Friday, July 24, 2009
Surround Yourself With Happy Thoughts!
Great idea from Chris Gardner - check out this video tour of his “private space”.
I now have some work to do to clear out a bunch of meaningless momentos from my office.
ITSM Process Maturity: More Revelations - This Time Configuration!
The skeptics will love this!
Over the past 3 years our PinkSCAN results show that “Software Asset & Configuration Management” has a mean maturity of 1.25 (sample size of 30 organizations).
OK - maybe not a revelation, but interesting.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
More on “ITIL Certification of S/W Products”
Just been directed - via the Twittersphere - to an article stating that “ITIL certified products are no magic bullet”. I couldn’t agree more.
The writer - Michael Lohr of Tripwire - gives an excellent analogy of how snow tires can be a big help in winter driving conditions, but if the driver is irresponsible or not qualified the snow tires alone are not going to save you. (I’m paraphrasing). I couldn’t agree more.
Getting back to ITIL, he then goes on to say “My fear is that companies will buy these so called certified products thinking they have bought the magic bullet to solve their ITIL project but instead they’ll skip the hard part which is designing the processes for their organization. So instead of a magic bullet they’ll just shoot themselves in the foot with a real bullet”. I couldn’t agree more.
But then he makes the statement “How does buying a certified ITIL product help with the implementation of ITIL? I’ll give the simple answer – IT DOESN’T!” I couldn’t DISAGREE more.
That’s like saying snow tires DO NOT help when driving in snow. Of course they do - as long as they’re used by someone who also knows how to operate a vehicle in winter driving conditions.
I’m really in violent agreement with Michael when it comes to putting the emphasis on smart people working with good processes and reliable tools. The tool isn’t the magic bullet - it’s the smart people using good processes.
So how does an “ITIL certified” tool help?
Well, going back to the snow tire analogy .... would you be happy if your tire manufacturer simply stuck a “snow tire” label on an ordinary tire? Probably not. You’d expect there would be some kind of industry recognized definition for what makes a good snow tire. And it would help if you could trust someone who was independent of the snow tire manufacturer to document the criteria and do spot checks.
“Yes - this tire meets the standard needed to be called a “snow tire” - we know because we’ve assessed tires made by this manufacturer!”
That’s what we’ve tried to do with PinkVERIFY for the ITSM tool world. We’ve never said that if you buy a tool on the PinkVERIFY list you’re assured of operating a best practice ITSM environment. That’s like saying “Drive with these snow tires and you’ll never run off the road.” You wouldn’t trust anyone who made that false promise, would you? All we say with PinkVERIFY is “Look at the list and you can be assured these tools meet our standard for “ITIL compatible” - the rest is up to you!”
So just in case you haven’t got the message here, I think both Michael and I agree, you need three things:
1) Smart people working with
2) Good processes enabled by
3) Appropriate tools - probably from the PinkVERIFY list.
And I put them in that order very deliberately!
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Monday, July 20, 2009
The Problem With Problem Management
Following on from my recent blog posts and tweets on this subject, I think I’d like to dig-in some more.
I’m noodling with the idea of presenting a session at next February’s Annual Conference to:
1) remind us of the methods and benefits of “proactive problem management”, and
2) try to find out what proportion of organizations are really doing this; as well as why many organizations (I believe - the majority) are not.
If you have thoughts on this in the meantime - feel free to pass them on. Even better, if you’re planning to be at the Conference and you’re willing to be interviewed by me on this subject - let me know.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Chris Gardner’s New Book Available
Meantime, check out his book - another #1 NY Times Bestseller - surely?
The Pink Elephant Experience With ITSM Process Maturity Assessments
A few days ago I was browsing through our PinkSCAN database - where we record the results of all the process maturity assessments we do for customers. Over the past 10 years we’ve done almost 1300 assessments. However, I will restrict this summary to just the 300 or so assessments we’ve done over the past 3 years.
Keep in mind, none of this is scientific - I’m just presenting this summary here for general interest. Also, keep in mind that the results only include those processes which were actually assessed. This might seem like such an obvious statement to make, but it’s important to remember that many organizations opt out of assessing specific processes - for whatever reason. For example, only those processes which are part of an improvement effort may be assessed. While those which may be deemed low priority for improvement or attention, or even those which are already assumed to be very low in maturity - “so why bother assessing?!” - are often excluded.
In ITIL V3 there are 24 processes - we’ve not done a single PinkSCAN project to assess all of those within a single organization. What happens more typically is that PinkSCAN customers get to choose which processes they want to assess at any time, hence the “Top 10 Most Popular Processes Assessed” list. The PinkSCAN online subscription - enabling self-assessments - can always be used later to assess additional process - so the customer is always in the driving seat when deciding WHAT to assess, and WHEN. Pink just provides the HOW.
The Top 10 Most Popular Processes Assessed
1. Incident Management
2. Problem Management
3. Change Management
4. S/W Asset & Configuration Management
5. Service Level Management
6. Release Management
T7. Availability Management
T7. Financial Management
T9. Capacity Management
T9. IT Service Continuity Management
Probably no big surprises there, but what do you think were the most mature processes? And what kind of levels of maturity would you expect to see? Remember, a rating of 1 means the process exists but there’s little or no consistency, whereas level 5 is the maximum and that means the process if fully optimized (we base PinkSCANs maturity levels on the CMMI model). For more information on process maturity levels check out this explanation on Wikipedia.
The 10 Most Mature Processes
1. Financial Management - 2.34
2. Change Management - 2.12
3. IT Service Continuity Management - 2.10
4. Incident Management - 2.05
5. Capacity Management - 1.82
6. Service Validation & Testing - 1.77
7. Service Level Management - 1.71
8. Release Management - 1.65
9. Availability Management - 1.64
10. Request Fulfillment - 1.47
The Least Mature Processs - Problem Management - 1.37. Now that’s a bit of a shame, don’t you think?
We also have some data which shows how organizations measure up who re-assess at a later date - after an improvement effort, hopefully! You’d think maturity levels would virtually always go up. But that’s not always the case. In about half the instances, maturity levels go down! Go figure that one out!