Thursday, May 05, 2011
I’m writing a presentation called “Cowboys, Acrobats and Rainmakers” - all about how we are losing control of the core of IT Production - for itSMF in Ottawa, Canada.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
What does the term “IT Service Management” mean to you?
What does the term “IT Service Management” mean to you? This is a question I asked in a poll over on my blog. Since this conference is called an ITSM conference it is a useful question to ask here too.
I gave five meaningful options in the poll:
- Service desk, incident, problem, operational change, SLAs
- Service delivery and service support
- Service lifecycle from business idea to system retirement
- One way of describing IT operations
- One way of describing IT
Personally my opinion falls somewhere between options 4 and 5. I no longer regard ITSM as a practice/discipline in its own right, although there is one at the heart of it. I think it is more of a perspective - a way of assessing and managing and improving - everything we do on IT, or at least in IT operations.
I say “everything we do in IT” because I think ITSM sheds light on the business-IT relationship, on how business uses and manages IT, and even on governance of IT.
I say “or at least in IT operations” because I’m prepared to accept that ITSM need have little to say about the Acquire and Build practices of IT beyond specifying functional and non-functional requirements. Note “need have”: Acquire and Build can be integral parts of service management, and can be conducted from an ITSM perspective, if the culture of the organisation allows. On the other hand, if the Development sub-culture wants Operations to just butt out then so be it - that can be accommodated by encapsulating Acquire/Build. (The concept that Development somehow owns Operations or subsumes what we do under the Acquire/Build process - as proposed by many Agile and DevOps proponents - is a concept that I consider dangerous and destructive. But that’s another discussion…)
What do you think? What is ITSM? Is it the narrow world of dealing with requests, incidents, problems, SLAs, and changes to production? Or is it a way of talking about everything to do with information systems? Or something in-between?
Friday, April 15, 2011
Be Here Now
Baba Ram Dass said it in the Seventies “be here now” (confession: I own the book). He also said “any trip you want to take leads to the same place”, but after all it WAS the Seventies.
We said it on this blog recently, quoting Nicholas Carr and Dr. Joanne Cantor (although that involved less psychedelia than Richard Alpert’s book about the Baba):
The theme of #PINK12 is “Knowledge Translated Into Results”. Clearly one message is going to be that you won’t translate much unless you give the knowledge your full attention.
And Tony Schwartz said it again just recently in this HBR post:
Human beings aren’t designed to do two cognitive tasks at the same time (much less three or four). The research is clear that we’re far more efficient when we do activities sequentially rather than simultaneously. We also do higher quality work when we’re singly focused, and remember more of anything we’re trying to learn.
Tony cites Paul Atchley, Ph.D., an associate professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Kansas, who says, also on HBR:
Based on over a half-century of cognitive science and more recent studies on multitasking, we know that multitaskers do less and miss information. It takes time (an average of 15 minutes) to re-orient to a primary task after a distraction such as an email. Efficiency can drop by as much as 40%. Long-term memory suffers and creativity — a skill associated with keeping in mind multiple, less common, associations — is reduced.
Am I drumming this message too hard on a conference blog? There is a zeal given to those who really believe something is important (and something similar is given to drug-addled Californian ex-psychologists). I think it is important. I really fear the Western world’s ability to think is in decline. It is by no means all due to the Internet, or Google, or social media. It started a century ago with post-modernism. It was kicked along by the spawn of post-modernism: political correctness and the triumph of the airheads. But the Internet, Google and social media sure aren’t helping. Like Nicholas Carr, I don’t like what they have done to my brain or the brains around me.
Fight the distractions. Don’t multi-task. Be Here Now.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Late Night Sustenance
One of the challenges of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Bellagio is located, is appeasing late night munchies. You’d think the street would be over-run with fast food and 7-11s but noooo. They want to keep you in the casinos. The hotels do have snack shops, including the Bellagio. But my mortgage is high enough already. And as for the minibars or room service…
Paul Wilkinson, who many conference attendees from this year will remember from his great ABC card deck, applied ITIL theory to the problem:
Phil Day learnt the hard way what happens without proper ITSM planning:
Chris Dancy, the Social Pinker, concurs:
There are convenience stores within walking distance “off-Strip” if you know where to look, and hotel concierges can be persuaded to provide directions. But wandering down the side streets late at night is not for everyone. So stock up with your favourite stuff before you hit Vegas.
(It is also near impossible to find brain food on The Strip - surprise! Bring some good reading material too.)
