Spicing Up ITIL Reports - We're Only Human.

ITIL is big on reporting, as you well know, because you've read the books. There are scores of reports that could be produced across each service process.

The 'trick' (in this e-mail crazy day and age) is to obtain your fair share of Senior Management / CIO 'mindspace' by utilising a number of canny illusions to get the results that you're looking for.

Let's take Change Management as the example throughout...

1. The Traditional Content of (Boring / Unread) Change Reports:-

-Number of change requests
-Number and percentage of changes (rejected - emergency change - in change status)
-Number of change awaiting implementation, by category and time outstanding
-Number of Implemented changes, by configuration component and service
-Change backlogs and bottle necks
-Cost per change
-Business impact of change
-Changes by business area
-Frequency of change to CIO's

2. The Results of Traditional Content of Change Report:-

-Your report flies around the e-mail system, lands into multiple in-boxes and is quickly deleted
-Your report is not read
-Therefore No action is taken
-The very next week - things are the same (if you are lucky!)

Continuous improvement is actually hindered by the lack of attention and time spent on essential reviews of management information - do you recognise this symptom?

So, what are the root causes?

-Your report is boring!!
-Your report contains too much data and not enough information
-Your report does not contain a narrative about the decisions that are taken/recommended
-Too much data by e-mail => loss of interest
-CIO says, "This is the Change teams job isn't it?"

So, what can we do about it?

3. Dr. ITiL's Prescription for Positive Change (or "things to try!")

-Produce a one-page scorecard... not a boring report (the detail can go underneath)
-Use color (red, amber, green, blue)

-Use charts with Meaningful Headings that look purposeful and make sense
-Use peoples names... make it personal - for maximum effect

-Use a powerful narrative, "This Chart clearly shows that the current statistics gave exceeded our target threshold and therefore the following action will be taken..."

- Use exaggerated color highlights where run statistics cross trendlines
-Try to produce a last week, last month, last quarter summary on one page

-Leave color copies on peoples desk once in a while rather than send by e-mail
-Hand the scorecard out once a week in the CAB meeting, discuss it before you begin the detailed stuff

What works for you? Please feel free to add your own comments / best practices / ideas by posting a comment below....