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Step 5: Turn process into procedure
I've mentioned process maturity at least twice here, but a third time won't hurt. The predictability and repeatability of a process is directly related to its level of definition. If you want to keep your customers happy, you have to take your ad hoc processes and turn them into concrete standard operating procedure (SOP) documents. Then you have to ensure that the procedures are followed every time.
First, look at the tasks that you defined in step 2. Anything that's standardized and frequently repeated should have an SOP. Come to a consensus about how those tasks should be performed and then write it down. That's how a process is transformed into a procedure.
Not everything has to be documented in an SOP. But even if only the 10 most important tasks are documented--and the procedures followed--it will go a long way to stabilizing the environment. My top picks for SOPs are storage and backup provisioning, change control, monitoring and escalation of alerts and service level reporting.
Remember:Anything your new storage management group isn't doing internally should be as defined as possible. Insist on written SLAs and SOPs, especially if you plan to implement a "virtual team" or in-sourced management operation. Mature processes can help ensure success.
Even if you already have a central management team, you may not have completed the whole process as laid out here. If you have
This was first published in October 2004