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Q&A with an alumni speaker!

Q&A with an alumni speaker!

In this first installment of a series of chats with those that have previously taken the stage at the Service Management Conference – Paul Edwards kindly shares his speaking experience and tips.

Hi Paul! Please tell us a little about yourself – what is your area of expertise and what kind of Conference speaking experience do you have (if any)?

I’ve got a 25 year background in IT, ranging from duty programmer (the parent of help desk and the grandparent of service desk), managing Unix and VMS boxes, lecturing, running high performance computing and visualisation systems, IT Service Management consulting, strategic consulting, being an in-house consultant/troubleshooter in the financial services sector, mentor to various amazing people working in technology, being mentored by equally amazing people who work in technology, and most recently running projects and governance functions for cyber security in a big bank. Overall, I would say I am a people person rather than a technology person.

In terms of conference speaking experience, I’ve presented several times for the itSMFA, spoken at a number of other conferences (generally in the secondary and tertiary educations spaces), and spent many hours watching conference speakers and learning from all of them.

What would you say are the top benefits you gain from sharing your expertise and insights at a Conference as a speaker?

There are three big benefits:

  • First, it really helps me refine my ideas (and in one memorable case, changing my idea 180 degrees!) Writing a white paper or Conference paper cannot be beaten as far as stress testing the topic you are talking about.
  • Second, there’s a kind of intellectual endorphin rush I get from knowing that for the last 50-odd minutes, a group of people have walked away with some more knowledge, probably some interesting questions to explore if they are inclined to do so, and hopefully ideas on how to change the status quo.
  • Finally, I’ve made some lifelong professional connections and friendships thorough people who have come up to me to talk / ask me / grill me about my session.

In the past, you joined the speaker line-up for the Service Management Conference via the anonymous submission system. Can you describe your experience with this process?

This was excellent. I found that the process meant that the reviewers were providing feedback, which in turn challenged me to make the presentation clearer and (I suspect) more successful. My paper went through four iterations once I had submitted it; almost every suggestion from the reviewers was valid, they challenged me to think more deeply about both the topic and how best to communicate the ideas, and ultimately ended up having me present a paper that was far better than the one I originally submitted.

How was your experience at the Conference overall as both a speaker and an attendee?

As a speaker: the full gamut of emotions. Will anyone come to see me speak? Oh good, there’s a few people. Oh dear, I must have made the abstract too persuasive, because the room is now full. And now there are people standing at the back because there are no seats left! I hope I will not be wasting their time! Uh oh, I’m getting introduced now. Up on stage. Hand grabbing my stomach from the inside. Got through the introduction OK. Getting into a rhythm now. This is great. What, there’s only five minutes left? Questions, answers, the session is over, but now more people want to talk to me. Let’s do it over a cuppa. Relief. Relax.

As an attendee: great fun. A range of interesting and challenging speakers. A range of interesting attendees. A chance to catch up with people I’ve not seen in years, and a chance to make new friends.

What was your favourite part of it the Conference experience? Can you share some standout moments?

I’m going to cheat and have two:

First, (and this is fairly generic): walking out of a talk, thinking, I can’t *wait* to try and do that. Or thinking: wow, I did not know that, and X is now really interesting and I should look into it more deeply.

Second, the people you meet.

Standout moments? Generally anything involving Peter Doherty in a bar.

What were the most important learnings you took away from the Conference experience?

For 2016: the Cynefin framework; Vinh Giang and breaking things down; Karen Ferris’ approach to picking the top three competencies in ITSM; learning that it is possible to become accredited as a Lego® Play facilitator (now on my bucket list).

What advice would you give someone looking to submit a proposal to the Service Management Conference this year?

Give it a go. The anonymous peer review system means that even if ultimately you do not get selected, you will mature your ideas. If you do get selected, it is a fabulous opportunity to develop your speaking skills, and add to your professional network.

Submissions to speak at Service Management 2017 close on Friday 12 May 2017 – find out more and submit a proposal here.

