Monday, October 31, 2011
Sacred downtime spaces
Continuing our unofficial theme for the conference of technology’s influence on our minds, here is a bittersweet post “What Happened To Downtime? The Extinction Of Deep Thinking And Sacred Space”, which says
Interruption-free space is sacred. Yet, in the digital era we live in, we are losing hold of the few sacred spaces that remain untouched by email, the Internet, people, and other forms of distraction…
There has been much discussion about the value of the “creative pause”—a state described as “the shift from being fully engaged in a creative activity to being passively engaged, or the shift to being disengaged altogether.” This phenomenon is the seed of the break-through “a-ha!” moments that people so frequently report having in the shower. In these moments, you are completely isolated, and your mind is able to wander and churn big questions without interruption.
However, despite the incredible power and potential of sacred spaces, they are quickly becoming extinct. We are depriving ourselves of every opportunity for disconnection. And our imaginations suffer the consequences.
One of the most vivid memories of my life is sitting beside a billabong in the Grampian Mountains (in Australia, not the original Grampians in the UK), all alone.
A rich source of similar memories is our family hut in the Southern Alps, where I go every year. I’ll be there in a month and I can’t wait: no mobile phone coverage, no telephone at all… heck no electricity.
I (try to) prohibit any electronic devices except using a decades-old transistor radio to get the weather forecast occasionally. My son loves the place as much as I do and my parents did before me. It is indeed sacred to us.
Find and treasure your own sacred downtime spaces.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Here’s the inside scoop: the layout of the Exhibit Hall
Hot news readers! Here is the layout of the Exhibit Hall for Pink Elephant’s upcoming 16th Annual IT Service Management Conference.
Why does this matter? Clearly you haven’t read EHOBOK, the Exhibit Hall Body of Knowledge. If you want to make the most of your experience of this fabulous facility at the conference, you had better read EHOBOK now! Get the latest version with the 2012 floorplan here (pdf).
Friday, October 21, 2011
Continuing our series of posts on useful smart-phone apps to take to Las Vegas to the IT Service Management Conference (the last one was about Facebook), let’s look at TripIt, an app available for both iPhones and Droids (and Blackberry and WinPhone, for those amongst you still holding out).
Like a number of the examples we have discussed, TripIt is of course also a standard Web site as well as a mobile app. And it is also available for the iPad, for the sanctimonious types who would rather appear trendy and innovative by owning a tablet than do their computing on a user-friendly platform with dual monitors, proper keyboard, ergonomic trackball and the ability to freely choose their own hardware extensions - such as TV tuners - from an open market. Hey, knock yourselves out. Me I’m buying a new PC.
There is so much to keep track of when traveling. Take the hassle out of confirmation numbers, directions and flight info. Download TripIt and let it automagically manage your travel! As a bonus, TripIt integrates directly with LinkedIn so you can let your colleagues and friends know exactly when you touch down! And let your competitors know when you are away from your client-base…
We are not partisan about this. There are alternatives to TripIt, such as Expedia, who seem to be behind the curve - they currently only offer hotel bookings on smartphone apps (iPhones and Droids). Or Orbitz, who are more up with the play with flights, hotels and cars available for iPhones and Droids. We just like TripIt best.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Ohio State University: co-winners of the 2010 ITIL Project of the Year Award
At this year’s conference, there was a tie for the ITIL Project of the Year Award, the first time this has ever happened. We will be speaking to both winners: I chose the first interview through a randomising process which came down to the first interview where I overcame the technical difficulties. So today we meet Brian Newcomb, Associate Director of IT Service Management for Ohio State University. Once I stopped breaking the video technology, I spoke to Brian about OSU’s prize-winning ITIL project. We talked about some interesting Kotter-inspired cultural change activities they used, and some valuable lessons learned, especially around membership of the project:
Don’t be shy folks! Think about nominating yourself or an organisation you know for a Pink Elephant ITIL Award.
And come along to Brian’s session at the upcoming conference, on “2010 Project Of The Year Winner…One Year Later”, to see how things have panned out for them.
