Resources Capacity management implementation
Image via Flickr by Matt McGee
The approach discussed in the last post, wrapped in a continuous process, keeps waste to a controlled level. However, there are other kinds of waste that are not identified as underutilized resources, and therefore escape such controls.
To identify these wastes, Capacity Management must consider resource utilization levels and the way resources are used.
Depending on the demand and added value of IT services, Capacity Management ensures that resource planning is in line with the business strategy and responds to the question: How can you adjust capacity continuously?
Step 1: Eliminate Resources Used by Non Value-Added Services
Image via Flickr by J. Mc.
Do several services respond to the same need? Is the old service still active even though the new one started a long time ago? These are examples of obsolete or redundant services that continue using resources to perform non value-added activities.
These different waste examples encourage us to get to the essence of what the client expects from the service. Defining added value may seem obvious, but this approach is rarely performed thoroughly because of the difficult questions it raises.
Lean Six Sigma encourages using the Voice of the Customer (VOC) method to identify added value. This technique ensures that managed services meet the customer’s expressed or unexpressed needs. VOC may be obtained through practices including direct discussion, interviews, surveys, discussion groups, customer specifications, observation, warranty data, field reports, grievance lists, etc.
VOC consideration is required for effective Capacity Management. When making decisions these questions need to be asked: What services are critical? Does the operation have to be rated or meet extremely acute peak loads? Which indicators are used to measure the use of IT services by the business? What is the growth forecast specified in the business development plan?
Image via Flickr by Chris B
Once the VOC feedback is collected, a Critical to Quality (CTQ) tree should be created and used to identify critical quality features. The purpose of this representation is to transform the needs expressed by the customer into measurable expectations.
The CTQ enables one to define the service profile. For example, a profile could reference business indicators, which directly impact capacity.
Currently, CTQ Trees are rarely implemented in IT Operations Management. However, the objective of Capacity Management is to proactively translate customer needs into IT business objectives and resource requirements, so CTQ trees should be used more frequently to accomplish this goal.
Without a complete understanding of customer requirements for a given service, Capacity Management will not be able to adapt resources to business requirements. Specifying what makes or creates value therefore enables us to identify sources of additional waste.
Step 2: Eliminate Resources that Do Not Add Value to ServicesImage via Flickr by Davey Shafik
“He who can do more can do less.” This idea, which is often applied to resource management in order to secure quality of service, is a source of waste. ? Do we really need redundancy for this service? Should this service be included in the Disaster Recovery Plan?
CTQ data needs to be combined with the ITIL V3 sub-process Service Capacity Management data. The combination of this data guarantees that the capacity allocated to each service and the aggregation of basic capacity resources is able to reach service-level objectives.
As part of the war on waste, this CTQ data is used differently; the purpose is to verify that capacity on some unitary resources is not oversized, taking into account service-level objectives.
Step 3: Streamline Resources and Regulate Demand
Image via Flickr by Isaac Borrego
Some services generate peak demand on the resources dedicated to them. Resource partitioning is wasteful for those that are rarely used.
Capacity Management needs to streamline these resources by smoothing the consumption over time and by pooling resources between different services. Resources are not dedicated to a single service. They can be used for multiple service lines with optimized scheduling. This echoes a similar principle to “separate man from machine, ” a pillar of Lean Management (the operators are not dedicated to a single machine).
Smoothing the use of critical resources is typically done in a project to optimize the production plan. Without continuous monitoring, different jobs tend to accumulate in a short time, causing a peak in daily resource consumption. By optimizing task order, the utilization of costly resources such as the large capacity servers will be further distributed. This generates an immediate economic benefit. Consolidating virtual machines that have compatible baselines on the same clusters will save resources, as well.
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