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Flow Metrics for ITSM

Flow Metrics of a different kind existed previously only in the project management world. For ITSM, the Focus Framework's tool-based practices for Flow Management introduce them for the first time.

Flow Management is built upon, and produces, many Flow Metrics. They remove all 21 common operational issues affecting IT support. They provide detailed team and service performance knowledge reflecting actual service experience outcomes, and they add many new managerial capabilities.

There are two kinds. 


 Activity Flow Metrics 

Their main aspect is for Contribution Recognition.

A practice of Contribution Recognition has two compelling merits:

  1. Confirmed by Gallup Inc. research, when individual contribution is accurately and fairly recognised, the information is wanted by team members, producing 2.5 - 3.5 times greater levels of engagement in work.

    IT support and other customer service teams are uniquely advantaged in being able to produce accurate and fair contribution recognition, by introducing flow metrics.

    FM components that include Contribution Recognition ("TPM Insight", and the more advanced "TPM Organise") take consideration of all operational nuances and requirements to produce performance metrics of absolute accuracy - the most engaging contribution recognition possible.

  2. More input (flow of ticket activity from engaged teams) produces better service outcomes - timelier and more attentive.

    Contribution recognition aligns a team to achieving on their purpose of reliably meeting needs and expectations, and complementing the uplift, Activity Prioritisation enables teams to deliver support as responsively and effectively as possible.

For manageability, the Focus Framework includes an important principle for support teams:


All front-line support teams must have a maximum work-time beyond which teamwork or escalation is expected. Routine tasks that always take longer, and non-routine tasks, should be covered under dedicated functional roles that are exempt.


FM's Team Together practice brings fully integrated asynchronous collaboration to how teams work, to systemically minimise escalation and improve speed of service through flow. How often this form of teamwork happens is an advanced activity flow metric that can be a contribution objective.

Based on maximum work-time, FM's Flow Monitoring practice is particularly beneficial for managerial support in remote and dispersed teams. In particular, Activity Gap and Total Time-on-Ticket metrics provide similar managerial insight to that gained from PBX telephony systems used by call centres, primarily of excessive call length. Managerial capabilities arising from this kind of information, in knowing when help and support might be needed and offered, or escalation coordinated, have historically been completely missing for other teams... for most of an IT department.

Flow of activity is vital for the success of front-line support in all support teams. It needs to be closely managed and assisted. To make a big difference beyond the call centre, managers cannot succeed alone. High performing self-managing teams, managerial assistance simply "by exception", and thorough continual improvement of knowledge and procedures is needed. That is what Flow Management practices bring

Flow Monitoring is bundled in our TPM apps alongside Contribution Recognition, Team Together, Continual Procedural Improvement (with a CPI Register), and Quality & Security Protection for attentive inductee support. All are integrated with one another and use different types of activity flow metric.

| The imperative for remote and dispersed teams: Article on Activity Flow Metrics written for |

 Status Flow Metrics 

At a basic level, Status Flow Metrics power Activity Prioritisation (AP), which of all FM practices makes the biggest difference to success of an organisation's support service, but...

Without Contribution Recognition, Advanced AP cannot be introduced because there would be no reason to work together as a team. Unless "helping-out" is recognised, teams can only be expected to continue working in ticket queue silos. 

Contribution Recognition (i.e., performance, ideally including teamwork) and Activity Prioritisation (timely ticket progression, ideally incorporating teamwork) go hand-in-hand. They are the twin pillars of support service improvement through Flow Management. Activity and status flow metrics complement each other perfectly..


Actionable Insight

All flow metrics are actionable, in real time and retrospectively, enabling a wealth of fully informed directional, strategic, and supportive decisions to be taken. For instance, which teams are not "keeping up the flow" so well, and why? Who is truly excelling and so deserves praise? Who is struggling and so needs managerial support? Are there any teams performing so well with progression of their workload that their progression threshold periods might be reduced, so that mean-time-to-resolve is reduced? Or instead, is there scope to focus more time on improvement tasks because the team's performance is well within bounds?

For an Experience Level Agreement (XLA, if one is in place), FM brings operational metrics that are related so closely to the service experience that they can be introduced to an XLA to diminish the necessity for a traditional SLA. They are Progression Backlog, and a Progression SLA.

Exception Management

Real-time flow exceptions are seen through Flow Management service monitors. This actionable insight brings unprecedented day-to-day manageability and attentiveness in a support service. Teams and managers alike are enabled to focus and flex wherever needed for the expected support experience to be maintained, preventing service customer dissatisfaction.

In the Focus Framework, an exception is seen against a Reference Acceptability Threshold (RAT) that's established by ITSM managers and configured in FM apps to guide decisions made from information presented on Pulse Dashboard monitors.

Without TOFT - without Flow Metrics for ITSM - these essential qualities are missing and so the status quo is, and always has been, global deficiency in how IT support is done, and in how it is managed.

The most important Flow Metrics are:

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