Friday, April 01, 2011
The Musical Album Theme For PINK12
I’m sure you are all wondering what the musical theme will be for next year’s conference, or even if there will be a musical theme at all. I’ve been asking and asking poor David Ratcliffe about it, and finally the truth is out. The Pinkers are down to a shortlist of potential albums and can’t decide. So here are the current options, in descending order of popularity.
- Nirvana’s “Insecticide” embraces the new generations entering the ITSM workforce
- Metallica’s “Kill Em All” is a classic that probably appeals more to the main conference demographic
- Bjork’s “Homogenic” sums up the sense of fun at these conferences
In an attempt to appeal more to the Gen-X,Y,Z groups I think Nirvana will get the nod. What do you think? Or would you like to suggest something better? (It’s hard to imagine many better choices than these three).
Please let YOUR voice be heard. Vote for one of the above (or write in your own better idea) by leaving a written comment. Just click the Comment link below and simply type in your choice. We’ll tabulate all votes and announce the winner at the end of next week.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Photos from PINK11
David Ratcliffe posted an excellent selection of pics from this year’s conference. I thought I better make my own pick too. (I Googled “PINK11 pictures” and got some interesting results. The top result is in fact safe for work or home, but I can’t say the same for all of them. Of course I had to check for your protection.)
I thought this summed the whole conference up beautifully (shame it is not a ‘Droid though)
This one summed up the spirirt of the Pinkers for me:
...and the attendees:
This is a cool photo:
This is my son-and-heir (really!)
I loved the dynamic composition of this photo (also really):
This one… well you guess:
This one because she is a brilliant performer:
...and last but not least, this sums up the fun (including the flying elephant):
Sunday, March 27, 2011
ITIL Awards 2010 and 2011
As you may know, every year Pink Elephant present the ITIL Awards at the annual conference.
The 2010 ITIL Award winners (announced at this year’s conference) were
- ITIL Project of the Year: Recognizes an organization that has demonstrated significant commitment to ITIL and ITSM best practices with involvement of certified staff, and visible positive outcomes. There were two winners! A tie for the first time ever, with the judges deadlocked: Ohio State University and State Compensation Insurance Board.
- Innovation of the Year: This award is in recognition of a product or service developed by the vendor community that has made the greatest contribution to ITSM in the last calendar year. The winner was Service-now for the company’s IT 3.0 product. To learn more visit http://www.service-now.com.
- ITIL Practitioner of the Year: Recognizes an individual who has shown visible commitment to ITIL best practices, and is an industry champion for IT continuous improvement and quality principles. The winner was Debra Jenkins, Branch Chief Service Level Management, U.S. Army.
- Pink Elephant Student of the Year: Recognizes the ITIL Service Manager Course attendee with the highest score during the year. The winner was Christopher Bolash, University of Michigan.
- ITIL Case Study of the Year: Chosen by conference attendees, this award recognizes the individual with the highest overall rating for a case study presentation delivered at the conference. The winner was Stephen Wrenn, SVP Enterprise IT Services, CVS Caremark. This was Stephen’s third win!!
We are hoping to bring you interviews with some of these winners on this blog soon.
Perhaps now is the time to start thinking about the 2011 awards to be presented at next year’s conference.
You can’t do much about chasing Student of the Year unless you are sitting courses, studying very hard and happen to be real smart.
But consider whether the stuff your team is doing is worthy of ITIL Project of the Year. Take note if one of your vendors has done something outside the square. And look around your colleagues for someone who would be a fitting nomination for the ITIL Practitioner of the Year.
Most of all, give something back to the ITSM community by writing a case study to present at next year’s conference and see if you can take home the ITIL Case Study of the Year.
George Spalding will call for nominations later in the year - be ready.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Mark Smalley, IT Paradigmologist & IT Management Philosopher, came all the way from the Netherlands to entertain and enlighten many attendees at this year’s conference. His humour comes to us across the Atlantic again, through a picture he composed as a suggestion for promoting next year’s conference:
It is an inside joke for anyone who has been to Las Vegas and walked on the Strip outside the Bellagio.
If you don’t get the joke, you’ll just have to come to Vegas for next year’s conference, won’t you?
Sunday, March 06, 2011
One theme of #PINK12 - focus your mind and pay attention
There doesn’t appear (yet) to be a musical motif for the next Pink Elephant IT Service Management conference in 2012. I was looking forward to a Motorhead-based conf… well perhaps not. But there is quite a bit of information already posted:
Nicholas Carr will be one keynote speaker. His presentation title is “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains”. I remember how one of his early posts on this topic resonated with me I called it “Google rots your brains”. I’ve gone from someone who could read a book in an armchair for a whole day, to someone with the attention span of a 12-year-old and the memory of a 90-year-old, and it is all the internet’s fault. I used to think Carr was a bit too apocalyptic but I’m coming round to share his concern: “The My Generation generation faces the Me Generation: a world populated by Digital Natives, and the prospect of their digital degeneration”.
