An introduction to the MOF Team SMF

The guidance in Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) encompasses all the activities and processes involved in managing an IT service. It’s conception, development, operation, maintenance, and ultimately its retirement. MOF organises these activities and processes into Service Management Functions (SMFs), which are grouped together in phases that mirror the IT service lifecycle. Each SMF is anchored within a lifecycle phase and contains a unique set of goals and outcomes supporting the objectives of that phase. An IT service’s readiness to move from one phase to the next is confirmed by management reviews, which ensure that goals are being achieved in an appropriate fashion and that IT’s goals are aligned with the goals of the organisation.

MOF begins with the Plan phase and our previous blog articles in this series explain the role of the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF), service management functions (SMF’s) and introduce the Planning SMF which is the first step in implementing MOF within your business. If the topics introduced below don’t make sense or perhaps you feel they’re missing context then please refer to the following articles for background context and explanation.

Blog Article 1: What’s your ITIL IQ®? Meet MOF

Blog Article 2: The MOF Plan Phase

Blog Article 7: The MOF Deliver Phase

Blog Article 13: The MOF Operate Phase

Blog Article 18: The MOF Manage Layer

Position of the MOF Team SMF Within the IT Service Lifecycle

The MOF Team SMF belongs to the Manage Layer of the MOF IT service lifecycle. The following figure shows the place of the Team SMF within the Manage Layer, as well as the location of the Manage Layer within the IT service lifecycle.


Figure 1. Position of the Team SMF within the IT service lifecycle

Why Use the Team SMF?

This SMF will be useful for anyone who is responsible for ensuring that someone is ultimately accountable for the work required to effectively deliver IT services.

It addresses how to:

  • Understand the key principles for effectively organising IT.
  • Understand accountabilities and role types.
  • Identify organisational changes needed.
  • Align responsibilities.
  • Assign roles.
Team Service Management Function Overview

If the goal of IT departments is to effectively deliver the IT services required by their organisations, then it is important for those who are involved in planning, delivering, and operating those services to be able to:

  • Understand the business and operational needs for the service and create a solution that delivers within the service specification.
  • Effectively and efficiently deploy the solution to users with as little disruption to the business as the service levels specify.
  • Operate the solution with excellence in order to deliver a service that the business trusts and relies on.

The best way to accomplish those goals is to ensure that someone is ultimately accountable for them, as well as the work required to accomplish them. Everyone doing that required work must have a clear role, understand the responsibilities that go with that role, and have the right skills for carrying out those responsibilities.

At the heart of the Team SMF is a set of accountabilities for ensuring that the right work gets done. Each accountability maps to one or more of the MOF service management functions that describe the processes and activities that make up the work of IT pros throughout the IT service lifecycle.

Although some accountabilities might vary depending on the IT organisation in which they exist, there is a core of accountabilities that should be standard across most organisations. They are:

  • Support, which is associated with the Operate Phase of the IT service lifecycle.
  • Operations, which is associated with the Operate Phase.
  • Service, which is associated with the Plan Phase.
  • Compliance, which is associated with the Manage Layer.
  • Architecture, which is associated with the Plan Phase.
  • Solutions, which is associated with the Deliver Phase.
  • Management, which is associated with the Manage Layer.

Each of these accountabilities has a set of roles types associated with it, and each role type has a set of responsibilities and goals associated with it. A role type is a generic description of a role that might be found in an organisation. In effect, it is a role that might be called one thing in one organisation and something else in another. For example, a role type referred to in the Team SMF is Problem Analyst. That role type might be called something else—for example, a Network Problem Analyst—in certain organisations. The goal of a role type is to offer something recognisable so organisations know how that position might map to existing roles.

The MOF Team SMF is based on the concept that individuals and teams across the IT service lifecycle must achieve a number of key quality goals to be successful. The IT service lifecycle describes the life of an IT service, from planning and optimising the IT service to align with the business strategy, through the design and delivery of the IT service, to its ongoing operation and support. Underlying all of this is a foundation of IT governance, risk management, compliance, and change management.

It is important to remember that the Team SMF is not describing a single team, virtual or otherwise. In some instances it will describe work being done by individuals, while in others it might describe work done by a project team or a dedicated team, depending on the nature of the work and its position within the IT service lifecycle.

