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Cutting the Fat – A Streamlined Approach to Incident Management

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In order to make your incident management process more agile, it is essential to eliminate unnecessary steps that do not add value to the customer experience. This requires a thorough evaluation of your current processes, scrutinizing each step. Ask yourself and your incident management team if these steps truly contribute to the customer’s satisfaction. Simplifying this process is actually quite straightforward.

Understanding Customer Needs

To start this journey, you must first have a clear understanding of what your customers truly want. Ultimately, they seek a quick and effortless solution that fulfills their needs, regardless of the specifics. Therefore, every step in your incident management process should aid in the efficient reporting, processing, and resolution of incidents. Otherwise, it’s imperative to find a better solution. Adopting a more agile incident management approach can help achieve this objective.

Eliminating Unnecessary Steps

Any steps that do not directly contribute to serving your customers should be carefully considered for removal. This process aligns well with the principles of Lean management, where eliminating waste is paramount for the benefit of the organization and its stakeholders. However, there is a distinction. While Lean focuses on maximizing efficiency, agile incident management emphasizes delivering maximum value to customers and enhancing their experience.

Agile Incident Management

The Traditional Incident Management Process

Let’s take a closer look at the typical incident management process you may already be familiar with:

  1. A customer logs an incident.
  2. A service desk employee adds relevant information, such as classification and scheduling.
  3. The employee assesses if the incident can be directly resolved.
  4. If not, the incident is passed on to a specialist for further evaluation.
  5. The specialist goes through the same assessment process.
  6. Once the incident is resolved, it is returned to the service desk.
  7. At this point, the incident is considered closed, and the customer is notified. No further action is required.
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While this process may appear fairly simple, it can be further optimized.

Embracing Agile Incident Management

Rather than having the service desk responsible for closing every incident, consider ending the process where it naturally concludes. For instance, traditionally, the service desk handles closure even when the incident has been resolved or addressed by another department. Instead, why not let the back-office specialist or department responsible for the initial resolution take charge of closing the incident?

By implementing this change, redundancy can be reduced, and the service desk team can focus on more pressing matters rather than translating technical information from one department to another before closing the incident.

Where to Begin with Agile Incident Management

To streamline the process effectively, it is crucial to remove the final portion of the incident management process and relocate it to the stage where the actual resolution occurs. This eliminates redundancy and minimizes the risk of miscommunication that often arises when information is relayed between different departments, resembling the childhood game of telephone.

Transitioning the “closure” responsibility to the back-office specialist who initially resolved the incident or the relevant department streamlines the process significantly. Although this may pose challenges for some service desk teams, the concept is easy to grasp. It is ultimately more efficient if the department involved can independently describe, transcribe, and close their own incidents without requiring the service desk to interpret and communicate the information to the customer based on the findings of another department.

This approach reduces the need for incident forwarding, shortens the duration of the problem, and ultimately leads to a satisfied customer whose incident is resolved in the quickest possible manner.

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