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.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
CI Change Approvers
Are there any standards on where CI based approver data is stored? For example, I am upgrading patch on server 123, I select the CI 123 and the appropriate approvers come in. Those actual approvers are stored where to be pulled in? or does it matter?
The real question is: Should a CI record contain an attribute indicating what person, team or role can authorize changes to the CI? And if so, where?
The answer is, Yes. Usually it is the role that is accountable for the CI’s contribution to an OLA/SLA/UC. The label may be something like Owner, Support Team/Group, etc. I’ll just use Owner here.
The Owner of CI #X may not have sole authority to authorize a change. Depending on the Change policies and controls in the organization, owners of other CIs that have direct or indirect relationships to CI #X and therefore are put at risk by the change to CI #X may also have to approve the change to CI #X. The rules for the breadth and depth of change authorizations are usually configured into the Change Management tool and are configured based on Risk, Impact, Urgency and perhaps other factors.
The Owner can be quite difficult to maintain on organizations with high turnover or lots of CIs. Tools often solve this by using Roles in the CI records, and the person in to Role - and his/her seconds, etc. - are administered in an Organization module where personnel, teams, escalation paths, etc. are maintained along with on-call schedules, etc.
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.