Conquer the 7 Deadly Sins of Managing IT Demand

Mountain ClimberIn my last blog post, I wrote that the “7 Deadly Sins of IT Demand” are driving down business satisfaction with IT. Any of these sins can make it extremely challenging for IT to efficiently and quickly fulfill demand. Recognize any of them?

  1. The Squeaky Wheel, who constantly harasses IT or escalates requests.
  2. The Black Hole where good requests go to die.
  3. The Annual Plan that stays the same, no matter what happens during the year.
  4. First Come, First Serve that forces everyone to wait their turn, regardless of business priority.
  5. Commitment Conundrum or Analysis Paralysis.
  6. Death by Committee, where no one is willing to make a decision.
  7. Unfinished Business, when initiatives just die because there’s no one to champion their cause.

So how can you conquer the 7 deadly sins of IT demand? Here are 7 tried and true cures I’ve heard from customers:

  1. Don’t just set it and forget it. Build flexibility into your plan, and make sure you have defined time periods, criteria and stage-gates where you review your plans. Be realistic about potential slips and delays, and build that in your plans. And if possible, reserve some capacity for unplanned activities.
  2. Set the right path: Make smart decision-making points so that demand can quickly get routed and fulfilled by the right people. Change requests, new project ideas or operational requests should be funneled through a common system that triages each request quickly, and then routes it to the appropriate party. In this model, IT becomes more efficient and responsive to the customer.
  3. Establish a czar: You need to have one person be the head “controller” for IT demand within a given service or application domain.  This needs to be a senior representative from the business organization with the right amount of political clout.   Otherwise, your organization will quickly devolve into Committee Conundrum or Death by Committee.
  4. Let everyone vote: Use a single place for everyone to submit all requests. Make it open, available and transparent to everyone, so business users know where their requests are, so that good ideas can be expanded upon to make them great ideas.
  5. Get real with your people: Initiate time tracking so you can more accurately assess planned versus actual capacity.  Integrate time tracking into the systems where people actually perform their work, like the IT Service Management system and the Configuration Management System.  That way time tracking is done in real time and is not a weekly afterthought.
  6. Make the process transparent: Document the process and be sure to include formal stage gates. Ensure the process is visible and understood by all stakeholders, not just IT.
  7. Be consistent: define a standard set of criteria to assess and prioritize demand. Use a single system for tracking initiatives, and ensure KPI’s are in place to accurately measure project status.

If you’re ready to slay the seven deadly sins of IT demand management, I highly encourage you to check out the interactive product tour of Serena Demand Manager. You’ll get a hands-on opportunity to see how this revolutionary Serena product can make managing IT demand super fast and easy. And if you haven’t already done so, you should also read the brief whitepaper, “A Fresh Look at IT Demand Management: Four Steps to Intelligently Fulfill Demand Across the IT Lifecycle.”


Ben Cody is Vice President of Service Management Solutions at Serena Software. Ben has a broad background in information technology, with more than 17 years of experience in product development and product management. Prior to joining Serena, Ben was Senior Director of Product Management for BMC’s Service Management product family, including the Remedy product line.



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