Get Change Management Right and Downsize the Problem Management Team

Within IT Operations, the two most critical functions for ensuring consistent, stable and quality services and products are Change Management, followed by Project Management.  If you were thinking Quality Management then you've missed the basic concepts of quality.  Neither your company nor your customers (internal and external) want to pay for quality controls and inspections, internal audits, problem management teams or helpdesk staff dedicated to customer complaints and incident management. You can't fool the customer, and delude yourself if you claim that these costs are absorbed internally.

Defective products result from ineffective design, development and projects.  Release Management and Change Control are the gate keepers that are ultimately accountable for the quality of products and services reaching the end user. If you perfect these functions, you will then start to modify your strategies for product design, development and project management.

Do the cost analysis of achieving excellence in design and development versus reactive service management, then reap the rewards with market and customer trust and respect.


Process for Managing Team Documents

In our previous article on Building a Document Catalogue , we gave an overview of both the catalogue, the Drupal components and using control records to integrate the catalogue with a Document Control system model.  Now we might have some fun and describe in more detail, the process for building a team catalogue and adding documents.

For our demonstration, we will use the Quality Team, and create a catalogue for their procedures. Then we will register and add a process document, in that order.  Create a control record to register the document, tag it to add to the required catalogue/s, then link the document source page/file as well as a distribution document.

It seemed most appropriate that the document we register for this example is the DCS Registration Process.

Building a Document Catalogue using Views and Control Records

The two fundamental building blocks for constructing a practical, dynamic and maintainable Document Catalogue in Drupal are Views and Control Records. By Views we mean instances of tables generated by the Drupal View module. The Control Records we refer to are created from a custom content page (appropriately named Record), which acts as a template allowing us to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Meet our organisation's Document and Quality Management standards for document and record control.
  2. Provide a consistent document entity for populating any number of linked Document Catalogues, in a consistent , managable and scaleable format.

There are other clever Drupal modules and methods we employ to make this ongoing project a fascinating exercise.

Desktop Support Fundamentals

When the Desktop Support customer is a small company, a private user, or even a friend or relative, professional support folk and part time techos often provide an adhoc, "time and materials" solution for PC problems and requests.  This is especially true for one-off customers and end users with low budgets (or seeking a freebie). Apart from recording basic customer contact and PC information, no other quality processes are applied.

In many cases there is little incentive or apparent value in maintaining a more structured, systematic approach for support management. However, there is a strong argument, and many benefits for small PC support businesses and stand-alone technicians to think of the bigger picture - think ITIL.

Is Quality Management Rocket Science?

Many of our IT Support colleagues continue to shy away from actively particpating in Quality Management programmes, complaining of "Rocket Science", ever changing methodologies and complex terminology.  A well planned, communicated and phased-in Quality Management system is definitely not Rocket Science.  Unfortunately, for many organisations without firm, visible and enduring commitment, Quality Management tends to becomes an "inexact science".

Without the foundation of complete, genuine staff involvement, along with a culture of relentless Continuous Improvement, Quality Management remains an "Inexact Science" in many circumstances.  Understandably, staff and even customers will relegate the company's new Quality Management programme to the category of "Rocket Science".

HelpDesk or IT Service Desk

Some of my colleagues have questioned our use of the term HelpDesk for a stream of articles and support.  Given that our site objectives are centred around some of the core ITIL Service Management disciplines, then the question (aka customer query) for overlooking "IT Service Desk" is worthy of some discussion. Whilst the ubiquitous Wikipedia provides a fair stab at defining the accepted differences, for this discussion (ie Help Desk versus Service Desk), we'll simplify the differences as:

HelpDesk         -  Provide rapid response to paying customers and end users for information, services and issue resolution, related to company products and services.

ServiceDesk   -  An ITIL function providing a central, single point of contact for all clients and users of a company's services, including IT support services, especially problem, incident and request management.


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