The Team SMF describes how IT can organise to ensure that the right accountabilities are addressed.

Goals of the Team SMF

The MOF Team SMF demonstrates how to build and maintain an IT organisation that is:

  • Accountable: ensures that required IT work gets done
  • Responsible: identifies who will do required IT work through:
  • Creating role types and roles
  • Establishing principles and best practices
  • Identifying who is best for each role
  • Flexible: built around agile physical and virtual teams
  • Scalable: able to meet the needs of different-sised organisations

Table 1. Outcomes and Measures of the Team SMF Goals

Outcomes Measures
Accountability assigned for all required IT work

·        Upper management knows and understands accountabilities

·        All accountabilities are assigned to someone

Responsibility assigned for all required IT work

·        All work is owned and responsibilities are clear

·        Staff members know what they need to do

Accountability and responsibility assignments are clearly communicated ·        IT professionals know their roles and who they need to coordinate with
Assignments are flexible enough to meet changing business needs

·        Organisation can change quickly to adapt to business needs

·        Services drive the assignments (rather than assignments driving the services provided)

Key Terms

The following table contains definitions of key terms found in this guide.

Table 2. Key Terms

Term Definition
Accountability A way of organising IT work that ensures the right work gets done by assigning someone who is held accountable for whether it gets done.
Responsibility The details of the work that has to be done by a role type.
Role A set of responsibilities in an IT organisation. Depending on the effort required and the sise of the organisation, a single person might perform a single role or multiple roles, or a single role might be performed by multiple persons.
Role type A generic variation of the term role, used to indicate that a particular role might be similar and serve roughly the same purposes in different IT organisations, but be called by different names.
Team A group of people linked in a common purpose, generally for conducting complex tasks that have interdependent subtasks.
Dedicated team A team that exists for ongoing work, with no specific dissolution time in mind. An example of a dedicated team might be an operations team that shares ongoing maintenance for an IT service or IT component.
Project team A team that is formed for a project, with a specific formation time and dissolution time. An example of a project team might be one formed to build a new IT service.
Team of peers A concept mostly related to project teams, where each role on the project team owns a quality goal for success. In effect, the roles on the team are interdependent peers of each other.
Virtual team A group of individuals who work across boundaries of time, space, and organisations with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. Dedicated and project teams can be virtual.
Accountabilities and Role Types

Put simply, focusing on accountabilities as a way of organising IT work ensures that the right work gets done because someone is held accountable for whether it gets done.

Another way to look at accountability is to say that it is the who portion of the who, what, why, and how formula for getting work done. For example:

  • Accountability = Who (owner)
  • Advocacy for quality = Why
  • Responsibility = What (details)
  • Tasks/activities = How

Each accountability in an organisation should map to a significant piece of work that must be completed within one of the three phases of the IT service lifecycle, or as part of the Manage Layer. MOF service management functions describe that work and the processes and activities that make up the work of IT pros throughout the IT service lifecycle.

Each accountability has a set of role types associated with it, and each role type has a set of responsibilities and goals associated with it.

Ultimately, the number and type of accountabilities will vary with each organisation. But the following seven core accountabilities are likely to be fairly standard across most IT organisations:

Table 3 lists those seven accountabilities, the primary SMF goals for each, and the nature of the work they are accountable for.

Table 3. Team SMF Accountabilities and the SMFs They Are Tied To

Accountability SMF Nature of Work

Customer Service

Problem Management

Interrupt driven

Operations Management

Service Monitoring and Control

Plan driven , repetitive
Service Business/IT Alignment Plan driven, long-term
Compliance Governance, Risk, and Compliance Plan driven, repetitive


·        Confidentiality

·        Integrity

·        Availability

·        Capacity

·        Continuity

Plan driven, long term


Project Planning




Plan driven, short term

Financial Management

Business/IT Alignment


·        Policy Governance

·        Security

·        Privacy

·        Partner and Third-Party Relationships

·        Knowledge Management

·        Appropriate Use

Governance, Risk, and Compliance

Change and Configuration


Plan driven, long-term

The following seven tables list the role types and attendant responsibilities and goals for each of the seven accountabilities.

