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Them vs us: the importance of Collaboration

By Hitesh Patel, ITIL Implementation Consultant, Trainer, Coach and Author at Learning Tree International, 31 October 2016.

Them vs us: the importance of Collaboration

A lot of organizations, like the one featured in this animation, experience frustration with their service desk.

While that’s not a criticism – the majority get things done quickly – end users get annoyed by the speed of service desk support. Interestingly, what’s usually at fault is effectiveness rather than efficiency.

In some instances, service desks, and more broadly, other IT teams, aren’t as effective as they could be because there’s a disconnect between the team and the rest of the business: they don’t have a relationship with other departments and often work in a silo. This can create a ‘them versus us’ attitude, when really what’s needed to be efficient and effective is a ‘we’ approach.

Collaboration helps to break down these barriers and most service desk teams are beginning to recognize this

In the video we’re presented with two options, the first being to work alone to find a solution. Years ago, I think the vast majority would’ve opted for option one and I still think a large percentage would choose to see how far they can get without consulting others first – but that’s changing.

We all know that collaboration is the best route but often there are barriers, namely time and resources.

Hitesh PatelTaking a collaborative approach

Knowing how and where to start are often the biggest challenges to collaboration and, as the animation shows, a common mistake is to start too big and end up in information overload.

To avoid this, I’d recommend that Collaboration is used alongside two other ITIL® Practitioner Guiding Principles: Keep It Simple and Progress Iteratively.

Rather than thinking of all the things that can be improved, instead decide on three things. The principle of Focus on Value should also come into play here as the three changes should make the biggest difference to the organization and the end user.

Knowing which stakeholders to engage can also be a barrier but, again, refer to ITIL Practitioner. Remember to Start Where You Are; who are the people already involved? Could you begin with the service desk team themselves? After all, they do encounter the issues on a daily basis.

Ultimately, you want to find the easiest stakeholders and get a clear picture of the current situation. As the animation suggests too, engaging your Business Relationship Manager (BRM) is absolutely critical at this stage as they’ll be instrumental in helping you uncover the biggest pain points and what’s important to the customer.

Maintaining collaboration

Collaboration is a great way to identify issues with current processes but it should be maintained throughout the lifecycle too – and this is where a BRM can really help as the conduit between the service desk and the end user.

It’s also important to remember the other Guiding Principles of Be Transparent and Design for Experience at this stage.

Currently, I’m working on a government project that is doing just this as part of a cost saving exercise. As well as using collaborative approaches to identify issues via workshops and group activities, we’re also maintaining communication channels longer term by creating CRM roles. This ensures true collaboration throughout the lifecycle and ensures teams are both efficient as well as effective.

See our ITIL Practitioner section for more information.

See more blogs and animations about the ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principles

ITIL® Practitioner: why it’s always best to Keep It Simple

ITIL® Practitioner - Be Transparent

ITIL® Practitioner - Focus on Value

The past and the present: why it's always important to Start Where You Are

ITIL® Practitioner - Design for Experience

Read Hitesh's previous blog for AXELOS, ITIL® Practitioner: who is it for and what are the benefits?.

 

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