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Getting Started: 5 Essential ITSM Project Questions

11/08/2011 by: The SunView Team

In our conversations and interactions we realize a number of our readers may be embarking on improving, redesigning, or even just beginning to implement a true IT Service Management solution. Especially for those upgrading, this may truly be the most stressful time for an IT team. Balancing current workloads, while researching potential systems, means a team trying to take a project of this magnitude on will be stretched thin. Of course, with potential rewards high, the focus on success becomes relentless. In what can quickly turn into chaos, the first casualty is typically a teams' ability to ask, and in turn, answer questions.

It's understandable though, the chance to maximize ROI, and improve the work lives of everyone involved has unmatched potential. Everyone has waited a long time, talked about a new system, and now that things are starting to move, the inclination is to sprint rather than walk. There really isn't time afforded to ask even the most basic questions now, rather than in the middle of the project.

Unfortunately, this approach can have consequences and in certain instances, even producing results worse than what you started with. Luckily it does not have to be that way. In short, success, even in the most chaotic of IT environments, can be achieved. The key is to take a moment, look at your situation objectively. You'll really want to decide early in the process where the investment of time, and eventually money, should be best placed. Changing your mind down the road can be costly.

Listed below are five questions you should ask, and be ready to answer before you even begin your research. The questions are essential for any team looking to take on an ITSM project, and if you have trouble answering them, it's likely you need to do a bit more planning before you move on to choosing features for your new system.

What are the Goals of Your Project?
All projects begin with a problem statement. For example, you may be dealing with efficiency issues, want meet compliance requirements for your industry, or provide audit points for continued process enforcement. Whatever issues you are trying to solve, the more detail you have, the better.

What are the Requirements for the Project?
Every project needs requirements that have been researched and matched with the expectations and objectives of your organization. If you have trouble answering this question, the potential for roadblocks in the project will be very high.

What is Your Budget?
You might have just been tasked with discovering features and capabilities, meaning that licensing, support fees, and general costs aren't important to you at this time. A rough estimate can help refine your scope and perhaps even lead you towards an iterative, segmented approach to the project, which might work best in the long term.

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What is Your Timeline?
Some projects are on a crunch, others may have many months before anything needs to get started. As with a cost budget, time needs to be budgeted as well. It's OK if you don't have the time to implement a Service Catalog right from the start. Perhaps it's more important that you get your ticket and incident management under control first. Just make sure any solution you choose can easily be customized and implemented in a modular way.

What Other Solutions do you Have in Place?
Your IT department is like a lot of departments, meaning that there is a high likelihood that a piece of software is so entrenched within your organization that you can't get rid of it. The first word of warning is to consider finding a new way to perform that function - eventually that piece of software will be unserviceable. However, there is a silver lining. Modern systems can often integrate with existing solutions. As part of your project, and working towards an ability to answer this question, make an assessment of systems you simply can't, or rather, will not, do without.