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Announcing keynote speaker Dave Snowden’s Service Management workshops!

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Dave Snowden is founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Cognitive Edge, and the founder and Director of the Centre for Applied Complexity at Bangor University in Wales. He will give a keynote address at Service Management 2016.

 

 

Keynote speaker and internationally-renowned scholar Dave Snowden has announced two exclusive workshops at Service Management 2016.

Dave Snowden will offer morning and afternoon workshops on ‘Cynefin and decision-making’ and ‘Human sensor networks’.

This year’s workshops take place on Tuesday 16 August, giving attendees a chance to dive into topics like complexity theory, Agile, Lean IT and DevOps, Extreme Leadership, SIAM, operational readiness and more.

Cynefin and decision-making with Dave Snowden

Half-Day: 9:00am – 12:30pm

An introduction to complexity science and Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Framework that will change the way you understand leadership and decision-making. Take away a framework that will change the way you see the world, and tools to help you to understand and act on big, difficult problems and decisions.

Human sensor networks with Dave Snowden

Half-Day: 1:30pm – 5:00pm

Discover a new approach to policy- and decision-making, and learn how to make the most of your organisational networks. You will leave with the knowledge and skills to create and make the most of human sensor networks in your organisation.

For more information on Service Management workshops, please visit the website.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:18+10:00July 21st, 2016|Service Management 2016, Workshop|

Why you should tear up your support SLAs

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Guest blogger Dave O’Reardon returns today to explain ‘why you should tear up your support SLAs’. You can also check out Dave’s tips for the 2016 itSMF Industry Awards for Excellence in IT Service Management in last week’s blog post!

 

Have you heard of the Watermelon Effect? It’s a rather common problem where Service Level Agreement reports for IT support show that everything is green but the customer is still unhappy. Green (statuses) on the outside, red (angry customer) on the inside.

 

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Research from Forrester shows how prevalent this mismatch of perceptions is – there are about twice as many IT teams that think they provide great IT support than there are businesses who feel they are getting it.

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One of the causes of this problem is that the metrics used in Service Level Agreements are a deeply flawed way of measuring service quality. They mislead IT support teams into thinking they understand how the customer feels about the service they provide.

Typically, support service levels are measured on the basis of time – actual vs target time to respond, actual vs target time to resolve. But purely time-based measures are an ineffective indicator of the quality of IT support.

Our customers’ experience of IT support is shaped by many things, not just how quickly we responded or resolved their issue. Factors such as how they were treated, whether they could understand what they were being told or asked to do, whether they felt well informed about what was going on and what would happen next (and when), and whether they were asked to confirm their issue was solved before the ticket was closed.

Even something like time is not absolute. From personal experience, we all know there are many factors that can make the same absolute wait time feel longer or shorter.

Ultimately, these experience factors are all about expectations and perceptions, not absolutes. The perceptions of those at the receiving end of the service – our customers. And the outcome of their judgement is their level of satisfaction.

David Maister, a researcher on the psychology of waiting times, described this rather succinctly with the formula: S=P-E, where S stands for satisfaction, P for perception and E for expectation. As P and E are both psychological in nature, S can be attained when a customer’s perceived experience of a service, P, exceeds their expectations, E.

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If you want to measure service quality (and you work in Service Management, so you should, right!), the best way to do that is to ask your customers. Valarie Zeithaml put this rather nicely in her book, Delivering Quality Service: “Only customers judge quality. All other judgments are essentially irrelevant”.

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We need to stop putting so much focus on traditional SLA metrics and start focusing on customer satisfaction. The extent to which you can keep your customers happy determines whether your customer trusts you or bypasses you, forgives your mistakes or hauls you over the coals, increases your budgets or squeezes them, keeps you as their service provider or outsources you.

And if you’re always asking your customers to not just rate your service, but to tell you what you need to do to improve (one of the principles behind the Net Promoter System), you’ll find this feedback to be a very powerful way to drive continual service improvement.

By all means measure response and resolution times for your own purposes, but never wave a green service level performance report in front of a customer and tell them they should be happy.

This post was based on an e-book, “Measuring the Quality of IT Support”, which can be downloaded here.

Dave O’Reardon helps IT support teams adopt Net Promoter practices and use customer feedback to drive continual service improvement. He’s the founder and CEO of Silversix, the company behind www.cio-pulse.com, and winner of the Service Management ‘Innovation of the Year Award’ in 2015. Dave can be reached on Twitter via @silversix_dave or LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:19+10:00July 14th, 2016|guest blogger, ITSM, metrics, Net Promoter®, Netpromoter, Service Management 2016|

ITSMF Awards Q&A with 2015 winner Dave O’Reardon

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In this week’s special edition of the blog, itSMF Awards winner Dave O’Reardon shares his insights into the Awards process, and gives you some invaluable tips for your application for the 2016 itSMF Industry Awards for Excellence in IT Service Management!