Very closely aligned with Carr’s topic is a keynote by Dr. Joanne Cantor, University of Wisconsin–Madison, speaking on “Conquer CyberOverload: Strategies for Sanity and Success”. She asks “Do you own your gadgets? Or, do your gadgets own you?” Although our digital devices—computers, smartphones, ipods, ipads, and such—are great tools, they often interfere with our ability to be creative and get things done. Hear more of Dr Cantor’s views in this news article “Going Under”.
I love the word “sanity” in her title. For decades we’ve been led to believe a new generation can multitask, concentrating on three things at once. Apparently this new technology changes the fundamentals. The rules are different now - where have we heard that before? It’s rubbish, as I am sure Dr. Cantor is going to tell us. Gen X, Y and Z (and now most of the Boomers who have adopted their bad habits): turn the radio off in the Service Desk area, get the podphones out of your ears, get off FaceBook, put your phone down, shut your laptop and pay attention! I don’t care what the accepted wisdom is, YOU CAN’T MULTITASK AND STILL BE AS PRODUCTIVE AS WHEN YOU GIVE YOUR FULL ATTENTION. Personally I think multitasking is a polite name for rudeness, lack of self-discipline and intellectual laziness.
I still remember in amazement how I had to give one 20-ish employee a written warning before he would desist from chatting online with his girlfriend while simultaneously taking to users on the service desk helpline. Anyone hardy enough to have finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance will recall that the fastidious Phaedrus advised that if you walk into a motorcycle workshop and the radio is playing, it is a bad sign. “You can’t really think hard about what you are doing and listen to the radio at the same time… They were involved in it but not in such a way as to care” (p25-26 of my worn paperback copy). ZATAOMM really is one of the most important books for the 21st Century, even if it was written in the 20th. Good luck reading it though - it took me three attempts.
Not that I object to social media and personal web-browsing at work. As Clay Shirkey said in a McKinsey interview “Would you offer your 25-year-olds the following bargain: no more Facebook at work, and in return for which, I won’t call you after 6 PM or on weekends or ask you to watch e-mail.” The problem is the attempts at multitasking: the open laptop, the under-the-table-edge texting… And the most pernicious place for this is in meetings. In a group meeting (or training course) it’s contemptuous. In a one-on-one its unforgivable. I don’t even buy the idea of making notes on a laptop: I don’t believe most people can type without giving the act of typing a higher level of attention than handwriting. Write your electronic notes later. And researching something on the Web, even something related to the meeting, is as rude as talking to your neighbour. To me, all these things send a message: “I’m not listening with my full attention because the things I do are at least as important as what you are saying. What you are saying isn’t important enough to concentrate on it”.
The theme of #PINK12 is “Knowledge Translated Into Results”. Clearly one message is going to be that you won’t translate much unless you give the knowledge your full attention.
My takeaways from #PINK11
The end of any conference for those in the Exhibit Hall always reminds me of that melancholy old Jackson Browne song The Load Out (you remember, on the classic Running on Empty, the piano piece about the roadies, just before he bursts into “Stay… just a little bit longer”). I wrote about this last year so let’s not revisit that sentiment any further. It’s done.
The big buzz at the conference was of course social media. Those of us who tweet can’t think of calling the conference anything but ”#PINK11”. I’ve seen several people have an epiphany about the potential of social media as a result of the conference, due mostly to the passion that David Ratcliffe and Chris Dancy bring to the subject. So it’s with some trepidation that I say the IT Skeptic is a bit sceptical of any change in IT that is met with such enthusiasm (I didn’t SAY hysteria). I look forward to debating the question with Chris in an upcoming itSMF Ottawa day-conference. That will be epic. Nevertheless there is clearly real potential in social media, and I don’t doubt Pink Elephant are innovative, enlightened and experienced enough to find it (there, that should appease David and Chris).
