Blog draft2018-03-19T16:23:10+10:00
504, 2018

Service Management 2018!

By |April 5th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorised|Comments Off on Service Management 2018!

Is your organisation fit for service? In this post, itSMF Australia’s National Events Director Aprill Allen gives a glimpse into what we can expect at the 21st national conference in Canberra.

Welcome aboard the planning for our 21st annual national conference. As our program development gets underway, I look forward to exploring updates to our service management practices with you, when we hear what’s new from both familiar and emerging industry guidance. This year’s theme is Get Fit For Service. We believe it captures a rising interest in service management from the health sector, while shining a spotlight on our nation’s capital and the public servants in it. Public servants who dedicate their improvement efforts to making sure their government colleagues can go about their business, and that citizens can go about their lives as easily as possible.

But service management isn’t just for our public services, as you know, it exists in all industries and all verticals, and is flexing to meet the changing complexities that the cloud and digital transformation requires, such as cloud orchestration, dynamic capacity management, and compliance decisions related to public and private cloud, just to name a few. We’ve introduced new streams this year to cater to this landscape and speaker submissions are now open.

People and Culture is an evergreen challenge and continues to be worthy of a dedicated stream. Service Management Practices gathers all our foundational knowledge under a unified umbrella this year. For 2018, we’re offering focused streams on Cybersecurity, and Modern Managed Services. Cybersecurity speaks for itself and news stories crop up regularly, reminding us of what can and does go wrong, and of where our responsibilities lay as service management practitioners and advisers. With the growth of AWS, Azure and subscription services, the market for managed services looks much different than it did before. We’re no longer talking to and hearing from just the large, global managed services firms. There are smaller, Australian firms providing service management to their clients and experiencing the same successes and challenges as the large-scale providers, every day.

We are a distributed community operating within businesses of all sizes and of all kinds, and I am excited to be coming together again with you, in Canberra, this September.

1909, 2017

SM 2.0. – and beyond!

By |September 19th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorised|Comments Off on SM 2.0. – and beyond!

Reflecting on the festivities

Last month, a fantastic bunch of engaged members of the ITSM community came together to explore the theme of SM 2.0 at Service Management 2017 – itSMF Australia’s 20th Annual Conference!

In addition to enjoying two jam packed days of insightful presentations, meeting new connections and catching up with familiar faces – the highlight for many was itSMF’s Industry Awards Gala Awards Dinner.

Themed ‘Strictly Ballroom’, this year’s awards – hosted by the hilarious Dave Thornton – saw many guests suit up and dust off their sparklies for a night of celebration!

Congratulations to the winners and finalists:

TEAM AWARD WINNERS

2017 IT Service Management Innovation of the Year – TAFE South Australia

2017 IT Service Management Project of the Year – Transurban

2017 Enterprise Service Management Implementation of the Year – TIE: Optus Satellite & QUT

INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS

2017 Service Management Champion of the Year – Michelle Major-Goldsmith

2017 Service Management Thought Leader of the Year – Ian Jones

2017 Service Management Lifetime Contribution Award – Peter Marshall!

At Service Management 2017 it was so great to see people from Western Australia, South Australia, Tassie and the Northern Territory and Queensland… and of course all the eastern states, as well as all the volunteer members who have contributed to the preparation of the conference in a variety of ways – as members of the conference committee, presentation reviewers, speaker supporters, session MCs and awards judges – to make this year’s Awards and the Service Management 2017 conference another great success!

A big thanks to the sponsors that made it all happen: Axios Systems, BMC, Ivanti, Kepner Tregoe, Rescue by LogMeIn, Marval Australia, Alemba, Freshservice, IGSM, Hagrid, ITSM HUB, and Enable.

Thanks again to all those that were a part of Service Management 2017 and we hope to see you in 2018 in….. (insert drum roll)…. Canberra!

If you’d like to be a part of Service Management 2018 in any way please contact us on info@smconference.com.au

1508, 2017

Service Management 2.0 – Industry Awards Finalists Announced

By |August 15th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorised|Comments Off on Service Management 2.0 – Industry Awards Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2017 itSMF Industry Awards have been announced, with a strong cohort lending their skills to improving and revitalising the Service Management industry.


The 2017 finalists for the Team Awards are:

Lendlease

Lendlease saw an opportunity to deliver a technology solution that would transfer the issuance of bonding instruments to improve customer experience, processes, and controls.

 

NAB 

NAB’s Service Continuity Uplift Program has improved disaster recovery systems, processes, capabilities and infrastructure to reduce downtime for customers and colleagues during incidents and maintenance.

 

Optus Satellite 

Optus Satellite design a purpose built Business & Operation Support System to deliver the English Premier League. This involved a fully-integrated-end-to-end solution across sectors to improve efficiency, SLA’s, reduce costs, and align with business objectives.

 

Public Safety Business Agency

The Frontline & Digital Services Division created the Major Incident Management Team to provide 24/7 rapid response to major IT incidents affecting critical systems used by the frontline officers of Queensland Police and Emergency Services.

 

Queensland University of Technology

QUT launched HiQ, which embodies the Enterprise Service Management model to provide a personalised and seamless experience for students connecting to all services QUT has to offer.

 

TAFE SA 

TAFE SA piloted an on-campus help desk where IT students, supported by staff, provided technology solutions and support to fellow students.

 

Transurban 

The Transurban Service Management Uplift (ServiceNow) project delivered improved integration of technology business functions, offering a seamless coordinated service to all staff.

 


 

To be a part of the action when the winners are announced, attend the Service Management Gala Dinner. With the theme of ‘Strictly Ballroom’, guests will be treated to a night of dancing, laughs (at the hands of hilarious MC, Dave Thornton) and networking with their peers, all in celebration of 20 years of the Service Management Conference.

The itSMF Industry Awards Gala Dinner is being held on the night of Wednesday 23 August in the Plaza Ballroom at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. For more information and to book, visit the website.

1907, 2017

Service Management 2.0 – Program Announced

By |July 19th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorised|Comments Off on Service Management 2.0 – Program Announced

Sessions for Service Management 2017 have been announced, with a diverse cohort of speakers and topics on show.

This year’s Conference program will provide robust dialogue on tried and tested frameworks as well as brand new perspectives that are leading the way in IT Service Management innovation. Sessions will feature case studies, new methods and tools, diverse experiences, and reflections on the journey of ITSM.

Here’s a snippet of some of the sessions – the full list is available online.


Cut the ITIL anchor, raise the ITSM sail – why fast IT organisations win!Matthew Hooper – Director ITSM, Ivanti

Patience is not a business virtue in a world that expects a rapid pace of change. While ITIL helped manage fragile IT, stable infrastructure – it is now delivered through cloud and software defined infrastructure that changes faster than CAB’s can meet. Can traditional ITSM keep pace with this shift toward rapid IT? Will investments in ITSM slowly fall into irrelevance? This session explains how Lean ITSM and DevOps can accelerate business velocity.

Work like a Googler, lead like a marine – creating high performing teamsMichi Tyson
Some teams seem to be magic productivity-machines while others are boring even the water they’re treading. In this talk, we’ll explore the who, what and how of putting together a bunch of people and creating a kick-arse team that can get sh*t done!

Embracing diversity Rebecca Scott – Manager, Service Transition, Bankwest

What do you get when you cross old school IT professionals with modern day hipsters? You get a diverse team that can conquer anything.

This case study will talk about a Service Management team within a large organisation that has gone from the typical “male white collar workers” to a diverse mix of gender, culture, religion and sexual orientation. We will discuss how the organisation became recognised as an employer of choice as a result of its Diversity and Inclusion policies.

Unmask your potentialTuria Pitt – Humanitarian, athlete and motivationalist

Explore how to overcome adversity and manage change in this refreshingly candid presentation emphasising the importance of determination, perseverance and never giving up.

Machine learning and analytic approaches to proactive Problem ManagementSeth Paskin – Solutions Marketing Manager, BMC Software

The Service Desk is by nature reactive. Incidents come in, tickets get created and issues get worked. ITSM leaders make ‘best effort’ forecasts for future demand based on past activity. The levers they can pull to respond to growth and change are staffing, automation or process efficiency (more productivity or faster resolution). This situation has been the ‘necessary evil’ of ITSM for years.

This talk will cover strategies for implementing machine learning and advanced analytics in ITSM environments that enable a proactive approach to problem management. We will then walk through some specific use cases demonstrating implementation and outcomes of these strategies.

Evolution from ITIL to AgileLisa Palma – General Manager for Workplace and Service Management, NAB

It’s the age of the customer. Enterprise business strategies today revolve around the customer as they hold the keys to the success of an organisation. Customers can disrupt markets and change the competitive landscape, they expect best in class experience, and top notch products and features that make life simpler and offer value for money.

In this session, we will explore some of the strategies to change the game plan and understand the challenges involved that must be embraced.

Putting the ‘Service’ back in Service Management5 steps to a customer-centric culture – Dave O’Reardon – Managing Director, Silversix

People and culture are the often-overlooked and less exciting third (and fourth?) leg of the Service Management triumvirate. We’ve all heard that the soft stuff is hard. But it doesn’t need to be.

Attendees will learn how to foster a truly customer-focused culture – and deliver great service – by putting customer feedback at the heart of everything you do.

Robotics in the future of workMarita Cheng – Engineering visionary and 2012 Young Australian of the Year

Marita Cheng will take you through the robots of tomorrow and how AI will shape our future in ways greater than we can imagine today. From machines that can see for us, process data accurately and at a greater speed than humans, and robots that get the job done and don’t answer back.

There is much to think about and prepare for as we create the future of work!

Using Cynefin to navigate uncertaintyKim Ballestrin – Principal Consultant, Elabor8

The Cynefin Framework by Dave Snowden is a very useful Sensemaking tool – it helps us to understand the most effective approaches to solving problems and managing change as the levels of certainty decrease and complexity increases.

Whether you’ve come across this framework before or not, this session will cover both the basic explanation of the framework and the practical application of it to support and inform decision-making about the most effective approaches for problem-solving and meeting Customer expectations.

SIAM: let’s nail jelly to a treeNeil Pinkerton – Director of Service Transition, Department of Defence

Through the eyes of service transition, this session shares ideas and issues within the current landscape and contemporary practice of a maturing large SIAM service integration.

