The “Accept Demand” process is defined in this book as
Capture, prioritize, and authorize and track response to requests and identified needs for IT services. Example: Accept request for new functionality in an HR system module.
This seemingly simple definition obscures a fundamental tension in the concept of demand management: is it about the service lifecycle, transactional service delivery, or both? In researching the second edition of this book, the author found diametrically opposed industry guidance coming from the project management and ITSM communities.
Demand for new and changed services is clearly part of demand management, but how do we consider the ongoing demand for delivery of those services? Demand for the delivery of a given service profoundly affects whether and how that service can be enhanced, or other services created or enhanced.
Figure 47. Integrated Demand Management (click for larger)
Figure 47 graphically shows the relationship between the ideas of “entitled” demand versus “discretionary” demand.
From a business school perspective, the above diagram might be painfully obvious – of course one must fulfill operational commitments before embarking on discretionary initiatives! But IT management is fragmented, and too often demand is qualified and dispatched with no concern for resource availability, especially if the same resources are working disparate processes with no aggregate visibility. This leads to the notorious problem of overburden in IT work.
For example, a systems administrator might find themselves fulfilling service requests from development teams for ongoing capacity enhancements, called upon to resolve a critical service outage, and also tasked with building out a server cluster for a project. There are few if any IT product suites that would provide an aggregated view into the consumption of that individual’s effort.
Aggregate demand means all of the processes:
- Execute Project
- Deliver Release
- Complete Change
- Fulfill Service Request
- Core Transactional Delivery
- Restore Service
- Improve Service
- Retire Service
It is not possible to manage the IT portfolio holistically unless all of this demand is understood. Yet, modern practice tends to build distinct queues for each with the individual IT contributor required to coordinate and prioritize across the incoming workstreams. This leads to overburden, poor morale, and many forms of IT waste. (In this author’s opinion, this is the biggest crisis facing the large IT organization.)