Sets of best practices for service management – like ITIL for example – are full of good ideas and good advice, and all that good information is valuable, but sometimes you are able to generate added value by combining two elements of advice from different parts of the guidance.
If you look in ITIL® 2011’s Service Operations book (Chapter 6.3.5), you’ll see a list of relevant metrics about service desk performance. Now go to ITIL’s Continual Service Improvement (CSI) book (Chapter 5.5.2) and you’ll find some words about tension metrics, which are different metrics that effectively compete with each other. Each book has some pretty good stuff on their own, but put them together and you really start getting somewhere!
Metrics, of course, are just things you can measure to give you an idea of how well something is performing. We use metrics every day – for example we might measure a car by how fast it goes or how much fuel it uses to cover 100km. This is, in fact, tension metrics. The faster your car, the more fuel it is likely to use. You might choose to drive slowly to save fuel, or quickly to save time. You won’t be able to do both because the two compete with each other – there is ‘tension’ between them.