 

Can you tell us about your award?

We were lucky enough to win last year’s Service Management Innovation of the Year Award for a new software product we’d developed called cio-pulse.com.

CIOPulse gathers customer feedback as support teams resolve customer tickets and then helps organisations use that feedback to drive continual service improvement.

Every man and his dog uses the survey capability of their ITSM tool, but we won the award because CIOPulse helps support teams to improve customer satisfaction, not just measure it.

What inspired you to nominate for the itSMF Industry Awards?

Because we genuinely felt we were onto something truly innovative within IT service management and we had the metrics to prove it.

Our company, Silversix, used to be a traditional ITSM consultancy, although it was always one that specialised in improving internal customer satisfaction.  About five years ago, we came across this set of practices – the Net Promoter System – used by organisations around the world (think Apple, Rackspace, Harley Davidson) to measure and improve customer loyalty. One of our consulting clients allowed us to experiment on them by letting us help them adopt some Net Promoter practices. Six months later, they’d increased internal customer satisfaction by significantly more than we’d achieved with them via ITSM consulting in the preceding 3 years.

We built CIOPulse to help organisations adopt these same practices and enjoy the same benefits. Our metrics showed that 90% of our clients have been successful with CIOPulse and this gave us the confidence to nominate ourselves.

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What advice would you give aspiring nominees?

I have only one piece of advice and I don’t want to dilute it by mixing it up with any other advice. My advice is this. Enter. Just do it, as Nike would say. There are probably not as many entrants for each award category as you think and so, just by entering, you have a very good chance of winning.

Can you share any tips for the application process?

Yes. I’ve got a couple of tips.

Read the award criteria and make sure your submission explains how your innovation meets those criteria.  We were going to nominate CIOPulse for the award a year earlier but realised that we weren’t going to meet one of the criteria. So we held off for another year. And that turned out to be the right thing to do.

Make your supporting video funny and/or interesting. Everyone at the awards night wants to have fun and being made to watch a video about how your company makes flare joints for gas pipes is not fun.  All finalists get their video played and so, even if you’re not a winner, your video might get airtime. If it’s fun or interesting or both, you’re going to get the attention of hundreds of people in the room and they’ll remember it/you. If it’s boring I’m afraid they’re going to talk over it.

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What are the benefits of winning an itSMF Award?

The short term benefit was how much more fun it made the awards night. The gala dinner is always great, but the added suspense of being a finalist, not to mention the feeling of actually winning, made it a super special evening. Strangely, my head was much sorer than usual the next morning…

And for those of us involved in developing the product, it gave us an immense feeling of satisfaction to be recognised by the industry that we’ve worked in for so long. These kinds of awards are great to put on your CV and LinkedIn profile too!

Of course we’ve also made full use of the award in all our marketing material – email footers, websites, brochures, presentations, sales pitches. It’s difficult to quantify that benefit, but it has certainly given us a welcome boost to our credibility, as well as increased brand awareness.

To nominate yourself, your company or a colleague for the 2016 itSMF Awards, visit the website!

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:19+10:00July 7th, 2016|Awards, ITSM, Service Management 2016|

On being a conference director

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Conference Director Aprill Allen reflects on her role and her perspective on the itSMF conference experience. Find out more about Aprill and the conference committee here.

 

 

It seems fitting that five years after I became a member of the Australian IT Service Management Forum, I’ll be attending my sixth national conference, this time as the National Events Director.

My first introduction to the itSMF was as a White Paper of the Year nominee for the 2011 conference in Perth. I knew little about the organisation and knew nothing about service management and the frameworks our members rely on to make a difference in the workplace. I’ve since certified in ITIL Foundation and Knowledge Centred Support Principles. I still don’t know much about Cobit, but there’s always something to learn! As a first-time delegate back then, my most memorable experience—even better than accepting the award—was having long-time members introduce themselves to me and connect me with others who have ended up becoming mentors, advisors, respected colleagues and firm friends.

Our conference has evolved over the years to cope with changing economic pressures and the emerging interests of our valuable community of members and sponsors. Last year’s conference, in Sydney, saw the introduction of a new member-driven review process for speaker submissions. It produced a successful program that captured the interests of local and international delegates and inspired new vendors to become active participants in our community.

