Who Should Be Included in Service Catalog Planning? The Answer is Everyone!

Thought Leadership for
IT Service Management Professionals

Who Should Be Included in Service Catalog Planning? The Answer is Everyone!

Posted by Don Casson

Wed, Aug 09, 2017

Step two for effective Service Catalog Planning includes properly defining roles, responsibilities and governance

The purpose of defining roles and responsibilities in your Service Catalog Project is to establish clear expectations, and align them with customers’ needs. This is a key step in empowering individual members of your team to be successful. When everyone succeeds, the work of the team becomes aligned and is optimized, and you create happy customers.

So, how are decisions made in your organization? Who are the decision-makers? And, who is impacted most by your decisions? The answers to these questions will vary depending on the roles and on the governance structure established within your organization.

If you are a Technical Services Manager, your main concern is on the technology behind your company’s service enterprise – you look to mitigate issues regarding the availability and security of your technology. Technical Services Managers also worry about the status of incidents and requests (How many incidents are there? Are they being handled?).

On the other end, you have the Service Owner, whose role is different and larger than that of a Technical Services Manager. As I discussed in an earlier post, the Service Owner backs up the customer and manages technology to ensure end-to-end service. Therefore, the sheer number of questions a Service Owner seeks answers to far outnumbers those of a Technical Service Manager. And, while Technical Service Managers ask more technically-focused questions, the Service Manager seeks to understand the customer and respond to their needs by leveraging their technical skill sets. The questions that arise for Service Managers are born from their focus on seeing service from a customer perspective. 

Governance, R and R.png


Pointing out the gap between the way Service Owners and Technical Service Managers see things in the ITSM process is a way to really underscore the importance of defining roles, responsibilities and governance. With an understanding of these key differences, you can take next steps:

  • Create a Service Governance Committee. Choose 4 to 5 key people. Be sure that the needs of all stakeholders are represented in this committee – from very technical IT folks to customer-facing decision-makers focused on ensuring service delivery. This collaboration is key to the development of an effective charter.

  • Draft a one-page Charter. In ITSM projects, the Charter provides a high-level description on the approach to building services. In this case, you are building a Service Catalog. The Charter allows you to define your goals, and how you will work and make decisions. It acts like an executive summary, providing an outline of deliverables to be developed throughout the project, and presents both the resources needed for an effective project and timeline for project execution.

  • Draft a one-page Plan of Action. Out of the Charter should come a brief plan of action document, which targets your initial operational Service Catalog as the goal. While the Charter provides direction on what’s to be developed at the end of the project, and the resources needed to achieve this aim, the Plan of Action document provides details on the steps to be taken to execute the project.

Invite everyone to the party

As you dive deeper in roles and responsibilities, there are key personas to consider. Be sure to understand what they care about and don’t forget about them in your planning.  There are executive roles in both the customer and provider personas, each with different needs and wants than the individual customer or provider.  The three constituents of a service – customers, providers and managers – all have needs that must be met to design and deliver durable IT services. And each group has questions unique to the perspectives and needs:

  • Individual Customer: What services can I get and where? What is / is not included? When will I get it?

  • Business Unit Customer: What services are we using? What value/level are we receiving? What is our services spend?

  • Service Delivery Executive: Are our customers satisfied? Are we achieving our goals? Are metrics in line and are we heading in the right direction?

  • Service Management: What services do we offer? What are the service expectations? Who is delivering what and when?

  • Service Delivery: What services do we deliver? When does it need to be delivered? What are we responsible for?


Roles, Responsibilities.png


When it comes to defining roles and the governance structure of your Service Catalog project, note that all elements are tightly knit together. One loose strand in one area can create unexpected gaps in others. So, be sure to include all stakeholders (internal and external) to participate in the decision-making process.

You can’t execute the project unless you know what the end goal is, so a Plan of Action without a Charter can result in frustration, and ultimately, project failure. And the decision-makers throughout the project must consider the needs of the three constituents of a service – customers, providers and managers. Otherwise, groups that are involved in the service process may not be properly informed throughout the project, which can result in a poorly thought-out product. So, the governance committee needs to be a diverse group that understands the aims of the different constituents.

Ignore key aspects in defining roles, responsibilities and governance throughout the Service Catalog planning process, and the whole project can become undone in the end.

(Click here for the next post in this series: Step three in planning for a Service Catalog is to create a definitions dictionary)


About the Author: Don Casson is CEO of Evergreen Systems, an IT consulting firm helping medium to enterprise public and private sector organizations to dramatically transform their IT operations. Don is a frequent writer, blogger and presenter, and has delivered over 50 webinars on topics in Service Management, including IT and shared services

Feel free to contact Don at dcasson@evergreensys.com



Topics: Service Now, ServiceNow, Service Catalog Consultant, ITIL Consulting, IT Service Catalog, IT Service Catalog Workshops, ITSM Strategy, Employee Self-Service Portal, ITIL Strategy, Customer-Centric IT, ServiceNow Partner, Customer-Centric ITSM, Service Portal, Service Catalog Planning, IT Roles


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