3.9 What Response Can the Staff Provide?

Traditionally managers determine SLAs in terms of time. That is, managers estimate how long they anticipate certain tasks will take in order to deal with a request. This is problematic as it's not the manager performing the tasks and they always tend to be optimistic at best.

We going to recommend a considerably different approach to determining times. First of all, a request may require work from an entire team not just an individual. Philosophically, this places an emphasis on collective effort. Second, we need to acknowledge that each request will have a certain degree of difficulty and effort to resolve. This is a major break from traditional methods: Instead of a manager estimating on behalf of other individuals and assigning SLA times based on conjecture, team members will use effort and degree of difficulty to estimate their own work.

In the response meeting, support staff sit down to estimate SLA times for each of priorities (Critical, High, Medium and Low ). For each of the priorities, use example requests to help determine what the SLA time should. It is essential that honest appraisals are given. As such, it is recommended that all team members disclose their estimates simultaneously. When it comes to estimates, give the support staff a series of numbers that represent the time to choose from e.g Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.) Because individuals “show their hands” at once, this process is not unlike a game of poker. Some support staff have even developed their own decks of playing cards expressly for this process.

The support staff also needs to estimate how often they can meet a SLA. There will be times when regardless of the effort and dedication involved, times will be missed. Standard practice is to say that a SLA will be met a certain percentage over a set period of time e.g SLA x will be achieve 80% of the time during a six month window.

To arrive at a single SLA estimation that reflects the entire team’s sense of a requests difficulty, it often requires numerous rounds of estimation. Another output of these meetings is the justification behind them.