Is My IT Help Desk Service Level Management Working?

There are a lot of reasons why service level agreements may not work. Here are a few lessons to remember as you make progress with your IT help desk or service desk organization.

Gotcha! Service Level Management: Why it fails1

1. Too Complex. The most common pitfall is that the SLA documents are too complex. These documents should be short and very precise in defining the services you provide and the level of service you and your customers agree on. If they are longer than 3-5 pages, then you are doing it wrong.

2. No measurements. If you do not have the technology and tool sets to track and report the timed-service events by responsiveness and resolution for the various severity level classifications, then SLAs will fail. Without continuous feedback on performance, the loop is incomplete and the SLAs become documents and nothing more.

3. Unrealistic management expectations. Often management does not acknowledge the amount of time needed to implement service level management, and therefore they do not staff it adequately. This cannot be a part time job! It must be managed full time.

4. Unrealistic objectives and goals. Frequently, IT management and customers set unrealistic objectives and goals. This usually happens because there were inadequate measurements done prior to implementing the SLA. It is critical to baseline the current service performance prior to beginning to negotiate the SLAs with customers.


1 Original article by Char LaBounty of LaBounty & Associates, Inc.

Here is a great White Paper on Implementing Service Level Agreements. See 

Select Implementing Service Level Agreements: "The Critical Element in Service Delivery"

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