Let’s do CSI

Let's DO CSI



a. Majority of the content of this case was taken from the original ITIL CSI book

b. On different points customized notes are added to clarify the limitation

c. In reality CSI is critical to an organization and can be complicated as well; here we kept it very simple and straight

c. Read at your own risk

Let’s start with the common trends:

1.Somewhere something is broken, suddenly a improvement activity starts

2.A new leader came onboard and made a noise big enough to make everyone move, thus, improvement plans and actions

3.Things are stable, people forget there was an improvement plans that were started once

Well, all are wrong, ITIL says, Improvement must be a continuous activity. To ensure that the technical operation is completely aligned with the business requirements and being measured, monitored and operated in a controlled manner, CSI is a must.

Question is how can we do that?

Okay, let’s see how we can do that and if we can relate this to a practical example. But before we get down to how, we need to recall our knowledge on two concepts from ITIL – Deming cycle and CSI model.


Deming Cycle:

The concept was developed by W. Edwards Deming who formulated 14 points of attention for managers. For quality improvement he proposed Deming cycle or circle which consist of 4 key stages – Plan, Do, Check and Act.

At the stages of implementation of CSI and application of CSI in service management processes, Deming cycle plays very critical role.

Pic 01: Deming Cycle

It is very common in the real world that, unless the leaders pay serious attention most of the action plans either lack the “check” state or the “act” state. Often times an incident triggers the action plan or improvement activity and as the current crisis becomes the main priority, expectation for immediate result drive the actions towards to the state of “Act” or “Do” without a proper end-to-end planning; this tendency lacks the bigger view and the concerns of long term follow up or future use of the lesson learnt from that particular case.


Continuous Service Improvement (CSI) Model:

Improvement at any service operation organization could be done from dozens of different perspectives, in short all those scopes or steps could be summarized into the following six steps:

1.What is the vision

·Define the vision

·Define the mission

·Define the goals

2.Where are we now

·Record the current state

·Establish the baseline

3.Where do we want to be

·Set the targets

·Target must follow the SMART principle (Specific, Measurable Achievable, Relevant, Time-based)

4.How do we get there?

·Set action plans

·Assign owners



5.Did we get there?

·Define matrices and measurement criterion

·Set the measurements in place

·Assess the progress

6.How do we keep the momentum going

·Ensure supporting processes

·Ensure support from IMS

·Identify CSF

·Enable the platform

 Pic 02: CSI Model

Note: If you have already read the CSI book, I take you are familiar with 7 step improvement process from the text. As we understand, the model described above and the 7 step process both covers the same ground and they aren’t many differences. The 7 step process will give a reader more specifics on actions at different stages whereas the model above describes it from more of a high level perspective and allows the professionals to set their own criteria’s at the each step of the 7 step process.


Let’s relate:

For obvious reasons, we cannot take a whole organization as example to demonstrate the case; we will rather take a common unit, which is a front line of a technical operation. This unit goes by different names in the industry such as Front office, NOC, Surveillance, SOC etc. Whatever we call it the main functionalities it performs are (1) monitor the network 24X7, (2) do front line of incident management, (3) entertain service requests (depends on the organizational policy) (4) act as SPOC for the external (mostly) customers etc. We understand almost every technical organization or service provider has a unit like this and they play a critical role in the business.

Moving forward we will try to implement the two concepts we just discussed above in this functional unit of the organization and for the convenience of the reader, actions and findings we came across while doing the implementation are grouped according to the the exact terminology used in the model.

1.What is the Vision?


i.Faults are well managed, properly handled, relevant parties were notified efficiently and effectively

ii.A smoother & safer O&M for the whole network


i.0 % alarm missing

ii.Well defined processes for all actions performed

iii.Improved MTTR

iv.Smoother and well defined processes, such as Incident management, Problem management etc.

v.A regularly updated knowledge base

vi.Automation of frequently generated reports


i.Frequently happening faults are resolved effectively

ii.A better degree of customer satisfaction

iii.Well managed actions performed

iv.Well managed processes

v.Motivated employees

2.Where are we now? (Establish the Baseline)


i.Human Resources




4.SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunities Threat)




3.Supporting hardwires, such as land phones, cell phones etc.


i.Incident management

ii.Problem management

iii.Change Management

iv.Trouble Tickets Management

v.Notifications & escalation process

vi.Team & individual performance measurements criteria


i.Fault trends

ii.Operational procedures for standard actions

1.Alarm handling

2.Trouble ticket handling

3.Third party cooperation handling

4.Customer queries and answers

iii.Operational procedures for emergency actions

1.Actions need to be performed

2.Notification trees

3.Escalation tree

4.Escalation KPI

5.Follow up KPI

iv.Operational procedures for incident handling

1.Incident management (Not necessarily Alarm handling)

2.Knowledge base for TT resolution

3.Knowledge base for internal customer queries

4.Knowledge base for external parties queries

3.Where do we want to be: (Set the target)

a.Define processes for Events, Incidents, Problems, Changes, Releases and Crisis Management (Note: we say there should be a crisis management process as well)

b.All sort of communication is standardized

c.0 Manmade mistakes

d.0% alarm missing

e.70% of the TT resolved at the service desk

f.A strong knowledge base and configuration depository

4.How do we get there? (Compare current state against target line and build action plans)

a. Do an assessment from these points of view: (Note: There could be dozen other views that would fit your organization well and add more values)


1.Specify the skill set required

2.Define levels of positions

3.Prepare or update the details job description for each levels

4.Compare the skill set currently available against required

5.Find out the deficiency between required skill and available skill

Output: a.List of skills need to acquire

b.Count of resource necessary to bring on board

ii.Assets/Supporting tools:

1.List down available computers and monitoring terminals

2.List down supporting hardwires such as land phone, cell phones etc

3.List down the applications in use

4.Asses if the list is enough? (Note: you could add lot more other items such as access cards, furniture, power strips etc.)

