Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:53 am Post subject: Process roles vs Line management
An increasing trend with organizations implementing ITIL is their struggle to balance the line (functional) roles versus the process roles. Some of the implementations of ITIL, that I have seen, has process roles traditionally placed aside line management roles and reporting back to a line function. While, I believe that this typically characterizes organizations in the initial implementation phase of ITIL, there might be a better way of looking at balancing the line roles and the process roles.
One of them could be to separate all the process roles into a separate entity in the organization and be able to drive the line management through this entity. There might also be other better ways of balancing the line management and process roles.
When I see the organizational design of various organizations, in the start of the implementation of ITIL, I see that process roles are placed under the line management. For example, Problem management placed under the head of operations who also has various other line responsibilities. This will reduce the span of control that problem management needs.
As a result of this, it becomes difficult for the organization to be able to institutionalize problem management in the organization. Hence, one of the ways of increasing span of control is to bring out all the process roles together into an organization and make them responsible to run all the necessary errands to run the line management successfully. This way, things get done through the process roles.
To increase the span of control for the processes, what other options that exist
Joined: Aug 11, 2006 Posts: 262 Location: Netherlands
Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:26 am Post subject: Re: Process roles vs Line management
Would like to hear your thoughts on this
In my opinion, it is just a matter of choice. Both ways have their pro's and cons. Depending on the organisation, its maturity and very important yet non-ITIL aspects (politics etc.), I've seen both options in action in many organisations. I've seen organisations change from one way (seperate team of proces managers) to the other and vice versa.
When you have a seperate proces manager team, you will have a continuous friction between process and production, just as flybd5 said. I do not think this is necesarilly a bad thing, as friction can lead to good results. However, I think it is very important to look at the profile of the team leader, and the level within the organisation where you put this person (management team level).
When you devide process roles over the operational organisation, you'll have to think carefully about who you will give which process. Some could be obvious (manager service desk for incident management). But do you want to give every manager one or more processes? How about maintaining a balance within your management team.
Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 3:18 pm Post subject: Re: Process roles vs Line management
However, I think it is very important to look at the profile of the team leader, and the level within the organisation where you put this person
I think there lies the magic. This is one of the main reasons why ITIL is a flexible framework: because it allows you to fit it based on your specific organization's talents. The availability of the talent is going to determine in large part what the end result is going to look like on the org chart. It's like many things in ITIL .... it depends...
We also have to be careful about how we define "friction" because friction can be very counterproductive, but friction in the sense of "checks & balances", in the sense of giving responsibilities with opposing interests to people who need each other can benefit the organization. It is important that the process design and the metrics take this point of potential friction into account to drive results. _________________ BR,
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