Fit for Purpose & Fit for Use - which is the business discussion?

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Fit for purpose, fit for use.

When ITIL v3 came out, so did some industry terms that really made sense and needed to be fully understood and taken on-board. "fit for purpose and fit for use" is one of those terms.

So often people just focus all their energy and attention on the "fit for use" element and ignore, at their peril, the fit for purpose factor. Let me give you some simple example to highlight the point.

Over the past few weeks I've been involved in the planning (and expense) of refurbishing a house I purchase as a "buy to let" investment and some of the team have focussed too much on the fit for use factor and ignore the fit for purpose.  Downstairs the house already had a cloakroom with a small wash-hand basin and lavatory. The room was large enough to allow me to add a shower cubicle in and change the "purpose" of the room from a guest facility to a tenant shower room facility. The builders changed the existing Loo and basin to new ones, but the basin was tiny, just about large enough to get one hand in to wash! So it was "fit for use", one could wash your hand in it, but it was not fit for the new purpose of a shower-room. It was too small for someone to wash their face in, or to be used for a man shaving etc, it was not fit for purpose and so I got it changed to one 3 times the size. Now it was fit for use and purpose. Something the designers should have got right from the initial briefing.

The second example is the opposite. My car. Now I've had the car for 5 years and when I purchased it I was still with BMC and travelling the world, so it was a car for fun, not for trying to collect and move furniture around from one house to another! It was fit for use and purpose at the time. It took me from A to B, it had 4 doors and a boot (trunk) it was large (16 feet long) and wide. So, on paper it was ideal for using. However it was designed as a four door coupe and had very sloping roof and narrow doors and windows, making it impossible to get solid things into, only flexible people! It is no longer fit for the purpose I now require.

Things do change and over time what was right for one period in time is not longer right for the existing environment and tasks at hand. This is so true in the Service Management world too. Too many organisations keep trying to "shoe-horn" existing software, applications, servers, desktops, laptops and even processes into doing things they are not made for. They take the view that it was fit for use and initially fit for purpose, therefore they believe it must still be still for purpose, yet our purpose changes over time. We need to constantly review our Asset base and ensure we use them, at the right time, in the right place, for the right tasks and the right usage. This is utility. Something that can be fully utilised, unlike my nice car! Don't complain to Service Management if you're using assets Fit for one element and not the other, review and get the Utility right.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ken Turbitt published on April 6, 2011 11:21 PM.

Can Business Service Management be used for Greener IT? was the previous entry in this blog.

Don't trust the public? is the next entry in this blog.

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