Gain an appreciation of the good, the bad and the pitfalls of a large SIAM implementation at an enterprise level and learn the gotchas and applicability of Service Management service transition processes across a constantly moving (jelly-like) multi-vendor environment.

Service Management MVPBrad Schimmel – Director, Service Pioneers

The Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is a product or service that’s designed to only meet the most important requirements. The investment, functions, outcomes and values are made clear and the minimalist design is easy to see it for what it is, not requiring interpretation.

This presentation peels back the layers of Service Management MVP of 2017 – bringing its real value functions to the surface. You will learn how to build the MVP and the 8-Wastes; that ITIL is a descriptive, not prescriptive framework after all; and other Service Improvement strategies.


Service Management 2017 is on from Wednesday 23 – Thursday 24 August 2017 at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. For more information and to register, please visit the website.

407, 2017

Q&A with an Industry Awards nominee

By |July 4th, 2017|Categories: Awards, guest blogger, ITSM, QandA, Service Management 2016, Service Management 2017|Comments Off on 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.

2906, 2017

Q&A with an alumni speaker

By |June 29th, 2017|Categories: guest blogger, QandA, Service Management 2017|Comments Off on 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.

405, 2017

Q&A with an alumni speaker!

By |May 4th, 2017|Categories: blog, QandA, Service Management 2016, Service Management 2017|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Q&A with an alumni speaker!

Q&A with an alumni speaker!

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

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

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

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

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

There are three big benefits:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m going to cheat and have two:

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

Second, the people you meet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1904, 2017

Six ways to build and grow

By |April 19th, 2017|Categories: DevOps, ITSM, Service Management 2017, Workshop|Comments Off on Six ways to build and grow

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

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


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

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

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

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

The three year Service Management roadmap – Dion Hinchcliffe

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

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

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

Bringing Agile to service delivery – Eduardo Nofuentes

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

Improve your process improvement – Michi Tyson

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


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

303, 2017

Dear aspiring speaker

By |March 3rd, 2017|Categories: ITSM, protips, Service Management 2017|Tags: , |Comments Off on Dear aspiring speaker

Aprill-Allen-smconference-2016-280

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more and submit a speaker proposal here.

1502, 2017

SM 2.0!

By |February 15th, 2017|Categories: ITSM, Service Management 2017|Tags: , , |Comments Off on SM 2.0!

Aprill-Allen-smconference-2016-280

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

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

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

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

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

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

2301, 2017

Dear reviewer

By |January 23rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorised|Comments Off on Dear reviewer

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

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

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

Dear reviewer,

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1210, 2016

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

By |October 12th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2016, wrap up|Tags: , |Comments Off on What happened down under at Shake I.T. Up – Service Management 2016

Sunit__Voco3_-150x150

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

2908, 2016

Shaking up communication and collaboration at Service Management 2016

By |August 29th, 2016|Categories: Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on 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.

2508, 2016

itSMF CEO reflects on Service Management 2016

By |August 25th, 2016|Categories: ITSM, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , |Comments Off on itSMF CEO reflects on Service Management 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Tuned!

Alan Hollensen

CEO

itSMF Australia

2408, 2016

‘All shook up’

By |August 24th, 2016|Categories: Awards, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on ‘All shook up’

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

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

parrot lady auspost winners with lei

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

photobooth singer

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

le8is Rachel Seaniger

Congratulations to the winners – and finalists!

TEAM AWARD WINNERS

ITSM Project of the Year – Australia Post

Finalists: ANZ; Kinetic IT / Qantas

Innovation of the Year – Australia Post

Finalists: Clean Energy Regulator; SkillsTx

ITSM Capability of the Year – NAB

Finalist: Clean Energy Regulator

INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS

Thought Leaders of the Year – Rachel Seaniger and Chris Morrison

Service Management Champion of the Year – Justin Gasparre

Lifetime Achievement Award – Aileen Cater-Steel

 

1208, 2016

ITSM: don’t stop with Ops!

By |August 12th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on 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.

©iStock.com/rappensuncle

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!

 

 

 

908, 2016

Gender Diversity – Mentoring Women in IT

By |August 9th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, Leadership, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Gender Diversity – Mentoring Women in IT

kathryn

 

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.

408, 2016

Give up control to Shake Up IT

By |August 4th, 2016|Categories: Leadership, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Give up control to Shake Up IT

corrinne

 

Guest blogger Corrinne Armour will be speaking at Service Management 2016 on ‘Fearless Leadership: 12 ways to derail your project fast‘. Waging a war on wasted potential, Corrinne’s mission is to empower leaders and teams to step up to Fearless Leadership. Recognised as a provoker of change and growth, Corrinne is a highly regarded leadership speaker, author, mentor and coach. She shows leaders how to release the human potential in their careers, teams and organisations. For more see http://corrinnearmour.com.

I have never met anyone who likes to work with a leader who can’t—or won’t—delegate. And yet I work with many leaders struggling to give up control!

Andrew Carnegie said, ‘No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it’.

A paradox of leadership is balancing being in control with releasing control. A leader who holds tightly onto control risks increasing their own anxiety while disempowering their people. A leader with an excessive need to be in charge could be viewed by others as demanding, dominating and/or directive.

A high need for control will foster micromanagement and thwart the ability to delegate due to the belief that no one can do the job as well as them. This often translates to high workloads and a struggle to achieve a work-life balance. This leader may be seen as self-focused, controlling or not motivated to collaborate, and will be critical of colleagues whom they regard as not taking sufficient responsibility for the quality/timeliness of the work.

Might this be you? While your positive intention—the inner motivation driving your behaviour—is probably about producing a quality outcome, that’s not what others will be experiencing.

Here are four ideas to support you in releasing control:

    • Reflect on the personal cost for holding on to so much work. What is the cost to your professional reputation as someone who won’t delegate?
    • Ask yourself: Who is ready to be developed into my role? How am I supporting their growth? Use your responses to guide your delegation.
    • Focus on the outcome you need. What is the minimum amount of involvement you need to delegate this task?
    • Delegate responsibility and authority—not just the task.  

Don’t let being a ‘Doer’–an inability to delegate–derail your leadership. Loosen up on control to become a better leader.

Go fearlessly.

corr

 

 

This blog is based on Corrinne’s latest book, Developing Direct Reports: Taking the guesswork out of leading leaders. This book explains 12 leadership derailers, including ‘Doer – Inability to Delegate’. Curious about the other 11 derailers and how they could impact on your career, your project’s success and your organisation’s future?  Find out at Service Management 2016.

 

208, 2016

Congratulations to the 2016 itSMF Industry Awards finalists!

By |August 2nd, 2016|Categories: Awards, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Congratulations to the 2016 itSMF Industry Awards finalists!

The finalists for this year’s itSMF Industry Awards for Excellence in IT Service Management have been announced! This year the Awards categories were updated and a large number of submissions were received.

Finalists in the three ‘team’ Awards categories include:

Project of the Year

ANZ

Australia Post

Kinetic IT / Qantas

Innovation of the Year

Australia Post

SkillsTx

Clean Energy Regulator

Capability of the Year

Clean Energy Regulator

NAB

The winners of the individual awards will also be announced at the Gala Awards Dinner on Wednesday 17 August 2016.tropical

This year’s Gala Awards Dinner theme is ‘a touch of tropical’. Attendees will be getting out their Hawaiian shirts and hula skirts and enjoying beautiful Brisbane!

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The dinner, which takes place during the Service Management Conference, will be hosted by comedian Jean Kittson with musical entertainment from Hot Sauce. Find out more about the dinner here.

 

Congratulations again to all the finalists, and our sincere thanks to all nominees!

 

 

 

2807, 2016

Transformation goes beyond adoption and adapting

By |July 28th, 2016|Categories: Service Management 2016, transformation|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Transformation goes beyond adoption and adapting

hooper

Matt Hooper is speaking at Service Management 2016. He is an industry advocate for Service Management strategies and best practices around Enterprise Service Management. For over 20 years Matt has instituted methodologies for business intelligence and optimisation. Leveraging technology to drive business outcomes, he has built an industry reputation for his highly effective approach to creating value through Service Management. Matt is active on social media known as VigilantGuy, and co-hosts the weekly podcast: Hacking Business Technology (HackBizTech.com).

The latest content from Axelos, the makers of ITIL®, “ITIL® Practitioner Guidance”, heavily re-states an already existing mantra of ITIL®, Adapt and Adopt.  The reality is, this guidance is much too little and way too late. The premise and principal behind this mantra is that we have to evaluate our current state of operational delivery capabilities, then apply the pieces of ITIL® that will help us make improvements.

This was solid guidance 10 years ago, when IT had a fighting chance to demonstrate that they were the responsible functional area to capitalise on digital strategies to lead business innovation. However, few organisations’ IT departments stepped into that role. An overtly and polarised focus on technology and process left most IT departments less cohesive, with larger walls of bureaucracy between IT operations, development, enterprise architecture and the PMO (Project Management Office – seriously, they have their own office).

Hooper-Speaker-ITSMf

Digital transformation is not merely improving what’s not working today.  Transformation is the complete re-conditioning, re-structuring, and re-thinking of how digitisation is enabling organisations to act differently. ITSM professionals must truly transform if they are going to survive the new business dynamic, where “IT” is no longer a department but a pervasive business competency.

While the ITIL Practitioner Guidance has been updated with new terms and references and new more Agile concepts, there are 5 areas where “Adapt & Adopt” will just not cut it:

  • Language
  • Knowledge
  • Asset/Configuration
  • Change/Release
  • Requirements

To be a leader in Digital Transformation, ITSM professionals need to do their own personal transformation. Like a caterpillar to a butterfly, they need to re-condition, re-structure and re-think their role in business enablement.

To learn how to be truly transformative, join me at itSMF Australia’s annual Service Management conference on Wednesday 17 – Thursday 18 August in Brisbane, Australia. I’ll be speaking at 12pm on Wednesday 17 August on: Creating enterprise agility through Lean service management and DevOps.

 

2107, 2016

Announcing keynote speaker Dave Snowden’s Service Management workshops!

By |July 21st, 2016|Categories: Service Management 2016, Workshop|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Announcing keynote speaker Dave Snowden’s Service Management workshops!

Dave-Snowden-280

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.

1407, 2016

Why you should tear up your support SLAs

By |July 14th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, ITSM, metrics, Net Promoter®, Netpromoter, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Why you should tear up your support SLAs

Dave-OReardon-HI-RES-Mar15 (2)

 

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.

