This is the first of a series of blogs, relating to Clause 8 of the new ISO 20000-1:2018, designed to unpack the requirements of the standard and remove that air of mystery that can so often form around standards.
8.1 Operational Planning and Control
Clause 8.1 of the standard relates to Operational planning and control. At first glance, it appears to be a copy of the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, but further reading shows that it is different.
If you are setting up your Service Management System in the order that the standard has been written, you will have arrived at clause 8 of the standard with risks, opportunities and objectives that need to be considered when establishing the Service Management System. Without this knowledge to hand you could develop and management system that does not address these risks and opportunities or enables the setting objectives.
The standard requires us to ‘establish performance criteria for the processes based on requirements’ or, in other words, what performance measures are needed to determine the effectiveness of processes in the service management system. These might include, performance against targets; numbers of incidents and problems; lost and gained services; volumes against Supply and Demand; Security breaches; customer satisfaction and complaints… plus much more. These measures must be appropriate to each individual business; don’t measure and monitor things that do not bring service improvement or customer satisfaction.
Once you understand the measurement criteria you can begin to build the Service Management system to meet these requirements; ‘implementing control of the processes in accordance with established performance criteria’, performance criteria communicated through SLAs, OLAs and KPIs.
A good management system doesn’t stop there as it will have determined what documented information needs to be kept, to demonstrate achievement of measures and compliance to the standard.
The control of planned changes and the review of the consequences of unintended changes leaves many with a challenge. We all understand planned changes, especially if we have an effective Change Management Process in place which will naturally control planned changes. However, the consequences of unintended change are a little vaguer, probably because it covers a broad subject; so, let’s unpack this further.
Unintended change might result from process creep where a process has been developed and moved away from its agreed path, without consultation with other departments that might be affected, and the consequence is the unintended change brought upon other processes which rely on the initial process that has been changed.
Other areas where the consequences of unintended change may be found are related to impacts of Incidents; Problems and Non-conformities where the errors have repercussions that are either unexpected or unintended and need further attention.
Another example in relation to this standard is ‘service creep’ where items of equipment owned by a customer and outside the contracted service agreement are swallowed up in the service contract because of poor asset management and configuration management, and you are effectively end up servicing equipment for free.
If these types of things occur it is important that the actions are investigated through to the root cause level to prevent their recurrence.
The final line ins 8.1 is about outsourced processes – one line that is very important to ensure compliance to the standard. In this standard, if any process is outsourced to a third party the organisation has a responsibility to ensure that the outsourced process is effective through setting appropriate SLAs or OLAs; and agreed service review meetings should be set up.
By implementing the rest of clause 8 of this standard then compliance to 8.1 will be achieved naturally.