I’ve worked over the last several years on Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with various organizations. In addition to providing a service standard many SLAs include penalties and consequences. The starting principle remains to set expectations for service. Setting expectations ensure everyone in the transaction aren’t trying to renegotiate the ‘deal’ in the middle of a problem or starts to run a process on the idea that one side can do a ‘favour’ for the other in exchange for relaxing the standards later on.

In reviewing how I spend large chunks of my time, I still spend more time than is truly productive dealing with various types of communications. It struck me that I hadn’t really established an expectation for how I will respond to communications so I am constantly checking all of them.

So here is how people get in touch with me, and here is what you can expect.

Item Type Answer Time(typ.) Service Level(max)
Messaging (work)* Office Communicator 5 min 15 min
Messaging (personal) Instant(AOL, iChat, MSN) 15 min 60 min
Twitter 1 day Never
Facebook 1 day 3 days
Email (work)* Sent to me 3 hr 1 business day
cc to me 3 hr (if Required) 1 business day (if Required)
Forwarded Never n/a
Mailing List or Broadcast email
Email (home) Sent to me 1 day 3 days
cc to me Never n/a
Mailing List
Phone (work)* Desk 90s to Voicemail
Desk Voicemail 3 hr 1 business day
Cellular 30s to Voicemail
Cell Voicemail 1 hr 3 hr
Phone (Personal) Home 120s to Voicemail
Home Voicemail 6 hrs 2 days
Cellular 60s to Voicemail
Cellular Voicemail 1 hr 1 day
In Person While you wait As soon as you leave
(*) = 9-5 Mon to Fri

The goal here is to get to a schedule of looking at all the different sources on a regular but not excessive basis. Presence based services (IM and in Person) are the most immediate. Phone is immediate but not reliable – not always someone at the other end. Voicemail gets checked every couple hours and email gets check 4-5 times a day.

That really should be enough.

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