Support Accountability

The Support Accountability addresses role types that are important to two SMFs from the Operate Phase of the IT service lifecycle: Customer Service and Problem Management. Customer Service is focused on providing a positive experience for users by meeting their IT needs and addressing complaints and issues that arise during the normal course of using an IT service. Problem Management is focused on resolving complex problems that may be beyond the scope of Incident Resolution requests.

Table 4 lists the role types associated with the Support Accountability, as well as the responsibilities and goals for each role type.

Table 4. Support Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type Responsibilities Goals
Customer Service Representative

·        Handles calls

·        Is first contact with user

·        Registers calls, categorises, determines supportability, and passes on calls

·        Help the customer
Incident Resolver

·        Diagnoses

·        Investigates

·        Resolves

·        Fix incidents
Incident Coordinator ·        Responsible for incident from beginning to end (quality control) ·        Solve incident as quickly as possible
Problem Analyst ·        Investigates and diagnoses ·        Find underlying root causes of the incidents
Problem Manager ·        Identifies problems from the incident list ·        Prevent future incidents
Customer Service Manager

·        Accountable role for the  goals of support

·        Covers incidents and problems

·        Effectively and efficiently decrease incidents and incident solution time

·        Increases effectiveness of resolutions and reduces costs

 Operations Accountability

The Operations Accountability addresses role types that are important to two SMFs that are also in the Operate Phase of the IT service lifecycle: Operations and Service Monitoring and Control. Operations is focused on ensuring effective and efficient day-to-day IT operations. Service Monitoring and Control is focused on the real-time observation of and alerting about health conditions (characteristics that indicate success or failure) in an IT environment.

Table 5 lists the role types associated with the Operations Accountability, as well as the responsibilities and goals for each role type.

Table 5. Operations Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type Responsibilities Goals
Operator ·        Executes pre-planned tasks that are instruction based ·        To be predictable and follow instructions
Administrator ·        Executes tasks that are not well defined, requiring a deeper level of knowledge ·        Ensure predictable results
Technology Area Manager

·        Responsible for daily performance of components in a specific technology area

·        Owns the work instructions

·        Ensures operational requirements are met for the technology area

·        Stable operations of technology

·        Maximise structured work to hand off to operator and administrator, or to be automated (where possible)

Monitoring Manager

·        Responsible for Service Monitoring and Control (SMC) SMF tasks

·        Ensures that the right systems are monitored

·        Facilitates effective monitoring mechanism

·        Expert on how to monitor, not what to monitor

·        Ensure needed monitoring information is generated
Scheduling Manager

·        Plans schedule of individual activities within Operations

·        Makes timing decisions

·        Plans operational work, including maintenance

·        Ensures operational work has been scheduled

·        Avoid conflicting work

·        Allocates resources to manage service levels

Operations Manager ·        Accountable for Operations SMF and Service Monitoring and Control ·        Ensure predictable, repeatable, and automated day-to-day system management
Service Accountability

The Service Accountability addresses the role types that are important to the Business/IT Alignment SMF, which is located in the Plan Phase of the IT service lifecycle. Business/IT Alignment focuses on strengthening the alignment between IT departments and the larger organisations within which they exist.

Table 6 lists the role types associated with the Service Accountability, as well as the responsibilities and goals for each role type.

Table 6. Service Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type Responsibilities Goals
Supplier Manager ·        Tracks external vendors who provide supporting services and products ·        Ensure effective vendor relationships
Portfolio Manager

·        Keeps a set of service offerings up to date and aligned to business needs

·        Maintains the overall service catalog

·        Ensure available services are accurately reflected in the service catalog
Account Manager

·        Serves as a link between users or customers and the IT organisation

·        Meets with customer, discusses current issues, and makes sure that expectations are aligned

·        Ensure effective customer and user relationships
Service Level Manager

·        Accountable role for Business/IT Alignment

·        Acts as the main interface between the business and the IT service delivery organisation

·        Handles all issues and development in the area of Service Level Management, including development and agreement of SLAs, OLAs, and UCs.

·        Represents the business, but is working with and within the IT organisation

·        Ensure effective IT service delivery within specified SLAs
Compliance Accountability

The Compliance Accountability addresses the role types that are important to the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) SMF, which is located in the Manage Layer of the IT service lifecycle. GRC focuses on providing IT services that are effective, efficient, and compliant.