I stepped into the conference director role for 2016, after Kathryn Heaton’s significant contribution to every Australian itSMF conference I’ve been to, and wondered how I could possibly make my mark after the somewhat radical changes of last year. So I did what every self-respecting marketing-oriented communicator does: I set a left-of-field theme, closed my eyes, and hoped for the best. When I opened them, at our face-to-face programming meeting last month, I was ecstatic to find that our hopeful speakers had understood the brief and grabbed it with both hands. This year, we have a range of submissions that will surely Shake I.T. Up.

We’ve also overhauled our industry awards to align them with the changes we’ve witnessed in the field. Instead of the White Paper of the Year, we now recognise a Thought Leader of the Year, and instead of Service Desk Project of the Year, we now have the ITSM Capability of the Year—opening up our awards to recognise achievement in problem management, change management, knowledge management, service design and more, right across the enterprise. And our changes to the nomination process have removed some of the red tape and barriers that made a lot of extra work for our members wanting to participate.

So, I haven’t had my eyes closed the whole time. Our five-person conference committee has been meeting fortnightly over the phone, since October, to work through keynotes and invited speaker selection, curate ideas for speaker panels, navigate budget considerations, discuss new content and exhibit proposals, work through questions about sponsorship and programming, and more. Until a few weeks ago, I’d been thinking this National Events Director caper was pretty cruisy. Our small committee has been very effective, and our national office and event managers have been an efficient team in managing logistics and a myriad of ideas. To be honest, I wondered where this workload was that my colleagues on the Board of Directors had referred to. Well, now I know.

Conference planning really steps up about 8 weeks out from conference. There are at least half-a-dozen emails flying around most days—tweaks to messaging, attending to finer details of panels, working through the possibilities of late additions to the program, scouting for award candidates and reviewing nominations, honing in on the details of social events, and other exciting trimmings that contribute to the all-important vibe of community in service management that we all enjoy and appreciate so much as volunteers and industry professionals.

I’ve been privileged to see the itSMF conference machine from several different perspectives over these past five years, and now into my sixth. In no time, we will all be in Brisbane, enjoying the camaraderie of a nation-wide community of service management consultants, vendors, practitioners and IT leaders. I look forward to learning more about our field, reaffirming long-time bonds, and building brand new connections in a few short weeks. Maybe you could nominate one of your service management peers. 😉

By |2018-03-19T16:23:19+10:00June 30th, 2016|Service Management 2016|

Are you being served?

lanaTake a sneak peek into one of Service Management 2016’s pre-Conference workshops with guest blogger Lana Yakimoff. Lana is leading two half-day workshops this year: ‘Are you being served? An operational readiness review’, and ‘From BID strategy to operational delivery – where does it all go wrong?’

 

So many corporate and government organisations are ‘transforming’, ‘integrating’, and introducing new services. Stakeholders at times are nervous leading up to the actual ‘go live’ period. However, during Service Transition, an ORR (operational readiness review) can provide reassurance to the custodians of the new service, ensuring all elements required are ready to transition into operations.

The aim of the Operational Readiness process is to help reassure your stakeholders or customers while your project is in flight-mode. The key objective is to ensure the service is working towards readiness for operations to assume full ownership. This activity also helps to provide assurance to stakeholders, and there is sign off and acceptance from the Operational team. It can also identify and manage any risk during the review process. Those risks typically include omitted or unplanned components discovered during an ORR, and allows time to mitigate and resolve the issue/s.

An ORR can cover so many phases or lifecycles, as well as readiness for many different items, including:

  • Design documents: from a high level to detailed solution design documents
  • BCP and ITSCM design, test and acceptance
  • Testing phases documents: test strategy, test cases, scheduling, testing phase acceptance, defect acceptance
  • Business management system readiness
  • Entire Training Phase acceptance – but also tracking all items leading up to training delivery
  • Maintenance and service quality plans

An ORR also includes operational needs which are vital for a smooth transition into service:

  • Account login details provided
  • Support documentation
  • Knowledge articles at the ready
  • Administrative account access or privileged rights
  • Testing phase planning elements and completion
  • Training phase planning to completion
  • Operational monitoring readiness
  • Governance and management forums
  • Specific operational needs to support a service
  • Various operational needs of a business
  • Business processes designed and integrated, ranging from procurement, billing and/or customised reporting needs

Finally, ORR also includes service desk staff remote access and management tools, such as:

  • Procurement
  • Training
  • Operational testing
  • Operational access testing

This is by no means an exhaustive list; ORR also covers many other key topics, from security to organisational change readiness.