By |May 4th, 2017|blog, QandA, Service Management 2016, Service Management 2017|

Six ways to build and grow

Supercharge your ITSM skillset by attending the Service Management 2017 pre-Conference Workshop day. As part of itSMF Australia’s 20th Annual Conference, these workshops are led by local and international experts and will focus on trending industry topics and know-how.

Choose to immerse yourself in a full-day workshop or you can mix it up by choosing from the half-day options.


Devops adoption: the Dev-Ops-ITSM triangle – Dave Favelle

DevOps is here, it’s in your organisation but not yet at critical mass. How do we help it get to a scale where DevOps and ITSM are contributing to business competitive advantage?

Next-gen Service Management: A survey of emerging techniques and case studies – Dion Hinchcliffe

Deep-dive into the latest trends in Service Management and examine how the practice will evolve over the next few years!

The three year Service Management roadmap – Dion Hinchcliffe

Build on the latest in Service Management and walk away with a three year strategic plan to adapt your organisational needs. You will have the opportunity to cross pollinate your ideas with like-minded peers.

Building an effective communication plan for your ITSM improvement effort – Karen Ferris

Effective communication is critical to success! Karen Ferris will equip you with the tools and techniques to develop and deliver an effective communications plan for any ITSM improvement initiative.

Bringing Agile to service delivery – Eduardo Nofuentes

Create mindsets that foster a culture of continuous improvement. Take away an Agile and lean way of thinking and learn how to apply a customer centric approach to Service Delivery.

Improve your process improvement – Michi Tyson

This workshop will introduce you to concepts, tools and techniques from the fields of complexity theory, systems thinking, experiential learning and lean management. The purpose is to help teams, departments and whole organisations improve their delivery strategies and methods efficiently, effectively and, most importantly, sustainably.


The Service Management 2017 Workshop day is being held on Tuesday 22nd of August 2017 in Melbourne. For more information and to register for the Workshops or Conference, visit this page.

By |April 19th, 2017|DevOps, ITSM, Service Management 2017, Workshop|

Dear aspiring speaker

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Submitting a proposal to speak at Service Management Conference is a chance to open a sustained dialogue with your peers and expand your network. In this post, itSMF Australia’s National Events Director Aprill Allen shares her tips for those thinking of submitting a proposal.

I’m glad you’re interested in sharing your story with our delegates for the 20th annual national itSMF Conference. I want you to have the best possible chance at joining us in Melbourne this year, so here are some tips to help your submission be successful.

Our members love case studies. Case studies consistently rate highly with our members and it’s easy to understand why. They’re in ready-made story-telling format, which makes them easy to relate to, easy to understand, and easy to remember. Whether a case study demonstrates your success or ultimate failure, it should start with a background setting of who and where, follow up with what your big hairy challenge was, how you approached solving it, what the outcome was, and why it went the way it did — your lessons learned. This is the valuable part that helps each of us grow from your experience.

Make sure your topic title is interesting and consistent with your session description. This tip almost speaks for itself, but it’s not uncommon to be too clever with a topic title and have your audience not make the connection. They may not understand the session’s relevance to them and not attend, or worse still, they may rate you poorly because they expected something different.

Pitch to the right level. We have delegates covering the spectrum from beginner to advanced. Make sure your content is pitched consistently with the audience level you’ve selected.

Consider the theme when you develop your submission. This year, our theme is Service Management 2.0. Our workplaces and consumer expectations are already changing in a multitude of ways. What do we need to do differently to be a step ahead? How will our service management toolbelt evolve? If your expertise is outside the ITSM domain, what are the skills you know our service management practitioners and leaders need to be successful? What are the stories they need to hear, or learn to tell?

The Conference is the place to push boundaries with new material. The selection process tends to reward experienced presenters, which is why we try to give new speakers exposure at our state seminars and ask for a referral. For our experienced presenters, already popular at our state seminars, the national Conference is an opportunity to share a new angle or a new story.

Reviewer feedback will be your first test of the clarity and impact of your submission. I’m no stranger to how it feels when something so clear in my head isn’t coming through easily to whomever I’m sharing it with. It’s beyond frustrating. Work through those awkward misunderstandings, if they come up, because when the light bulb goes on, it’s rewarding for all involved.  

