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Following anecdotal evidence of dissatisfaction with the service provided by its IT Help Desk, the Chief Executive of a large organisation requested an internal audit of the Help Desk processes. The Help Desk had six full-time-equivalent staff and a manager.
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It was operated as a cost centre. The Help Desk manager claimed to be unaware of any user dissatisfaction but offered his full co-operation to the appointed internal auditor. The auditor began by requesting copies of Help Desk transaction records. Notification of a new task was meant to be by Email or telephone, although some nearby users would pay a personal visit to the Help Desk location. Responsibility for progressing the task was with the receiving Help Desk staff member. At the time of the audit, the database had 40, rows of entries. The Help Desk manager admitted that no-one ever looked at the database!
Quoted by W. Edwards Deming. Data are not taken for museum purposes; they are taken as a basis for doing something. If nothing is to be done with the data, then there is no use in collecting any. The ultimate purpose of taking data is to provide a basis for action or a recommendation for action. The internal auditor took an Excel copy of this database for analysis. He quickly discovered that, although most Help Desk staff and users were unaware of them, there were Service Level Agreements SLAs for maximum elapsed times to resolve each of the six task types:.
The Help Desk manager was keen to point out that the team had voluntarily adopted an internal SLA requiring no task to await action by the currently responsible staff member for more than two working days. There was little consistency in the allocation of task types. Users were generally eager for their problem to be allocated a task type with a quick target completion time, and some senior users were good at browbeating Help Desk staff to this end.
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The internal auditor began his analysis by looking for duplicate entries in the 40, rows of data. He quickly found that about 1 in 8 of the rows appeared to be exact duplicates of the previous row. For example, 2 consecutive rows show date-hours-minute as 22 March The unformatted actual values in days are No technical reason could be found for this. The auditor wrote an Excel macro to delete all such duplicate rows from his copy of the database.
The auditor wrote Excel macros to calculate deviation from SLA for all Closed tasks in the database and identify any tasks that qualified as outliers. These were then reviewed to check that the data was correct and not the result of a keying error. There was no defined SLA for this measure. The manager believed that most tasks should be completed with just one Action. Not surprisingly, there was a very strong correlation between number of Actions and deviation from SLA.
The main reason for this was easy to identify; the internal SLA requiring no task to await action by the currently responsible staff member for more than two working days was leading to tasks being passed from one staff member to another without the problem being progressed.
These recommendations were all implemented. Within 3 months the Help Desk service was rated excellent in a user survey. The first part of this training, the Mastering Training Needs Analysis bit, provides practical ideas and checklists on the questions to ask, and the data to collect to build a business case, and how to get stakeholder buy-in, to begin to prioritise how you spend your time to create greatest impact and return on investment. We will look at 4 levels — organisational , department , team and individual -exploring different approaches and solutions to the different needs.
A feature of this training is space to have 1 on 1 time with the instructor to discuss the problem and consider options, or, alternatively, to share the challenge with the group and get suggestions from your peer group. So, a real opportunity for career development for you — do join us! This is the first of three press release highlighting the key features of this seminar.
This press release shows how Training Needs Analysis is changing.
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