A Guide to Effective Transition
The fundamental definition of service transition is that it builds or deploys new processes. This seems like a very simple statement, but sometimes transition is the only thing that separates an operations department from chaos.
Irrespective of whether you are a service provider to external or internal customers you need to have a deep understanding of what the expectation of service delivery is. How can you meet your customers’ expectations if you do not fully understand them and the business dependencies underpinning such expectations? Unless you perform a solid transition for a new or changed service then you will rapidly lose control.
Transition is the combination of release, change management, asset configuration management and service test to ensure that all services are successfully deployed into production.
Why is transition important? Why do you need to capture service details outside of simply releasing changes into production? The next few points provide a brief guide on what you should consider (let's take for granted that release management, change management, asset configuration management and test are critical processes).
Prevents death by a thousand cuts
When you deliver service, you have calculated (via demand management) the resources required to effectively deliver that service. If you do not control changes to that service and constantly evaluate resource requirements to deliver then you risk service degradation. You have gradually eroded service by allowing a multitude of small changes creep into production without evaluating the impact.
Stay aligned with the business
Services and support change as the business requirements change. If you do not track these changes to service closely then you may lose sight of business trends and direction and end up reactively following business changes vs proactively working with the business on a service roadmap. Understanding trends and direction will not only enable you to proactively anticipate business changes and expectations but also have a greater understanding of the impact of changes to service.
Demand management and resource planning
It’s critical to understand and assess the impact of changes to your service to enable you to effectively allocate sufficient resources to service fulfilment. If you do not understand the impact of a change to service on demand management you have a high risk of failing to meet service expectations.
Know who your customers are
Part of transition is identifying the service stakeholder, this is critical in service lifecycle management. It is not only important to manage the service but also the service owners and users. Who sponsors service change? Who can authorise a change to a service or application? Do they actually have any authority to request changes? Who does and who pays for it?
Not only does service transition make sure that a new or changed service satisfies the needs of customers and business expectations as documented in the service strategy and service design lifecycle stages, it is also an important process to ensure that those delivering the service keep control of it and have a detailed understanding of the scope of those services and their priority to the business and customers. Frequently people look at transition as an umbrella term for implementing change, however the reality is that it is much more than that. It is also a critical tool in the service delivery tool box to retain control of service delivery, demand management and to understand and anticipate the service roadmap.