Reviewers will be looking for all these points during the selection process, and how well you address them will influence your chance of selection. Good luck, and I hope to see your presentation on stage!

Find out more and submit a speaker proposal here.

By |March 3rd, 2017|ITSM, protips, Service Management 2017|

SM 2.0!

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Service Management 2017 is themed SM 2.0. In this post, itSMF Australia’s National Events Director Aprill Allen shares her take on how the way we work is changing and how that might be reflected at Conference.

It’s exciting to open 2017 with some insight into our plans for this year’s itSMF national conference. Of course, we  rolled right out of Brisbane’s conference straight into planning for what has turned out to be Melbourne, 2017. We immediately began discussing sessions and event feedback, but planning for the next one doesn’t feel truly underway until we’ve locked down the dates, venue and theme.

For 2016, the theme was easy to determine. I knew what shape I wanted our conference to take and the theme provided the frame for our speakers and reviewers to build and deliver what was in my opinion, our most outstanding program so far. I’ve got to admit, I sure did feel like a one-trick pony. With no 2017 theme already in mind, I was nervous. Enter my truly helpful committee and a collaborative Google doc, which helped us to test some ideas, scrap some and start over, and ultimately arrive at SM 2.0.

We wanted to give a nod to our twentieth year, somehow, but we particularly wanted to capture what might be coming next after we asked you to Shake I.T. Up last year.

ITSM, as an industry, is taking a long, hard look at itself. The thought leaders you’re familiar with are scouring the edges of our profession to look at the areas where what we do in Service Management overlaps with what other service providers are offering and achieving. Sometimes it’s about technology, often it’s about new approaches to working with others to achieve common goals. The most successful IT leaders are doing the same thing. We got a sense of that last year when our speakers and reviewers put forward topics about project leadership in general, and DevOps in particular, topics that traditionally haven’t been a big feature of the ITSM toolbelt.

There’s no doubt our workplaces and workforces are changing, inspiring the appetite for broader conference programming. Not just in the way the generational mix at work is transforming, but also in the way we work and where we work. What will your toolbelt look like for the next iteration of Service Management? How are your skills and stories evolving? Share your story.

By |February 15th, 2017|ITSM, Service Management 2017|

Dear reviewer

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Reviewers make up an integral part in the Service Management Conference. In this post, itSMF Australia’s National Events Director Aprill Allen shares her tips for the Conference reviewers.

Our Conference reviewers play an important role: our reviewers, made up of the itSMF community, are able to directly influence the shape of the conference. It’s thanks to our 2016 reviewers that Shake I.T. Up provoked the amazing amount of positive feedback that it did. I look forward to seeing the kind of program they will build for us this year.

As this role can be demanding, I wanted to offer some guidance.

Dear reviewer,

Check in with your stream regularly, if you can, so you don’t get a buildup of too many submissions to sift through in one sitting.

Check the topic title. Is it snappy and interesting? Does it relate to the rest of the submission content? If they’ve lost you, they’ll lose the audience, so follow up with the author, share your understanding of their submission, and ask for some clarification. Together, you may come up with a much better title.

Check the stream selection. If you feel the submission better suits another stream, feel free to encourage the submitter to move their submission – or make a private note and let the organisers know.

Check the audience level the submission is pitched to. If you feel the submission is more beginner, or more advanced, it might be worth confirming with the author. Reassure authors that we have delegates covering the spectrum, so pitching to beginners is not a limitation!

Check the session length. Ensure the topic will have the appropriate time for the greatest quality. You may have to trust the author on this one, because experienced speakers will specifically design their session for the format they’ve selected. There will be another chance to validate and address this point if they make it to the speaker supporter stage.

A note on topic selection. Your role, at this early stage, is to help the author put forward the best submission they can. If you don’t think a particular topic put forward is an ideal fit for our delegates, make a private note, rate it accordingly and let the shortlisting process weed it out. However, as I found last year, sessions from outside our typical domain rated highly on the day, so you may be surprised! But that’s half the fun of being involved as a reviewer 🙂

 

By |January 23rd, 2017|Uncategorised|

What happened down under at Shake I.T. Up – Service Management 2016

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In this guest blog, Sunit Prakash wraps up Service Management 2016 and highlights the new standards for IT service delivery.

