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Functions, groups, teams, departments and divisions

The Service Operation publication uses several terms to refer to the way in which people are organized to execute processes or activities. There are several published definitions for each term and it is not the purpose of this publication to enter the debate about which definition is best. Please note that the following definitions are generic and not prescriptive. They are provided simply to define assumptions and to facilitate understanding of the material. The reader should adapt these principles to the organizational practices used in their own organization.

  • Function: A function is a logical concept that refers to the people and automated measures that execute a defined process, an activity or a combination of processes or activities. In larger organizations, a function may be broken out and performed by several departments, teams and groups, or it may be embodied within a single organizational unit (e.g. Service Desk). In smaller organizations, one person or group can perform multiple functions – e.g. a Technical Management department could also incorporate the Service Desk function.
  • Group: A group is a number of people who are similar in some way. In this publication, groups refer to people who perform similar activities – even though they may work on different technology or report into different organizational structures or even in different companies. Groups are usually not formal organization structures, but are very useful in defining common processes across the organization – e.g. ensuring that all people who resolve incidents complete the Incident Record in the same way. In this publication the term ‘group’ does not refer to a group of companies that are owned by the same entity.
  • Team: A team is a more formal type of group. These are people who work together to achieve a common objective, but not necessarily in the same organization structure. Team members can be co-located, or work in multiple different locations and operate virtually. Teams are useful for collaboration, or for dealing with a situation of a temporary or transitional nature. Examples of teams include project teams, application development teams (often consisting of people from several different business units) and incident or problem resolution teams.
  • Department: Departments are formal organization structures which exist to perform a specific set of defined activities on an ongoing basis. Departments have a hierarchical reporting structure with managers who are usually responsible for the execution of the activities and also for day-to-day management of the staff in the department.
  • Division: A division refers to a number of departments that have been grouped together, often by geography or product line. A division is normally self-contained and is able to plan and execute all activities in a supply chain.
  • Role: A role refers to a set of connected behaviours or actions that are performed by a person, team or group in a specific context. For example, a Technical Management department can perform the role of Problem Management when diagnosing the root cause of incidents. This same department could also be expected to play several other roles at different times, e.g. it may assess the impact of changes (Change Management role), manage the performance of devices under their control (Capacity Management role), etc. The scope of their role and what triggers them to play that role are defined by the relevant process and agreed by their line manager.


Date: 2014-12-29; view: 392


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