Table 7 lists the role types associated with the Compliance Accountability, as well as the responsibilities and goals for each role type.

Table 7. Compliance Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type Responsibilities Goals
IT Executive Officer

·        Communicates IT strategy and approves IT management objectives

·        Approves  policy

·        Maintains tone-at-the-top for culture of control and compliance

·        Consistent progress toward strategic goals achieved through appropriate and desired activities
IT Manager

·        Enforces policy compliance and communication

·        Evaluates policy effectiveness

·        Requests changes to policy or exceptions

·        Compliance to directives and policies

·        Predictable and reliable results achieved through appropriate means

·        Policy violations addressed

Risk and Compliance Manager ·        Owns risk management, compliance roadmap, enforcement, and measurement

·        Organisation does not violate laws or regulations

·        Risks are identified and managed

·        Policies are enforced

Assurance and Reporting

·        Audits design and operating  effectiveness of processes

·        Investigates non-compliance

·        Owns reporting and recommendations

·        Well-understood control environment

·        Independent validation of compliance program

·        Fraud or undesired activity discovered

Internal Control Manager

·        Manages internal control environment, document control objectives, and control design

·        Retains evidence of control activity

·        Effective control environment documented with audit trails

·        Appropriate retention of control operating evidence


·        Analyses regulations and determines policy impact

·        Evaluates legal position related to compliance

·        Represents legal opinion in decision making

·        Policy reflects desired response to regulation

·        Legal risks managed

IT Policy Manager

·        Manages policy creation, change, and maintenance

·        Owns policy communication

·        Owns improvements to policy effectiveness

·        Effective use of policy to guide actions

·        Awareness through clearly written and communicated policies

Architecture Accountability

The Architecture Accountability addresses the role types that are important to the Reliability SMF, which is located in the Plan Phase of the IT service lifecycle. The Reliability SMF focuses on ensuring the reliability, dependability, and trustworthiness of an IT service or system.

Table 8 lists the role types associated with the Architecture Accountability, as well as the responsibilities and goals for each role type.

Table 8. Architecture Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type Responsibilities Goals
Architecture Manager ·        Ensures creation and maintenance of architecture plan ·        Provide roadmap for future use to support design process and ensure operability
Reliability Manager ·        Uses input from SMC to look at current bottlenecks and propose solutions ·        Ensure current state is reliable

·        Looks at future directions and solutions to propose across infrastructure

·        Designs future state

·        Facilitate Business/IT alignment

·        Develop long-term possible solutions and choices

·        Describe future consequences and possibilities

Solutions Accountability

The Solutions Accountability addresses the role types that are important to five SMFs in the Deliver Phase of the IT service lifecycle: Envision, Project Planning, Build, Stabilise, and Deploy. The Envision SMF focuses on turning business requirements into new or improved IT services that can be delivered into production. The Project Planning SMF focuses on how project teams complete the bulk of their planning work: preparing the functional specification and solution design and preparing work plans, cost estimates, and schedules. The Build SMF focuses on developing the IT service solution deliverables to the customer’s specifications, developing the solution documentation, creating the development and test lab, and preparing the solution for pilot deployment. The Stabilise SMF focuses on releasing the highest-quality solution possible at the Release Readiness Milestone. The Deploy SMF focuses on releasing a stable solution into the production environment.

Table 9 lists the role types associated with the Solutions Accountability, as well as the responsibilities and goals for each role type.

Table 9. Solutions Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type Responsibilities Goal
Solution Manager

·        Accountable role

·        Owns all SMFs in this accountability

·        Acts as project director for all projects

·        Resolves conflicts between projects

·        Ensure all projects run smoothly and transition successfully to Operations
Program Manager ·        Drives design, schedule, and resources at the project level ·        Ensure that individual projects run smoothly, and build the right solution at the right time.
Developer ·        Builds the agreed-to solution ·        Ensure delivery to agreed-to specifications

·        Tests to accurately determine the quality of solution development

·        Identifies errors, bugs and faults

·        Ensure all known issues are resolved before release
Product Manager ·        Acts as the customer advocate, helps drive shared project vision, and manages customer expectations ·        Ensure customer satisfaction
User Experience

·        Acts as user advocate on project teams

·        Helps define user requirements and helps design to meet them

·        Ensure released solution is usable and meets end users’ needs
Release Management

