ISO 20000 Background, Audit, and Assessment (Plan-Do-Check-Act)

April 9th, 2007

ISO 20000 is based upon an original pair of documents, BS15000-1/2, which were published in 2002 and 2003 respectively.  ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT Service management and is comprises two parts: ISO/IEC 20000-1 and ISO/IEC 20000-2. ISO 20000-1 is the ‘Specification for Service Management, and it is this which is certifiable against. ISO 20000-2 is the ‘ Code of practice for Service Management’, and describes best practices, and the requirements of Part 1.

ITIL is the process defined framework for IT operations.  ISO 20000-2 is the code of practice built on top of ITIL tailored processes.   ISO 20000-1 is the specification for ITSM that would facilitate the audit.  The framework had been harmonized with other international standards, to embrace the familiar PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act).

plan-check-do-act.pdfManaged Services illustrated in the diagram could be internal IT services or externally supplied services.  Aligning processes and procedures is accomplished in the planning and implementation phase. The methodology, known as Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), can be applied to all processes, as follows:

  • Plan: Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with customer requirements and the organization’s policies.
  • Do: Implement the processes.
  • Check: Monitor and measure processes and services against policies’ objectives and requirements and report the results;.
  • Act: Take actions on the differences and continually improve process performance.

Multiple service management plans may be used in place of one large plan or program. Where this is the case, the underlying service management processes should be consistent with each other. It should also be possible to demonstrate how each process and requirement is managed by linking it to the corresponding roles, responsibilities and procedures. ISO 20000 section 4.3 (monitoring, measuring and reviewing) states that in order to identify these process areas and improve upon them, a regular audit program must be planned. Users also need to take into consideration the status and importance of the processes and areas to be audited, as well as the results of previous audits. The audit criteria, scope, frequency and methods must be defined in a procedure. The selection of auditors and conduct of audits must ensure objectivity and impartiality of the audit process. Auditors must not audit their own work. Any significant areas of noncompliance or concern should be communicated to relevant parties and corrective action taken.

Scope creep

As organizations change and grow, the scope of the services provided under the ISO 20000 standard expands. However, the organization often times fails to expand their certification activities to cover any new services. This is known as an “extension to scope.” This can be addressed by following the rules set forth in section 7.2. ISO 20000 section 7.2 (business relationship) requires the service provider and customer to attend a review to discuss any changes to the scope, service-level agreement, contract (if present) or the business needs at least annually and shall hold interim meetings at agreed intervals to discuss performance, achievements, issues and action plans. These meetings shall be documented.

Not everything is recorded or measured

According to ISO 20000 section 4.3 (monitoring, measuring and reviewing), the organization must apply suitable methods for monitoring and, where applicable, measuring service management processes. These methods must demonstrate the suitability of the processes to achieve planned results. Management must then conduct reviews at planned intervals to determine whether the service management requirements:

  • Conform with the service management plan and to the requirements of this standard;
  • Are effectively implemented and maintained.

Additionally, under section 4.4.2 (management improvements), all suggested service improvements shall be assessed, recorded, prioritized and authorized. The service provider must have a process in place to identify, measure, report and manage improvement activities on an ongoing basis.