 

 

“It’s one thing to want to innovate, but how can you influence or implement those changes, and do you know where to start?” – Service Management 2016

The 19th annual Service Management conference in Australia showed us a glimpse of how service management is evolving beyond the traditional ITSM. This year’s itSMFA literally shook I.T. up by extending conversation to Agile, DevOps, and Lean – the latter finally making its entrance to the mainstream service management vocabulary.

Proliferation of cloud-based tools

At this years conference, it was clear to see that there were now a number of cloud-based IT service management tool providers offering rich functionality with very low barriers to entry. Which essentially meant no upfront costs, expensive licenses, implementation costs, or support costs – just following an elastic pricing model. Tools that were previously only available to top-end enterprise customers, were now available at a fraction of the cost to small and medium businesses – and to their suppliers and partners who look after them. The implication is that a whole new market could potentially move up from managing their IT and operations by email and spreadsheets to much more sophisticated tools that they previously did not have access to; and perhaps many others at the enterprise end of the market, could potentially move away from on-premise or more expensive tools.

What really happened down under

IT Service Management often does not get the same attention as say, security or architecture or project management; but to have Andrew Mills, the CIO of Queensland Government talk about aligning IT with business strategy was a rare treat.

Talking about the importance of driving self-service adoption in the workplace, Narain Muralidharan emphasized on the necessity for IT to think like growth hackers, and effectively market IT self service to the larger organization. He went on to give a number of simple, yet practical ideas taken from real-world success stories with the self service IT portal, and how to apply them in the service desk scenario – backing it with a case study.

Lean and mean IT

Introducing us to Lean, Em Campbell-Pretty stressed upon how the heart of Lean is its values and leadership – stressing on the need for leaders to create time for innovation with a case study of a telecommunication service provider. The conference peppered with Lean related sessions, and it demonstrated that Lean in IT was beginning to enter the lexicon for many.

Adam Seeber’s keynote about Lean and Agile was insightful – how it’s not a choice of one over the other but that it’s taking the best of both worlds to suit your business needs. He emphasized on the significance of it being adaptable, be it Lean, Agile or ITIL, and went on to describe how customers define value for the business more than anything else.

An eye-opener for the audience was Charles T. Betz’ session introducing the IT4IT standard with Lean language of value chain, value streams, digital supply chain, handoffs, capacity, and value. He explored the current state of IT and offered practical advice on holistically managing IT for business. With the key takeaway around product management being customer intimacy and cross-functional collaboration.

40 Agile methods in 40 minutes by Craig Smith covered various process improvement methodologies – Lean, Agile, Theory of Constraints and everything in between no matter how esoteric. He openly shared the concept, its history, the pros and cons, how widely it was used, and where to find more information.

Bringing in fresh air to the string of topics, Michi Tyson spoke of taking Agile beyond IT and combining it with Lean management and design thinking. Her Lean Canvas and startup background showing clearly in a conference dominated by mature IT departments and businesses. This one was of particular interest because one could see the Enterprise Architecture approach coming through, and the same discipline being applied to the business of IT holistically – once again, using Lean principles.

itSMF 2016 was another insightful, rewarding, and successful conference. It left the audience questioning the conventional way of ITSM – and leaning towards better IT service delivery.

This blog is edited, and first appeared on the Freshservice blog – you can view the original here

By |October 12th, 2016|guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2016, wrap up|

Shaking up communication and collaboration at Service Management 2016

Aprill Allen, National Events Director of itSMF Australia, shares her thoughts on Service Management 2016. 

We certainly shook things up this year. I was confident at the start of the week that we’d brought together a compelling and varied program, but by the time we’d finished our closing drinks on the Thursday afternoon, I knew our conference had exceeded all expectations. Before the week was done, we had members telling us just how much they enjoyed the program and how they’d been inspired to put in place new ideas and behaviours they’d learned from our speakers. Of course, my highlight is always the social side of things—the welcome drinks, where I’m reunited with colleagues I may not have seen since the year before; the gala dinner, where I get to see serious professionals cutting loose on the dancefloor; and the more spontaneous things, like what happened this year, where Charles Betz and Matt Hooper busted out guitars for an impromptu jam in the itSMF lounge.

