As one of the four Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) operations management reviews (OMRs), the SLA Review is a key management checkpoint and occurs at specified intervals (normally aligned to the measurement period documented in the SLA). This review is meant to ensure that the business and IT department have an opportunity to assess performance against SLA objectives and to review the operation of the SLA. The SLA Review is designed to involve high-level management in the review process, thereby ensuring that involvement and communication are present from both the IT department and the business in all future decisions regarding the delivery of the service.
The following figure details the stages in setting up and operating the SLA Review.
Once the initial SLA Review has taken place, the process becomes a cycle of conducting the review, documenting it, and taking corrective actions.
The review process is conducted at specified intervals, which depend on the rate of change in the business and what the business deems manageable and useful. For example, reviews could be held monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually. As a suggested starting point, however, once a month is a reasonable frequency and will mean events are still in recent history. The interval should fit in with the objectives of the organization and should be flexible. However, for an organization implementing service level management, it is recommended that quarterly review meetings be held. If a pilot is being carried out, the review meetings may be more frequent in order to ensure that any feedback in the development of the SLA can be turned around quickly.
Although the reviews are usually periodic, there is no reason why the business or IT department cannot call a review outside of this interval if they wish to discuss the service. The structure should not be so rigid that it stops communication. The regularity of the review meetings should reassure the business and IT that these reviews will be the minimum number of reviews conducted. There may be many reasons to call for an informal SLA Review. For example, service may have been affected by a change, the business objectives for the specified period may have changed, there may be an increased pressure expected on a certain line of business, or there may be a change in organizational structure. Whatever the reason behind the request, the attendees of the SLA Review meeting should always be willing to review the service outside of the normal interval arrangements.
Informal service reviews, in the form of physical meetings, phone calls, or e-mail messages, may produce input that will need to be addressed during the full SLA Review process, but these often do not constitute full SLA reviews. For example, a temporary change in working hours may require communication between IT and the business to ensure that adequate services are provided to meet the revised demands, but this does not need to be more than a phone call to the service level manager or the business manager in most cases.
The remaining topics in this section describe each of the SLA Review's four steps in detail.