Every customer will have similar but also very different needs. A typical project plan will have high-level details and deliverables, however, there are many details that typically are not included in a project plan. An ORR can help keep track of operational items leading up to go-live readiness assessment and decision making.

I’ve undertaken many of these reviews to help provide assurances. A real-time pulse check can show where you’re actually at versus where you should be and potentially allow time to remediate and refocus effort. There are many business benefits to an ORR; when conducted correctly, it can add enormous value.

In my interactive workshop at Service Management 2016, we will cover:

  • A framework approach to conducting a complex or simple ORR
  • Workshops and meetings that can help you conduct an ORR
  • Building relevant IP required

This half day pre-conference workshop at Shake I.T. Up 2016 will provide information, discussions and IP to help ensure a well-focused ORR. Come and join me for a half day interactive workshop, whether you’re an operations lead, consultant, customer or service provider. Learn how to Shake I.T. Up before you Serve I.T. Up.

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:19+10:00June 23rd, 2016|guest blogger, Workshop|

Communication breakdowns in dispersed teams, and how to overcome them

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Korrine Jones is our guest blogger today. Korrine will offer a workshop at Service Management 2016 on ‘Leading an invisible IT team’. Korrine is Director and Principal Consultant of OD Consulting, and author of Virtual Team Reality: The Secrets to Leading Successful Virtual Teams and Remote Workers. This blog looks at why communication breakdowns occur in dispersed teams and provides tips on using communication tools and processes differently to increase the quality of communication.

A 2014 study undertaken by Software Advice (Radley) found that communication was the top-cited challenge to managing projects with dispersed teams.  In fact, 38% of the almost 300 professionals surveyed for the study said that communication was difficult for dispersed project teams.

With a wide range of communication tools available these days, including instant messaging, project management tools, wikis, blogs and virtual conferencing via telephone or video, it is interesting to note that the survey found the most preferred communication tool for 41% of the respondents was still email. Delving into the data further, phone is seen as the next most preferred communication channel (36%), 12% selected virtual conferencing as the preferred collaboration option, and only 10% of respondents favoured discussion forums and chat rooms.

However, the survey also found that emails, particularly long email threads, are seen as the top obstacle to effective project communication by 23% of respondents.  In line with these findings, my personal experience has been that dispersed teams often overuse email as their most regular form of communication, with the result of deteriorating rather than building communication, rapport and trust across the team.

The survey results also found that 16% of dispersed team members experienced confusion about which communication channel – phone, chat or email – to turn to for which tasks. It is important to remember when we read these results that the tools are merely the communication channels. While teams I have worked with have found it useful to use a range of tools, to be effective in communication your team needs to agree on how they will communicate and then select the appropriate tool/s for their specific communication needs. Which channel will you agree to use for each type of team communication?

The survey also found generational differences in communication preferences. Specifically, it found that preference for digital mediums (such as email) decreased with age, while preference for analogue communications (phone) increased with age. The study also found that these trends change when looking at videoconferencing, discussion forums and chat, with 35-44 year olds less likely to prefer virtual conferencing and more likely to prefer chats and discussion groups than both younger and older age groups.  This confirms my experience that people have very different preferences when it comes to communication modes and channels. Therefore, a multi-pronged approach is best, particularly in teams with diverse preferences. In this regard, the survey report recommends that a comprehensive communication strategy involving a variety of tools and techniques can help to solidify team connections and improve project visibility.

The richness of each communication channel and its appropriateness to specific conversations is also important for us to consider. For example, communication channels with low levels of richness, such as text-based documents and email, are appropriate for information sharing and one-way communication. As the complexity and sensitivity of the communication need increases, so should the richness of the channel. For example, feedback should be provided by telephone as a minimum and, for complex and constructive feedback, this should be undertaken via videoconference or face-to-face. A recent example of inappropriately delivered telephone feedback occurred within a dispersed learning and development team in a national consulting firm. During one feedback discussion and one performance review, a team member received some constructive feedback that she was not expecting. On both occasions she was taken aback by the feedback and became quite upset. She was quiet on the end of the telephone line for a few moments while she collected her thoughts and got her emotions under control. Each time, her manager responded uncomfortably to the silence on the line, promptly wound up the conversation and hung up on her. This left her feeling even more taken aback and upset. She felt that these situations impacted adversely on her relationship with her manager and eroded the trust they had worked to create.