Aprill Allen

Aprill Allen with Michi Tyson, winner of “Best New Speaker” at Service Management 2016

It’s equal parts social and professional development, though, and the challenge for my service management cohort is that we have to try and cover such a broad range of skills and capabilities. Our role at the itSMF is to expose our members to better ways of working with the tools and processes we’re more familiar with, but also to reach out into adjacent professions to find out what they can teach us. And, what seemed like an odd mix of keynote topics and sessions that raised a few eyebrows along the way, clearly had the right ingredients.

Our community review process for speaker submissions provides the platform for our state committees and members to give voice to the most challenging problems of the day. This year, our reviewers wanted help with project and team leadership, how to be more Agile in their service delivery approaches, and how to be more strategic—thereby elevating IT leadership to a seat at the executive table. Our invited speakers were purposefully selected to break your regular pattern of thought. We launched head-first into our Shake I.T. Up theme with an opening keynote from Dave Snowden, who challenged our very way of best practice thinking. Charles Betz’s keynote went deeper into IT management and asked us to consider the risks we introduce with over-enthusiastic governance and controls.

The strong undercurrent running through the conference, however, was about communication and collaboration. When we put more thought and time into these behaviours, we have a greater chance of success and growth from failure. On that note, I’d love to hear what new ideas you’ve taken back to your place and how you’re working towards shaking your I.T. up. Please share your stories in our itSMF Bulletin or in our LinkedIn group. I look forward to seeing you in 2017.

By |August 29th, 2016|Service Management 2016|

itSMF CEO reflects on Service Management 2016

itSMF Australia’s CEO Alan Hollensen reflects on Service Management 2016.Alan pic

Well the curtain has been drawn on our 19th National Conference and it was a tremendously successful event.

The ‘Shake I.T. Up’ theme drew a great deal of attention even before the Conference commenced, and it lived up to this promise with a speaker program that had a different focus from previous years. Delegates were treated to insights of a future that is already unfolding at a dizzying pace, delivered by speakers of international repute. These were often ‘big picture’ presentations in which the well informed Service Management professional will thrive.

We were thrilled to see attendance climb again this year,  and sponsor support remained strong. In fact we welcomed a range of new sponsors along with attendees who we had not had the pleasure of meeting before.

The format of the exhibition space made for great social interaction and gave attendees a chance to chat to everyone and to see everything – we won’t be changing this for 2017!

But in the end the important thing was the opportunity for our professional members to gain insights they could implement back in their own setting and in this respect the Conference excelled. This was apparent from the first presentations when delegates were overheard making the point that they were emailing their offices with these new and important insights. It was apparent that people’s enthusiasm did not diminish on the second day – people were looking forward to another round of challenging presentations.

Another thing that received a lot of positive comments was the Gala Dinner and Awards night. People liked the new format of the Awards and everyone was delighted to welcome back Jean Kittson for her second stint as MC – a job she seems to have been born for.

Planning has already begun for next year and I suggest you stay posted for our updates – the countdown has already begun to our 20th National Conference.

Stay Tuned!

Alan Hollensen

CEO

itSMF Australia

By |August 25th, 2016|ITSM, Service Management 2016|

‘All shook up’

Last week over 400 attendees came together to ‘shake IT up’ at Service Management 2016!

In addition to enjoying two busy days of networking, sharing and learning, the highlight for many was itSMF’s Industry Awards Gala Awards Dinner.

parrot lady auspost winners with lei

Themed ‘a touch of tropical’, this year’s awards – hosted by the hilarious Jean Kittson – saw many guests don a Hawaiian shirt, a lei, or even a parrot!

photobooth singer

Amidst the music of Hot Sauce, pink flamingo centrepieces, and a popular tropical-themed photo booth, the winners of this year’s itSMF Industry Awards were announced.

le8is Rachel Seaniger

Congratulations to the winners – and finalists!