·        Evaluates the solution design

·        Documents operations requirements to ensure that they are met by the design

·        Creates a pilot, deployment plan, and schedule

·        Manages site deployment

·        Ensure a stable solution is deployed to the production environment
Operations Experience

·        Advocates for Operations on the project team

·        Brings in Operations experts as needed for detailed information

·        Coordinates with release management

·        Ensure operational requirements are part of the solution design and addressed before release
Test Manager

·        Owns all the testing across all project teams

·        Develops testing strategy and plans

·        Ensures that best practice test methods are used

·        Test matches production

·        No surprises

Management Accountability

The Management Accountability addresses the role types that are important to five SMFs, three of them from the Plan Phase of the IT service lifecycle, and two of them from the Manage Layer. Those SMFs are Financial Management; Business/IT Alignment; Policy; Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC); and Change and Configuration. Financial Management focuses on providing IT-relevant activities and considerations that improve financial management practices. Business/IT Alignment focuses on strengthening the alignment between IT departments and the larger organisations within which they exist. Policy focuses on ensuring documented, up-to-date guidelines that address the desired actions and behaviors of an organisation. Governance, Risk, and Compliance focuses on providing IT services that are effective, efficient, and compliant. Change and Configuration focuses on creating an environment where changes can be made with the least amount of risk and impact to the organisation.

Table 10 lists the role types associated with the Management Accountability, as well as the responsibilities and goals for each role type.

Table 10. Management Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type Responsibilities Goals
IT Executive Officer

·        Sponsors IT initiatives

·        Approves structures and overall IT processes

·        Owns metrics and benchmarking

·        Owns board and executive relationships

·        Well run and effective IT services

·        IT continually improving performance with an improvement roadmap in place

IT Manager

·        Manages processes

·        Identifies and engages appropriate participants in decision process

·        Manages risk and IT business value realisation dependencies

·        Owns business/IT relationship

·        Effective management decisions

·        IT compliant with directives

·        Risk and value realised are appropriately balanced

·        Metrics are used for reporting and improvement planning

IT Policy Manager ·        Sees that management decisions are informed by policy and that policy is effectively used across IT ·        Policies effectively direct organisation toward appropriate activities
IT Risk and Compliance Manager

·        Manages overall risk management and compliance programs

·        Communicates GRC processes and requirements to organisation

·        Well-communicated GRC processes and expectations

·        Individuals understand their GRC responsibilities and take action accordingly

Assurance and Reporting

·        Validates design and operating effectiveness of IT organisation, processes, and control environment

·        Recommends changes for improvement

·        IT organisation constantly under review and continually being improved

·        Board and shareholders confident in management decision and resulting processes

Change Manager ·        Manages the activities of the change management process for the IT organisation ·        Change that is planned and understood, with risks that are managed
Configuration Administrator

·        Tracks what is changing and its impact

·        Tracks configuration items (CIs)

·        Updates CMS

·        Configuration changes are recorded

·        Maintains known state

·        Performs configuration audits

Key Principles

Although there are several ways organisations might use the Team SMF to organise IT work, most of those approaches have several key principles in common. Those principles range from tips on where and how to start organising to advice on how to combine accountabilities and roles.

Start with People

Traditionally, organisations start improvement efforts by working on implementing or improving their use of technology or their processes. Starting with people improvement instead—by focusing on accountabilities, roles, and responsibilities—is easier to understand and less abstract than process, which means it can be adopted more easily. When people understand what to do and how to do it, improving process and technology becomes much easier.

Separate Plan Driven and Interrupt Driven Work

Plan driven or proactive work should be predictable in terms of both what gets done and how much time is spent getting it done, as well as when it gets done. However, if that sort of work gets mixed with reactive work, the predictability gets lost.

The repetitive tasks and activities required to maintain an IT service in production are usually considered planned work. An example of such a task might be defragmentation of databases. An example of interrupt-driven work might be handling calls as a customer service representative. This role is driven by events that are outside of the control of the representative. It is worth noting that not all planned work is repetitive. Project work is an example of that. However, in those cases where planned work is repetitive, it should be automated wherever possible.

