A solid performance management culture requires a lot more than purchasing the right tools and hiring a team that can use them. Without the full support of the rest of the IT organization a company will see little benefit from the investment. Such a buy-in requires quite a change in the way most people think about what it means to be accountable. Here are 5 things every IT Director must know in order to get a good R.O.I. on their Performance Management investment.

3. Don’t implement things half-way!

The temptation is there to see if a company can get 80% of the value by implementing 20% of the functionality of Performance Management organizations. People try all sorts of ways to get around the full investment, but this is one case where this is the exception that proves the 80/20 rule. If your organization is going to implement a monitoring approach, don’t just stop at basic availability. Implement performance trending and analysis as well. You need to have a good marketing strategy to make all this work. So if the only piece being implemented is the piece that makes Performance Management seem like an automated tattle-tale then your people will reject it and figure out any way they can to invalidate any results given to them. Conversely, if an application development team can also use the data to justify a larger hardware purchase or to prove that their latest code release did what they said it would do, then Performance Management can be an ally and partner. This is where you need to be.

If you’d like to see a full rundown of how the different Performance Management groups interact please read the article on this site titled: The Many Faces of IT Performance Management.

2. Make Performance Testing the gateway to application releases

Now to some this may sound crazy, and certainly there must be exceptions to every rule, but if your company is like most, then your company classifies certain applications as more critical than others. Those critical applications must have things like disaster plans, required backups, more strict release management processes, etc. In those applications, make sure that Performance Testing is a critical barrier to releasing new code. If your organization can catch application issues before the code goes live then the return on investment is huge and almost instant. The concept of T.I.P. (testing in production) should be a completely foreign concept and so in that spirit all critical applications should be performance tested before going live. If they don’t pass, they don’t go through. If the Performance Testing (Performance Management) team doesn’t OK the change, it is rejected. Period.

1. Mistakes don’t equal the unemployment line!

So often employees and managers alike feel that if they make a mistake they have to cover it up or else they will lose their job. The result isn’t that people make perfect decisions all the time, in fact people under that type of stress people are prone to making even more mistakes. Whats worse, they cover up those mistakes to ensure nobody can ever trace it back to them. The result is a hostile culture that will revolt when the light of open accountability that a good Performance Management team can produce shines on the mistakes of the past.

So what can be done? Obviously, for people who are just not well suited for their job this advice doesn’t apply, but assuming the individual is reasonably competent at his or her job… Don’t penalize the mistake, make it clear that mistakes happen and that nobody can be perfect all the time. Also, stress the immediate corrective action on being dishonest about making those mistakes. It is the responsibility of the senior management to ensure that the culture is shifted.

About the Author

Matthew Bradford has been in the I.T. Performance Business for 13 years and has been critical to the success of many Fortune 500 Performance Management groups. He is currently the CTO of InsightETE, an I.T. Performance Management company specializing in passive monitoring and big data analytics with a focus on real business metrics.

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