A method is a systematic, well thought-out course of action to achieve a certain goal. A method is characterized by a way of thinking, a way of modeling, a way of working, a way of managing, and a way of supporting (see image):

  • the way of thinking on which the method is based (including services, People/Product/Technology, separation of duties)
  • the way of modeling the content of the method (including pure processes, procedures and work instructions, organization structures, relationship diagrams)
  • the way of working, outlining how people work (e.g. standardized as much as possible, process-based)
  • the way of managing the implementation and the monitoring of the method (implementation plan, people-focused coaching, reports, metrics, step-by-step growth, standard instruments)
  • the way of supporting the method with tools (templates, training, games, MIR tools, workflow coordination tools, standards, instruments)

Requirements for a method

An adequate service management method:

  • must focus on services
  • must be process-focused, but also paying attention to organization and technology
  • must be based on pure processes
  • must be an integrated whole
  • must support separation of duties
  • must have a clear way of modeling
  • must be simple and understandable
  • must be based on clear principles
  • must have broad support
  • must be supported by sufficient resources
  • must be applicable in practice

Methods versus best practices

The use of such a method limits the design effort of a service organization and supports a consistent application, which considerably increases the chance of long-term successful service delivery. The vast majority of 'methods' are actually mainly reference models that have been drawn up on the basis of best practices. For that reason, purer service management methods have been developed.

Methods in practice

Applying service management methods to defined disciplines has subsequently led to very practical methods for IT management and for Business Information Management, for example. In other disciplines, the method can be adjusted to the relevant conditions and objects. The generic USM method was developed for that purpose: USM can be applied to all service organizations and can be of great value in, for example, supply chain management, interdisciplinary services, or shared services organizations.