Improving IT Service Delivery: CSI is NOT a Process

Thinking of CSI as a merely a process not only misses the point, it’s also hazardous to real improvement. CSI is NOT a process!

CSI is Not a Process

ITIL has a full book dedicated to Continual Service Improvement. CSI is a relative newcomer to IT Service Management. IT Service Delivery Improved with CSI

Want to know why?

Because CSI is not a process.

It’s a culture.

And it was alive and well long before IT Service Management embraced it.

CSI is Culture

Can we just be real here for a minute? Every IT organization can improve. No one is without  shortcomings. Failures. Botched implementations. Poor customer service. Unmet business needs.

But we’ve been taught to downplay these with less-offensive words.  We are way too polite to talk openly about things that go wrong. Someone might feel bad, or be offended.

So we go for language like “opportunities for improvement”, “upside potential”, “service enhancements”.

You remember what they say ~

Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward getting better.

If we don’t face our failures head on, we won’t ever get better.

In a CSI culture, everyone shares the same goal – improvement. I’m so used to this that I’ve been known to start conversations with “… here’s where we failed… and here’s what I think we should do to improve….”

Say what?

How DARE you suggest we failed. We have good people. We work hard.

This is why CSI is a culture. If others don’t share your candor and drive for excellence, it feels like an uncomfortable breach of etiquette.

Different views to the same thing. In one culture; normal. In another; confrontation. What was intended as professional camaraderie is taken as blame.

Who screwed up? Who’s at fault?

The Blame Game

Blame gets you no where. Those who want to improve have no time for it.

When we fall short, that failure is way too valuable to waste on useless blaming.

It’s not about fault or blame, it’s about improving.

If we don’t face failures, we’re destined to live in mediocrity.

I hate mediocrity. How about you?

CSI Thinking

CSI is a way of thinking, not a process.

CSI thinks:

  • What are our biggest opportunities to maximize customer value?
  • Where and how can we increase operational efficiency?
  • Are there opportunities to optimize cost?
  • How can we give:
    • Better service
    • Faster delivery
    • Higher quality
    • Better value
  • What did we learn today that will make us better tomorrow?

World class musicians, doctors, athletes, playwrights, leaders, and professionals in countless fields have been doing this for thousands of years. It’s what makes the difference between the masses of ‘Good’, and the very few who are truly Great.

The relentless pursuit of Excellence.

Step by step.

Relentless Pursuit of Excellence

The Deming model, (as is largely described in the ITIL CSI book) helps structure and facilitate CSI thinking. But adopting a CSI methodology does not give you CSI thinking.

That comes from the culture.

Mark Thomas makes a strong case for Why I would start with Continual Service Improvement.

The reason for starting your ITSM program with CSI is that the success of all processes is built upon the foundation of continual improvement. In For Rapid Process Implementation CSI is a Verb! I describe how small, incremental improvements reach the goal faster than trying to do it all at once.

Continual Service ImprovementThe danger of thinking of CSI as a process is that processes are triggered by inputs, and are executed until the output is produced. Like some kind of after-the-fact tuneup deal.

“I’d like to purchase the ‘excellent’ upgrade, please”

No, Continual Improvement is what happens day in and day out.. For better, for worse.

To borrow a phrase – it’s how we roll.

Want to be excellent?

  • Build a CSI Culture, not process
  • Eliminate the Blame Game.
  • Instill CSI Thinking
  • Relentlessly Pursue Excellence

How have you built CSI thinking in your organization? How have you helped people think CSI, rather than trying to do it?

ITSMTransition is here to help you pursue Excellence in IT Service Management. Thanks for stopping by. Please let me know if I can help you in your pursuit.

Photo Credit: Daniela Vladimirova via Compfight cc