What is an XLA?

In the world of IT the acronym SLA – which stands for Service Level Agreement – is commonly known. The SLA holds uncountable agreements: “What is the uptime of systems?”, “What is the reaction time when systems fail?” and “What are the costs of each service?”.

The focus lays on technical performance. This is important; there might be a lack of quality when the SLA is not met. But what we also see is that an SLA that has been met does not guarantee a satisfied business environment.

We call this the watermelon SLA. On the outside everything looks positive and green, but the inside brims with frustration. And a watermelon is heavy, just like many SLA’s with their massive amount of pages. Giarte strives for the kiwi. A kiwi is green on the outside, green on the inside and light. For IT this translates into a situation where the quality is on the right level, everyone is satisfied and we use a minimum set of agreements to reach this point.

Satisfying everyone is impossible, but it should be the ambition. IT organizations often strive to a higher satisfaction score but fail again and again to reach their target. Why? Because growing to the next maturity level means you can’t manage IT inside-out any longer. You also need to manage the expectations in the business and optimize the experience around IT.

If you want to play in the highest leagues, a new way of managing is necessary. This ambition also asks for a new generation of agreements, centered around experience and the targeted business impact. These agreements are put down in an XLA, the eXperience Level Agreement.

The XLA is a guide and not a judicial document. The XLA records goals from an end user perspective and connects these goals with the improvement and delivery of IT products and services. Building an XLA starts with the targeted end result and reengineers back to a relevant way of working and set of agreements.

Read more about the road towards an XLA.

Share via: