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Rob England

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Governance sessions at PINK13

Governance is an important topic to everyone in IT.  Of course it is of greatest interest to IT managers - those accountable to the governors - but we should all have a general understanding of it, just as we do with say security, whether we are directly involved with it or not.

We’ve talked about governance often enough on this blog before and seen a rising tide of posts and presentations about governance.  Next year at PINK13 I’ll be presenting some more.

Past discussions on this blog include

Next year I’ll bring you more on Governance of IT (I much prefer “Governance of IT” to “IT Governance”: it makes it clear than governance happens to IT not by IT).

  • What Governance Isn’t and thereby developing an understanding of what governance is.
  • Plug and Socket: Preparing IT For Governance,  the practical application of governance to IT

You will of course find discussion of governance in a number of other sessions too (don’t miss Jennifer Wels on COBIT)

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 03/29/12 at 11:43 PM
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pinkie goes to Hollywood

Recall that David Ratcliffe made this invitation recently

I have a bit of a fun challenge for you. In the past we’ve encouraged Pink customers to send us their interesting photos of Pinky - our little stress elephant mascot. We have a nice little collection going, and sometimes we post the best ones for all to see. So this is just a gentle reminder. have some fun and take a pic of Pinky in a fun situation and we’ll post it right here!

So here’s my contribution: Pinkie goes to Hollywood in which Crooner Pinky leaves Las Vegas en route home to LA

Waving to fans, with his backing singer and ...ahem… constant companion Beach Pinky:

Into the sunrise on the early morning train to LA…

A Channel 24 News helicopter shot…

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 03/14/12 at 04:47 PM
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Some of my favourite shots

Here are some of my picks from the pics, chosen from the Pink Flickr account.  Do you have any snaps of your own you’d like to share?  Send them in!

Further to our discussions of Pinker shirt colours, THIS is “mulberry”:

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 03/13/12 at 05:22 PM
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Friday, March 02, 2012

Pink12 gave you 10 things to do when you got home

The 16th Annual ITSM Conference (colloquially known as Pink12) is over and Las Vegas settles back into the dull, sleepy place it is when we are not there.  One of the last events of the conference was David’s and George’s session on 10 things to do starting Monday morning.  I saw a few tweets about how Monday was looking overloaded: you can always pick and choose, and of course the session title says “starting” on Monday - you could give yourself all week.

Do you recall what those 10 things were?  Revisit them here and start checking them off:

  1. Go meet a user – connect with them face-to-face. Ask them what they need (talk in value, outcomes, costs and risks) (suggested by Paul Wilkinson).
  2. Validate the desirability, viability and achievability of each of your current IT projects (suggested by Graham Price).
  3. If the culture needs to change in your organization, start by getting to the “connectors” and “salesmen” who have influence over others. Get them to agree to change and everyone else in their network will follow (suggested by Jack Probst).
  4. Read ISO/IEC 38500 Corporate Governance of IT and dip into COBIT 5 Process Reference Guide (Draft) - you need to be aware of these (suggested by Rob England).
  5. Consider all the changes you have scheduled – if you think you’re going to have trouble with people resisting, look for what they’re attached to that is getting in the way, then support them through the change (suggested by Dr. Victoria Grady).
  6. Go visit your business [the customer, not the same thing as a user (see #1)] to find out what their concerns, challenges and needs are (suggested by Gary Case).
  7. Document the different RESULTS you expect from your future state. Then define the different ACTIONS you need to take to get those results (suggested by Troy DuMoulin).
  8. Get connected! Socialize and share your new knowledge amongst your peers (suggested by David).
  9. Get started with your Service Catalog by consolidating all the “access points”, so the business only has one way of asking for anything – via the Service Catalog (suggested by George).
  10. Take advantage of the Super-Faithfull offer for Pink13. Sign-up! (Suggested by Pinky!)

There is good advice there.  Why not try them all.


(1) Comments
Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 03/02/12 at 09:26 PM
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The largest gathering of ITIL-Certified Professionals in a single spot

Over 500 ITIL-Certified Professionals joined together at Pink Elephant’s annual conference to participate in the largest gathering of ITIL-Certified Professionals in a single spot.

