Spark Joy vs De La Soul
The "Spark Joy" Principle vs De la Soul (three is the magic number)
I would so love this (see attached Alabama Memorandum Opinion) to be true... not only because it proves someone in Alabama does have a sense of humour, but it might start to become a widely used contract principle and Service Level.
We wouldn't be constrained to the usual, "Time to Respond", "Time to Restore", "Time to Resolve" service levels - but instead, a unique service level based on asking yourself the question.. Did the Supplier's performance Spark Joy?
But being serious, we have a duty to ensure the KPIs we set and determine are meaningful. Whilst we may not be ready for Spark Joy just yet, at least until it is tested in a court of law, appropriate specifications and performance measures should always be chosen. They are the foundation of a good contract.
Contracts and KPIs should be designed to incentivise delivery of the things that matter. They need to be relevant and proportionate to the size and complexity of the contract. Getting this wrong can create confusion and tension. For instance, having too many KPIs will lead to over-complicated contracts and ambiguity.
As the Great De La Soul once opined, think of, "Three being the magic number", across each service line. I would suggest, if you can't define the performance you need in terms of three metrics, you really need to have another go.
In narrowing down your SLAs, ask yourself what is more important? to test the time it takes someone to respond to an escalation, or the ongoing availability of a system? 99.99% of the time the answer is likely to be we need a system or service to just work, as it's too late if you are checking how long it takes for a Supplier to respond to an outage.
In aligning KPIs with the intended benefits to be realised during the life of a contract, perhaps consider the following three principles...
1) A system or service that works: e.g. achieving minimum performance outputs;
2) Cost and time to deliver: e.g. working within cost thresholds; and/or
3) A system or service that does not cause a loss or public embarrassment: e.g. maintaining a minimum level of customer satisfaction.
In short, 3 is the magic number!