 

watermelon

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

707, 2016

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

By |July 7th, 2016|Categories: Awards, ITSM, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on ITSMF Awards Q&A with 2015 winner Dave O’Reardon

Dave-OReardon-HI-RES-Mar15 (2)

 

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.

winner

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.

dinner

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!

 

3006, 2016

On being a conference director

By |June 30th, 2016|Categories: Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on 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. 😉

2306, 2016

Are you being served?

By |June 23rd, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, Workshop|Tags: |Comments Off on 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.

 

906, 2016

Communication breakdowns in dispersed teams, and how to overcome them

By |June 9th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, problem management, Workshop|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on 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!

206, 2016

Delivering Problem Management with Kanban

By |June 2nd, 2016|Categories: Kanban, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Delivering Problem Management with Kanban

ian jones

 

 

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.

kanban_wall

 

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.

 

2605, 2016

SIAM: revolution or evolution?

By |May 26th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, Service Management 2016, SIAM, Workshop|Tags: , , |Comments Off on SIAM: revolution or evolution?

simonmichelle

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:

1905, 2016

Five ways to create a culture of innovation

By |May 19th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, innovation, Leadership|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Five ways to create a culture of innovation

amantha_imber-280

 

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.

1205, 2016

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

By |May 12th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Cutting through the hype: what 2016 looks like for technology leaders

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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.

505, 2016

Shaken and stirred

By |May 5th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, Service Management 2016, Workshop|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Shaken and stirred


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 This week we welcome guest bloggers Simone Jo Moore (Service Management Consultant and Trainer) and Mark Smalley (The IT Paradigmologist – ASL BiSL Foundation).  Simone and Mark will host a workshop at the Service Management 2016 Workshop Day on Tuesday 16 August 2016.

 

“Shaken, not stirred” is, of course, James Bond’s catchphrase that describes his preference for martini cocktails. “Shake I.T. Up” is the overarching theme of itSMF Australia’s annual Conference for 2016, that is intended to help you “find new ways to shake up your IT projects, teams and approaches for greater agility, lasting improvements, and better business outcomes”. Now this sounds great but as a seasoned conference-goer, I’m frequently disappointed by the effect that conferences have on their attendees. Despite us talking enthusiastically about new topics such as Cloud and DevOps, little in the real world changes unless people really get passionate. We talk the talk but why don’t we walk the talk? What does it take to stir people enough that they change their behaviour?

Behavioural change is one of the topics that fascinate my workshop partner Simone Jo Moore and me. In the process of researching, writing, and facilitating workshops, we’ve certainly learnt a lot and hopefully others have got a better grip of behaviour and the iceberg of factors that influence it, including values, beliefs and emotions.

We’ve done some writing on this topic and are pleased to share some of our work with you. You may like to read about ITSM problems – is poor behaviour the cause?, how to use behaviours to align people management and operations, or how to behave yourself – the business-IT relationship.

We’re offering a half-day pre-conference workshop for Shake I.T Up called Behave Yourself – Building Better IT Relationships. Our intent is to help you assess your organisation’s performance in terms of desired behaviour, understand what actually drives behaviour, determine your own core values and emotions and – most importantly, after the conference – start experimenting with interventions that actually influence behaviour. We’re very much looking forward to conducting this workshop and it would be great if you could join us.

It’s our conviction that I.T. will only change when people’s values, beliefs and emotions change, so let’s not only Shake I.T. Up in Brisbane but also Stir I.T. Up!

2904, 2016

Workshops for Service Management 2016 announced!

By |April 29th, 2016|Categories: Service Management 2016, Workshop|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on 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!

2104, 2016

Switch in Action: Business Change Management Applied to Software Engineering

By |April 21st, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Switch in Action: Business Change Management Applied to Software Engineering

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Our guest blogger this week is Em Campbell-Pretty. Em is a Partner at Context Matters, a blogger at PrettyAgile.com, and an invited speaker at Service Management 2016!

 

One Saturday evening in July, whilst reading Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch, I found myself thinking of the challenges we had rolling out “Trails”, our automated deployment tool. Even though Trails was built by our System Team, using agile methods, including fortnightly demonstrations of working software, the roll out was far from smooth. Would we have been more successful if we had used the Switch Framework (which I blogged about here)? Switch argues that for change to be effective you have to Direct the Rider (our rational side), Motivate the Elephant (our emotional side) and Shape the Path (clear the way).

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A few months later, the System Team had another change ready for implementation. This time we would be changing the EDW source control repository from SVN to Git. Given the experience with Trails, the System Team made a huge effort to get buy in from the impacted teams. They spent countless hours at the whiteboard talking with teams about why version control is important and how version control will enable better data in development environments. There was some resistance, strangely enough because some engineers thought the proposal was to replace SVN with a bespoke in house application called “GIT”! The conversation improved significantly once everyone got on the same page. To use the metaphor from Switch, we had started by appealing to the developers’ rational side, the Rider, by Pointing to the Destination: Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it.

As the cut over grew closer, the System Team, using their new found “Jean Tabaka” skills, scheduled a workshop to plan the change. They had learnt from the Trails roll out that no amount of PowerPoint or documentation would make a difference. What had worked last time was sitting with the engineers while they tried to execute the new process and helping them. If Switch was to be believed, we should:  “Follow the Bright Spots. Investigate what’s working and clone it.”

Replicating this approach was not as easy as it would seem at face value. With Trails the change was less invasive, only impacting the engineers executing a given deployment. A member of the System Team could sit with the engineer each time they needed to use the new deployment tool until they were comfortable. With Git, we needed all six teams to make the change at once. After coming to the realisation the System Team were not Gremlins and could not be multiplied by adding water, a different approach was required.

In the days leading up to the planning meeting, EDW Development Manger, +Wayne Palmer had been giving a lot of thought to the roll out approach. His original instinct was to include all the things that “we just had to do” in the scope of the change. The theory being that the engineers were going to have to use a new tool anyway, so they wouldn’t know the difference. Thankfully his train of thought eventually lead him to refer back to Switch. He knew his instincts were wrong, we needed to: Shrink the Change. Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant.  He talked to the System Team Product Owner about the magnitude of the change. They discussed their hopes and fears for the upcoming deployment and decided to defer the major change to the current branching strategy, continuing with branch by project rather than moving to branch by feature.

Even with a smaller change we were still going to need more support than the three System Team developers could provide, if we were going to be successful. Again using the advice from Switch, Wayne suggested we look to increase our pool of subject matter experts by growing our people: Cultivate a sense of identity and instill the growth mindset. Each team was asked to nominate a Git Champion that was passionate about the change and respected by their peers. The System Team then partnered with the “volunteers” to define the process that would be used to migrate the non-production code from SVN to Git.

The change was deployed and to quote the System Team Lead Developer, “It went scarily well”. That is not to say we have not had some hiccups since.  Last week someone accidentally deleted the master branch in order to overcome a merge conflict, by using an SVN technique as opposed to a Git technique. Thankfully these types of errors are easy to back out with Git!

All things considered, the concepts we used from Switch lived up to their promise. I do think we missed a trick when it came to the third component of the Switch Framework – Shape the Path. While the hiccups we experienced have not been catastrophic, with more focus on ideas like building habits they might have been avoided completely. So next time you are looking to change the behaviour of your software engineering team don’t forget:

For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team. Each has an emotional Elephant side and a rational Rider side.  You’ve got to reach both. And you’ve also got to clear the way for them to succeed.            – Chip and Dan Heath

This blog originally appeared on Em Campbell-Pretty’s blog PrettyAgile.com. You can register to hear from Em and a host of other exciting speakers at Service Management 2016.

Do you have a Service Management story to share? There is still time to submit to be a speaker at Service Management 2016. 

 

1204, 2016

Delivering the Message – Things to Consider When Announcing an Organisational Change

By |April 12th, 2016|Categories: guest blogger, Leadership, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Delivering the Message – Things to Consider When Announcing an Organisational Change

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We are delighted to welcome Service Management 2016 invited speaker Karen Ferris as this week’s guest blogger. Karen was awarded the inaugural Service Management Champion accolade by the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) Australia in 2007 and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the ITSM industry in 2014.

Every ITSM improvement initiative is an organisational change. Whether it affects one person or a hundred people, it is an organisational change that requires people to change the way in which they do things. It could be a change in process, technology, roles or responsibilities.

Whatever the nature of the organisational change may be, there are important things to consider when announcing and communicating it.

Honesty

Firstly – be honest. Employees need to know the whole story – warts and all. Too often the CxO and senior managers are concerned that staff will be upset by the forthcoming change and therefore avoid telling the whole truth. If it is perceived that employees are going to be upset by the change announcement, the chances are they certainly will be when the change comes about.

So, it is important to tell them about the change as soon as possible so that they have time to prepare – and you have time to prepare them.

Don’t underestimate the time it will take to identify where the resistance to change may come from, put in place a plan to overcome it, execute the plan, continually assess its effectiveness and make changes as required.

Therefore the sooner you understand the reaction of employees to the change, the sooner you can respond accordingly.

You will only know the ‘real’ response if you are open and honest and provide employees with the whole picture.

Managers need to put themselves in the firing line – be prepared to answer the hard questions and to be transparent.

Transparency and consistency will be key if you want to stop the rumour mill. If employees feel that they are only being told half a story they will make the other half up themselves, making your job even harder.

You don’t want to have to spend the majority of your time trying to dispel rumours that only came about because you did not communicate openly.

Everyone Needs to Be on the Same Page

It is imperative that time is taken to prepare the message and to make sure that everyone who is required to deliver the message is able to tell the same story. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Inconsistency will fuel a fire that is waiting to happen.

Time needs to be taken to prepare the executive, managers, and sponsors who will be required to deliver the message. They need to understand the reason for the change and be champions of the change.

They may need coaching and mentoring to (a) help them overcome any resistance to the change they may have and (b) equip them with the skills and capability to deliver the message effectively.

All communication channels need to carry the same story – where are we going? – why are we doing this? – how does this align with our organisational strategy? – when are we doing it? – how are we doing it? – and most importantly – what’s in it for me (WIIFM)?

Test It

It is a good idea to test the message with a sample group of the target audience to determine if the message is clear, concise and complete. Things you may assume obvious may not be so to all employees so you need to remove the assumptions.

The sample group should help identify the questions that employees will be asking. What you assume people need to know may not be the case.

I remember working in an organisation, some years ago, that was undertaking a relocation of a department to another part of the city. Management assumed that staff wanted to know about recompense for additional travel, whether there would be parking available, how accessible the new location was by public transport etc.

But this wasn’t what was causing concern. It turned out that the biggest question staff wanted to know was whether the kitchen would be equipped with a microwave oven! This was because another department, relocated earlier, had not initially been provisioned with a microwave oven which they had previously had access to.

Don’t assume employees won’t sweat the small stuff. They will! Your sample group can help identify what this may be.

Check It

Throughout the period of communications you need to be checking its effectiveness. You need to regularly check understanding of the message. Don’t assume that because no-one has asked a question that the message has been understood. Silence does not mean that all is good!

There are various ways to check the effectiveness of the communications and it will be the change agent’s job to determine which are the most appropriate for the organisation.

Employees can be surveyed to determine if they understand the change.

At a recent client engagement I created and distributed the communications regarding a forthcoming change. Customers using a particular application were required to change the way in which they submitted service and support requests. The customers were distributed across the country so I followed up the communication by randomly picking names from the email distribution list and telephoning them to determine if they had read the communications and whether they had any concerns, questions etc.

This helped me understand whether the communications were having the desired result and to make any changes as required.

Other methods to determine communication effectiveness include focus groups, observation, monitoring collaboration channels, monitoring traffic on web pages where information about the change resides, monitoring feedback channels etc. It is more likely that if you are not getting feedback or questions, the change has not been understood or is being resisted.

Organisation change management models such as ADKAR can be used to determine if communications are having the desired results during organisational change. ADKAR can tell you whether employees are Aware of the need to change; have a Desire to participate and support; have Knowledge of the change and what it looks like; feel they have the Ability to implement the change on a day-to-day basis; and have the Reinforcement to keep the change in place.

ADKAR is used for much more than just checking communication effectiveness so is an ideal tool to have in your organisational change management toolbox.

Answer the Questions

It is important to answer all the questions received from employees. In the client engagement I mentioned earlier, any questions I received about the change were collated and the answers were distributed in future communications. Each communication had a FAQ section. The chances are that if one person asks a question about the change, there are myriad others wondering the same thing but not prepared to ask.

Collect all questions asked and provide a FAQ either in distributed communications, via collaboration tools and/or on the intranet.

Strike a Balance

Communications should be balanced. They need to be frequent enough to help employees with their transition and addressing their concerns and questions but not overly frequent to the point that people stop paying attention.

Also give due consideration to the communications channels. If employees hate SharePoint, don’t use that to deliver your message despite it being the corporate collaboration tool!

Note: I have nothing against SharePoint!

Use a variety of channels but ensure they are ones that employees will access. Just like communication content effectiveness should be checked, so should the effectiveness of the communication channels.

Monitor the number of emails that are opened. Monitor the number of click-throughs to the web site. Monitor the number of downloads regarding the change from the intranet. Monitor the number of impacted employees attending information sessions.

All of these, and more, can help you determine which communication channels are having the greatest impact so you can give them more focus. There may be communication channels that you stop using as they are having the least impact. But you won’t know unless you monitor it. As with anything else, the adage ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’ also applies to change communications.

Summary

Your organisational change communications need to be honest and transparent. The message, and the deliverers of the message, need to be carefully prepared. There needs to be one story and only one story.

Test the message and regularly check the effectiveness of the communications. Answer all the questions being asked and make the questions and answers accessible by all impacted employees. Ensure that your communication channels are appropriate for the change in hand and will be accessed by impacted employees.

Finally, be prepared to change course. If it’s not working, stop and make the required adjustments to get back on track.

This blog post was written by guest blogger and Service Management 2016 invited speaker, Karen Ferris. You can register to hear from Karen and a host of other exciting speakers at Service Management 2016.

Do you have a Service Management story to share? There is still time to submit to be a speaker at Service Management 2016. 

 

604, 2016

Welcome to Service Management 2016!

By |April 6th, 2016|Categories: blog, ITSM, Service Management 2016|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Welcome to Service Management 2016!

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Welcome to the Service Management blog for 2016!

We are delighted to be back and looking forward to celebrating at itSMF’s annual conference on Wednesday 17 – Thursday 18 August 2016. We will also host a pre-Conference Workshop day on Tuesday 16 August, and of course, the highly anticipated Gala Awards Dinner on the evening of 18 August 2016.

This year, the Conference will be held in beautiful Brisbane, and centres around the exciting theme of Shake I.T. Up! Over two dynamic, invigorating days, we will explore ways to ‘shake up’ IT projects and teams. How can we adapt, innovate, or disrupt to ensure greater agility, long-term improvements, and better outcomes for all?

We are now in the final remaining weeks before speaker submissions close. If you would like to share your successes and challenges and connect with an engaged community of your peers, now is the time to submit a speaker proposal

Over the next few months, our Service Management blog will feature exclusive interviews and articles from our speakers and workshop leaders, as well as content that explores ITSM and how we might think about shaking I.T. up!

We look forward to sharing this with you in the lead-up to Service Management 2016.

Best wishes,

Aprill Allen

Conference Director

3108, 2015

Service Management 2015 was a blast!

By |August 31st, 2015|Categories: blog, ITSM, Service Management 2015, wrap up|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Service Management 2015 was a blast!

The air is still a-buzz with the excitement of the Service Management 2015 Conference held at Sofitel Wentworth Sydney on the 20th-21st of August. It was a most enjoyable couple of days made special by a prolific line up of speakers, a great range of content, networking opportunities galore and some fantastic sponsor exhibitors! It was great to see so many engaged members of the ITSM community out in force and getting the most out of their conference experience.

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This year signalled a movement toward connecting delegates to learnings from outside the IT domain and addressing the theme of Building Customer Value. All four keynotes captivated the audience with their varied expertise and insights.

Lead demographer and social commentator Bernard Salt opened the conference with an engaging and humourous exposition of his insights on Tomorrow’s Customer. Nicole Forsgren PHD then brought the conversation back to the tech sphere with her insider’s look on the the world of DevOps.

On the second day delegates enjoyed an energetic presentation from Atlassian’s co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes on the ever-important topic of Scaling Service. Rounding out the keynote presentations was motivational speaker and bestselling author Dr Jason Fox, who entertained everyone with his fantastic imagery and leadership strategies.

jason fox

The annual itSMF Industry Gala Awards Dinner on the Thursday night was a fabulous mix of great food, hearty chuckles courtesy of the hilarious Jean Kittson and of course the celebration of some outstanding finalists and winners. The festivities kicked on late in to the night with good conversation and better dancing!

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Service Management 2015 would simply not have happened without our brilliant sponsors Alemba, Atlassian, Axios, CA Technologies, Unisys, UXC, Heat Software, Freshservice, Fujitsu, HP, Xtraction Solutions, BMC, ServiceNow, Sintegral, Solisma, and xMatters. Thank you all again for your support!

Special thanks to all the speakers who helped make this conference an inspiring and motivating one, and to the many volunteers who so graciously offered their time and effort into making this an event to remember!

You can relive delegate observations or start new discussions about the conference using the #smconfAU hashtag on twitter.

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That’s all folks and we hope to see you all in 2016!

608, 2015

Service Management in an as-a-service world – Part 2

By |August 6th, 2015|Categories: Business mapping, cloud, guest blogger, ITSM, shadowIT, UNISYS|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Service Management in an as-a-service world – Part 2

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With guest blogger Ian Krieger.

Why business mapping is critical to effective Service Management and how to get started.

In Part 1 we looked at why the cloud can give IT service management team more control – not less. Now let’s look at how to use business mapping to provide control and visability in a world where applications are offered as subscription services, from a multitude of vendors.

Use Business Mapping To Ensure IT Truly Supports the Business

A map looks at the context of complex systems. We’re familiar with technology roadmaps that match short-term and long-term goals with specific technology solutions to help meet those goals, often presented in a diagram. They are designed to help customers (including internal customers) understand the technology, current and future, that is at work in their business. But the technology view is only one part of the puzzle.
In addition to addressing the business’ immediate and projected needs you need to have a larger view of the product/capability that your organisation provides and the market forces that may impact it. The external forces range from market segment growth, competitive situation and your distribution channels through to political, economic and environmental factors – and more. There are also internal forces including the company, customers, suppliers and other constituents. This view is known as a market audit.
A business map takes this to the next level. It starts with identifying the need that the organisation is addressing with its product or service, the evolution of that product/service from an idea through to a marketable product and eventually a commodity.
Business maps arm the technologist, and business professional, with information that can be used to understand the overall business’ direction and what factors influence the various capabilities that underpin the central need of the value chain. This holistic view of the business gives context for recommendations and decisions. Hint: Get it right and there will be less instances of Shadow IT, as you will be able to understand the emerging needs of the business as it relates to its strategy
Here are six questions to help you start the mapping process:
1. Where are we now with the business capabilities, supporting processes and technologies?
2. What is the visibility and value placed on each of these
3. Where do we want or need to go with these? Ultimately the drive is to head toward commodity, however, that isn’t always the right answer as there are sometimes constraints
4. How do we get to where we want or need to be?
5. As the organisation moves from new and novel to commodity, what are your options for sourcing and delivering?
6. How will we know that we are on track?

If you’d like to know more about business mapping read my blog.

Transparency across multiple vendors

IDC predicts more than 65 percent of enterprise IT organisations globally will commit to hybrid cloud technologies before 2016. This hybrid environment encompasses everything from applications, to platforms to business services, providing the services the business needs dynamically.

So once you’ve mapped your organisation and selected your solutions how do you track and manage service delivery across multiple delivery modes and suppliers? How do you let the business know what is available to it? And how do you encourage the innovation through the adoption of new services?

Integrating the disparate IT and business systems and providing a clear view of what services are available to the business based on Persona allows everyone to know what is available. Most importantly this provides a way of tracking and measuring the services, both individually and holistically as they underpin key business capabilities.

As an Enterprise Solution provider we face this problem ourselves in deliver services to both our internal and external clients. To solve this we created VantagePointSM. This is designed to be a multi-sourced business services automation and aggregation platform. It consolidates disparate enterprise systems into a unified, real-time and personalised stream of intelligence, delivered via a dashboard on laptops, tablets and smartphones. This visibility and control that this offers, allows us and our clients to reduce the effort in maintaining and managing services.

So there’s no need to fear the cloud. Recognise it for what it is – a different way of delivering services that can actually give you more control, not less, provided you take the effort to jump into the driver’s seat and use your map.

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Ian Krieger is the Chief Architect for Unisys Asia Pacific & Japan. He has worked in the IT industry for more than 20 years. He has helped organisations throughout the region understand how to best use services and technology to support their business’ goals and strategies. Ian is a technologist who prefers to look at the practical applications of technology as opposed to the “shiny”.

3007, 2015

Service Management in an as-a-service world – Part 1

By |July 30th, 2015|Categories: blog, cloud, guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2015, shadowIT, UNISYS|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Service Management in an as-a-service world – Part 1

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With guest blogger Ian Krieger

Why moving to the cloud can give you more control, not less.

What are the opportunities and challenges for the IT service management team in a world where more applications are moving into the cloud, offered as subscription services, from a multitude of vendors? Can you keep control and visibility?

Recently I led a discussion at an itSMF Special Interest Group meeting about IT service management in an “as-a-Service” world – a world where the way IT is procured, delivered and consumed has fundamentally changed with the advent of cloud computing. Not that cloud computing is new by any means – particularly in smaller organisations, but it is now becoming more and more prevalent in large enterprises. Or it is expected to be…

While there has been a lot of hype around “the cloud”, what became apparent at the meeting is that most information is targeted at the executives in high level overviews, or at techies in great technical detail.

Meanwhile, the IT service management team has been left in the cold. There is little clear direction on “how to” or “where to start” and too much hype versus fact. Yet it is the service management team who often has the responsibility to “make it happen”.

In our discussion, which included IT service management professionals from government, financial services and IT vendors, the concerns/queries about service management in a cloud environment were startlingly consistent across industry sectors:

  •        What is the best way to monitor and report service delivery?
  •        How have other organisations done it?
  •        What is hybrid cloud and how do you manage it?
  •        How do you manage service integration across multiple vendors?

The Australian Government defines cloud computing as a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Interestingly, the itSMF group viewed cloud as a commercial model for delivering IT, rather than a technology. And the overriding concern is that these services are not in their control.

So how does cloud impact the policies, processes and procedures service management uses to plan, deliver, operate and control IT services offered to end-users?

For me it comes down to recognising that while traditional IT procurement has changed, you can still be in control; defining a clear – but flexible – business map for how the technology, processes and people will support the business; and ensuring transparency across multiple vendors.

New Ways of IT Procurement Don’t Have to Mean You Lose Control

Much of the fear of losing control comes from the feeling that IT departments are relinquishing control to IT third parties because they no longer own the IT and can’t see, touch or grab it. Yet in many ways they have more control than ever as it is easier to increase or decrease capacity quickly in response to changes in your organisation or the market in which it operates. And, if you chose the right vendor, they should provide you with regularly updated innovative solutions and contracted service levels rather than you being locked into a technology that will start to age as soon as you implement it.

Of course it’s not simple matter of moving everything into the cloud. Sometimes legislative requirements will dictate where data can be stored or who has access to it which may force an application to be insourced. Or it may depend on the maturity of an organisation’s approach to IT – an immature organisation may refuse to outsource because it is simply fearful of doing so whereas a mature approach is open to pushing risk outside the organisation.

And not all clouds are the same. A private cloud is used by a single organisation. A community cloud is for the exclusive use of a specific community of consumers with shared concerns (eg security requirements or mission). A public cloud is for open use by the general public. And a hybrid cloud is comprised of multiple distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community or public). Whilst the debate over public vs. private cloud services rages on, in the context of the above and the relative organisational needs and maturity, they all have a place.

This feeling of a loss of control can be exacerbated by departments choosing their own systems, easily bought and delivered over the Internet. However this “shadow IT” should not be feared – instead it should be seen as an indicator that the IT department is not delivering what they need. This is why business mapping is so important.

 

Part 2 of this blog will cover why business mapping is critical to ensuring IT and Service Management truly support the business and how to get started.

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Ian Krieger is the Chief Architect for Unisys Asia Pacific & Japan. He has worked in the IT industry for more than 20 years. He has helped organisations throughout the region understand how to best use services and technology to support their business’ goals and strategies. Ian is a technologist who prefers to look at the practical applications of technology as opposed to the “shiny”.

2207, 2015

4 critical components of successful IT metrics and reporting with Nikki Nguyen

By |July 22nd, 2015|Categories: Atlassian, blog, guest blogger, metrics, reporting, Service Management 2015|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on 4 critical components of successful IT metrics and reporting with Nikki Nguyen

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Let’s do the numbers

In IT, we love to measure and report. We just can’t help ourselves. But in our efforts to track every statistic possible, we often lose focus. So let’s change that. Let’s start asking questions like… Who will use the metrics? Why do we need them? Are we setting the right performance goals to reinforce the goals of our business–or could we even be working against them? Today, we’ll look at four very practical guidelines for measuring and reporting on IT performance, and for setting the right goals from the start.

1: Make sure IT performance goals jibe with your business goals

I recently opened a ticket online with a hardware vendor to ask about repair service. They responded quickly, and answered many (but not all) of my questions. Most concerning, though, was the email that I received a few minutes later: “Your ticket has been successfully resolved.”

Had it? Says who? While I appreciated the fast response, my issue had not, in fact, been resolved. Did someone close a ticket just so they could say it had been closed? The front line support team was clearly being evaluated on time-per-ticket, or percentage of tickets successfully resolved, or both.

Certainly, time-per-ticket and percentage of tickets resolved are legitimate measurements for IT operations. But what about the underlying problem I reported? If you’re not tracking at the incident and problem level (to look for common, overarching problems and a high volume of incidents associated with them), you’re missing an opportunity to help your business solve problems proactively instead of just reacting to them. More importantly, what about customer satisfaction? I didn’t feel my issue had been resolved. Now, I had to open another ticket and waste more of my own time. I grew frustrated. I gave up on the product.

In a haste to meet their operational performance metrics, they lost sight of much more important business goals: make customers happy and encourage referrals and repeat business.

To avoid this trap in your own organization, look for ways to set meaningful goals and measurements that encourage behavior in line with company and organization-wide goals. Incentivizing a low-level support team to close or escalate tickets quickly can actually cost the company more, and HDI even has the math to prove it:

image1

Source: HDI

So encourage your Level 1 support team to spend a bit longer collecting more information before escalating, and give them the training and resources they need to be more effective at resolving tickets, not just triaging them. The savings adds up quickly.

2: Share different metrics with different stakeholders

Have you ever sat through one of those tortuous meetings where one or more managers each deliver ten slides to share their key accomplishments and metrics for the quarter? The reason they are so torturous is simple: the reports lack context, and they aren’t relevant to you. There are two primary reasons you should cater your reports to the individual stakeholder you are sharing them with:

  • To give stakeholders the information they need to do their own jobs better.
  • To keep them from meddling.

The first is pretty obvious. Different stakeholders care about different things: a front-line IT manager cares deeply about technical performance data, while a CTO cares much more about the bigger picture. Avoid distributing generic, tell-all reports to large audiences altogether, and instead, meet with your key stakeholders and agree on the right measurements to help them achieve their goals.

The second is less obvious, but equally important. People love to meddle. We all do. I’ve watched a very senior IT executive review a very low-level list of unresolved IT incidents. He didn’t need that data. In fact, he had directors and managers he completely trusted to achieve the goals he had put in place. Once he had the data in front of him, he couldn’t help but ask questions and get involved. Distraction ensued.

The moral? Don’t include data for data’s sake. Yes, you need to be completely transparent about your performance, what you’re doing well, and how you can improve. But you don’t want to give the entire sink to every person who asks for a drink of water.

3: Use visuals to make reports easier to understand.

Excel spreadsheets full of raw data aren’t very effective as report-outs to your team members, peers, and leadership, because they require the viewer to interpret the data.

Fortunately, adding context to the data isn’t always so hard if you are already using a strong reporting dashboard. You want to provide clean, crisp, and easily understood reports that provide enough context to quickly communicate how you are doing against your goals, your benchmarks, and your history.

image2

For practitioners and front-line managers, consider using daily reports to show the top 10 issue types over the last 24 hours. They’re easy to read and understand, and can help your staff quickly hone in on any emerging categories that may growing in popularity.

image3

Trending reports can be even more helpful, because you can compare your performance over a period of time, and look for any anomalies that might be worth exploring further. If you looked at your time-to-resolution data in a vacuum each month, you would never notice that July and August showed a strong upward climb in the number of issues opened.

What caused that influx of new issues? Was a new software revision released? Did you ship a new product? Why were nearly a third of July’s issues unresolved, when most months the percentage was much higher? It’s important to look at the entire picture, and to understand the data you are looking at (and if possible, what caused it) before you share reports and discuss results.

4: Keep a scorecard

When a store clerk or passerby asks you how you are feeling, it’s customary to respond briefly with “I’m fine” or “A bit tired today.” It’s a quick way to summarize how you are feeling, without giving them the blow-by-blow account of every event over the last month or more that has lead up to how you are feeling today.

The same principle should apply in IT metrics and reporting. If you’re not using a scorecard as a simple, high-level way to both evaluate and communicate your team’s performance, it’s time to start now. An effective scorecard will include the objective or measurement you are scoring yourself against, and an easy “traffic light” system to indicate your current progress: red (at risk), yellow (caution), or green (good).

The most important thing about a scorecard is to be honest. Nobody performs perfectly at all times, so giving yourself a green smiley across every category at every reporting interval will likely cause more alarm and disbelief than praise. Plus, when something truly does go wrong, you are more likely to get support and understanding if you have been candidly assessing your performance and flagging the areas that are putting you at risk.

A basic scorecard for operational performance might look something like this, and is a great way to quickly update stakeholders without burying them in unnecessary technical data.

Screenshot (12)

More advanced scorecards, like balanced scorecards, can measure IT’s contribution to larger business goals, and are effective at tracking the performance across entire organizations and companies.

Putting it all to use

The above are just guiding principles to help you narrow in on what you want to report, and how. To learn more about implementing SLAs and metrics in JIRA Service Desk, watch Lucas Dussurget’s killer presentation at Atlassian Summit 2014. It’s full of our own top tricks, examples, and best practices based on tons of customer implementations. And for a deep-dive on figuring out what you should be measuring, be sure to check out another excellent presentation from Summit 2014–this one by John Custy.