The monumental photo was taken at Pink Elephant’s 16th Annual Conference & Exhibition at the beautiful Bellagio in Las Vegas.  IT professionals from around the world participated in the record setting photo including attendees from Canada, Latin America, South Africa, UK, Japan, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

“We were curious to see how many of the 1600 attendees would show up for the photo opp,” Fatima Ratcliffe, Pink Elephant’s CEO’s mused, “Thanks to the 500 who did. Of course, it’s very hard to compete with the Vegas Strip – even for a record breaking photo!”

This photo is a first for the industry and will hopefully lead to other organizations and events taking part in similar activities. Pink Elephant is known for creating some awe-inspiring moments at its events and this year’s conference and record setting photo was no different.  Past events have featured a live Elephant, the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders and a Pink Floyd cover band.

“WOW!! In the click of a shutter we set a world record!!” George Spalding, EVP, Pink Elephant said enthusiastically, “Just a hair over 500 ITIL-certified professionals gathered in a single spot at Pink12, the most people with ITIL certifications ever photographed in a group!  Silly?  Of course. But after an incredible head-filling day of intense learning what better way to unwind at Pink12!  It was indeed a blast. Let’s go for 600 next year!!”

I was there.  Were you?

(2) Comments
Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 02/28/12 at 08:33 PM
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pink12 staff plumage

Does an elephant have “plumage”?  That’s the word we used in a past post to canvass previous conference colours.

This year the Elephant is displaying “mulberry” and “sage” colours.  Here’s the Conference Host, George Spalding (@gspalding11), and the Pink Prez, David Ratcliffe (@pinkerdavid), displaying “berry” (“mulberry” yet to be revealed):

Yesterday they were spotted wearing red with Crooner Pinky (@Pink12_Live), who wears white shirts every day.

(1) Comments
Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 02/16/12 at 06:06 PM
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Preparing for Pink12!

Las Vegas is a fun place.  And there are a few things you should know in advance to help you enjoy it. 

If you haven’t been following this blog in previous years, here is some advice we have provided in the past:

In addition to George’s Conference Optimizers, here is some advice from past years on preparing for the conference:

...and don’t forget to get PinkApp!

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 02/13/12 at 06:23 PM
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Monday, February 06, 2012

The ITSM Extreme Makeover proves the four-Ps principle.

I hope you have been following along with the ITSM Extreme Makeover a project led jointly by Pink Elephant and Hornbill along with participating sponsors GamingWorks, LCS, HDI and TSO, to bring extreme change to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  Recently Pink’s lead contributor, Jack Probst, had this to say:

We went live with new processes and ITSM tools – and achieved SUCCESS!

Through most of last year and right up until now we have been preparing for this big day. We assembled all the parts and explained how they worked. With the aid of all the partners we assessed, developed, documented and trained on processes. Hornbill has been working behind and in front of the scenes with the development team to install the Supportworks ITSM tool. Their work included assisting with the integration of the Incident Management process developed under the guidance of the Pink Elephant consultants. (FYI for my readers, the UTHSC team, being the overachievers that they are also implemented the Change Management process they self-developed and stood up the Problem Management module in Supportworks to address major incidents).

All through this time there has been a series of training, testing and certification events ... that were conducted by members of the partner team – HDI, GamingWorks, Pink Elephant and LCS. And of course TSO was there with the all-important guides, the ITIL framework documentation, that proved invaluable in cementing the team’s understanding of the big picture.

As Jerry York, UTHSC CIO, said yesterday in a core team meeting, the success of the Extreme Makeover experience has truly been the result of a team effort – the UTHSC core team providing guidance, direction and leadership, the partners lending their expertise and products as needed, and most importantly all the members of the UTHSC staff who embraced a new way of working.

Most of you will have heard of the four-Ps principle: to succeed at ITSM transformation, you must pay attention to People, Process, Products and Partners.  Jack’s description clearly demonstrates this.

Look out for lots of feedback from the ITSM Extreme Makeover at this year’s conference:

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Pink Elephant


HDI GamingWorks Loyalist Certification Services TSO

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 02/06/12 at 05:26 PM
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Sunday, February 05, 2012

“Our Way”, Not “My Way” - Please!