Output: a.List of required supporting tools/hardwires such as computers, laptops, phone lines etc

b.List of software/applications required

c.Specification of a configuration/application depository for future use


1.Write down the Incident management process

a.The overall process


c.Communication mechanism

d.Escalation matrix

e.Content format

f.Wiki or a common repository of FAQ

2.Write down the alarm management process

a.The overall process

b.Actions to be performed


d.Communication mechanism

e.Content Format

f.Wiki or a common repository of FAQ

3. Write down the TT management process (Incident management process covers the directives for managing/handling incidents; TT management will focus on the TT platform itself, ad hoc reports and any other requests which is not necessarily an Incident but an entry to TT platform)

a.The overall process

b.Actions to be performed

c.Supporting tools & their availability

d.Supporting documents & their availability

4.Write down the difficulties:

a.In process

b.In interface

c.In access

Output: a)List of documented processes

b)List of operational manual (directives on actions to be performed)

c)List of interfaces – external & internal

d)Specification on communication method

e)Standard format of event notification and escalation

b. Define Service Improvement Plans (SIP):

i.Human Resources SIPs

1.Procurement (PLAN):

a.Recruitments approval

b.Recruitment circulation



Output: i.Number of peoples selected

ii.Deadline of coming on board

2.On Board (DO):

a.Assign to specific tasks/team (Not changeable for at least a quarter)

b.Hand over the standard SOPs

c.Introduce to the interfaces

d.Introduce to the tools

e.Introduce to the existing processes

3.Assess (CHECK):

a.Measure the progress weekly (for first 4 Weeks)

Output:i.List of tasks handled properly

ii.List of processes broken

iii.List of mistakes done in escalation & notification

iv.List of knowledge area holding the progress back

b.Set Team KPI

i.Cover the overall KPI to customer

ii.Cover the improvement of the team

iii.Cover the efficiency & effectiveness of the team

Output: A documented KPI which is a subset of the organizational KPI and deliverables for each team

c.Set Individual monthly KPI

i.Part from overall organizational KPI

ii.Part from Team/Departmental KPI

iii.Rest will cover personal improvement, Efficiency & Effectiveness

Output: A documented KPI which is subset of the team KPI and deliverables for each individual

4.Corrective Actions (ACT):

a.Review Skill Assessment result

b.Review the KPIs

c.Review Knowledge base

d.Review the effectiveness of communication

Output: Results, trends and SIPs

ii. Supporting Tools & Knowledge Base (KEDB) SIP:

1.Set up (PLAN):

a.Set deadlines to procure the hardwires from the list generated in the previous step

b.Set deadlines for installation of the client software from the list generated in Assessment stage (See the assessment step “a” section “ii”)

c.Set the knowledge base development principles

i.Assign ownership of each tasks

ii.Frequency of writing cases

iii.Frequency of review of the documentation

iv.Publish for use

v.Set the policy for tracking TTs against each case at the end of month

2.Executions (DO & CHECK):

a.Track progress of supporting hardwire acquisitions

b.Track progress of Software installation

c.Track progress of onsite hand over training for software installed

d.Review cases published in the earlier week (Service Desk and customer must confirm the effectiveness of the document)

e.Knowledge base owner track the review results and publish the case or send back to the author forcorrections

3.Corrective Actions (ACT)

a.Escalate the procurement delays to higher authority

b.Modify the knowledge base principles based on check done at earlier step

c.Modify documentation format according check done

d.Re-define ownership mechanism if necessary



a.Set principles of process document review

b.Set principles on document depository

c.Set principles on process document version control

d.Gather records of incident driven by process failure

e.Gather all the process documents


a.Conduct regular quiz and collect feedback

b.Review the overall result

c.Identify gaps in process knowledge

d.Align with the overall organizational flow

e.Write down difficulties faced – inter team and intra team

3.Corrective Actions (ACT):

a.Align the process with business goal

b.Address cross functional difficulties

c.Address internal difficulties

i.Individual skill problem

ii.Understanding problem

iii.Documentation quality

iv.Media of escalation

5.Did we get there:

a.What is the alarm missing rate?

b.What was the achievement in notification KPI?

c.What was the achievement in escalation KPI?

d.What was the achievement in TT resolution KPI?

e.What was the achievement in Knowledge Base KPI ( Incidents resolved against each cases published)

6.How do we keep the momentum going:

a.Track progress in overall organizational KPI

b.Track progress in team KPI

c.Review the internal KPI every quarter

d.Define motivation & transformation path for individuals and organization (John P. Kotter’s Eight Steps toTransforming your Organization) – Here the loop starts again.


Last words:

Monitoring and service desk functions sit at the core of a service operation, regardless of the intention of the customer, for the sake of a smoother operation and better delivery of value to business, the organizational leaders must ensure that a strong, well trained and professional service desk and monitoring team exists. We demonstrated the CSI approach taking that functional unit as an example because more or less it exists everywhere and a major part of the pain points for an organization come from that area; but readers must keep in mind that it was just one way of doing it, even the steps we described were also in very short form as it only meant to be a simple and easy-to-relate discussion. There are lot other ways of achieving CSI in an organization and the leaders need to find out the best fit for their own organization.

Last modified on Thursday, 14 March 2013 08:38
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