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Managed Services

Moving from Quality Assurance to Quality Enablement

Introducing the Delivery Operations Standards Office

3 min read
By Jeremy Blanton
Quality Control and Quality Assurance are two well-known tools that companies use to maintain a certain level of services and products. While these have been standard practice across industries for decades, research has shown gaps in their ability to deliver timely, consistent business outcomes. Quality Enablement, however, pivots the focus to creating a culture of education and enablement, leading to repeatable outcomes that align with customer’s expectations. One office that has quality enablement at its core is the Delivery Operations Standards Office.

What is a Delivery Operations Standards Office and How It’s Different 

TSIA introduced the Delivery Operations Standards Office (DOSO) to our Managed Services members to help companies make the move to a Quality Enablement culture. The shift is about integrating quality tactics and techniques into an operations team’s “toolbox” and moving away from traditional models focused on policing and compliance. DOSO defines and documents all operational processes and manuals, ensures the adoption of said manuals, and enforces proper compliance with and utilization of standard operations. This team also has the responsibility to interface with customers to conduct reviews to understand real-world scenarios and document deviations from the standard. 

In essence, a Delivery Operations Standards Office is a requirement for companies to drive continual service improvements in their operations. 
 
Within TSIA’s Managed Services membership base, we’ve seen many attempts to formalize quality compliance organizations through methods other than DOSO. Most often, these organizations have been tasked with policing some level of perceived quality from afar; the problem is that these organizations can end up at odds by alienating themselves from the team they are meant to be serving. This inevitably causes delays to process and the release of technology that is genuinely attempting to meet customers’ expectations. 

A Delivery Operations Standards Office, implemented correctly, can avoid these missteps and transform basic quality assurance to a culture of quality enablement. 

According to the results of our soon to be published 2021 Managed Services Delivery Maturity Survey, 66% of all customers surveyed have some form of formal DOSO function.
TSIA poll results for DOSO
Managed Services Delivery Maturity Survey Results
While 66% of respondents state they have some form of a DOSO in place, over half of the group have yet to fully formalize or dedicate/designate this effort within their organizations. At the same time, 34% have failed to implement this function entirely. 
  
The DOSO presented here accomplishes the structure, relationships, and runway to deploy a true culture of quality enablement within your Managed Service organization.

What Does a Delivery Operations Standards Office Look Like? 

There are many components of a DOSO that we must understand in order to accomplish a culture focused on quality enablement, ultimately achieving repeatable, expected business outcomes.

The illustration below represents the relationship between the three main pillars of the DOSO: the Process Lifecycle, Data Science, and Continual Service Improvement (CSI). The relationship and impact that these three components have on your service delivery organization’s design, implementation, and operations is the responsibility of your DOSO. 
Circle Graphic that outlines the DOSO process and the steps mentioned above
DOSO Process

The Benefits of a Delivery Operations Standards Office

The organizations that have an understanding of quality and process standardization most often are born out of a legacy quality assurance approach. These legacy approaches are often engrained with a policing, compliance, and enforcement culture. We see a recurring theme as it relates to a standardized process and quality of execution, specifically within the Managed Services space: policing alone does not ensure process quality.
 
When working with TSIA members, it is not uncommon for us to hear: 
“Of course, we have a Quality Assurance process. Every App Dev motion we execute is met with a rigorous Quality Assurance inspection.”
  
While most companies have a form of policing for quality assurance, very few have a service-delivery focused Quality Assurance function. There is often no mechanism that documents the processes, monitors adoption of the process, documents deviations, and enforces compliance.
 
The purpose of the DOSO is to not only define and document all operations processes for the services delivery organization; this team also has the responsibility to ensure proper adoption and utilization of the standard process definitions. 
 
By removing the culture of policing and compliance and replacing it with one of enablement, education, and data centricity, we can pull forward the organizational alignment between our delivery organizations and our expected customer experience and outcomes. 

Achieving Customer Outcomes 

 A high-functioning DOSO enables the delivery and solutions organization with Continual Service Improvement capabilities to be applied to every intended customer outcome. 

Standardized Process Ownership +
Continual Service Improvement Enablement +
Data =
Intended Customer Outcomes

 
Think about the word “quality” being synonymous with the phrase “customer expected outcome.” If you meet the customer’s expectations with the outcome they require, you inherently have a quality delivery situation. 
 
The DOSO structure and approach across all disciplines supports and drives a culture of enablement – this lends itself to a culture of education providing a delivery organization with the ability to assess, measure, and improve the service as an ongoing practice.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. -Will Durant


Teaching your delivery personnel, process managers, and engineers appropriate Continual Service Improvement practices and techniques will help ensure that quality issues are easily and proactively identified and resolved. This culture ensures the customer’s expected outcome is achieved. 

Questions about Quality Enablement and Next Steps? 

How is your organization managing the intricacies of process design, governance, and enablement? Is the charter of your process governance function one of policing and enforcement or enablement, education, and data centricity? What are the next steps you can take to build an effective process governance organization that incorporates the learnings of other organizations that have gone before you?
 
TSIA’s Managed Services practice helps our members navigate these tough questions every day, and we welcome you to join the discussion on TSIA Exchange!
 

 September 9, 2021

Jeremy Blanton

About Author Jeremy Blanton

Jeremy Blanton is the director of managed services research for TSIA. He is an experienced IT Services executive with 25+ years of experience in IT and Managed Services businesses, In his role at TSIA, Jeremy is responsible for leading and delivering TSIA member organizations with operational best practices, fact-based education, and insight into the performance and operations of their managed services business.

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