If these conversations had been held via videoconference or face-to-face, the team leader and team member would have been able to read the body language of the other party and therefore respond more effectively. Therefore, sensitive feedback, as well as conflict and tension should, wherever possible, be addressed face-to-face. If this is not possible, then videoconference is the next most appropriate option.

It is also important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to have highly sophisticated tools to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively. However, you do need to have taken the time to build rapport and trust with team members to make it work. One example that illustrates the value of simplicity comes from United Nations Volunteers. I recently interviewed Michael Kolmet, team leader of United Nations Volunteers working in Africa, for my book Virtual Team Reality. Michael finds that communication can be effective even if the only tools available are email, Skype and telephone, and for them, the video for Skype can be very patchy. So, his team members will always begin a Skype call with the video, but will continue with voice if the video drops out. They find the initial video is sufficient to build the rapport they need to continue the conversation openly.  However, to make this work, Michael and his team members had previously spent time agreeing on shared values and taking the time to build trust and rapport.

The dispersed teams I have worked with, who communicate particularly well, opt for the communication tools that provide greater interactivity. For example, telephone is more interactive than email or texting and Skype or videoconferencing is more interactive than telephone. As the report findings illustrate, we are often guilty of defaulting to email, even with those we do see regularly, but we need to ensure that the more sensitive, complex and substantial discussions are made via phone, videoconference and, if possible, face-to-face.

As a final note, it is also important to choose a form of technology that everyone can use, and to ensure that every team member has access to the technology and has been trained to use it correctly. I have worked with many team members who have a range of interactive communication tools available, but either don’t know that they have access to them, don’t know their full capabilities or don’t know how to use them. It is essential for team members to be familiar with how to use the tools properly so that the team can maximise their capability.

Find out more about Service Management 2016 or register for Korrine’s workshop!

By |2018-03-19T16:23:19+10:00June 9th, 2016|guest blogger, problem management, Workshop|

Delivering Problem Management with Kanban

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We are pleased to welcome previous Service Management speaker and member of the ITSMF Awards Alumni Ian Jones to the blog today! 

 

I previously led an IT Service Management team providing Incident, Problem, Change and Configuration Management services in line with ITIL. Our work was highly variable and ranged in complexity since we primarily supported other IT professionals in their IT operations. The whole team used Agile Scrum to manage our work and the problem analysts used Lean Kanban for (ITIL) Problem Management. This blog post will outline how Kanban was applied to effectively deliver our Problem Management service.

Our organisation used Agile as the main delivery method for projects, and Lean (based on the Toyota Production System) for operations. Bell and Ozen (2011, p8) suggest Lean aims to empower teams to simplify, then when appropriate, automate routine tasks. Process improvement frees up capacity, providing individuals with more time and better information to exercise problem solving, creativity and innovation in situations that are not routine.

What is Kanban?

Kanban means sign, signboard, billboard, card or signal of some kind (Liker, 2004, p. 106). It is a scheduling system for Lean, just-in-time production and a system to control the logistical chain from a production point of view. Kanban was developed by Taiichi Ohno, at Toyota, to find a system to improve and maintain a high level of production. The Kanban Method was later added to as an approach to incremental, evolutionary process improvement for organisations (De Haaff, 2013). For readers who are familiar with Scrum, you would be aware of this concept of the signboard or visual management in the form of a story wall. There are differences between Kanban and Scrum and these differences shouldn’t be seen as strengths or weaknesses. Some of these differences include:

Kanban Scrum
Work scheduling  Customer driven pull  Fixed timeboxed push
Task estimation  N/A  Yes
Tracking work  Focus on flow  Focus on velocity
Work in progress limits   Yes   N/A
Process ownership  Team  Scrum Master
Continual Service Improvement  On demand, as defects are seen  At the end of the sprint in the retrospective

 

Application to Problem Management

Initially my team employed Scrum for managing their problem investigations, however we found the concept of timeboxing the work into sprints added no value. Investigations could vary greatly in complexity and therefore finding the root cause and completing corrective actions could be difficult. Task estimation was also challenging and the actual results varied widely due to the above reasons. The team then applied Kanban as an alternative and their wall contained the following columns:

  • Backlog;
  • Post Incident Review (PIR) booked;
  • PIR held;
  • Publish and Task Followup; and
  • Complete.

