Try searching the internet for Agile Service Delivery and you will find pages and pages of learned papers, blog posts and channel articles.
It is certainly a much written about topic for MSPs and service organisations. Everyone pitching in with how you can take the “Agile Manifesto” and related frameworks, terms and methods developed for software development and apply them to service delivery.
Great, but actually much of this stuff reads in a surprisingly abstract way, underpinned of course by strict adherence to the use of the approved terminology so loved by agile practitioners.
So, rather than add to the body of esoteric and quite frankly, often quasi-religious, writing on the subject, we thought we’d summarise Agile Service Delivery into a cookbook of basics that are simple to understand. Plus, as this is a PSA blog, we identify what you need to look for in a PSA tool that will underpin your becoming more agile in your service delivery.
So for those who don’t have this memorised, the Agile Manifesto can be summarised as:
- Value individuals and interactions over process and tools;
- Value working software over perfect documentation;
- Value customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and
- Value responding over planning
So what does this mean for our cookbook?
Service delivery needs to be process light where individuals take personal responsibility both for solving the customer issue and also for ongoing process improvement. That personal responsibility means working queues as a pull, rather than awaiting allocation of work as a push. It means using checklists to ensure quality but also feeding back where those checklists need improvement. It means treating customer problems based on a personal understanding of criticality rather than slavish SLA driven responses. It means working as a team and making sure the right person jumps on the problem, even if that is not you.
So, agile service management places the customer and the individual front and centre, underpinned by process and quality checks. This is indeed a paradigm shift from the older mantra of push every ticket through a dispatcher who allocates it based on who is available, rather than who might be best placed to fix it fast.
But while the personal trumps the process, the process is still necessary and in particular, needs to be subject to continuous improvement so experience and ideas are shared for the common good.
Now without getting into the realm of agile terminology, what this really means is techs being empowered to feed process improvements to management and management prepared to review and accept changes where they help. In Agile methodology, this is formalised, but to be agile, it just needs to be part of the culture.
This in turn needs a PSA system where workflows and checklists can be changed easily and quickly, to both encourage improvement and entrench it in the organisation. A PSA where new notifications that improve flows can be generated with ease. A PSA where team and individual queues can be built quickly and dynamically visualised on Kanban boards. A PSA where sophisticated routing rules can be used to build queues by automatic parsing to provide visibility of work in a consistent manner without the need for a dispatcher.
Harmony is such a PSA system.
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter or LinkedIn