Sunday, March 21, 2010


It was my great privilege this year to be one of the judges for HDI's Team Excellence Awards. The award is meant to single out IT support organizations which exemplify the very best in the industry.

The application process is rigorous, and the criteria are wide-ranging and numerous, covering three major areas: the people, the processes and the technology. Ergonomics, tools, team structure, use of metrics, and the volume of support tickets all count toward the judging criteria.

All the teams who made it to the final rounds were exceptional, and had many characteristics in common. They are focused, thoughtful, trained and dedicated; they know industry best practices. They work together.

Above all else, the very best teams are all committed to two ideas:
• Customers are their purpose
• Continuous improvement is mandatory

Notice I said that the teams are committed. (You probably know the line about commitment being like bacon and eggs: The chicken was involved; the pig was committed.) These teams have a laser-like focus on the reason they exist: To serve the Customer. Whether that Customer be a patient in a healthcare facility, or the user of a credit card, or a company needing data storage, or someone  depending on information from a lawyer, the teams all knew who was at the end of their support chain, and all knew they had to keep working to provide the very best support possible.

I saw the man who applied the HDI logo to the stairs shown in the picture. He took great care to make sure that everything looked right to the thousands who would walk up those stairs this past week. None of us knows his name, though we all know his work. And that's the other part of the lesson: It's not our name or fame or wealth that matters. It's the work and its ultimate purpose, which is to serve the Customer, and to keep getting better and better and better at it. We know we're climbing toward perfection, which is a goal we cannot attain. To climb, to keep climbing and to continuously climb, must be our mission.

Give it some thought.