The Definitive Guide to IT Service Metrics

Review by itSMF USA member, Roger Williams.

If you are going to call your book The Definitive Guide to IT Service Metrics, this is how you do it. 304 pages, 192 metrics described, 29 areas addressed. This is the broadest range of measures of any ITSM metrics book I have seen. Kurt McWhirter and Ted Gaughan have delivered on the title of their book!

The authors begin with a brief overview of the purpose of metrics. While this material is adequate, practitioners that are relatively new to ITSM metrics may struggle with the concepts. For instance, the guidance on linking measures to vision, mission and goals covers less than two pages. The ITIL® Continual Service Improvement book is a nice complement to this work for those that need to address those items in more depth.

The book describes seven attributes for each metric. Along with the metric’s name and category, each entry lists a suggested owner, the typical stakeholders, a description of the metric, a suggested formula and recommended targets. Each area contains at least three metrics and most contain five to seven.

Experienced practitioners going beyond incident, problem and change will find a lot of value in this book. I found the treatment of Design Coordination to be well done. The entries on such measures as “percentage of designs associated with projects” are useful as-is. They will also inspire other measures that can show the value of good Service Design.

Three other categories are included at the end of the book. The Risk Management section is the strongest of these. The measures for Project Management and Data Centers felt out of place and are not as helpful. To its credit, the references section provides pointers to more guidance for these areas.

With any work of this magnitude, some metrics will seem more helpful and “right” than others will. The authors do not shy away from debatable measures such as “first call resolution” and “mean time to repair”. The book clearly cautions that formulas are workable yet are not “be all, end all” statements of fact. Readers who keep this in mind will maximize their value from this guide.

Mr. McWhirter and Mr. Gaughan have produced a helpful resource for those looking to move beyond the basics of IT Service Management metrics. Those of us that love to debate the merits of certain measures will find enough to keep us occupied. Meanwhile, practitioners looking for useful definitions have plenty of material to meet their needs.

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