 

This article was originally published on the Atlassian website.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nikki Nguyen

Associate Product Marketing Manager, JIRA Service Desk

Although my life in IT is behind me, it’s not too far away. I’m now a recovering systems administrator evangelizing the way teams work by using JIRA Service Desk. I’ve found a love of combining customer service with technology.

 

Nikki is presenting at Service Management 2015.

 

 

 

907, 2015

Love DevOps? Wait ’till you meet SRE – with guest blogger Patrick Hill

By |July 9th, 2015|Categories: Atlassian, blog, developers, DevOps, guest blogger, protips, Site Reliability Engineering, SRE|Comments Off on Love DevOps? Wait ’till you meet SRE – with guest blogger Patrick Hill

headshots-large-PH

 

 

 

 

Site Reliability Engineering may be the most important acronym you’ve never heard of – here’s why.

You may have heard of a little company called Google. They invent cool stuff like driverless cars and elevators into outer space. Oh: and they develop massively successful applications like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Maps. It’s safe to say they know a thing or two about successful application development, right?

They’re also the pioneers behind a growing movement called Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). SRE effectively ends the age-old battles between Development and Operations. It encourages product reliability, accountability, and innovation – minus the hallway drama you’ve come to expect in what can feel like Software Development High School.

How? Let’s look at the basics.

What in the world is SRE?

Google’s mastermind behind SRE, Ben Treynor, still hasn’t published a single-sentence definition, but describes site reliability as “what happens when a software engineer is tasked with what used to be called operations.”

The underlying problem goes like this: Dev teams want to release awesome new features to the masses, and see them take off in a big way. Ops teams want to make sure those features don’t break things. Historically, that’s caused a big power struggle, with Ops trying to put the brakes on as many releases as possible, and Dev looking for clever new ways to sneak around the processes that hold them back. (Sounds familiar, I’d wager.)

SRE removes the conjecture and debate over what can be launched and when. It introduces a mathematical formula for green- or red-lighting launches, and dedicates a team of people with Ops skills (appropriately called Service Reliability Engineers, or SRE’s) to continuously oversee the reliability of the product. As Google’s own SRE Andrew Widdowson describes it, “Our work is like being a part of the world’s most intense pit crew. We change the tires of a race car as it’s going 100mph.”

Doesn’t sound revolutionary yet? Much of the magic is in how it works. Here are some of the core principles – which also happen to be some of the biggest departures from traditional IT operations.

First, new launches are green-lighted based on current product performance.

Most applications don’t achieve 100% uptime. So for each service, the SRE team sets a service-level agreement (SLA) that defines how reliable the system needs to be to end-users. If the team agrees on a 99.9% SLA, that gives them an error budget of 0.1%. An error budget is exactly as it’s named: it’s the maximum allowable threshold for errors and outages.

ProTip: You can easily convert SLAs into “minutes of downtime” with this cool uptime cheat sheet.

Here’s the clincher: The development team can “spend” this error budget in any way they like. If the product is currently running flawlessly, with few or no errors, they can launch whatever they want, whenever they want. Conversely, if they have met or exceeded the error budget and are operating at or below the defined SLA, all launches are frozen until they reduce the number of errors to a level that allows the launch to proceed.

The genius? Both the SREs and developers have a strong incentive to work together to minimize the number of errors.

SREs can code, too

In the old model, you throw people at a reliability problem and keep pushing (sometimes for a year or more) until the problem either goes away or blows up in your face.

Not so in SRE. Both the development and SRE teams share a single staffing pool, so for every SRE that is hired, one less developer headcount is available (and vice versa). This ends the never-ending headcount battle between Dev and Ops, and creates a self-policing system where developers get rewarded with more teammates for writing better performing code (i.e., code that needs less support from fewer SREs).

SREsTalking

 

SRE teams are actually staffed entirely with rock-star developer/sys-admin hybrids who not only know how to find problems, but fix them, too. They interface easily with the development team, and as code quality improves, are often moved to the development team if fewer SRE’s are needed on a project.

In fact, one of the core principles mandates that SRE’s can only spend 50% of their time on Ops work. As much of their time as possible should be spent writing code and building systems to improve performance and operational efficiency.

Developers get their hands dirty, too

At Google, Ben Treynor had to fight for this clause, and he’s glad he did. In fact, in his great keynote on SRE at SREcon14 he emphasizes that getting this commitment from your executives before you launch SRE should be mandatory.

Basically, the development team handles 5% of all operations workload (handling tickets, providing on-call support, etc.). This allows them to stay closely connected to their product, see how it is performing, and make better coding and release decisions.

In addition, any time the operations load exceeds the capacity of the SRE team, the overflow always gets assigned to the developers. When the system is working well, the developers begin to self-regulate here as well, writing strong code and launching carefully to prevent future issues.

SRE’s are free agents (and can be pulled, if needed)

To make sure teams stay healthy and happy, Treynor recommends allowing SRE’s to move to other projects as they desire, or even move to a different organization. SRE encourages highly motivated, dedicated, and effective teamwork – so no team member should be held back from pursuing his or her own personal objectives.

If an entire team of SREs and developers simply can’t get along and are creating more trouble than reliable code, there’s a final drastic measure you can take: Pull the entire SRE team off of the project, and assign all of the operations workload directly to the development team. Treynor has only done this a couple times in his entire career, and the threat is usually enough to bring both teams around to a more positive working relationship.

There’s quite a bit more to SRE than I can cover in once article – like how SRE prevents production incidents, how on-call support teams are staffed and the rules they follow on each shift, etc.

Our take

IT is full of buzzwords and trends, to be sure. One minute it’s cloud, the next it’s DevOps or customer experience or gamification. SRE is in a strong position to become much more than that, particularly since it is far more about the people and process than the technology that underlies them. While technology certainly can (and likely will) adapt to the concept as it matures and more teams adopt it, you don’t need new tools to align your development and operations organizations around the principles of Site Reliability Engineering.

In future articles, we’ll look at just that: practical steps for taking a step towards SRE, and the role technology can play.

 

This article was originally published on the Atlassian website.


Patrick Hill, Site Reliability Engineer, has been with Atlassian a while now, and recently transfered from Sydney to our Austin office. (G’day, y’all!) In my free time, I enjoy taking my beard from “distinguished professor” to “lumberjack” and back again. Find me on Twitter! @topofthehill

Patrick’s colleagues Sam Jebeile and Nick Wright will be discussing SRE in depth at Service Management 2015.

 

 

 

107, 2015

The Missing Ingredient For Successful Problem Management

By |July 1st, 2015|Categories: blog, guest blogger, incidents, ITSM, problem management, Service Management 2015, Workshop|Comments Off on The Missing Ingredient For Successful Problem Management

Michael-Hall

 

 

 

 

 

With guest blogger Michael Hall.

Many problem management implementations fail or have limited success because they miss one key ingredient in their practice: having trained problem managers leading problem investigations using structured methods. By following a few simple guidelines, your problem management function can be successful from day one or rescued from its current low levels of performance.

Typical implementation

A typical problem management process document usually covers roles and responsibilities, how the process works and a little bit about governance.

Roles and responsibilities usually covers just resolver groups and the process owner. It is surprising how frequently the problem manager role is not defined at all. Responsibilities for the resolver group usually includes ‘investigate root cause’ and ‘update and close problems’. The problem manager is often given responsibilities like ‘assign problems to resolver groups’ and ‘track problem progress’.

The process normally covers the steps but does not say how to go about solving problems. Commonly, the process is simply ‘assign the problem to a resolver group for investigation’. Usually the resolver group also owns closure. This means that there is no way of knowing if the root cause found is correct or if the solution is adequate.

The result is that many implementations do not achieve their expected results. I call this approach ‘passive’ or administrative problem management. The impact on reducing incidents is usually minimal.

If your monthly major incident data looks like this, you may have one of these typical implementations:

SMAC-2015-Blog-Michael-Hall-Graph-Major-Incidents

Figure 1: Monthly Occurrence of Major Incidents.

The Alternative – ‘Active’ Problem Management

The missing ingredient in a typical implementation is skilled problem managers using a structured approach to solving problems. By structured, I mean a consistent, evidence-based method, either by adopting one of the major problem-solving frameworks such as Kepner and Fourie, or by agreeing your own set of steps (I set out one version in my book). Deciding on a standard method that everyone will use with NO exceptions is the critical success factor for effective problem management.

The benefits are:

    • Speed to root cause – a standard approach yields results more quickly –around  60% quicker in fact (see Figure 2)
    • Consistency – all your problem managers can be equally successful
    • Certainty that real causes are found – because investigations are based on evidence and not guesswork and theories, you can show that the causes found are correct
    • Collaboration – if you do problem management the same way every time, teams know what to expect, they can see the good results and they get used to working together without confusion

SMAC-2015-Blog-Michael-Hall-Graph-Average-time-to-root-causeFigure 2: Average time to find root cause in two problem management implementations.

Problem Managers Lead Investigation Sessions

Because it is the problem managers who are highly skilled in problem solving techniques, they should facilitate problem management investigations in conjunction with the technical experts, then work with subject matter experts to determine solutions to problems and track implementation to ensure the problem is entirely fixed. The problem management function should be responsible for reporting root cause, progress on resolution and all the metrics and KPIs related to problem management, but (very important!) making sure that the subject matter experts get the credit for solving the problems.

Track and validate solutions

To gain the main benefit you are after – reducing the occurrence of major incidents – problem management also needs to apply a structured approach to finding solutions, getting approval to implement and tracking the implementation to an agreed target due date.

The Results

This is what successful problem management looks like when you have skilled problem managers using a structured approach to finding root cause and finding and implementing permanent solutions. When problems stop causing incidents, the incident rate goes down quite rapidly.

SMAC-2015-Blog-Michael-Hall-Graph-Major-Incidents-2

Figure 3: Monthly Occurrence of Major Incidents.

 

Michael has over 25 years experience in IT, developing and leading teams, managing change programs and implementing Service Management. Now a specialist in Service Operations, he founded Problem Management as a global function at Deutsche Bank and is a Chartered IT Professional (CITP). Michael will be leading a workshop on Implementing Real World Problem Management at Service Management 2015.

