Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Leading The Way To A LEAN Problem Management Culture
The Pink Elephant 2011 ITIL Project of the Year Award winners were Deutsche Bank. This award “recognizes an organization that has demonstrated significant commitment to ITIL and ITSM best practices with involvement of certified staff, and visible positive outcomes.” The 2011 runners-up were Adobe and Air Canada Jazz.
You can learn more about this interesting initiative next year at PINK13, when Joseph Gallagher, Vice President, Global Problem Management Process Owner at Deutsche Bank will present Leading The Way To A LEAN Problem Management Culture
I talked to Joe about the project.
Joe, for those readers who weren’t at the ceremony at PINK12, please tell us a little about Deutsche Bank’s winning project
The DB project was called “Problem Management Transformation Program” - at the end of 2010 we realized that, although we had a nice, repeatable problem management process, we were not working very efficiently, nor were we providing our clients with consistent quality. At the beginning of 2011 we initiated this program to address both of these weaknesses, by conducting a LEAN 5D review of our process and implementing higher standards for producing a quality problem analysis. LEAN helped us to identify various types of TIM WOOD [Transport, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over-processing, Overproduction, Defects] deficiencies in our process, which we drove out through automation, consolidation, industrialization (moving very repetitive tasks to a support organization that focus on those tasks and become very efficient at it), and elimination. By Q4’2011 we had removed close to 40% waste from the process, allowing our problem managers to focus on the two areas where they add the most value – root cause determination, and remediation determination. As part of the LEAN component we “went back to the drawing board” as it relates to the proper way to implement program management as detailed within ITIL v3.0. We found that over the years we had “over engineered” the problem management process, making it cumbersome and slow, with lots of “cool steps” in the process that really added no value to the client. Finally, we improved our overall quality by aligning our problem managers to specific business areas, giving them a better understanding of the applications/infrastructure they support, which made them much more effective over time. We also trained all our problem managers (and all were certified) in Kepner Tregoe Resolve, giving them the foundation of a rational and consistent thought process.
What have been the consequences or impact of winning this award?
Consequences – I believe we have set the bar very high and expectations for problem management in 2012 will be well above that bar. But we are up to the task and looking forward to really extending the value we add throughout the organization. One of the consequences of the project itself, is that it has allowed us to shift a portion of our problem management resources to focus on more proactive problem management – driving problems out of the organization before they lead to serious incidents
You are presenting next year on LEAN Problem Management Culture. I’m willing to bet not too many organisations have applied LEAN principles to problem management in particular, especially on a global scale. You had difficulty sourcing expertise?
We were fortunate at the beginning of the project to have an outside firm come in and teach us the LEAN concepts and help us with the initial Define and Diagnose phases. From there, it became fairly straightforward to identify and address the various types of waste we discovered.
And did you find any resources at all pertaining to LEAN and problem management?
We found no resources externally or internally that had experience using LEAN within a problem management process. Although the LEAN methodology seems to be very easy to apply to any process.
Were there peculiarities to problem management when applying LEAN to it?
Measuring waste was a challenge at first, as we were using 2010 baseline, which was filled with hazards related to data quality. We saw the LEAN program coming in early Q4’2010 so we paid particular attention in Q4’2010 to provide as accurate a reflection of our workload and process as possible, so that could serve as the baseline for 2011 measureable improvements.
Can you expand on what that was about please?
One of the issues we recognized in 2011 is that the quality of our data was not great. This was due to the lack of strong governance and quality controls around what we were entering in problem records. It wasn’t as bad as garbage-in-garbage-out, but it was inconsistent (an artifact of having problem managers coming together into a single organization in 2010, each bringing their own “unique” perspective on what was required to be documented in a problem record). We started to change this in Q4’2010 just as a matter of good practice, but also recognizing the fact that in order to measure 2011 improvements we needed to have at least one quarter of reasonably good data as the baseline.
