1. Unauthorized Changes
This is one of the largest tell tale signs that an environment is exposed to a high number of unplanned outages. If people are allowed to implement changes without following strict management sanctioned change management process, there will be lots of downtime and hours upon hours of human effort trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.
2. High Amounts of Unplanned Work
High percentages of unplanned work has a direct correlation to high levels of unplanned downtime. If the team is spending more than 5% of their time reacting to service failures then the environment can be defined as reactive. A study has shown that high powered IT departments spend less than 5% of their total effort on unplanned tasks.
3. Low Throughput of Effective Change
Since the majority of the team's efforts are spent putting out fires, there is little time left to spend on implementing the changes needed to stay competitive. If you can't implement high number of changes each year, the business will fall behind which is why a lot of companies slide out of the Fortune 1,000. Their IT staff just can't adapt. Low throughput of effective change is a symptom of downtime.
4. Server to Administrator Rations < 100:1
This is an informal metric which allows you to see how many administrators you have per server. If on average you require one administrator to manage less than 100 servers, the chances are the resources are spending too much time executing unplanned work as a result of too many outages or poor management. Keep in mind that there is a direct correlation between the administrator to servers ratio and throughput of effective change.
5. Lack of Indicator Measurements
If you aren't measuring performance, one does not have the metrics needed to show results and justify management type decisions. If measurements are in place but not understood, the same is true. If you have no measurements, then success is largely based on subjectivity. In the information technology world, availability, reliability, maintainability and serviceability are critical indicators for the management of success. High-powered leaders live by these and many other indicators.
6. SLA Commitment Breaches
Vendors are contracted to respond within a certain amount of time and in a certain way. If a vendor is being paid to keep a service available then they need to be held accountable to the defined SLA. Understanding how vendors are performing in relation to the contracted SLA is critical to your business's success. A breach can send an IT team into chaos causing a high volume of unplanned work and a low change throughput. Managing a vendor is just as important as choosing the right vendor.