2206, 2015

5 reasons why IT teams should use Net Promoter

By |June 22nd, 2015|Categories: blog, guest blogger, ITSM, Net Promoter®, Service Management 2015, Workshop|Comments Off on 5 reasons why IT teams should use Net Promoter

SMAC-2015-Speaker-Dave-OReardon

 

 

 

 

With guest blogger Dave O’Reardon

For those of you not familiar with Net Promoter®, let’s start with a 1 minute introduction..

Net Promoter is an open-source methodology used by 65% of the world’s top 200 companies to grow their businesses by increasing customer loyalty.  At its heart is a metric called the Net Promoter Scoresm (NPS®) that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services.

An NPS is calculated by asking customers a question along the lines of, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?”. Based on their rating, a customer is categorised as a Detractor (when they give a rating of 6 or below), a Passive (7 or 8) or a Promoter (9 or 10).  The NPS is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. This results in a score ranging from -100 (all your customers think you’re rubbish) to +100 (all your customers think you’re the bee’s knees).

Two very valuable follow-up questions ask the customer why they gave that rating, and what the number one thing is that they’d like to see improved.

With me so far? Great. Net Promoter, as a system for driving service improvement, is often overlooked or rejected by IT teams because of the irrelevance of the “likely to recommend” question for an internal service provider. But that concern is easy to address by simply changing the wording of that question (a topic for another day!). With the question reworded, you’re free to enjoy the benefits that Net Promoter has to offer.

Here are the top five reasons that IT teams should adopt it:

1. It is a globally proven service improvement methodology trusted by brands such as Apple, Google, Rackspace and Zappos. There are a mountain of case studies that show how effective it can be. Net Promoter has been around since 2006 and Google Trends shows that interest has been steadily growing ever since – it’s not going away anytime soon! If your organisation is already using Net Promoter, then using it for IT is a no-brainer. And if it’s not, then IT can lead the way. Your organisation probably won’t be far behind.

2.  Unlike traditional surveys for gathering customer feedback, a Net Promoter survey – with only three questions – is ridiculously quick and easy for customers to complete. Not only that but the third question (“What is the number one thing we could do to improve?”) is like having a service management consultant working for you for free. Forget process maturity assessments! If you’re serious about improving service and delivering value, everything you need to know is contained in your customers’ answers to that one question.

3.  The Net Promoter concept is simple to understand by staff at all levels.  The survey is simple, the calculation is simple and the behavioural change it requires is simple – focus on reducing the number of detractors.  And how do you do that? Just read the feedback given by your customers in answer to Questions 2 and 3 and all will be revealed.

4. About 75% of IT teams do customer satisfaction surveys of one sort or another. They run the survey, calculate a metric and bury the results in a management report. But in all but a few cases, no improvement action is taken. This is where Net Promoter comes into its own. It includes some fantastic practices that help you turn customer feedback into prioritised actions that lead to improved customer satisfaction/loyalty.

5. When you use a standard question, rating scale and calculation method you can benchmark yourself against others using that same method. An NPS is standardised so you can compare your NPS to that of other IT teams. Hell, because brand and industry NPS scores are widely published, you can even compare yourself to other organisations such as Qantas, iiNet or the Commonwealth Bank.  One of our clients, who used Net Promoter to improve IT customer satisfaction by 25 points in just 6 months, had the rallying cry of “Let’s not be a Toyota, let’s be a BMW”, referring to the relative Net Promoter Scores of those brands.

If you’re not surveying your customers to understand how they perceive your performance, you should be. And if you’re not using Net Promoter to do it, you should be.

Dave O’Reardon is leading a workshop onCustomer-driven service improvement with Net Promoter’ at Service Management 2015.

Net Promoter, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld

 

 

 

2206, 2015

Guerrilla IT – how to be an IT rebel with a cause

By |June 22nd, 2015|Categories: blog, GuerillaIT, guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2015, Workshop|Comments Off on Guerrilla IT – how to be an IT rebel with a cause

Mark Smalley Photo

 

 

 

 

With guest blogger Mark Smalley

I conducted two pre-conference workshops about ‘Guerrilla IT’ at the itSMF Norway annual event in March 2015. The idea for Guerrilla IT emerged in conversations with itSMF Norway’s Sofi Falberg at a conference in 2014. We spoke about people feeling the need to make relatively low key and informal individual contributions to improving ITSM, possibly under corporate radar. And that’s when I coined the term Guerrilla IT. Then before I knew it, I had committed to delivering a workshop about it in the new Service Bazaar format! In an expanded format, this workshop is programmed as one of the pre-conference workshops for itSMF Australia’s annual conference.

I announced the workshop as follows:

“Do you want to do something really worthwhile in IT yet keep getting ambushed by mealy-mouthed middle managers with their petty policies? In this interactive workshop we’ll explore and discover how to identify realistic initiatives and how to deploy them under corporate radar while keeping out of friendly fire. You’ll leave the session with some ideas for your specific situation as well as an arsenal of weapons for an IT rebel with a cause.”

In the Norwegian workshop we explored the following eight topics:

  1.      The concerns they the participants had at their organisation or in the case of consultants, one of their clients
  2.      The relationships that they thought needed the most improvement
  3.      The kind of behaviour that business people and IT people should exhibit
  4.      The factors that drive behaviour, and therefore need to be changed in order to influence behaviour
  5.      The degree of freedom that their organisation consciously or unconsciously afford them to take behave like an IT guerrillero or guerrillera
  6.      Their person appetite for heroic behaviour
  7.      The kind of guerrilla IT tactics that, given their organisation’s and their own nature, would be effective
  8.   Their ‘rebel’s resolutions’ – the takeaways that they could apply at work

Given the limited nature of a blog, here are the participants’ concerns and their thoughts on the kind of behaviour that would help improve things. This should give you an idea of what your peers think.

Participants concerns

  •        Ill-conceived services being abandoned on the doorstep of the ITSM department
  •        Lack of IT awareness of the business context and in particular the customers’ interests – in other words no business focus
  •        The shift from ITSM to Service Management in general
  •        The difficulties of changing the culture in an organisation, in particular resistance to change
  •        Lack of basic trust
  •        The challenges of working in a dysfunctional organisation
  •        The challenges of working in a disconnected organisation in which IT seems to live in a world of its own
  •        Change-overload – too much change to deal with

Desired behaviour  

I started off doing the behaviour part of the workshop in 2013 and have compiled and summarised the results of seven workshops, fine-tuning them from time to time as new insights emerge. The findings are categorised in three sections: (1) behaviour that applies to business people and IT people in an enterprise in equal measure; (2) IT-related behaviour that effective business people exhibit; (3) behaviour that you observe in effective IT people.

  1.   Enterprise

The enterprise fosters a culture in which business and IT share a joint vision and are part of the same story, have an ongoing dialogue, have mature conversations, strike balances, enjoy working together

  1.      Business people
  •        Specify outcomes rather than solutions
  •        Articulate needs and expectations clearly
  •        Set priorities, take decisions, accept risks
  •        Understand IT’s capabilities and limitations
  •        Participate in activities such as testing
  1.      IT people
  •        Understand business processes and outcomes, and impact of IT
  •        Talk in business terms about benefits, costs and risks, not systems and features
  •        Proactively suggest innovations to the business
  •        React to business change without being surprised that things change
  •        Replace ‘technical’ SLA’s by simple, honest and meaningful reporting

The burning question, of course, is how you achieve a change in behaviour. This is why I asked the participants to think about which factors drive behaviour. Their main  findings were: an understanding the consequences of their actions, a belief that change might be for the better of the enterprise and customers, a common goal (or enemy), likelihood of personal benefit, urgency, a ‘half-full’ attitude, and KPIs that are effective rather than those than invite contra-productive behaviour.

I’m much looking forward to exploring this further in Sydney, and will most certainly publish the findings.

 

This post was originally on Mark Smalley’s blog.

 

Mark Smalley is an IT Management Consultant at Smalley.IT and is specialised in application management and business information management. He is affiliated with the non-profit ASL BiSL Foundation, APMG-International, GamingWorks and AllThingsITSM. Mark is an inaugural member of the industry initiatives SM Congress and Taking Service Forward.

 

1006, 2015

The Other Big Data Problem

By |June 10th, 2015|Categories: Big Data, guest blogger, ITSM, Service Management 2015|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on The Other Big Data Problem

 

David-Oakley-Service-Now-Grey-Scale

 

 

 

by guest blogger David Oakley, Managing Director, ANZ at ServiceNow.

It’s hard to miss one of today’s biggest technology opportunities confronting large enterprises – big data. Companies are amassing vast amounts of data ranging from website activity, user data, support issues and even directly from products that are deployed in the field. The quest, of course, is to find patterns, glean understanding and extract knowledge that will help improve the company’s business.

Unlocking the big data opportunity represents massive upside for enterprises, but there’s another big data issue plaguing many IT organisations. In many cases, IT lacks a single source of truth, a centralised, comprehensive understanding of IT services, the hardware and software underpinning these services, the way they interact and are configured, the cost of delivering these services, service level management, the demands for new or improved services, the associated projects, the upcoming changes and how all of these things Interact.

For IT, the service experience is the end state. This IT big data challenge stems from the necessity of IT to deliver on this service experience, to keep the services running and rapidly change as business needs change.

The lack of comprehensive truth directly translates to essential qualities, such as data centre or network uptime, application availability, security, ease of maintenance and the ability to implement change. Simply put, when you don’t know what you are working with, how it is configured or should be configured and how it impacts other things, you are fundamentally working in the dark. The repercussions are enormous. The wasted time spent by companies chasing what they think the issue is rather than what it really is becomes a massive overhead.

At a base level is the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) – often the object of controversy and deep misunderstanding. Who takes ownership? How is it done? How do you make it comprehensive? Is CMDB the starting point or the finishing line? Then, as soon as it is created, it is out of date!

The issue is not just the CMDB itself but the fragmentation that exists among IT tools and systems—islands and moats that prevent a centralised view and systematic consistency. Solving this crisis necessitates jettisoning individual, standalone tools and having a single system of record for IT. Once you have moved to a single system of record, you can focus on streamlining your process to ensure accuracy and decrease the time taken to recover from system impact. Ultimately, it means service quality up, costs down and a level of control that the business expects.