TEAM AWARD WINNERS

ITSM Project of the Year – Australia Post

Finalists: ANZ; Kinetic IT / Qantas

Innovation of the Year – Australia Post

Finalists: Clean Energy Regulator; SkillsTx

ITSM Capability of the Year – NAB

Finalist: Clean Energy Regulator

INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS

Thought Leaders of the Year – Rachel Seaniger and Chris Morrison

Service Management Champion of the Year – Justin Gasparre

Lifetime Achievement Award – Aileen Cater-Steel

 

By |August 24th, 2016|Awards, Service Management 2016|

ITSM: don’t stop with Ops!

Rachel SeanigerIn this guest blog, Rachel Seaniger urges continuation of the IT Service Management (ITSM) journey to achieve lasting value.

 

My colleagues and I find that a large percentage of organisations implementing ITIL® only go as far as service operations (and often change management) but rarely get as far as formalised service strategy or service design.

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The ITIL lifecycle provides rich guidance on service strategy, service design, service transition and continuous service improvement. So why do so few go beyond the basic quick fixes of service operations? Every organisation is unique and there are more reasons than stars in the sky, but I see them falling into roughly five categories:

Reason #1: Obviously, the place to start is where the user is most directly involved with the IT organisation. The highest priorities are the areas of highest visibility – for example, processes for requesting a new laptop or incident management. That gets done then… nothing!

Reason #2: Having tackled the immediate, customer-facing issues to achieve early wins, the team simply runs out of puff. But there’s so much scope to go further with ITSM… Remember, the tortoises are the winners.

Reason #3: Sometimes the IT team tries to extend beyond service operations but simply fails. Feeling they’ve got their fingers burnt, they have little appetite for pressing on.

Reason #4: ‘Business as usual’ always prevails within IT, chewing up available resources and time – so even the best-meant ITSM implementations grind to a halt prematurely (the road to Hell is paved with good intentions!).

Reason #5: The business simply doesn’t understand the value of the more strategic ITSM processes, so is unwilling to invest further. Many senior IT managers also fail to see value in extending beyond ops. This is the big one and the hardest to overcome; without management commitment and sponsorship, the efforts of underlings are doomed to failure – however logical and passionately advocated.

For all these reasons, we often get just so far – when there’s still a way to go.

Why NOT stop here?

Users are happier, the organisation has paid lip service to ITSM and IT management feels that it’s fulfilling its charter. But how much more could be achieved?

There is tremendous value in following up with the service strategy and service design phases. This takes ITSM beyond merely what the user is interested in and what they need; potentially transforming the entire IT service delivery function to make it more efficient, less costly and infinitely more stable in the long run.

Without formalising these phases, you will always be playing catch-up. The ideal place to be is on your front foot: optimising emerging technologies and positioning IT to meet users’ future needs. Yes, I’m afraid that it’s all about the ‘I’ word that we all aspire (and struggle) to achieve: innovation.

Look at the symptoms; do any of them sound familiar?

Lack of service strategy results in:

  • Your business users googling ‘big data’ and ‘Internet of Things’ to find solutions to their IT issues
  • You’re no longer getting invited to strategic planning meetings, and everyone stops talking when you walk into senior management meetings
  • You’re spying an IT outsourcer brochure on the CEO’s desk
  • IT solutions rolled out that the IT organisation had nothing to do with
  • IT being perceived as an abyss, into which money mysteriously disappears with nothing coming back out

Lack of service design results in:

  • The business still using the old system despite the new solution being a raging success, according to IT’s objectives
  • User satisfaction dipping to new lows, although service levels are almost always met
  • Users not getting what they want while vendors are meeting all their service targets
  • Porsche promised, VW delivered – which does the job adequately, but just isn’t a Porsche
  • Service Level Managers needing trauma therapy after monthly service review meetings

This article was first published by UXC Consulting – view the original article here.

Service Management 2016 is now less than a week away! Find out more about the Conference program, Gala Awards Dinner, and workshops!

 

 

 

By |August 12th, 2016|guest blogger, Service Management 2016|