Put the Right People in the Right Roles

Once the role type has defined the work to be done, it makes sense to look for people who have an aptitude and personality type that lend themselves to that sort of work. For example, the Operations Accountability has an Operator Role Type associated with it, with responsibility for work that has predictable results. It makes sense to staff that role type with someone who enjoys standardised, predictable work, and who does well at following instructions.

Encourage Advocacy

Advocacy offers a way to represent different points of view, and it helps ensure coverage for all the types of work that need to be to be done. Advocacy encourages good decisions and effective and efficient processes.

Start with Accountability

The accountable person has the power to ensure that required work gets done and is ultimately held responsible for whether that occurs.

Make Responsibilities Clear to the Owner

The responsible person needs to have a clear understanding of what has to be done.

Combine Accountabilities and Role Types Where Appropriate

Some accountabilities and role types can be combined for scaling purposes, and some cannot. (For example, it would be inadvisable to combine the role types Test and Development or the Solutions Accountability with Operations Accountability.)

Ensure Constant Coverage in Operations

Because of the nature and criticality of Operations work, it is important to assign work in a way that ensures constant coverage in that area. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to assign resources to Operations first, to Support second, and Solutions third.

Team SMF Process Flow

The Team SMF does not have a true process flow in the same sense that, for example, the Change and Configuration Management SMF does. However, there are three basic processes to ensuring that an IT organisation has its people and work aligned, and these can serve as a stage-by-stage approach to building a set of accountabilities, role types, and responsibilities for an update or fine tuning.

The following processes make up the process for establishing accountabilities, role types, and roles to ensure that the required IT work in an IT organisation is done properly.

  1. Identify changes needed.
  2. Align responsibilities.
  3. Assign roles.

Figure 2 illustrates the process flow for teaming.


Figure 2. Team SMF process flow

Process 1: Identify Changes Needed

Figure 3 illustrates the three activities involved in identifying any changes that might be needed in an organisation’s IT roles and responsibilities.


Figure 3. Activities for identifying changes needed

Activities: Identify Changes Needed

Many factors can drive a change in the roles and responsibilities in IT. Changes may occur in the staffing, skills, and training required for certain tasks or in the frequency or methods of accomplishing tasks. New markets, technology, or policies can all influence responsibilities.

The primary activities in identifying whether such changes are needed are:

  • Review IT portfolio.
  • Determine work to be done.
  • List responsibilities.

Table 11. Activities and Considerations for Identifying Changes Needed

Activities Considerations
Review IT portfolio

Key questions:

·        What is the most important goal for each accountability in your organisation?

·        What does reaching this goal look like?

·        How can these goals be met?

·        What changes are coming up that will affect IT?


·        IT portfolio

·        IT strategy

·        Policy

·        Reliability requirements


·        Organisation goals

·        Vision for each accountability

·        Goals for each accountability

·        Proposed team/organisation model

Best practices:

·        Identify anything that would affect the current responsibilities.  Look at project teams needed.

·        Look for technology additions, significant changes, or retirements.

·        Look for processes added, deleted, or significantly changed.

·        Look for monitoring and maintenance tasks added, deleted, or changed due to automation.

·        Look for increase in customer service demand, possibly created by new user groups.

·        For more details on planning and strategy, which may affect staffing, see the Business/IT Alignment SMF.

Determine work to be done

Key questions:

·        What are the required staffing levels for the services offered?

·        Have there been recent changes in business demand or technology that would change the work that needs to be done? Are you anticipating changes?


·        Change list


·        Updated responsibility list

Best practices:

·        Be sure to update the list of responsibilities when technology is added or replaced.

·        Changes spike customer service usage while the users adjust to the new system. Automation reduces staffing needs overall but creates some new operations responsibilities.

List responsibilities

Key questions:

·        What work must be done to plan, deliver, operate, and manage IT?


·        Job descriptions

·        Task lists

·        SLAs and OLAs

·        MOF SMFs


·        List of responsibilities in your IT organisation

Best practices:

·        Look at multiple sources of information to be sure you have good coverage.

·        Look at all phases and SMFs in MOF to ensure good coverage of responsibilities. Each MOF SMF includes a list of typical responsibilities.

Process 2: Align Responsibilities

Figure 4 illustrates the activities involved in aligning responsibilities.


