Friday, July 29, 2011
Pink Elephant IT Management Metrics Benchmark Service Blog – Incident Management
Earlier this year, we launched the Pink Elephant IT Management Metrics Benchmarks Service. We now have Preliminary Incident Management (IM) Benchmarks based on the initial responses to the Incident Management Metrics Survey. The more participants in all our metrics benchmark surveys, the better!
We welcome your feedback. Please comment on this blog post to let us know what you think.
One surprising item is the Basis for Incident Resolution Interval Expectation with almost a quarter having none documented. The rest rely on Standards and/or SLAs.
The metrics and the organizational attributes in the IM survey responses cover a wide spectrum. All survey response options have been selected by participants with no strong bias to any one response to any question. Medians and Means are approximate as they are based on range mid-points and estimated minimums and maximums where required. Since the survey uses non-linear ranges to ease data gathering and response by survey participants and except where the response options are narrow, there is a fairly large difference between the Median (center point of all responses ordered by value) and the Mean (normal average: total of all responses divided by the number of responses) drawn from the survey responses.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
ITSM Extreme Makeover – Have you been following?
Earlier this year Pink Elephant and Hornbill, along with participating sponsors GamingWorks, Loyalist and HDI announced the winner of the first ever ITSM Extreme Makeover: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Since then, the sponsor team along with the group at UTHSC have been hard at work. Pinker Zahra Rahemtulla was onsite last week to conduct an Incident Management Rapid Process Design. It was a lot of hard work for all involved, but in the end the team was all smiles and had only fantastic things to say.
We have asked the team at UTHSC to keep a blog so that everyone can learn from their experiences and I must say, I am impressed with their entries! Not only is the team insightful and providing great feedback, but they are in great spirits and having fun along the way. It is often difficult to understand what really goes on inside an ITSM transformation project, but the team has been providing a wealth of information and opened up what is often a ‘behind closed doors’ experience. Be sure to check out their blog here.
At Pink we are extremely excited about this project and believe it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase a great example of what can be achieved with the right approach and execution plan. We look forward to sharing more of the team’s journey and will be presenting the outcome at Pink Elephant’s 16th Annual IT Service Management Conference in Vegas.
Zahra and the IM Core team after a long day’s work at UTHSC.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Color your conference experience
You are gearing up to maximise your digital experience of the Pink Elephant 2012 ITSM Conference. You’ve got the latest Apple iCandy (or if you have good taste like me you are packing a ‘Droid instead). You have loaded PinkApp. You are following the social media channels (including this one). You are one of the Twitterati. Next step is to Color your conference world.
Color is an app for both Apple and Droid. Color creates an elastic network based on photos between you and your peers. Without having to follow or friend anyone, you see the pictures that others take around you. As the site says “Simultaneously use multiple iPhones and Androids to capture photos, videos, and conversations into a group album. There’s no attaching, uploading, or friending to do. Share together in a new, moving social network. Just look around.” Probably not the wildest experience in the office, at lunch, or at home watching TV. But imagine at the Pink12 conference with 1600 people milling about. See what’s happening from multiple angles. Pick the place to be. Let others help you create your record of the experience. Contribute your perspective.
Color: make a splash at the conference.
Friday, July 22, 2011
ITIL Is Middle Aged!
ITIL is entering middle-age.
I don’t claim to know the lifespan of a framework, but all the evidence points to ITIL being middle aged.
Back in 2007 ITIL had a mid-life crisis. It tried to break out of its suburban Operations lifestyle and reinvent itself as a framework for everything IT. Its change of clothes hasn’t impressed everyone, especially those in Solutions or executive IT Management who wonder what the heck ITIL is raving about standing in their office. “Service Strategy? Service Portfolio? Service Package? Early Life Support? Certified ITIL Expert? ITIL what are you on about? You need to take a few days off. And lose that ridiculous new suit.”
Just as the world was getting used to ITIL dressing in x-rayed vegetation and having a certification scheme as complex as the average university, ITIL changed again: it gained weight. What more definitive sign can there be of ITIL reaching middle age than its weight soaring in 2011 from 4.5kg to 7kg? Yes the five core books of ITIL V3 have blown out in the new 2011 editions from 1,343 to 1,959 pages with a consequent weight gain.
Like any middle-aged person, suddenly ITIL looks more attractive online than the physical version.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
One of the feature keynotes of the upcoming conference is Conquer CyberOverload: Strategies For Sanity & Success from Dr. Joanne Cantor, Outreach Director of the Center for Communication Research, University of Wisconsin–Madison. It ties in rather nicely I think with the big keynote, The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr. Nick is looking at what the internet is doing to our brains and Joanne is looking at what gizmos and multitasking is doing to them. Dr. Cantor is a communication expert who helps people make the most of their time and their talents by effectively managing the technology in their lives. 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, and they can add unnecessary stress to our lives. Dr. Cantor’s session will give you very valuable insight into the effects of technology and provide simple, effective strategies for harnessing the power of the Internet Age without being overwhelmed by it.