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Kanban suggests that staff ‘pull’ work from left (first column) to right (last column). If staff have capacity  (actual work in column X < work in progress limit in column X) then they pull work from the previous work step (column on the immediate left). This video provides a visual explanation.
The problem analysts employed a series of important variations to their Kanban wall. These variations included:
  • They pulled work from the ‘Publish and Task followup’ and not ‘Complete’ as this step is entirely dependent on other IT staff (tasks like corrective actions are mostly performed by other IT staff) and the duration of task followup is variable;
  • Unlike typical value streams, the problem analysts do not hand over their investigations to other staff and tended to progress the investigation from start to finish (except for extended absences from work). This was because the effort and cost of task switching between problem investigations exceeded any proposed benefits from handovers between investigation steps;
  • Work in Progress limits were informally used and not strictly enforced. If an analyst had too many investigations in a particular column, we used it as a flag for assistance and potentially management escalation rather than a reason to block the incoming work. Upon these events, we preferred to negotiate with stakeholders (service owners, management) on work priorities rather than block the work.
So as you can see, the team took the concept of Kanban and tailored it in a way that supported them, which should not be surprising since problem investigations, by their nature, are not generally standard or repeatable forms of work.

One significant benefit we saw in adopting Kanban was that it supports Principle 5 of the Toyota way: ‘Building a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time’ (Liker, 2004, p.38). The visual management of our work and conducting daily stand-ups allowed the analysts to easily identify defects or weaknesses in their investigations, pause work and jointly derive immediate improvements to their service. This has led to significant quality improvements in their work which was acknowledged by our customers and management.

References
Bell, S., and Orzen, M. (2011). Lean IT, New York: CRC Press.

De Haaff, B. (2013) Kanban the secret engineer killer. Retrieved July 30, 2013 from http://blog.aha.io/index.php/kanban-the-secret-engineer-killer/.

Liker, J. (2004). The Toyota Way, New York: McGraw-Hill.

This blog was originally published on Ian Jones’ blog.

 

By |2018-03-19T16:23:20+10:00June 2nd, 2016|Kanban, Service Management 2016|

SIAM: revolution or evolution?

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In today’s blog post, Service Management workshop leaders Simon Dorst and Michelle Major-Goldsmith provide a sneak peek into some of their thoughts on SIAM in the lead-up to their half-day workshop on SIAM: revolution or evolution, at this year’s Service Management Conference. Service Management Conference Workshops will take place on Tuesday 16 August 2016 in Brisbane.

 

Service Integration and Management (SIAM), like ITIL® before it, appears to have originated from HM Government (UK). References to SIAM began to emerge in the UK in the late 2000s, when it was purported to provide a framework to obtain better value for money from multi supplier service engagements.  Lately its adoption has increased globally due to the increasingly complex, modular managed IT service environment evident in most enterprises.

There is much confusion about whether SIAM is actually something new (i.e. different from ITIL), whether it will last, or even whether it is something relevant.

Our half-day pre-conference workshop for Service Management 2016’s Shake I.T. Up Conference will allow delegates to consider the various perspectives and stakeholders in a SIAM environment.  Based on current thinking, global developments and using practical scenarios, it provides the participants with an analysis of the core principles, processes, functions, governance and cultural re-engineering required for SIAM success.

In multi-sourced service delivery models, the key to success is the ability to manage the challenge of cross-functional, cross-process, cross-provider integration. SIAM enables an organisation to derive the benefits of innovation and flexibility that multi-sourcing brings whilst still presenting an integrated service wrap for the customer. SIAM is both framework and a function. Typically built upon the full ITIL lifecycle model, SIAM includes additional focus on ‘end to end’ service governance and controls across all suppliers.

The rationale for SIAM is insurance that the IT and business strategies align with the challenges in multi-provider environments. Integral to this is the three layers of Customer-Retained governance, SIAM Control & Management, and Service Delivery (or variants like Strategic-Tactical-Operational, Defining-Designing-Delivering, Governance-Control-Monitoring etc).

Organisations trying to implement SIAM need to understand the distinction between integrated service management and SIAM. For example, implementing a set of processes within a centralised management will not create a SIAM function. Failing to add the extra elements of SIAM such as governance, autonomy and the impartiality to manage the providers creates SIAM functions that rarely move beyond operational delivery.

For more information, you may want to read:

By |2018-03-19T16:23:20+10:00May 26th, 2016|guest blogger, Service Management 2016, SIAM, Workshop|

Five ways to create a culture of innovation

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Today’s guest blogger is Service Management 2016 keynote Dr Amantha Imber. Amantha is the Founder of  innovation consultancy Inventium, and her latest book, The Innovation Formula, tackles the topic of how organisations can create a culture where innovation thrives.

 

Does your business have a culture in which innovation thrives? Are people challenging the status quo and being encouraged by leaders to take risks in pursuit of innovation? Or is the opposite true, whereby people don’t take time to listen to new ideas and suggestions?

