Sunday, October 29, 2006
The People Process and Technology Flaw
Most of us involved in the service management industry have heard the sacred triad or mantra (People Process and Technology)
Well in my view this carefully balanced three legged stool is inherently flawed and unstable. This view comes from personal experience that tells me that two out of the three of these elements can be purchased for the right price while the third is without price.
You see with big enough budgets
- I can by the right tool.
- I can buy processes or someone to build them for me.
- However I will never be able to buy the hearts and minds of people.
This is why in a typical ITIL project only 1/3 of the total time needed is actually spent in process design or tool configuration. The vast majority of the time on any process related project is spent on selling and developing consensus around the new ways we are suggesting people view themselves and their jobs.
I will admit that there are those truly rare autocratic companies where a single word from on high makes something true.
However, for the vast majority of companies telling people they will behave completely differently, use new tools and perform tasks that they always believed were someone else’s job just because an executive with enough power says so is like Maria Antoinette telling the court “Let them eat cake”
History shows that assumptions like that rarely last for the long term.
So perhaps the real statement should be People, People, People, Process and Technology.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~Douglas Adams
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The Evolution of IT Governance
It is the nature of ideas, structures and functions to mature and change over time as the needs placed upon these concepts evolve. This is true of the term IT Governance. The IT industry as a whole is undergoing a transformation from an industry largely shaped by the leadership and colorful personalities of individual IT executives and vendors, to one that is becoming more defined, homogeneous and regulated.
Dare I say “Utility”?
Until recently, each organization’s IT functions, controls and processes were largely the organic bi-product of the culture and personalities of a series of executives and technical heroes.
Based on this observation, it is not surprising to find the practices and definitions of IT Governance are vastly different from organization to organization. In some companies, an IT Architectural group is seen as responsible for the function of IT Governance. However, this function is typically limited to envisioning and setting standards for hardware and software. But don’t ask these guys and gals to actually help you implement anything they have transcended the mundane.
In other organizations, governance takes on the pure function of audit and policing. In these companies, limited guidance is provided on what, who and how. You just get your fingers rapped for misbehaving.
While each of these elements plays a part in the concept of governance, there is a more holistic view of IT Governance emerging.
IT Governance is really about establishing a vision and direction for IT that supports the business objectives and actually establishes an organization, structures and processes that make sure the individual components and domains play nice and work together for the common goal.
One of these key structures is defining how to use the various best practice standards in an integrated fashion.
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t. ~Douglas Adams
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Are you Being Served?
Have you ever stopped to consider that ITIL is a Service Management Framework?
Sounds pretty basic and you may be wondering what I mean by this obvious statement.
Well consider that if ITIL is a service management framework this means that all of the processes have only one goal.
To Plan for, Deliver and Support IT services!
But what if you don’t have services defined you ask?
Well then perhaps ITIL in its full glory has limited to no value at this point of an organization’s maturity.
This is the primary reason why we continue to have a challenge selling the benefits of IT Service Management. If the IT Organization understands its total job to be the management and optimization of technology domains and their individual components then these processes have limited value.
However, if it is understood that no component exists for its own right and that the individual components from various domains actually work together in connected systems that support IT services then this is another story altogether.
You see it’s difficult to provide a business case strong enough to convince a technology focused IT organization they need ITIL. It is likely they will see some value in Incident, Problem and Change since these focus on support. However they will likely go no further until the concept of services are understood. Why would I ever do Configuration Management, full Release Management or Service Level Management unless I wanted to now how the technology comes together to deliver end to end services.
This being the case then perhaps the Service Catalog is much more that an a la carte menu for the business customer. The Service Catalog is the foundation for ITIL implementation projects!
This topic is the central theme of the upcoming book that I am co-authoring with my friend Rodrigo Flores and Bill Fine of NewScale. I highly recommend Rodrigo’s blog on Service Catalogs
Rodrigo’s Service Catalog Blog
He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it. ~ Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”