Figure 4. Activities for aligning responsibilities

Activities: Align Responsibilities

Review the upcoming IT demand changes to determine what responsibilities need to be added, deleted, or adjusted. This may be a change in volume that would drive reassignments, or it may be a change in what kind of work is done.

The primary activities involved in aligning responsibilities are:

  • Map responsibilities.
  • Look for conflicts.
  • Look for gaps.

Table 12. Activities and Considerations for Aligning Responsibilities

Activities Considerations
Map responsibilities

Key questions:

·        Who is responsible for each piece of work that needs to be done?

·        Who owns each accountability?


·        Organisation chart

·        List of responsibilities

·        MOF accountabilities list


·        Mapping of responsibilities to current IT organisation

Best practices:

·        Colour code responsibilities by accountability area and add to an organisation chart. This makes it easy to see conflicts and gaps.

·        Often just asking the question of who owns a responsibility uncovers conflicts and gaps.

Look for conflicts

Key questions:

·        Where are there similar or overlapping responsibilities owned by different organisation units?

·        Where is there confusion over who owns responsibilities?


·        Mapping of responsibilities to current IT organisation


·        List of potential conflicts to be investigated

Best practices:

·        Avoid giving a single organisation unit ownership of multiple accountabilities; it could cause a conflict.

·        Avoid giving multiple organisation units ownership of the same accountability; it could cause a conflict.

Look for gaps

Key questions:

·        Which responsibilities are not owned?

·        Are there any accountabilities not owned?


·        Mapping of responsibilities to current IT organisation


·        List of potential gaps to be investigated

Best practice:

·        Make sure the question of ownership can be answered quickly, or a gap may be created.

Process 3: Assign Roles

Figure 5 illustrates the activities required for assigning roles.


Figure 5. Activities for assigning roles

Activities: Assign Roles

When new responsibilities have been identified, they need to be assigned to roles and teams formed. There are many ways to form teams. Depending on organisational culture, patterns of work, and the skills and personalities available in the group, some types of teams work better than others. Be clear about responsibility ownership.

The primary activities required for assigning roles are:

  • Decide the nature of the responsibilities.
  • Determine the roles needed.
  • Determine the type of structure needed.
  • Apply teaming principles.
  • Make and communicate assignments.
  • Create a training plan.
  • Create a staffing plan.
  • Fine tune assignments.

Table 13. Activities and Considerations for Assigning Roles

Activities Considerations
Decide nature of responsibilities

Key questions:

·        Is the work plan driven or interruptdriven?

·        What skills or experience are required?

·        What accountability does the work fall under?

·        How much time per day, per week, or per month will this require? What is the pattern of work?

·        Is there any segregation of duties required that prevents this work from being done with other work?

·        Can part of the work be done more efficiently, or can it be automated?


·        List of changing responsibilities


·        Description of responsibilities

Best practices:

·        Review other SMFs for responsibility suggestions.

·        Consider responsibilities that are changing or removed as well as those that are added.

·        Workforce calculators can be useful here.

Determine roles needed

Key questions:

·        Does this work fall under existing roles? Are new roles needed?

·        How many people are needed in each role to do the work?

·        What constraints are there to how the work can be done or combined with other work?


·        Description of responsibilities

·        Existing roles


·        Updated roles

Best practice:

·        Try to keep the number of roles to a minimum.

Determine type of structure needed

Key questions:

·        Do you need a project team?

·        Do you need virtual teams?

·        How will you handle rotation?

·        What about knowledge transfer?

·        Do you have plans for morale, employee satisfaction, and career growth?

·        Is your compensation in line with goals?

·        Will you be outsourcing anything?

·        Will you use a matrix model?


·        Updated roles


·        Team plan

Best practice:

·        It’s a good idea to include human resources to ensure that new approaches or requirements in work responsibilities are reflected in job descriptions.

Apply teaming principles

Key questions:

·        What teaming principles apply in this situation?

·        What changes need to be made to adjust the vision to comply with the teaming principles?


·        Mapping of responsibilities to current IT organisation

·        MOF principles of teaming

·        List of conflicts and gaps

·        Proposed team model

·        Requirements and constraints


·        List of potential changes

·        Modified team model

Best practice:

·        Compare your modified vision to the teaming principles in this guide. Make adjustments as needed to optimise the design.

Make and communicate assignments

Key questions:

·        What is feasible to do?