Building a culture of innovation is hard work. However, the scientific research into how to create a culture where innovation thrives is both plentiful and precise. The following are five of the most impactful drivers of an innovation culture.

1. Challenge – and finding the right level of it

Research has shown that feeling a strong sense of challenge in one’s work is a critical driver of innovation. Challenge refers to people working on tasks that are complex and interesting — yet at the same time not overly taxing or unduly overwhelming.

It is important that you don’t simply think about how to give people the biggest possible challenge. Instead you should ensure that the level of challenge you set is one that is achievable. On the flip side, setting tasks that people are able to complete with their eyes closed will not breed a culture where innovation thrives.

Matching the level of challenge to an individual’s skill level is key to finding the optimal level of challenge. 
As a manager, take time to thoughtfully consider how you allocate tasks and projects to people. Ensure that you are matching these elements so that people feel a significant sense of challenge.

2. Risk-taking – and failure not being seen as a dirty word

The notion of failure being unacceptable is one I have found resonates with many organisations. Failure is generally thought of as a dirty word, and something that gets swept under the carpet when it does rear its ugly head. But being able to acknowledge and learn from failure is a huge part of building a culture where risk-taking is tolerated and where innovation can thrive.

As a leader, think about ways you can signal that risk-taking is an acceptable part of business. Talk openly about failures and what can be learnt from them with your team.

3. Experimentation before implementation

When thinking about how your company approaches innovation, ensure that experimentation is a mandatory step. Rather than just going straight from idea to implementation, you should first run experiments. This involves setting hypotheses as to why you believe an idea will add value to the customer and creating a minimum viable product (MVP) – the most basic version of the idea that will still allow for learnings. You can then set up an experiment to test your hypotheses using the MVP and based on the results, iterate or change course accordingly. Experimentation is a very effective way to help reduce the risk of new innovations.

4. Autonomy – loosening the reigns

Many researchers have found that creativity is dramatically enhanced when people are given the freedom to decide how they do their jobs. When people feel as if they have a choice in how things can be done they are significantly more likely to engage in trial and error and, through this, find more effective ways of doing things.
 Just be sure to set clear goals, as the autonomy effect is strongest when people are clear on what you want them to achieve.

5. Debate – and welcoming all views

One of the factors that has been identified as critical for creating a culture where innovation thrives is ensuring that different points of view are encouraged and that ideas are regularly debated. Lead by example and encourage others to debate and discuss ideas that you bring to the table – actively encouraging different view points will strengthen your innovations significantly.

In addition, avoid the temptation to recruit people who are just like you—doing so will only discourage debate and encourage homogeneity of thinking.

 

Dr Amantha Imber will give a keynote address at the Service Management Conference from 17-18 August 2016.  Amantha can be contacted at amantha@inventium.com.au.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:21+10:00May 19th, 2016|guest blogger, innovation, Leadership|

Cutting through the hype: what 2016 looks like for technology leaders

Michael-Billimoria-100

Service Management 2015 speaker Michael Billimoria is our guest blogger today! Here, Michael summarises expert predictions for 2016 and says critical aspects of managing business technology must adapt to a faster world.

At the beginning of each year, a range of business technology industry pundits offer their predictions for the year to come. You will have seen the more common predictions such as:

  • Enterprise tech will embrace the cloud
  • Security hacks will increase but our defence systems will get smarter
  • Big Data is more about insights, context and speed than the actual data
  • Machine learning will come of age
  • User/customer experience is king
  • The Internet of Things will keep growing exponentially

Now, these predictions are all well and good, but it’s time to consider what they really mean for enterprise IT in Australia – and what technology leaders can take away after all the hype.

1. Organisations using traditional IT delivery will reach a crisis point

Old methods for running IT projects don’t work well in today’s faster-moving technology environment. Getting projects over the line on time (or at all) just isn’t happening often enough, resulting in stalled or compromised initiatives and too great a cost.

As my colleague Ian Rogers pointed out in a recent article, it’s time for a next generation of project management, (and, by the way, that doesn’t simply mean adopting an Agile methodology). Rather than continuing with techniques which were fine for the construction and manufacturing industries they were initially designed for, we must accept they have failed to address the inherent speed, scope, and complexity of business technology.

As Ian observes, software isn’t concrete and people aren’t machines. We must become more flexible in the way we deliver technology projects, and start incorporating change management earlier and more thoroughly into the project management process. Flexible, Agile, and sociable is the way forward.