In the end, it is IT’s sole purpose to be a trusted advisor and service delivery partner for their users. After all, so much of the organisation is reliant on the data that IT manages for company services.

Does your IT organisation have a single understanding of IT costs and charge back? Service delivery – both by internal and vendor sources? Hardware and software asset management? Can you ensure consistency across all delivery models and resources? Are you well positioned for effectively managing an ever-changing landscape of applications and infrastructure? And are you prepared to extend your data across the company?

If the answer is ‘No’ to many or all of the above then a single system of record for IT is a proven solution to your IT big data challenge.

 

This article was originally published in the itSMFA April 2015 Bulletin.

 

2805, 2015

Standards

By |May 28th, 2015|Categories: guest blogger, ITSM, standards|Comments Off on Standards

claire-brereton

 

 

 

With guest blogger Claire Brereton

 

I have been involved in international standards since about 2008. In 2009 as a relatively new itSMF Director and a total standards greenhorn, I went on a ‘mission’ to an International Standards meeting in China to gain an understanding of what was happening in the service management standards space.

itSMF UK had been lobbying for involvement from other major chapters and there were significant concerns at the time about groups without service management understanding unduly influencing our global best practice standard.

ISO/IEC 20000 was published in 2005 and it was the first global service management standard. To be certified against ISO/IEC 20000 an organisation is audited against a set of processes which span management, governance and service management. It is a ‘management system’ standard like ISO9001 the quality standard, which means that it provides a model for setting up and following a system of management. Like all standards, it is created by international consensus, through a series of drafts, contributions from involved countries, reviews and country ballots. ISO works much like the United Nations in that respect. You don’t have to follow any particular methodology to gain ISO/IEC 20000 certification, but its roots are in ITIL.

As well as the main standard, Part 1, there is a comprehensive guidance document, a sample implementation project plan, advice on application for cloud providers and a scoping guide for auditors. The standard series went through a major revision in 2011/12 (aligning with several other standards and also updating to incorporate ITIL Version 3 lifecycle concepts.)

Since 2009 I have been Australian representative to ISO on Service Management working group. That involves gathering and agreeing Australian opinion on proposed changes and additions to the standard and its parts. itSMF is the peak body in Australia which has input to service management standards, in common with ITSMF chapters globally. I am also involved with an ISO group for IT standards for Very Small Entities—which is of interest to Australia with its many small businesses. Some of the most active contributors are UK, India, China, Japan, Korea and USA. All except China (no itSMF chapter) have itSMF members on the international committee. I also represent Australia on an ISO group for IT standards for Very Small Entities – which is of interest to Australia with its many small businesses. They are proposing a new standard which includes service management elements for VSEs, which will be hotly debated before an Australian position is reached.

 

Claire Brereton is the principal of Brereton Consulting, and founded the company in 2008 after working as an CIO and running major IT programs in diverse industry sectors including Healthcare, Financial Services and Manufacturing. Her contribution to the industry has recently been recognised by her peers when she was honoured with the title of FACS (Fellow of the Australian Computer Society).

 She is a GAICD (Graduate of the Austrlian Institute of Company Directors), ITIL Master, certified ISO/IEC 20000 Practitioner and PRINCE2 Practitioner.

 

This article was originally published in the itSMFA April 2015 Bulletin.

 

 

505, 2015

Q&A with Sandy Mamoli!

By |May 5th, 2015|Categories: blog, ITSM, Kanban, QandA, Service Management 2015, Workshop|Comments Off on Q&A with Sandy Mamoli!

Sandy Mamoli Photo

 

 

 

 

 

From working with Sony Ericsson’s global enterprise website in Amsterdam and Copenhagen to being one of NZ’s leading Agile coaches and Chair of Agile Welly , Sandy Mamoli brings her practical European flair and passionate advocacy of all things Agile to NZ businesses. She’s a former Olympian, a geek, a gadget junkie and emerging triathlete. Sandy is one of the owners and co-founders of Nomad8.

You know your way around a Kanban board. How would you explain the concept to a beginner?

Kanban is a way of managing your list of things to do. In a clear and visual way you can see what’s important and urgent, as well as what you’ve achieved and what’s coming up. It’s tactile – moving sticky notes from one column to the next is immensely satisfying. And it’s universal – from school kids managing their homework schedule to developers planning their tasks and stories, it works.

Has your use of Kanban changed the way you approach things outside of the workplace? If so how?

I admit that I use my Kanbanfor1 board for almost everything now. It gives me a really clear sense of what’s on my plate both in and out of work. I feel a lot more in control of my ‘things to do’ which actually gives me more freedom to enjoy my non-busy time. My partner and I even share a board when we’re planning together – like a holiday, or moving house.

If you could express the essence of Kanban in one word, what would it be and why?

One word – that’s hard! I want to say ‘simplicity’ but there’s also ‘productivity’ and a certain amount of ‘zen’.

The best word though may well be ‘flow’.
Tasks and work and projects flow through your life. Kanban helps to manage that flow. The board lets you visualise the flow.

You’re a former Olympian and no stranger to achievement! Tell us a bit about the qualities one needs to think like an Olympian in their work.

Focus, ambition, collaboration. An Olympic athlete is no stranger to these things. Hours and weeks and months and years of hard, consistent training. Laser sharp focus on the task at hand. A shared team goal and purpose. Big dreams and the courage to follow through. There is no time for slackers, but there is much learning from failure. I think I’m a lot less intense now than in those days, but I still work hard and love a good massage!

 

Sandy will be leading a workshop on Kanbanfor1 at Service Management 2015.

505, 2015

Gamification – What is in for you as an ITSM expert playing Apollo13?

By |May 5th, 2015|Categories: blog, Gamification, ITSM, QandA, Service Management 2015, Workshop|Comments Off on Gamification – What is in for you as an ITSM expert playing Apollo13?

Suresh GP Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

By guest blogger Suresh GP

This blog stems from my experience participating at the Apollo 13 Business simulation played in Delhi recently.

We had around 8 delegates who were specialized in delivering ITSM engagements internally or externally to their clients. One of the key differences of the workshop was that we had 8 people from 6 different companies who were meeting and interacting for the first time.

From a background and experience perspective, delegates had around 10+ years of experience on average and belonged to some leading end user organizations/IT companies in India & abroad. While the participants voiced several key learnings over the 4 rounds as mentioned below, I had some great eye openers with this event and that is the beauty of running such simulations. Every time, the context, reflection and outcomes are totally different.

My personal takeaways from the whole exercise were as follows

a) Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing exercise team building can be done easily when you have the new joiners running through this simulation as part of the New- Hire Orientation. They have fun, learn a lot and develop personal bonds quickly before they are deployed to projects

b) While trainings like ITIL V3 Foundation need an investment of 2 days worth of time and effort, these simulations bring about significant learning aspects to build competencies like knowledge, behaviors, skills and attitude

c) One of the ITIL V3 Expert trainers mentioned that this simulation was an eye opener and a great experience of learning by doing. By this way he believed that the retention of knowledge would be far longer for students

d) It would be a great opportunity to play a simulation with the project stakeholders before kicking off the ITSM project. There is a whole lot of things that we unlearn and learn just by doing

e) Finally, lots of people have difficulty in articulating how to drive CSI in their organizations. With rounds 1 to 4, there are action items that get reflected by participants that allow us to see definite improvements to carry those skills into the workplace. This could aid them for better efficiency and effectiveness in their journey to service excellence.

Suresh GP is conducting a workshop on ‘Gamification: Apollo 13 – Failure is not an Option!

2404, 2015

Q&A with Rob England!

By |April 24th, 2015|Categories: blog, ITSM, QandA, Service Management 2015, SMTruths, Workshop|Tags: , |Comments Off on Q&A with Rob England!

Rob England Photo Rob England is a self-employed IT commentator and consultant. Internationally, he is best known for his blog The IT Skeptic and half a dozen books on IT. Rob was the NZ IT Service Management Champion for 2010, and his blog was voted the best “IT consultant and analyst” blog in the UK’s Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards for 2010. He is an acknowledged contributor to ITIL (2011 Service Strategy book).

You’re known as the IT Skeptic. How might your brand of skepticism be beneficial when approaching service management?

The IT sector is prone to fads. We are an ill-disciplined rabble who run after anything shiny and noisy that comes by. There is a deficiency of data supporting many ideas, and an absence of objectivity, especially amongst the vendors and analysts who drum up whole new products. CMDB is a case in point. Somebody has to provide an antidote to the Kool Aid. I try to do that with a dose of common sense and realism.

The hashtag you started on twitter, #SMtruths has encouraged some great responses – what are some of your favourites and why?

The #SMTruths idea came to me when i looked at my burger (I don’t often eat fast food) and realised it bore no resemblance to the shiny picture on the menu I ordered from. So I started tweeting reflections on the profound fundamentals of service management, the enduring truths that underlie all the more complex ideas we lay on top.

I want the thread to be thoughtful, lateral, insightful, startling, and amusing. And of course: its a hashtag thread, so folk can join in. I compile them here.
Some of my favourites are:

It takes as long as it takes to put the fire out.
MTTR as a service level target is silly.

The world refuses to be defined, repeatable, managed and measured.
We cannot treat everything in IT as if it were a manufacturing process. Manufacturing concepts have been way over-used. (See also MTTR).

In a dynamically changing world, no process or technology is as flexible as humans.
We are way too quick to jump to technology. Often people are better. (See also CMDB)

IT is 1% innovation.
IT people are fascinated by novelty and transformation. Most of the time we ought to be getting on with our jobs.

A service is not an object or technology. It is an action, activity, people. Use verbs to describe services.
Self-explanatory that one.

Your upcoming workshop is titled ‘Dead Cat Syndrome.’ Outside of sounding like a wave of bad luck for the veterinarian community – what does this concept mean for those in service management and what is your prescribed cure for it?

In many organisations, putting a new project into production is akin to lobbing a dead cat over a wall. No operating model, little or no operational procedures developed, minimal last minute training for the service desk and operations. Supplier contracts don’t align with service commitments. There are no service commitments – no SLA exists. The project disbands the moment the system goes live. If you are lucky someone is still around to answer questions.
IT Operations needs to put controls in place to prevent this. Projects benefit from these controls by having a better definition of the end goal and a better end product. You can find out more here.

Catch Rob England’s workshops on both ‘Dead Cat Syndrome’  and ‘BSM: Basic Service Management’ at at Service Management 2015.

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