ITSM) uses technology to enable and facilitate greater business functions. Lean methodology skims the fat to provide more value with fewer resources. In a post at his blog, Joe the IT Guy seeks to merge the two. Specifically, he seeks to create KPIs that are useful to ITSM while keeping a lean spirit in mind.

Creating Clearer KPIs

Joe wants to do away with KPIs that are derived from scary-looking formulas and are dictated uniformly from the top. Instead, KPIs that capture work where it is performed are ideal. Such KPIs would be able to tell you if there has been improvement, whether everything is on track, and if additional help is needed. In other words, Joe says good KPIs deftly answer “yes/no” questions, and that otherwise they would just be more vanilla metrics. KPIs likewise must be necessarily limited in number to track only the vitals, but within a given KPI, there can and probably should be sub-KPIs that measure the individual KPI.

As for how to actually build a KPI, it begins like this:

The first thing you need to do in creating a KPI for any part of your IT operations, including the service desk, is to look at a business target. Can you see what’s required to help achieve the goal or remove the obstacle to achieving the goal? If so, then determine how you would know this was happening and whether you could prove it[.] Remember, all answers have to be Yes/No.

Goals identified must be divided according to the service assets involved, and then you begin the process of tree branching, i.e. matching various goals with performance indicators of the same level of importance, from the top down to the bottom. Ultimately, every KPI needs “an owner, definition, purpose, equation, frequency, dependency and, most importantly, the required response when checked.” When your KPIs have all of these things, it would have to take some real creativity to mess it up!

You can read the original post, complete with examples and graphs, here:

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