There is an - I think - even bigger change afoot in IT, and that also came out in the conference: we’re losing control of the centre. A new world is arriving at a remarkable pace. In that new world we can no longer control what happens in IT. We can’t control what developers do, we can’t control where our servers are, we can’t control what our suppliers do, we can’t control what our users do. We don’t know where our data is, where our servers are, where our users are, what platform the users are on, where the apps are. All we in IT Management can do is govern, assure, and manage services. We need to set the bounds, put up a defensive perimeter, and try to police what goes on inside. This is IT Management’s future role in the organisation (...which ought to see off that lunatic question which keeps popping up amongst the ignorant: “if the Cloud is replacing everything, what do we need ITIL for?” )
Third, if you were at the conference and you didn’t get the message that “IT is all about the people” then you weren’t at the conference. Like my wife, you had taken up residence in the Miracle Mile. Or on the pokies or the golf course. I’m delighted to see this message finally getting the prominence it deserves, from Captain Abrashoff’s message of trust and commitment (“you can’t order excellence”) to my own humble He Tangata.
As a final note, Service-Now.com won the Pink Elephant 2010 Innovation of the Year award. Given everything I just said, that seems about right. Congratulations!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
It’s About People, Information Services & Innovation
For those who missed the opening video of the 15th Annual IT Management Conference, I highly commend it to you as an incisive and insightful forecast of the near future:
Monday, February 21, 2011
IT 3.0 - it’s about people
The 15th Annual IT Management Conference is underway! It looks to be another conference at the standard of excellence we’ve come to expect from Pink Elephant. Don’t take it for granted - it is remarkable the work that goes on to make this event as good as it is. Every time you notice, thank a Pinker.
In a recent interview about this conference, David Ratcliffe said an informal theme is “the business expects value from IT, are we delivering it?”. There is one other theme I will particularly be looking out for as a personal passion: People. If you come to my “He Tangata” session at the conference you will see how the two themes are inextricably linked.
IT as an industry is slowly maturing. Originally it was a technology-centric industry, where we thought change meant changing the “stuff”. In the last decade or so we have grown to understand that change requires changing the practices, to “best” ones, as well as the technology. In recent years we’ve finally seen the realisation dawning that change starts with attitudes, behaviours, and culture. Without people-change, then improvements in practices and tools don’t deliver.
Service-Now.com has a really interesting take on this concept, which they call “IT 3.0”. As their attached white-paper says:
Information technology is built on the essentials of people, process and technology. IT 1.0 and 2.0 were too much focused on technology and process. IT 3.0 represents a people-centric view of IT service by using recent advances in technology and a more-practical approach to process, helping the business through familiar usability, cloud services and social IT.
And in every session, listen out for this theme of People coming up more and more. We are reaching a new maturity in IT.
Friday, February 18, 2011
George’s Conference Optimiser #5
Hi! George Spalding here again – your Pink Conference Host.
This is my last in a series of Conference Optimisers; I’m back with more tips for getting the most out of your conference experience in Vegas. If you missed any of my others, look back in the blog.
1. Newly Added – Social Media Sunday Conference Primer
Tip: Attend this newly added one-hour session, Sunday at 4:15 p.m. to learn about the many “social networking” activities at the conference.
You know how to network…now take it to the next level…it’s time to learn how to network socially. With the continually expanding number of methods where you can meet new people, share comments, share photos, exchange ideas, social networking is becoming the thing to do. This is one session where you should ensure you have all your communication devices with you! Chris Dancy, Pink’s Digital Engagement Director will have you tweeting, posting and checking-in in no time at all! Hey, you can become “mayor” of Pink’s Conference (find out what that means in social-speak!).
2. Social Media Activities
Tip: Try it….you’ll like it!
We are very excited to give our conference attendees numerous social networking opportunities. To look at the long list of the various activities available to you, click here. We will also have this same information available to you in your Conference Kit, which includes a nifty “social media treasure map”. If you want a sneak preview, take a look here.
Just a few things to bring to your attention for now:
Foursquare – When you arrive at the Bellagio, check into Pink11
Twitter – Include #Pink11 hash tag in your Twitter messages to join the conference’s chatter stream. There are two Pink twitter accounts you should follow while at the event. One is Pink’s corporate twitter account: http://twitter.com/theitilexperts. This one is used for general information. The other is: http://twitter.com/PinkUpdate which has been recently set up just for conference chatter. For example, this is the one you should follow if you want to submit questions during general sessions
PinkApp – In the palm of your hand you carry photos of your family, work documents, music, movies. Why not carry with you your Pink experience? For BlackBerry, Android and iPhone get the PinkApp and interact and connect! Get documents, white papers, and more. Try it out!
3. Demo Theater
Tip: Get the most out of the Exhibition Showcase by sitting in on product demos.
At this year’s conference we have a large Demo Theater near the back of the Exhibition Showcase, which will be used by several suppliers to deliver Product Demonstrations. A schedule is located on signs outside the theater. Make sure to take a look when you arrive on Sunday for the Welcome Reception, which is also held in the Exhibition Showcase.
