How to work out the Service Level Agreement Document

Time is rush, the service manage has to get the service support document done within 3 weeks to deliver and get service support team to be ready for the 1 month’s warranty period before official handover of the application to them.  Sound ridiculous? Not really, it happens everywhere, in any other workplace where most project managers also forget about these important procedures prior to handover the solution to the service support team.

No panic button required here.  There are few project documents and activities to look at (if they have already prepared) to get the service manager to start to work with the support team in understand what to draft for the service level agreement document for a new application.  They are:

  • Technical specification document of the application
  • Business process documents involves the usage of this new application
  • Common issues troubleshooting guide – this helps the new support team to understand how to solve the technical issues faced during the whole project phase in case they happens again
  • Training – do ensure that the support team is invited to attend any new system training as planned in the project plan.

We must treat a service level agreement document as a legal, contractual document between the service provider and the Customer.  Therefore it must be reviewed, understood and approved by both the parties.  We also need to take note that we need to include the relevant information into the document as much as possible, and to be specific, concise and clear to everyone.

The most common mistakes that are made in drafting the service level agreement (SLA) document are:

  1. Missing descriptions of the services or applications to be supported
  2. Missing exact roles and responsibilities of the Customer and the service provider
  3. Geographic locations and time-zones details should the application is supported in a centralized support model (also known as ‘around-the-sun’)
  4. Working hours for specific locations
  5. No specific, clear escalation process
  6. Highlights on the different impacts (business impact) for each priority
  7. No communication mode for notice periods and escalation contacts
  8. Ambiguous service desk targets
  9. Missing reports metrics

With the above, we are on-track to cover all the required information into the document and share with the stakeholders for approval with minimal changes.  No pressure! 🙂


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April 2010
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