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Posted by Stephen Mann on July 12, 2011
I recently spoke with a Forrester I&O client looking for “incident classification best practice.” I knew that I should have had knowledge of this, or at least access to it, but all I had was a loose set of guiding principles that are probably more “common sense” rather than “best practice.” I was happy to talk with the client but wanted to know what I had missed.
Google seemed a great place to start. After all, Googling “ITIL” results in 21 million hits (I do appreciate that not all of these will relate to the IT service management best practice framework though). So I Googled “incident classification best practice” (plus “incident categorization best practice”) and was surprised at the results. Well, the LACK of results. There was no freely available advice or guidance on this subject.
The main reason for my surprise is that, with the wealth of IT service management best (or good) practice out there (especially with ITIL espoused as THE framework of IT service management best practice), this is one area where I definitely think that value could be derived by documenting successes and the pitfalls to avoid.
Given that many organizations adopting ITSM best practice, or ITIL, will start with the service desk and incident management, the creation of a robust incident classification hierarchy is something they will need to do. A similar opportunity also arises when organizations switch between competing ITSM products as part of the well-documented ITSM tool churn. For others it is relevant when the realization sinks in that the existing incident classification hierarchy is cumbersome and ineffective. Incident classification is important, so where is the best practice?
Why is nothing available? Some say that we shouldn’t be prescriptive. I agree, in that one size doesn’t fit all. One could also argue that the creation of an incident classification hierarchy is a good opportunity for ITSM tool vendors and ITSM consultants to log more billable days, but I imagine that there would be better, more productive, opportunities to increase the consultancy/professional service revenue stream than spending so much time “reinventing the wheel” here.
Surely there must have been many opportunities over the last twenty or so years to create a list of incident classification “dos and don’ts”; or a framework, for want of a better phrase, through which an organization can be guided through the incident classification hierarchy setup process to achieve an incident hierarchy. Importantly, one that meets business needs across and beyond the incident management process.
I could gripe on about this, but I’d rather start something positive here. So what is my loose set of principles?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this but please remember that this is just a quickly written blog not a “three-year academic initiative to find the optimal incident classification hierarchy.”
Please check out my latest blog ... http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann
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