With a conference Pinky icon like this one, I guess we are going to hear a bit about “My Way” at the upcoming conference.  I think it is a great song, although the version that often pops into my mind when I hear “My Way” is Sid Vicious’s dulcet tones.

And there-in lies my problem with the song.  I can identify with it personally in the seven years since I broke away from the corporate yoke.  And it probably resonates for Pinkers too, since Pink Elephant seems to go its own sweet independent way in the ITSM industry.  But Frankie wasn’t exactly a pillar of moral rectitude and philanthropy, and certainly Sid reminds us of the other way the song can be sung.  Inside a team of people responsible for delivering service, “My Way” isn’t the right way.

It is a big issue with some IT techs that they are so convinced of their own technical superiority that they lose sight of corporate goals or customer needs, and instead resort to obstructionism and abuse of power. There have been a number of rants on the Web of late venting frustration with IT and their resistance to change, usually around personal computing, bring-your-own-device, cloud or social media.  Some readers will know I’m not a fan of rushing into any of these new technologies, and I think control of risk is being dangerously played down, but it can’t be denied that part of the problem is IT staff who really are getting in the way because they think they know better… or in a few cases they just want to be dogmatic.

In my book Working in IT I wrote about how techs need to align with where the organisation is going.  If they don’t “get on the bus” it’ll go without them and eventually they will cause a problem that will get fixed, and the fixing seldom enhances their career.  You can hear me talk about this in a recent webinar

So let’s not hear an excess of “My Way” at the conference OK?  Let’s also hear plenty of “Our Way”.

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 02/05/12 at 07:42 PM
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Friday, February 03, 2012

Gamification Of The Service Desk

“Gamification” - the application of video gaming and online gaming concepts to business - is a hot topic right now.  The folks at Omnicare in the USA are doing some exciting stuff to improve their customer service.  Kim Liston and some of her staff from Omnicare will be at the Conference this year (Kim is part of a Social IT presentation) and of course ServiceNow will be there too, so you should ask them about their automation of badges and rewards for service desk staff. 

But I just had to have a chat in advance:

  Omnicare - Gamification Of Service Desk by Pink Elephant Inc. 

We look forward to hearing more about that in future.  It is an interesting cultural change initiative.

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 02/03/12 at 11:46 PM
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A preview of CyberOverload

A few months ago we interviewed Dr Joanne Cantor about her upcoming presentation at the conference: Conquer CyberOverload: Strategies For Sanity & Success You can hear Dr Cantor here as she talks about her book and a preview of the presentation at the conference.

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 01/25/12 at 04:31 PM
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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Inside Skinny On Pink12

Following on from our recent tips of what you might see at this year’s conference, here’s the inside skinny on how the numbers are progressing, and other insights.  “Skinny” isn’t a word used a lot around me, but the Pink President David Ratcliffe is pretty trim.  Listen in as he gives us insight into the planning of the Pink Elephant conferences, some of the philosophy behind them, the registration numbers, and - yes - the theme.

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 01/20/12 at 05:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some advance tips on what we will see at Pink12

To do is to be. Socrates
To be is to do. Jean-Paul Sartre, Plato
To be or not to be. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Do be a Do Bee, don’t be a Don’t Bee. Miss Connie from Romper Room
Scooby Dooby Doo. Scooby Doo
Yabba Dabba Doo. Fred Flintstone
Inka Dinka Doo. Jimmy Durante
Boop Boop be Doop Betty Boop
De do do do, de da da da. The Police
Doo Wah Diddy. Manfred Mann

...and of course Do-be-do-be-do from Frank Sinatra.

Collected by Tex Texin

What has this to do with this year’s ITSM Conference?  Everything.

Twitter is a-flutter with hints, or should I say Twitter is crooning with hints of what is to come at this year’s ITSM Conference.

Every year the Conference has had a theme, and in recent years the theme has been related to some musical concept - either an artist or famous album.  The last two years we had the Beach Boys and then Jimmy Buffett’s “Changes In Latitudes; Changes in Attitudes”.  Before that it was Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall”, and the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper...  but this time there isn’t a prominent musical theme. That’s so last year! Instead while we’ll certainly have musical threads running throughout the Conference no one artist will dominate, except perhaps when it comes to Pinky!