·        What constraints are there for organisational change?

·        Will the change proposed have sufficient positive impact to offset the disruption and negative impact?

·        Have you determined accountabilities?

·        Have you aligned accountabilities within the organisation?

·        Have you aligned the organisation with identified accountabilities?


·        List of potential changes and responsibilities needed

·        Requirements and constraints

·        Existing teams, roles, and responsibilities


·        Staffing plan

Best practices:

·        Be aware of any policies your organisation may have regarding changing workforce or assignments.

·        While it is usually preferable to have the reporting structure match the team structure, it is not always the best solution. Be sure to consider virtual teams, temporary teams, rotation, and other approaches to meet your needs.

Create a training plan

Key questions:

·        What skills are needed that can be added through training?

·        What resources do you have for providing training?

·        When is the training required?


·        Current team assignments

·        Policies

·        Responsibility descriptions


·        Training plan

Best practices:

·        Focus on people skills first.

·        Encourage employees to develop their own training plans that align with their immediate role and their long-term career path.

Create a staffing plan

Key questions:

·        What additional staff do you need to cover the responsibilities?

·        Where should they be located?

·        What skills and experience do they need to have?


·        Current team assignments

·        Policies

·        Responsibility descriptions


·        Staffing plan

Best practices:

·        Look internally and externally—consider outsourced, virtual, and permanent teams.

·        Where it’s feasible, try to create shared work spaces for people working within one accountability. If someone is working in Support on Monday, that work should be done in a Support shared work space.

Fine tune assignments

Key questions:

·        How will you measure quality? Who is responsible for quality?

·        What reporting model will you use?

·        How will you ensure your ability to meet service levels?

·        How will you ensure staff satisfaction and effectiveness?


·        SLAs and OLAs

·        Responsibilities


·        Feedback to the Organisational Health Review

·        Proposed changes to teams

Best practices:

·        Evaluate assignments and staffing levels. Go through them again as organisation and business goals change.

·        The MOF role model can be scaled to organisations of different sises. For large organisations the model is scaled up by implementing multiple roles of the same role type. For small organisations the model is scaled down by combining roles.


The Team SMF addresses how to ensure that someone is ultimately accountable for the work required to effectively deliver IT services, and that everyone doing that work has a clear role, understands the responsibilities that go with that role, and has the right skills for carrying out those responsibilities.

To succeed in that, it is important to know how to do the following:

  • Understand the key principles for effectively organising IT.
  • Understand accountabilities and role types.
  • Identify changes needed.
  • Align responsibilities.
  • Assign roles.
How can I implement ITIL IQ®?

Hopefully by now you’ll begin to understand the value that the Microsoft Operations Framework can bring to your business. The goals, outcomes and measures outlined above require many activities and considerations which form part of our day to day activities at First Solution. In fact, we’re experts in MOF and have even developed a unique ITIL IQ® process that benchmarks a business’s current state, identifies their desired state and provides an action plan (called a Service Delivery Plan) that helps organisations of all sises achieve their desired business outcomes. Most importantly, our unique ITIL IQ® process begins with a Proactive Services Maturity Review (PSMR) which identifies a score (out of 100) that clearly communicates the current state of your businesses IT operational maturity. Armed with your ITIL IQ® score, a non-IT professional such as a finance or procurement professional can concisely present to the IT Executive Officer the businesses current state, desired state, and ITIL IQ® score with an action plan to improve the ITIL IQ® score and thereby ensure that IT’s goals are aligned with the goals of the business and that both are progressing together. Once the IT Executive Officer has bought into the MOF concept we can help to develop an IT service strategy, IT service map, IT service portfolio and Service level agreements.

How can I improve my Team performance?

Simply get in touch to arrange a free ITIL IQ® survey and one of our MOF experts will conduct an interview with the IT Manager or IT Executive Officer within your business and provide an ITIL IQ® score with which you can measure the performance of your IT function. Once you know your ITIL IQ® score we can provide a Service Delivery Plan to help you improve it each month and measure and report progress back to you during a Monthly Service Review. And there we have it, an ITIL based solution to simply identify and measure the performance of your IT function. So, are you ready to improve your team performance?


The Microsoft Operations Framework 4.0 is provided with permission from Microsoft Corporation. 

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.