So I asked Dr Cantor some questions about the issue of cyber-overload.
It is interesting how a common theme is emerging for the Pink Elephant conference with both your presentation and Nicholas Carr’s raising a caution about modern life’s affect on the brain. And you are not the only ones. I guess it was inevitable that after all the enthusiasm - or hype - of the multi-media, multi-channel, always-on, instant-answer life, there would be a backlash?
Well, I don’t see it as a backlash as much as a recognition that all changes create new challenges. I think these digital devices are wonderful. We have access to limitless information and endless entertainment; and we have constant connection to virtually everyone. In fact our gadgets are so wonderful that they’re hard to put down. I’m not so much a critic of these devices as I am a proponent of the need to understand why they so easily take over our lives and how we can manage them better. We need to get the benefits of the digital age without being swept away in a tsunami that we can’t control.
Are you familiar with the “Gartner Hype Curve” model that we use a lot in the IT industry? It describes exactly this pattern: inflated expectations followed by a “trough of despondency” as reality bites, followed by a levelling out into common sense. Maybe we are seeing this pattern in the brave new world of internet connectedness? Do you think we might get a bit overly gloomy about the effects of multitasking, connectedness and the internet?
I’m not really gloomy. Every new technology that’s popular gives us something we want and also causes some problems. But many changes are like that. For example, we now have the widespread availability of food. When food was scarce, obesity and diabetes weren’t major problems. But now that most of us have access to more than enough food, many people can’t seem to control their weight. Our brains evolved at a time when starvation was a real threat to survival. So when we take in fewer calories, our brain ensures that our craving for calorie-dense food increases and our metabolism slows down, making it much harder to lose weight than to gain it. But no one’s calling for a return to food scarcity. They’re calling for more sensible eating and an increase in exercise. Public education about healthy habits and setting up environments that promote these habits is a reasonable approach.
Similarly, our brains were not designed to work effectively when we try to multitask or we’re overloaded with information. I think we need to educate people about how their brain works and then help them set up conditions in which they can succeed at whatever goals they want to pursue. If someone’s perfectly happy with the way things are: if they’re getting things done in a timely fashion and are happy with the quality of their work and the quality of their relationships; and if they are satisfied with the amount of free time they have to do whatever they want, who am I to tell them to change their habits? But, if they’re having trouble getting things done or aren’t satisfied about their progress; if they can’t concentrate; if their memory isn’t what they think it should be; and if they’re too busy and stressed out, maybe they should look at how their digital habits are contributing to these problems, and see if a few changes in their relationship to their gadgets can’t improve things.
My friend Chris Dancy works for Pink Elephant after his company was recently acquired by them. He is wildly enthusiastic about the benefits of social media and predicts radical transformations in the way we work in the near future. He also has two phones, twelve Twitter personalities, and four computer monitors in his office. I think you and he will have interesting discussions…
I’d be interested in seeing him in action and hearing about how well things are going for him. But I wonder, would we be able to have a real conversation—or would we be constantly interrupted by an alert going off? How deeply could we delve into our discussion if we constantly had to say, “oh, yes, and what was it you were saying before that last phone call or that tweet you just read?”
I take an almost opposite view to Chris. I once threatened to fire an employee for running live chat on his PC with his girlfriend while on the phone to a client. Personally I can’t work at anywhere near full effectiveness with distractions of any sort: I can’t function in open plan offices and it beats me how anyone else can. It will be no surprise that I am over 50. The younger generations claim to be unaffected by distractions: in fact many can’t work in silence, it freaks them out. They also claim to be able to multi-task naturally, having grown up with it. I doubt this. I gather so do you?
I’m with you. Running a live chat with your girlfriend while on the phone to a client has got to reduce your performance—I don’t care what age you are. One of the problems of multitasking—which is really switching back and forth between tasks—is that your working memory is too small. Age is a factor because working memory capacity peaks at the age of 25 and then declines. But even though it’s true that a 20-year-old can usually handle multitasking better than a 50-year-old, multitasking reduces anyone’s accuracy, their efficiency, and the quality of their work—compared to focusing on one thing at a time—no matter what age they are.
Whether your multitasking employee was engaging in malpractice depends on your performance standards. If the purpose of the conversation with the client was just to keep him on the line and say “uh-huh, uh-huh” every so often, maybe he made the grade. But if the purpose of the call was to listen to the client’s needs and find a solution, I don’t think so. The younger generation can’t multitask effectively. An interesting study of college students a couple of years ago showed that those who multitasked the most performed the worst on tasks involving multitasking!
It’s true that silence makes many young people anxious. (I used to be a constant multitasker myself, so I can really relate.) Part of the problem with single-tasking is that we’ve developed habits that are hard to break. Young people may have to ease into learning how to focus rather than going cold-turkey. Another solution might be to find a second task that’s less distracting. For example, if you’re writing a memo or studying for an exam, listening to music without words would be better than watching a basketball game.