Regular Conference attendees will be familiar with the annual Special Edition Pinky - the little stress elephant that all attendees receive.  There are many dedicated collectors of this much anticipated souvenir (I have two as well as two sizes of the regular Pinky). Well, this year sees the introduction of - Crooner Pinky!

Do-be-do-be-do indeed.

The curious coincidence is that the New Zealand itSMF national conference for 2012 has the theme of “I did ITsm my way”.  I blame the Mayans.

Other hints on Twitter of what we might see? 

  • Pattie Langtree tells us the Bellagio fountains have learned new dances. (And “Bellagio’s Tower $70M room remodel, 2,568 newly redesigned Rooms is complete!”)
  • David Ratcliffe, the Pink Pres, tweeted “Just been brainstorming with @GSpalding11 [George Spalding of Pink] the possibility of a world record attempt at #PINK12 - curious? See you there!”
  • And Rhett Glauser of ServiceNow tweeted “According to @pinkerdavid, #pink12 will be a more open community of vendors, practitioners & even competing consultants.”  Now what could that look like?  Be there.
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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 01/17/12 at 04:20 AM
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Tuesday, January 03, 2012


It is amazing how low my personal productivity while at my desk has fallen of late.  A New Year’s resolution of mine is to get back to the “Seven Habits”, in particular making time for the big tasks, and in particular in particular cutting off those nasty diversions of email, twitter, google+ and blog-comments from my daily work time (oh! and telephone, though nowadays it seldom rings), so that I can concentrate on one task at a time.

In a couple of panel discussions in recent years I have been howled down as a Luddite for suggesting the younger generations should be restrained from networking while working.  I got to a final warning with one employee before he realised I was serious that he was not to chat with his girlfriend while manning the service desk phones.  When I tell that story, I’m berated as an old curmudgeon who fails to understand my youngers and - apparently - betters, who are wizards of multitasking.

Image ©

Rubbish.  And hopefully Dr. Joanne Cantor is going to tell us so in her conference session on Conquer Cyber-Overload.

Dr Cantor’s view is not a fringe view.  It is the consensus of science and business.

Go back to Drucker in 1967, with The Effective Executive, which warned against fragmentation, and promoted “a fairly large quantum of [uninterrupted] time” for most tasks.

From there, read any or all of the following:

...and so on.

When you are done there, you might like my guide to multitasking at the conference for some light relief.

And don’t take any baloney from these young brats: teach them to concentrate… or else.

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 01/03/12 at 04:43 PM
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Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions

As we have done in past years on this blog, I thought I’d make some resolutions for ITSM in 2012.

In 2012 I will…

1) Formalise cultural change programmes and insist they get top priority.  Too often it gets lip service “Yeah, yeah, we’ll have a cultural change thingey”.  With one client of mine, we’ve done every bit of planned work except the CC programme, which languishes on the drawing board, while staff cope with ad-hoc announcements and occasional newsletters.  With another client, the programme is up and running, but it has been hijacked to do other (important) stuff.

2) Stop trying to do everything as formal projects.  It bogs you down.  Forgive a shameless plug here: my new Tipu approach (which I will be presenting at the conference) talks about managing service improvement activities as part of business-as-usual.  I’m a critic of agile methods for software development - I think they are too high risk for many applications - but human processes are much more forgiving and agile concepts can be validly used for process improvement.  We can accept less-than-perfect results and continual improvement rather than a big-bang project, in return for actually getting something - anything - better than where we are now.

3) Be nice to suppliers.  I’ve had a couple of experiences to remind me that third-party suppliers are essential stakeholders in the value chain, who you leave out, neglect, or include late, at your peril.  They need to come along on any ITSM improvement journey. 

4) Get across COBIT 5.  This new version of COBIT is an important development in IT management, including ITSM.  Possibly a game-changer.  I already always use COBIT 4.1 as my primary frame of reference, and turn to ITIL only to flesh out the bones of that framework.  I’m looking forward to better understanding COBIT 5 and integrating it into my daily work.

What resolutions will you make?

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Posted by Rob England (IT Skeptic) on 12/30/11 at 05:42 PM
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