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Operations Review Process and Activities

The Operations Review is a key management checkpoint and occurs at specified intervals normally aligned to the measurement period stipulated in the service level agreement (SLA) and operating level agreement (OLA) documents. The following figure details the stages in setting up and conducting the Operations Review, which are discussed in subsequent sections of this document.

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Once the initial Operations Review has taken place, the process becomes a cyclic process of conducting the review, documenting it, and taking corrective actions.

The primary goal of the Operations Review is to assess the effectiveness of internal operating processes and procedures contained in the operating level agreements (OLAs)-which are designed to support and fulfill the customers' service level requirements-as well as how those activities can be improved. The information gathered in this review may be used in the customer-facing SLA Review.

A secondary goal of the Operations Review is to validate that operations staff members have documented day-to-day activities and tasks in a corporate knowledge management system. This ensures that the key operational knowledge remains current and accessible to all members of the operations staff.

The review process is conducted at specified intervals, which depend on the rate of change in the business and what the business deems manageable and useful. For example, reviews could be held monthly, quarterly, or biannually. The interval should fit in with the objectives of the organization and should be flexible. The majority of IT organizations convene monthly since most business measurement cycles also occur on a monthly basis. The review may be held even more frequently if the SLA requires it.

Although the reviews are usually periodic, there is no reason why the service level management (SLM) or operations organization cannot call a review outside of this interval if they wish to discuss the service. The structure should not be so rigid that it stops communication. The regularity of the review meetings should reassure both SLM and IT operations that these reviews will be the minimum number of reviews conducted.

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The Operations Review is not the only review that should be convened to monitor and measure the performance of the services. Each team within operations that is delivering services should be holding internal reviews regularly to monitor achievement of operational performance levels. The frequency of these meetings is dependent on the nature of the services being provided as well as the current quality of the services. For example, the server operations team may want to have a quick 30-minute meeting every morning to review the previous day's incidents and to ensure that any major incidents are receiving the support necessary for resolution within the time frames required. Additionally, services that have not been performing may require daily management attention to ensure that corrective action taken is achieving the desired outcomes. It is essential that critical services be monitored, measured, and reviewed daily. In addition, at least weekly, management needs to review the OLA month-to-date performance; areas that are not performing in accordance with the OLA should be reported to senior operations management. This will allow management the time to intervene and take the necessary corrective action in the event of potential noncompliance with agreed OLA performance targets.

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