Monday, October 10, 2011
The optimum human rate of process change is like the optimum rate of exercising
The University of Texas Health Science Center are on a brave journey: an extreme makeover of their ITSM, driven by Pink Elephant and a group of other providers. They have achieved an extraordinary amount: in the first three months of the Makeover
the folks at UTHSC have had 2 assessments, developed a roadmap, installed the Hornbill Supportworks tool, initiated process design on 3 processes (Incident, Service Request and Service Level Management), kicked off their communication strategy and, as part of the education strategy, took and passed Foundations or OSA courses and began conducting a series of Apollo 13 simulations.
That’s impressive. Nobody at UTHSC is complaining, but I’m guessing this is about as fast as anyone wants to go. I bet it is a bit of a whirlwind at times.
IMS did all this while still “keeping the lights on”. And therein lies the rub…they have done a lot which has stretched everyone very thin. So this week the core team met to take stock of where they are and where do they want to be at the end of this first phase
UTHSC have renewed their commitment to the programme, but one can hear a collective catching of the breath there.
We can change technology in days or weeks… minutes even. It is changing the processes that takes time. And even more so it is changing the people that lags: change of culture, of behaviours, of beliefs and attitudes doesn’t happen in weeks or months. Human culture is a big ship to turn, with massive inertia - even in a small group.
So how fast is fast human change?
Effective change takes people out of their comfort zone. The question is how far out can you take them before the initiative fails, before they break or rebel or withdraw?
I am taking a client organisation through a comprehensive IT CSI programme right now. The CIO said (to his team) that he thought we had the pace about right because he was beginning to feel uncomfortable about it. Nobody is questioning the wisdom of the programme (not out loud anyway), but there have been a few issues of stretched resources and one newbie to the programme asked “When does this ever end?” (The answer is never. We want to inculcate CSI as a habit, as a business-as-usual practice, as something that all professionals do all the time to improve).
“Uncomfortable” feels about right. UTHSC seem to be in the same zone as my client: a little breathless, a little stretched, but not actually hurting. Those of you who exercise will see the analogy: there is a difference between the ache of a straining body and the pain of a body sustaining permanent damage. (Before we have any wisecracking comments, I used to exercise once. I remember).
Just as with exercise, we need to monitor the changing corporate “body” closely for signs that we have gone beyond developing fitness and into doing damage. I think we can all tell the difference between “aches” and “pains”.
Perhaps we should also extend the analogy to say that we need to watch out for exhaustion: nothing is broken but we have simply run out of huff and need a break.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
What Is Happening With ITIL Exams Related To The 2011 Edition?
As you have heard in the ITIL space a new edition of ITIL was published on July 29, 2011. This is an update to what was known as ITIL Version 3, now commonly referred to as ITIL 2007 Edition, the original year of publication.
As a result of the release of this edition of ITIL, syllabus documents, including book references, were updated and aligned. These syllabus documents came into effect on August 8, 2011. The Authorized Training Organization (ATO) community has been given until January 1, 2012 to update their courseware to these syllabus documents.
Knowing that certification exams reflect the course objectives and content as outlined in the syllabus - exams have and are changing. Because of the time between the early August release of the 2011 syllabus documents the effective date of the new exams in January, a transition period was established. Between August 8, 2011 and January 1, 2012 a set of “hybrid” exams are in play. This means that these exams are matched to courses developed for the 2007 edition of the relevant syllabus, and courses developed against the 2011 edition of the syllabus documents. These exams were put into production on August 8, 2011.
On January 1, 2012 a new set of exams will be brought live. These exams will be fully and solely aligned to the 2011 version of syllabus documents and will reference only material from the 2011 Edition of ITIL. All ATOs must align their course materials to the new edition by January 1, 2012 to meet accreditation requirements and ensure successful examination experiences for their students.
So student attendees will notice no difference during the transition period and will seamlessly move to the new edition in January.
This applies to ITIL Foundations, the 4 Intermediate Capability courses (OSA, RCV, PPO, SOA), and the 5 Intermediate Lifecycle courses (SS, SD, ST, SO, CSI).