Another peculiarity with problem management is that you really can’t remove “waste” from the actual root cause investigation itself. Sure, we can streamline our root cause sessions, and provide more consistent results (KT), but you can’t “squeeze” much waste out of this part of the process, which by its nature, has lots of variability due to the different levels of investigation required. Thus, we set out to remove all the waste before and after the actual root cause investigation, and that’s where we reaped lots of benefit.
What tools or techniques helped you with the cultural change over 73 countries?
There was lots and lots of training, communication, and awareness throughout the year. I cannot understate the importance of this aspect – updates were provided to the problem management staff and senior management at least monthly, and sometimes more often. We also made LEAN improvements part of all the problem manager’s objectives – they were all required to provide at least two LEAN improvement initiatives that made it to production. Finally, we governed the process very well – we had daily health checks to ensure we were on target with our objectives, and weekly trend reports to see where we needed to shift resources.
Watch this blog for a future discussion with Joe and George Spalding of Pink Elephant about the judges’ views on this project and why it won the Award. And go hear Joe at PINK13.
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
- This useful Intro to IT Governance from George Spalding
- This excellent series on IT governance podcasts by Troy DuMoulin
- An interesting interview with Dr John Beachboard
- More here from Troy on governance strategy-setting
- and this from me about service, governance, and assurance being key themes
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)
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…
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”:
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:
- 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).
- Validate the desirability, viability and achievability of each of your current IT projects (suggested by Graham Price).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- Get connected! Socialize and share your new knowledge amongst your peers (suggested by David).
- 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).
- Take advantage of the Super-Faithfull offer for Pink13. Sign-up! (Suggested by Pinky!)
There is good advice there. Why not try them all.
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?
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.
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:
- Las Vegas dress code
- Things to do in and around Las Vegas #1
- Things to do in and around Las Vegas #2
- Things to do in and around Las Vegas #3
- Things to do in and around Las Vegas #4
- Things to do in and around Las Vegas #5
- Las Vegas Hello (sung to the tune of “Jamaica Farewell”)
In addition to George’s Conference Optimizers, here is some advice from past years on preparing for the conference:
- EHOBOK Planning Worksheet, worksheet you should fill out before you come to conference to make sure you are prepared for assessing the products on display
- You will need EHOBOK, the Exhibit Hall Optimiser Body of Knowledge! Get the latest version with the 2012 floorplan here
- Exhibit Hall booth plumage which is a potted history of Pinker colouration in other conferences
- ConfBOK Session Strategy, some tips from leading Pinkers (and me) about how to choose which sessions to go to
- ConfBOK: Learning 1.1.1
- ConfBOK: Luggage Validation and Testing
- ConfBOK Strategy: How to get to a conference, how to get your attendance to a conference paid for
...and don’t forget to get PinkApp!
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:
- ITSM Extreme Makeover – Part 1: ITSM Program Roadmap
- ITSM Extreme Makeover – Part 2: ITSM Program Roadmap In The Real-World
- ITSM Extreme Makeover – Part 3: ITSM Program Management In the Real-World
- ITSM Extreme Makeover – Part 4: It’s All About People & Results
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”.
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:
We look forward to hearing more about that in future. It is an interesting cultural change initiative.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 © Canstockphoto.com
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:
- Death by Information Overload, Paul Hemp, HBR
- Take Back Control of Your Work (and Your Life), Tony Schwartz, HBR Blog
- You Can’t Multitask, So Stop Trying, Paul Atchley, HBR Blog
- Going under, Chris Erikson, NY Post
- Recovering from information overload, Derek Dean and Caroline Webb. McKinsey Quarterly
- Multitasking Makes You Stupid, Sue Shellenbarger, Wall Street Journal
- The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies, David Bawden and Lyn Robinson, Journal of Information Science
- Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime, Matt Richtel, NY Times
- Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform, Edward M. Hallowell, HBR
- The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Less, Tony Schwartz, HBR
...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.