And, speaking of the Exhibition Showcase, I’d like to take this opportunity to profile a few more suppliers who are participating. Check out their information (and, hey – some are giving away prizes!): CA, VMware.
4. Thanks To Service-now.com – Platinum Sponsor
Tip: Attend one of many sessions in Service-now.com’s Thought Leadership Stream.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Service-now.com for their contributions. Our conference is all about great content and we are excited to highlight a few sessions, sponsored by Service-now.com, that we think will deliver great learning opportunities.
The Changing Role Of IT & The CIO, Monday at 10:20am
Retooling: Switching Tools In A Tool Centric Culture, Monday at 3:00pm
Harvesting The Power Of The CMDB, Tuesday at 3:00pm
Using LEAN & ITIL, Tuesday at 10:20am
and Service Catalogs In The Real World, Wednesday at 10:20am
To view more recommended presentations, click here.
5. Breakfast Clubs
Tip: Maximize your learning experience – get an early start to your day!
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings – there are a ton of sessions we have starting at 7:15 a.m. each day. If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at the program, it’s a good idea to take another look. In recent weeks there have been some exciting recent additions that you may not be aware of.
6. And, One Last Time…
Don’t forget to pack your favorite tropical shirts, grass skirts, coconut bras, and leis, and join in the fun with our Jimmy Buffett conference theme – Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes. And, yes – you can (and should!) wear your tropical gear to any of the sessions.
Hey, don’t sweat man – take a look at what I have to wear!!
See you in Vegas!
Toll Free: 1-888-273-PINK
Thursday, February 17, 2011
George’s Conference Optimiser #4
Dear Pink Conference Attendees:
Hi! George Spalding here again – your Pink Conference Host.
This is my fourth in a series of Conference Optimizers; I’m back with more tips for getting the most out of your conference experience in Vegas. If you missed my first three, click here.
1. Have You Downloaded Your Conference Presentations?
Tip: Spend the time now to review all presentations to decide which ones to take with you.
2. Download My Special Conference Primer!
Tip: If this is your first Pink conference, take a moment to download my presentation for helpful tips.
My short presentation is a special download especially helpful to attendees who are new to our conference. Watch it and get all the details you need to know about making your conference experience as valuable as possible. Learn many helpful tips designed to make your conference experience the best possible. The video will be available on our conference attendee website on February 17.
3. Pink TV
Tip: Tune into channel 19 in your Bellagio hotel room.
As in previous years, you can stay connected to daily/hourly conference activities by watching channel 19 on your hotel room TV at the Bellagio. This is especially helpful to conference attendees who are new to the event.
4. How Long Ago Did You Last Look At The Conference Program?
Tip: If it’s been a while since you last looked at our program, it’s a good idea to look again!
If you recall in my first Optimizer email, I strongly recommended that you and your team should review the agenda before attending the conference to coordinate and plan out your days – have you done that yet? There’s only a couple of days left…
Even if you have planned out your program, it’s a good idea to review the sessions one more time because there have been some recent additions you may not be aware of. For example, I want to draw your attention to a very important Breakfast Club session about why ITIL® initiatives fail:
Attitude, Behavior & Culture (ABC) – THE Number 1 Success Or Fail Factor, presented by, Paul Wilkinson, Director, GamingWorks, Tuesday, February 22 at 7:15am.
5. Exhibition Showcase & Featured Sponsors
Tip: Make sure to familiarize yourself with all our amazing exhibitors before you get onsite.
We have many organizations represented this year in our Exhibition Showcase. They are a major part of our conference, so take a moment now to familiarize yourself with them all, before you get there. Check out the amazing line-up of exhibitors.
6. Pack Your Leis & Tropical Shirts!
Tip: Join in the fun of the conference theme!
Don’t forget to pack your favorite tropical shirts, grass skirts, coconut bras, and leis, and join in the fun with our Jimmy Buffett conference theme – Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes. And, yes – you can wear your tropical gear to any of the sessions!
BTW, there is still room in our exciting slate of Pre- & Post-Conference courses – over 20 courses! Check them out! And, don’t forget – if you’re attending the conference (at full fee), plus a course – you’re eligible for the Combination Discount.
That’s it for now!
Toll Free: 1-888-273-PINK
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Don’t Forget Your Togs
Remember the theme is Buffett-based, that means Margaritaville. Don’t forget your togs. The Pinkers haven’t…
See also this post from last year about “Exhibit Hall booth plumage” which is a potted history of Pinker colouration in other conferences.
“Togs”? Clothes. Or in my part of the world: bathing costume.