2. The second wave of Continuous Delivery will arrive

DevOps has been on the cards for a while, and pioneered by a few, however many organisations hadn’t ‘got it’, because the term doesn’t really explain its power and value. Let’s face it, the term DevOps kind makes you feel like you should move your Dev and Ops teams together and the problem is solved!

However there is finally a growing understanding that working smarter is based on making three Fs work together: feedback, flow and faith (or trust). As discussed by my colleague Harold Peterson, in his piece Bring down the wall between Dev and Ops, Puppet Labs found in a study of 5,000 companies that those with a DevOps function deploy 30 times more frequently and have 200-times shorter lead times. These aren’t just silly statistics; they represent IT responding to despondent business professionals in a way which is actually better meeting their expectations.

Not all businesses need to be like Amazon, which deploys software 23,000 times a day, but the actual time to deploy is not the point; it’s much more about helping the business win. We have now got some excellent and proven tools and techniques for implementing a streamlined DevOps operation. Greater numbers of enterprises are embracing automation and orchestration to improve flow. DevOps is becoming part of a more holistic delivery environment that also involves techniques from Lean Change (see prediction #4 below) and the Scaled Agile Framework.

3. We’ll experience compounding supplier and shadow IT problems

Last year in SIAM: Transforming service delivery – the ‘new black’ for multi-sourcing, I wrote about the promise of Service Integration and Management (SIAM) for effectively managing multisourcing of IT.

While it’s gaining more traction overseas, SIAM has so far proven too overwhelming for most Australian enterprises. We’re observing that few IT organisations succeed in explaining its benefits to the business; it’s new, so it’s tough to find solid data to justify changing the entire IT operating model to accommodate it. Meanwhile, many ITOs are inundated by a flood of 40 or more separate service providers, when all the business really wants is servers and storage provisioned, rather than a seemingly costly implementation of an extension to ITSM.

There’s serious value in adopting a SIAM approach to sourcing management and, while most organisations won’t jump on board this year, those that do will be gaining a serious competitive advantage in 2017/18.

Further to this, the problem of shadow IT (AKA credit card IT) continues to grow apace – with the business continuing to ‘do its own thing’ without recourse to the ITO and inevitably creating more management and service delivery conflict. It’s a matter of trust or faith. The world of technology is absolutely no longer the domain of the technology department; it hasn’t been for some time. Only when the ITO can deliver feedback and flow will the business have faith.

4. Organisational change will begin to catch up in the IT world

Organisational change management can no longer be managed directly by just the change management experts. With the speed-to-market now required, it’s simply not possible to get people ready in time if change is a separate process.

Lean Change is one of the new techniques that allow those affected by change to take control of their own destiny and make change work. As Paul Jenkinson points out in Lean Change: A unique approach to managing change at speed, successful change management is hard enough in static environments, let alone in this age of digital revolution.

While there are a myriad of benefits to adopting Lean Change techniques, the key differentiator is that those affected by the change are able to participate openly and manage their own change journey. This is smart thinking, as organisational change affects us all differently so every experience is unique.

5. The age of closed door security is over

In 2016 it will become increasingly apparent that simply closing the door and barring the windows won’t do. In fact, this approach has become a hinderer rather than an enabler of doing business.

In his recent article, Man the barricades… what barricades?, Clem Colman contrasts today’s enterprise with a medieval castle. It’s no longer possible to keep everything within walls, and the people and assets you need to protect have long flown. New security technology will be successful when it has been built into every component: embedded within every device and every software application.

There’s also an even greater need to educate every employee on security and risk reduction. This is, protecting your organisation from inside-out as opposed to outside-in. Operating beyond the fortress, frequently on their own devices, they must become much savvier about the risks of using technology to play their own part in your enterprise security. Welcome to the new world of cyber-resilience.

What does it all mean? It’s about speed

If there’s a common thread in these trends, it’s that the world of technology keeps accelerating and technology professionals using ‘traditional’ techniques will never catch up. In a digital world, there’s a strong link between the ways in which speed is impacting on the way we manage IT projects, change, service delivery, our suppliers and security, this calls for agility across every aspect of technology delivery.

At UXC, I’m proud that the areas mentioned above are all areas we’re heavily investing in, and I’m interested in hearing whether these predictions are becoming a reality in your own organisation, and how you’re coping with them. Feel free to get in touch!

This blog was originally posted on UXC Consulting’s blog

Shake I.T. Up this year at Service Management 2016! Register here.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:21+10:00May 12th, 2016|guest blogger, Service Management 2016|