I’ve been told repeatedly that I need to just get out of the way of the Gen X Y and Z and let them do it their way; that imposing my old-fashioned ideas of concentration and single-tasking will only alienate them and make the poor things unhappy and LESS productive. So if they really believe this **** about short-attention span and multi-tasking being more productive, is it actually counter-productive trying to convince them otherwise? Is the battle lost? We are both speaking in sweeping generalisations. I’m sure some young people concentrate deeply and single-task well. And I’m sure some of them cope with multi-tasking with little ill-effects (freaks). How do you persuade someone that they personally are not one of those exceptions? How do you show the damage this lifestyle is causing?
I thought the battle for the younger generation was lost, but now I believe there’s hope. I wrote my book Conquer CyberOverload with a business and professional audience in mind, and at first I targeted those people when I gave lectures. Even though I worked successfully as a professor for 26 years, I wasn’t going to venture into the classroom with these ideas. I thought I’d get booed or they’d be stampeding for the exits. But I had developed these brain exercises that show people just how lame their brain is at multitasking, and the aha! responses that my older audiences were experiencing gave me the courage to try this in the college classroom. And I’ve been amazed at how positively students have responded. My approach is totally nonjudgmental — (“You’ve got it so much harder than we ever did. How can you possibly do the work you’re supposed to do when you’ve got all these attractive distractions 24/7?”), but the real clincher is the brain exercises. [I won’t describe them here, but I’ll be using them in my Pink Elephant presentation.] I also give students the research-based sweetener that breaks, relaxation, and stress reduction are important to cognitive functioning, and they love that. Astoundingly, most students say they’d recommend my talks to their friends, and the majority say they’ll try out some of my tips. I get great delayed reports on how much better their brains work when they try following my advice. You don’t have to give up your digital connections; you just need to learn to manage them.
Now I’m not saying you can turn a person’s habits around in one lecture. But you can open their eyes and give them options. And if they’d like to get more done in less time, do it better, and have more time to do the things they love to do, they can be motivated to make a few changes.
I’ve been reading a lot of futurism lately. The likes of Ray Kurzweil predict exponential change. I think such enthusiasts overlook another model we like in IT: “people process technology” (in that order). Technology can change as fast as it likes. The overall system is constrained by the rate of change of processes and even more of people (individually and as a culture). People are the constraint. With every passing decade I think Alvin Toffler (Future Shock) looks more and more prescient: the world can’t change any faster than the people can change, and that is not very fast. Do you agree?
I believe it’s all about people. Our brains are not that different from the brains our ancestors had thousands of years ago when they were roaming the Saharas of Africa. On the other hand, our environment and our technology—well you know this is a very different world. Technology can give us all these new tools, but the tools need to adapt to us rather than the other way around. We can make better digital devices—those that allow us to thrive while meeting both our personal and professional goals. We have to force developers to create applications that make us the masters and not the slaves of our gadgets. They need to understand more about human psychology and how the brain works if they really want to serve the consumer.
But our habits have become so ingrained in a relatively short period of time. It’s not going to be easy to change our on-call 24/7, divided-attention corporate culture. I believe the solution lies in innovation and education. We need better gadgets and better habits.
Don’t miss Dr Cantor’s session at the conference. Using a fun and highly interactive format, Dr. Cantor will lead you through a series of mind exercises that allow you to experience just how inept our brains are at multitasking and how information overload reduces rather than enhances your creativity. She also presents easy-to-grasp findings from recent brain research to help people understand what it is about our brains that makes constant connectivity to our devices so antithetical to doing good work. Then, in addition to providing strategies for reducing multitasking and limiting interruptions, she provides a series of easy methods of increasing creativity while reducing stress. One NOT to miss!
Conferences • Rob England • (0) Trackbacks • Permalink
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
More Apps For Vegas
Recently we introduced you to PinkAPP, a smart-phone app to stay connected with Pink Elephant.
What else would be useful to you when attending next year’s conference? We mentioned Twitter in a recent post on social media at the conference. Let’s call it out here. If you are not using Twitter, consider taking the plunge before the conference. If you join Twitter, you are not obliged to create a stream of tweets. You can create an account, keep it private, and simply follow a few other twitterers so that you can watch their tweets flow by. Follow Pink Elephant, the Pink Pres, Troy DuMoulin, George Spalding, ServiceSphere, and then add some more as you find people who create interesting tweets. Also follow your own friends and colleagues and you can stay in touch with what is happening to them.
You don’t have to get the tweets coming in as SMS messaging on your phone. I don’t. I use a tool called Hootsuite to check out what’s happening in the twitterverse when it suits me (see also TweetDeck, or Twitter’s own interface, or a number of other offerings).
Learn to follow “hash-tags”. (This isn’t the place for a Twitter tutorial, there are plenty of those to be googled.) The hash-tag for next year’s conference is #PINK12, so you can keep up to date with news and announcements about the conference, pictures and videos, and even opinion, debate and controversy. And other hash-tags will likely be used during the conference for special purposes.
While you are attending the conference, the #PINK12 twitter stream will be a really useful tool to keep up to date with last-minute announcements and changes, social gatherings, and the overall “vibe”.