Identifying Critical Helpdesk and Desktop IT Processes – Part 3 – Flowcharting Fun!

A process that my customers feel needs improvement is Account Maintenance.  It takes way too long to update or create any type of account supported by our IT groups.  Our goal is to modify accounts within an hour of manager’s approval.  An urgent account creation should be the same business day.  New hire accounts can be completed within 72-hours, if we’re notified ahead of time.  Reviewing the tickets shows me that we’re not meeting these deadlines.  Flowcharting allows me to isolate why or tells me how I know what I know.

For me, swimlane flowcharts are the best way to analyze processes.  Some things to keep in mind:

  • Start at a high level and drill down on areas that are problematic.  Detailed micro flowcharts lead to overanalyzing and impede success.  Perfect is the enemy of good.
  • Complete flowcharts with the process stakeholders. Don’t do this in a vacuum.
  • Don’t be afraid to implement small, quick, and easy process changes when you see an obvious problem.
  • Ask stakeholders “why” and listen for the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” response. This is a red flag response and that issue needs to be scrutinized.

Since our other IT groups are on the east coast or completely removed from our AD domain, it’s not surprising external account requests take so long.  Our internal customers understand this, so we’ll leave that process alone for now. 

My focus has to be on what I can control, the IT account administrators in our building here in San Diego.  Here’s a flowchart of the overall process

The Current State of our Account Maintenance Process

The Current State of our Account Maintenance Process

In the current state, I don’t really need to dig into the details of the sub-processes, since I can see the bottleneck at this macro level.  Do you see it?  As the flowchart points out, there are three process improvement areas:

1 – Why isn’t my team managing all account access? 

2 –  We should point users to a form-based request process (workflow).  This can be SharePoint 2007, Service Manager 2010 self-service portal, or something internally developed.

3 – Can’t we just automate the whole process while adhering to our company’s security policies?  Yes.

After further review, here’s the future state.

The Future State - How it should be done.

The Future State

Notice the difference in the number of steps that require human interaction. The future state really eliminates wasted time and will really free up my team to spend more time on more beneficial areas.  It also takes a significant burden off our developers and application support teams.  The future state process has continual process improvement built-in, since the SCSM 2010 administrator modifies the automated account process when their are failures.  We’ve also developed our success metrics, which we can monitor with reporting.  When our success metrics fall out of line, we can immediately identify this and reevaluate the out-of-control process.

Successful metrics = Process under Control

These two flowcharts are the first step or Macro level review.  Although we’ve delayed our roll out of Service Manager 2010 for incident management, I can still deploy it for all of the other benefits, which I list in the future state flowchart.  Also notice that I’ve identified what I consider sub-processes that need further analysis with a different type of boxes.  These areas I’ll really analyze with additional flowcharts and use those results to develop Service Manager 2010 workflows. Stay tuned.



About Doug Sigmon

IT Helpdesk manager in southern California. Love technology, gadgets, and golf.
This entry was posted in MS Service Manager 2010, Process Improvement, Workflows and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Identifying Critical Helpdesk and Desktop IT Processes – Part 3 – Flowcharting Fun!

  1. Pingback: Identifying Critical Helpdesk and Desktop IT Processes – Part 3 …help desk management | help desk management

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