IT Governance

Service Management Is Two Jobs in One: Can You Handle Them?

Pilots have a simple, yet effective, mantra for when things go wrong: aviate, navigate, and communicate. This essentially boils down to keeping the plane in the air, figuring out the essentials of your surroundings, and informing others of the problem. This concept makes communication a key part of any pilot’s problem-solving process. In a post at his blog, Joe the IT Guy discusses this approach’s underlying philosophy and how it applies to service management.

Getting the Jobs Done

In ITSM, “aviate, navigate, communicate” could be swapped for “fix, restore, tell” or “understand, repair/replace, inform,” according to Joe. At their heart, these activities underscore the idea that service management can actually be thought of as two jobs in one. On one hand, there’s the firefighter, the mainly reactionary role that is about assessing the situation and responding to it. On the other, there’s the communicator, whose job it is to keep everyone informed and to tell all involved parties what they can do to minimize damages.

The communicator and firefighter jobs are both important to service management, but they need to work with one another in order to succeed. Firefighters are necessary because they are solving the problems as they occur, but proper communication is required to keep everyone affected in the loop. Neither side is more important than the other, so there needs to be a balance between the two. Joe suggests you ask the following questions as a way of pursuing that balance:

  • Do you primarily see service management as only one of these two roles, or if you see both is one more important to you?
  • In which of them do your skills lie?
  • Can you see who in your organization is responsible for each, and how well do they get on with each other?

If you don’t see both, is that because your organization sees one role as pre-eminent, perhaps driven by the background of your CIO or CEO? Or maybe they only address one role and don’t see the other at all?

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