Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Giving thanks for our ITSM blessings
At a time when most North Americans are kicking back and giving thanks for the good things in their lives, we should also be thankful for the blessings we enjoy in ITSM, such as
- All those who labour to create the IT bodies of knowledge that we use, the giant shoulders we stand on (frameworks like COBIT, guidance like ITIL, standards like ISO20000)
- The specialists who make all that comprehensible and useful, such as my friends at Pink Elephant
- The internet, which puts most of mankind’s knowledge on an instantly accessible buffet, and connects us all so we can have this conversation
- Those noble, far-seeing philanthropists who gave us Las Vegas for the annual ITSM Conference
Most of all I’m thankful that you and I still live in a world peaceful and wealthy enough to be able to get together in the Bellagio every year. I’ll be grateful to see you there in February.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
State Compensation Insurance Fund: 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. A little while ago we spoke to Brian Newcomb at Ohio State University, one of the winners. The co-winner was California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund, better known as State Fund. So today we hear from Joel Krause, Manager, Office of the CIO - IT Service Management, at State Fund. I loved Joel’s email signature. It is a quote:
“Following ITIL practices on a daily basis will facilitate the delivery of high quality IT services;
I know I can count on your support.”
Shaun Coyne, State Fund CIO
Smart. If you are tasked with improving ITSM and you have the executive support, make sure folk know it.
Anyway, with much help and patience from Joel we got through the technology and recorded the following interview:
Don’t be shy folks! Think about nominating yourself or an organisation you know for a Pink Elephant ITIL Award.
Joel will be at the upcoming ITSM Conference presenting on “Implementing A Single Point Of Contact Service Desk”, so make sure you catch that session to fund out more about what they did!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Are ITIL and COBIT competitors?
At the 2012 Pink Elephant ITSM Conference, I am running a session on “Showdown Of The Methodologies”. The description goes like this
Back in 2007 the IT Skeptic wrote on his blog “ITIL is the hitchhiker’s guide, COBIT is the encyclopedia” and the following year “ITIL will be put firmly (but politely) back in its place any year now”. In 2009 he wrote “they are going to end up competing ... possibly over a large overlapping area” and lately “The new COBIT 5 is doing that. COBIT is already my frame of reference for ITSM. Soon it will be most people’s”. Join the IT Skeptic as he shares his hopes, dreams and aspirations for COBIT 5. Will COBIT 5 sweep the mat with ITIL, or can ITIL continue to ignore it? Be sure to attend this Showdown of the Methodologies. COBIT fans on one side, ITIL fans on the other!
Are ITIL and COBIT competitors? The official line is that they are not competitors - they are complementary. The IT Skeptic is not so sure.
I put it to you that:
- ISACA has a stated strategy to develop the amount of “guidance” behind the COBIT controls, and to encourage the community to contribute that guidance. If there is some kind of gap in the content between ITIL and COBIT which makes them complementary, then it sure sounds like COBIT5 is expanding across that gap.
- If belief in the demarcation between COBIT and ITIL comes from the idea that they are for different audiences, this is plain misguided. I use COBIT as my primary frame of reference for ITSM consulting, not ITIL. COBIT is not just for auditors. It is a superior framework for all IT practitioners. ITIL exists to supplement COBIT not the other way around. COBIT is structured, analytical and complete. ITIL is rambling, inconsistent, bloated, and has major omissions.
If you see it differently, then I hope you will be at my session at the conference! I look forward to some robust debate.
On the other hand, if you agree, then consider this:
- COBIT makes ITIL look like a good read, downright chatty. COBIT is an impenetrable mass of consultant-babble which must be more decoded than read.
- There are more people trained in some of the practitioner levels of ITIL than there are in all of COBIT. With over a million Foundation graduates, ITIL far dominates COBIT in available expertise.
- ITIL has the mind-share and the momentum. No way another framework is going to displace it now.
If neither of those sets of arguments gets you heated, what do you think about:
- ITIL was invented by Poms and written by Yanks, and COBIT was invented by Yanks and written by Poms. Which is best?
I’ll see you there
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The Internet Generation
You will find a number of posts on this blog around the theme of attention spans, concentration, multitasking and the internet’s damage to thinking. Perhaps XKCD‘s take on this might make me feel better about the issue.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Changing People with Process Product & Partners to get Performance
I recently weighed in among other commenters on Stephen Mann’s blog on ABC of ICT blog over at Forrester. ABC stands for Attitude, Behavior, and Culture, and ICT for Information and Communication Technology. Stephen was ruminating on the relative importance of the 4 Ps (People, Process, Products, Partners) to get Performance, and pointing out that People (and sometimes Partners’ People, I might add) are the most difficult to modify and often most in need of modification to improve performance. The ABC exercises identify the symptoms - the peoples’ “worst practices”.
There was a common thread among the many experts and friends who commented on the blog - the order in which the Ps should be addressed. This is interesting, but jumps past the question; How do we change the people?
We often get this question from clients engaging in our ABC exercises at Pink Elephant. In the ABC exercise we are exposing and identifying the people problem symptoms so we can accept that we have a problem. Step 1 in the famous Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step method. We are not providing solutions to the problems we have identified.
A clear goal and a commitment by the people to achieve it - that is what makes things like LEAN, TOC, and ITSM work. Rob England (one of the commenters and the IT Skeptic) was correct in citing John Kotter as source of help. Kotter does give us the signposts. A key point he makes is that the change requires a Leader (defined here as the one chosen and accepted by the led - Konosuke Matsushita was the object of Kotter’s study) and a guiding coalition who can articulate the goal and pull people to commit themselves and make their way to the overarching organizational goal. Organizational optimization, not local optimization.
There are many change methodologies that cover both organizational and individual change. One of the older methods used by businesses is ADKAR. This method covers the change/grief cycle at both the organizational and individual level helping managers and supervisors transform themselves and all the people in the organization with Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. This method focuses on changing individuals AND the organization as a result. As you might expect, it takes a lot of personal relationship building, communication and team work - not terribly strong suits in IT people promoted into management on the basis of their technical performance. For IT organizations the ABC solution opportunities rely on building this skill set - whether there is a transformation program afoot - or not.