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Q&A with an Industry Awards nominee

Q&A with an Industry Awards nominee

In this third installment of the guest blogger Q&A series, itSMF Board member Justin Gasparre shares his recommendations on nominating for the itSMF Industry Awards and his experience at the Gala Awards Dinner.


Can you tell us why you decided to nominate for the 2016 Service Management Awards?

I was nominated for the awards by a close colleague who had observed my contribution to the itSMF community over many years. I agreed to accept it as I have contributed many years of volunteer effort to itSMF, from local chapter support and representation through to a position on the board over two periods.  I’ve also contributed very openly to my colleagues in Defence and anyone else who needs help in this space.

What do you think makes a compelling Awards nomination?

A compelling awards nomination will need to speak to the person’s contribution to the cause and the community.  I guess you can’t be a champion if you don’t champion what we do and the value we bring as ITSM professionals.

Can you tell us about your experience at the 2016 Gala Dinner and Awards celebration? What were the highlights?

For me, the highlight of the Gala Dinner in 2016 was being able to stand up in front of my peers and share the message that we are all champions and to share my gratitude to the forum and community.  It was also great that my past colleagues were there to share in the accolades!

Why are the itSMF Industry Awards important?

The itSMF industry awards are an important event to showcase the significance of the work that the community is involved in and the improvements that we make on a daily basis.  Having national recognition for great work being done is important and it is good to see that the major IT news sources are picking up on the event.

What advice would you give potential nominees?

The advice I would give to potential nominees is to NOMINATE!!!  Don’t be shy!  Recognise the contribution you make and get your colleagues to put you up for an award.  If you’ve got a nickname for your Service Management prowess, then you’re probably a candidate!

What are you looking forward to at Service Management 2017?

I’m looking forward to Service Management 2017 and the 20th anniversary of the itSMF, it should be a great event and a fabulous Gala Dinner.  I really enjoy catching up with colleagues from the past and making new connections with like minded professionals and those who contribute to the development of our forum and community.

If you’d like to nominate for an itSMF individual or team award you can find more information on the website.


Justin Gasparre has over 15 years of IT experience ranging from helpdesk, field support, systems administration and culminating with IT Governance, Board of Management Representation, Director of a large APS organisation delivering enterprise solutions and now business owner and consultant.

Trained in a variety of best practice methodologies and being from a technical background, having operated an IT Solution provision business, and working in multiple major Government Enterprise environments, Justin has an excellent understanding of IT and Business.

Q&A with an alumni speaker

Q&A with an alumni speaker

In the second part of a series of chats with those that have previously taken the stage at the Service Management Conference – Leanne Siveyer kindly shares her speaking experience and tips.


Hi Leanne! 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 have been involved with Service Management for most of my career in both operational and consulting roles. I’ve delivered countless training courses and presented to various sized groups. The ITSM is one of the largest audiences I have presented to.

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

You definitely get out of a conference what you put in. It’s an honour to be able to share my experiences with the conference audience and be able to contribute to the body of knowledge by sharing case studies that I have been involved with. We all know the theory – the challenge is in the implementation which is why I love hearing and sharing case studies from the real world.

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? 

The process is straightforward and seems very fair to all submissions. Some of the questions and comments during the process helped me to refine my idea further and resulted in a better delivery.

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

I love the passion and the enthusiasm and being able to contribute to that is is a wonderful experience.

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

The number of people that came up to me after my presentation – keen to introduce themselves and further discuss the ideas I have presented. That’s definitely what is all about.

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

As I mentioned earlier – we all know the theory but there are real and difficult real world challenges that prevent us from implementing the all best practice guidance in the books. The more people that have overcome those challenges and shared those experiences the better we call all be at maturing our service management approaches.

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

Present something you’d like to hear yourself. Don’t be scared – definitely do it. If it’s your first time – consider co-presenting with a more experienced speaker for support.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:17+00:00June 29th, 2017|guest blogger, QandA, Service Management 2017|

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 |2018-03-19T16:23:17+00:00October 12th, 2016|guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2016, wrap up|

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 |2018-03-19T16:23:18+00:00August 12th, 2016|guest blogger, Service Management 2016|

Gender Diversity – Mentoring Women in IT

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Kathryn Howard  is the Deputy Chair of itSMF Australia, the Twitterchat facilitator and the Ignites wrangler.

