RE: Ever seen a service level agreement for a tech pubs department?

Subject: RE: Ever seen a service level agreement for a tech pubs department?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, "Milan Davidovic" <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2009 09:16:21 -0500

Peter Neilson also replied to Milan:
[...]>
> No. I've worked on SLA for IT, but one for TW sounds like a mistake
> unless, as I suggested, the TW department is really being
> clobbered by
> uncontrollable outside requests. The usual method for handling those
> requests is simply to escalate the problem to the executive
> in charge of
> the two departments--the one being clobbered and the one clobbering.
>
> IT has the difficulty that they often have an interface to the entire
> customer base, or at least the entire company, and it's
> reasonable to be
> able to point the clueless user to a policy instead of arguing ten
> minutes with each one about why you aren't going to unblock
> his favorite
> porn site, or whatever.
>
> I suspect that a request for an SLA for TW indicates a severe
> management
> problem, but I don't know how to suggest that idea without getting
> caught in the gears that are grinding the problem.

My previous response to John P's response was in reference to an
exterior-to-the-company SLA.
If this Techpubs SLA is for internal use only - which Peter is
addressing - I think he's on the right track.

Our techpubs department doesn't have such a thing, because there isn't a
techpubs department. We happy few are widely scattered (worldwide)
throughout the company, and work for local departments (mostly
engineering in their respective divisions). However, the "Creative
Services" department is centralized (sorta - at least it has a single
manager), and while they don't have an SLA per se, they do pretend to
enforce a policy whereby any request for something graphic or artsy must
be submitted on a form and scheduled. Of course, that backfires with me
because the form is Marketing-centric, and I end up calling somebody in
the group to clear up what I really meant to say in the inadequate form.

Our IT department has a published (internally) mandate, and a
trouble-ticket tracking system. Whether you formally enter a ticket, or
send an e-mail, or pick up the phone, your "issue" gets entered into the
system, and you get a series of confirmation and tracking e-mails.

My equivalent, for my job, is that I basically never say "No", but I
have learned to apply weasel-words when responding to impromptu requests
(depending on my workload of the moment). For actual documentation
errors and omissions (as opposed to those impromptu requests), I'm in
the same Issue-tracking system (MKS Integrigy Manager, part of the
related MKS source control system) as the developers, which ensures that
all issues are tied to upcoming releases of the affected products.

>From the other end, all our projects are tracked in a formalized Project
Life Cycle system, using Sharepoint, and every group produces a "plan"
for their part in the project. Those plans - usually in direct response
to Marketing Requirements, or indirectly by responding to (say) the
Engineering Statement of Work - become the individual
person-or-department's promise to perform. Mine started out as a generic
skeleton, but we're finding ways to flesh it out and make it more useful
- which has the added benefit of getting me better info earlier in the
projects.

But, there's no PLC tracking for between-project bits and pieces, which
occupy a considerable portion of my time and energy.

So, as I said in the other branch of this thread, it depends. What is
your situation, how big is your group, how autonomous are they? What is
the SLA a response to? (Those are the questions you ask yourself and
whoever wants the SLA - I couldn't care less what your answers
are......... <gdr&h> )

- Kevin

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Ever seen a service level agreement for a tech pubs department?: From: Milan Davidovic
Re: Ever seen a service level agreement for a tech pubs department?: From: Peter Neilson
Re: Ever seen a service level agreement for a tech pubs department?: From: Milan Davidovic
Re: Ever seen a service level agreement for a tech pubs department?: From: Peter Neilson

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