Last night I was watching the movie ‘outsourced‘ and apart from the fact that it is a really good movie (laughed so hard I was afraid I’d wake up my son… ) it made me think about accountability and ownership.
Every time I talk with clients and students about Roles and Responsibilities for the various activities in the ITIL Processes the discussion always turns to proven ways to make this approach successful. After all – we want these processes to work. We implement them for a business reason (and not just for the sake of them… it’s not a form of occupational therapy for ITIL consultants).
But the true success of an implementation like this lies in the ownership of the internal employees. You can’t expect them to just change overnight without at least involving them in the process and explaining why certain things are done in a certain way. That’s why it never works when you simply engage a group of ‘ITIL Experts’ to do the work for you… the same happened in the movie – the American guy was very good at his job, you could say he was an expert, but it didn’t make any difference. He didn’t have the buy in from the staff and as such all his good work was in vain.
Ownership is more than feeling responsible – you OWN the activity, and therefore make it your own. You take pride in the fact that this task is performed in a professional and effective manner. But you also take ownership of the things that do not go to plan. Acknowledge that you made a mistake, or that you forgot something. Ownership means that you keep looking for ways to do this task better, easier, faster, smarter, cheaper. It means keeping your eyes and ears open to be aware of the handover points, and formalise them so there are no grey lines – everybody knows what is expected. It also means that by doing this you will identify new communication channels that you didn’t know existed.
In the movie it became clear that until the callcentre team took ownership of their role, task and deliverables, nothing really went to plan. But after this point there was no turning back.. they took pride in doing things better and achieving their goals and targets! The group culture changed into a ‘we can do ANYTHING, just watch me!’ and isn’t that what we try to achieve with the implementation of IT Service Management?