 

In an era where innovation and differentiation of product and service are key to remaining viable and relevant, women can, and do, bring unique perspectives to the workplace. Developing the potential of women is imperative for our organisations, communities and society as a whole to grow. In short, we need to focus on gender diversification.

I have mentored for FITT (Females in Information Technology & Telecommunications) for several years. Initially I viewed it as a way to give back to the community at a time when I found a little space in my life. As my life got busy again I made sure I found time for FITT as I became profoundly aware of the benefits being realised by the program, plus the benefit to myself.

What does gender diversity look like and how do we blend women into the fabric of our corporate world? We need to pursue the removal of boundaries and continue to encourage by providing ongoing support and access to role models.

Boundaries

What are the boundaries of which I speak? It’s within living memory that women were required to resign from the public service when they married.  And what about women’s access to education?  My mother never went to high school. The only children in my family to go to university were boys. Due to limited education and gender bias my initial career options were few and could be best described as having been shaped by serendipity. I am, however, very fortunate due to a little thing called the “technology revolution”. I found myself in a field I liked and had some aptitude for.

But others were not so lucky and it is incumbent on every one of us, male or female, to remain vigilant to defend the continuance of boundary removal to gender diversity.  

In Australia, our fortunate country, no one can argue against the right of today’s girls and young women to an education. But we still have some way to go to enable those same girls and women to develop to their best potential. Why are rewards and recognition different for men on the journey to a fulfilling career?  Where is the affordable childcare and equal pay (the gender pay gap was 17.2% in 2015)?  Plus where is the flexibility in the workplace in working hours and parental leave? Some organisations get it and reap rewards – but not yet all.

Encouragement

Everyone needs encouragement but young people particularly need encouragement to optimise their educational opportunities.

IT roles have long been considered the domain of the geeky male.  Of course girls can achieve in technology just as well as their male counterparts. And we are finally seeing a generation of strong young women identifying with these roles – pioneers if you like.  They now have a landing position, but where is their career map to achieve their potential?  Where are the female role models?

Support

It’s very difficult to shape a career in a vacuum.  Mentoring is a proven mechanism to aid people in their professional development journey.  The FITT Mentoring program focuses on young women in IT to nurture self-worth, personal development, and supports the non-acceptance of boundaries based on gender.

I’m not a young person anymore and never had a formal mentor.  Such programs never used to exist.  Being a mentor for FITT, however, has helped me to hone my skills in communication and leadership.  It has also provided me with a mechanism to remain connected to young people and to engage with them in a world of ever-evolving attitudes and culture.

Different careers will continue to disappear and appear over the coming years in increasing velocity.  The new emergent careers are in fields we can only dream of and many will be in technology.   Empowering women to be ready when the opportunity presents itself is key and I’m proud to say I’ve helped some young women on this journey.

My mother would be proud to see me speaking on behalf of gender diversity.  It is a term she would not recognise, although she would recognise the impact of its absence.  

My late mother rejected the role she was allotted over 70 years ago – the role of “stay at home daughter-housekeeper”.  She demanded of her father: “I want a job”.  Her father held control of her destiny so there was no alternate avenue for such a request.

The future workforce of blended diversity will enable us all to fulfil our individual and collective potential.  The good work of organisations such as FITT empowers our young women to the next step of self development and to demand of our working communities ……“I want a career”.  

Come along to Service Management 2016 to see Kathryn Howard’s ‘Ignites’ session.

By |2018-03-19T16:23:18+00:00August 9th, 2016|guest blogger, Leadership, Service Management 2016|

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+00:00July 14th, 2016|guest blogger, ITSM, metrics, Net Promoter®, Netpromoter, 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+00:00June 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+00:00June 9th, 2016|guest blogger, problem management, Workshop|

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+00:00May 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+00:00May 19th, 2016|guest blogger, innovation, Leadership|