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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 |2018-03-19T16:23:17+10:00August 29th, 2016|Service Management 2016|

On being a conference director

Aprill-Allen-smconference-2016-280

 

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|

Workshops for Service Management 2016 announced!

Service Management 2016 has announced workshops for 2016!

This year, a range of half-day and full-day workshops are on offer to supplement your Conference experience.

The workshops will take place in Brisbane on Tuesday 16 August 2016 – so you can dive in and get a head start on ways to Shake I.T. Up before the Conference kicks off on Wednesday 17 – Thursday 18 August.

Get practical career advice, develop your leadership skills, improve relationship building, ensure smooth delivery from project intention to outcome, discover new methods or rediscover new approaches to familiar topics, including Service Integration and Management (SIAM), Agile, Lean, DevOps, and the Operational Readiness Review (ORR)!

Workshops include:

  • Agile, Lean IT and DevOps – a survival guide for the mid-career professional with Charles Betz
  • Extreme Leadership Workshop: taking the radical leap with Em Campbell Pretty
  • Behave Yourself: Building IT Relationships with Simone Jo Moore and Mark Smalley
  • SIAM: revolution or evolution? with Simon Dorst and Michelle Major-Goldsmith
  • Leading an invisible IT team with Korrine Jones
  • “Are you being served?” An Operational Readiness Review
  • From BID strategy to Operational delivery – where does it all go wrong? with Lana Yakimoff

Register for workshops and the Service Management Conference with the Earlybird rate before 27 June 2016.

And remember, you can still submit to be a speaker this year!

By |2016-04-29T16:26:22+10:00April 29th, 2016|Service Management 2016, Workshop|
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