Monday, June 23, 2008
ITSM Enablers Getting You To Work On Time
Key ITSM Enablers And Constraints - Establishing Terms and Definitions
The Pink Perspective Tour is now in the past and and I find myself in the possession of over 300 solid survey responses to the seven enablers and constraints. My next task is to write the promised paper fleshing out the model to also include the survey results and case study examples.
As part of this paper I have written the following section to further define what is meant by a Key Enabler. In the earlier posts we have had a very interesting dialog regarding the relative importance of leadership and vision over and above the other enablers. I share this view and will explore it in more detail.
Before we look at each of the enablers in detail it would be helpful to clearly define what is meant by an enabler or constraint. Consider that any objective, goal or project has certain critical elements or success factors that are required to make the objectives and goals of the initiative achievable. We often take those factors for granted and do not give them much consideration until they run out or their lack of quality places the objectives at risk. Making the assumption that these critical factors are present in enough quality and quantity is often a terminal mistake. Understanding these factors and managing their constraints is key to knowing if you have sufficient means to achieving your ends.
To illustrate this concept consider the analogy of you getting to work on a Monday morning. For the purposes of this analogy we will assume that you drove yourself to work from your home.
To get from home to the office parking lot you required several enablers to be in place.
- Car: A car or some form of transportation is the most obvious enabler. However a car alone will not make the journey possible.
- Fuel, Money: The car needs fuel and you need money (more and more of it these days) to fill the car with fuel.
- Directions: You also need direction; a car with a full tank of gas without a vision or goal of where you are headed is not much use.
- Roads: We often assume that the road will simply be there when we start driving. However in many countries this is not an assumption we can safely make. Even in the countries that have a mature infrastructure the occurrence of unanticipated accidents, road construction and detours can often remove the assumption of a good and quick road from our path.
- A Drivers License: You may think that a license is not required to drive, but consider that your driver’s license represents governance, policy and rules of the road to which all drivers must adhere. A lack of adherence would present a chaotic and dangerous environment in which to drive.
- Knowledge: You need to have the skill to drive your car on the road system and within the context of your local rules. While you take it for granted today there was a time where the knowledge and skill of driving your vehicle was new. If you were given a transport truck to drive in a country where the rules of the road differed from your previous context the ability to simply jump in your vehicle and drive would not be so quickly assumed.
While most of us don’t think of them on a daily basis each of these enablers is critical to achieving our goal of getting to work on time. If even one of these critical factors is limited in either quantity or quality then the likelihood of succeeding at our or mission of getting to work is at risk.
A common statement that we hear from many organizations that do not succeed in their ITSM objectives is that they were not aware of their constraint until it was too late. To be effective in achieving your goals it is vital to understand and manage all the elements that will either allow you to be successful or diminish your ability to achieve your results.
Key Enabler Versus a Key Constraint
In a simple world each of these enablers would be a standalone requirement that had little to no impact on the other factors and where they all had equal weighting. However, we do not live in a simple world. Another critical element of knowledge is the understanding that certain enablers have an overall positive or negative impact on the others. For example in our previous analogy you can argue that you can still get to work with limited governance and policy policing the use of the roads. There are many countries in the world where this would seem the case. However a profound lack of direction combined with a no formal means of transportation will make the other enablers pale in seeming importance. In our ITSM reality you can equate this example to having limited to no leadership and without the benefit of a formally recognized and funded project. In other words you are being asked to implement ITSM practices on the side of your desk. The lack of these key enablers makes things such as maintaining project momentum pale in comparison.
In light of this concept consider the following definitions:
- A Key Enabler has a significant positive impact on the initiative and compensates to some extent for other factors that may be less positively ranked.
- An Enabler has a positive impact on the initiative and supports the achievement of the goals and objectives.
- A Constraint is a limiting factor for the initiative and restricts the ability of the initiative to realize its goals and objectives.
- A Key Constraint has a significant negative impact on the initiative. It has the very real potential of causing the initiative to fail and can have a negative impact on the other factors.
Now I will get back to writing the paper, coming soon to an ITSM blog near you.
Troy’s Thoughts What are Yours?
“Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” -Chinese Proverb
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Perspectives From The Pink Perspective Tour
Ten Cities in Three Weeks
As I sit in my hotel room in Washington D.C., I have a view of the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument . I am reflecting on the progress of the three week road tour / adventure that has kept me hopping on planes, trains and automobiles and has kept my blogging to a minimum.
This is a quick post to let you know that I am still here and plan to get back to my regular writing schedule starting next week.
In my last post I introduced to the readers of this blog to the concept of the seven critical enablers and constraints of ITSM. As you can see from the comments this concept has already sparked some healthy debate and discussion which I have shared with the attendees at the Pink Perspective events.
In each city we have been introducing this concept as one part of the day’s agenda and have been conducting a survey to understand which of the seven enablers represent the most challenging constraints in the cities and regions through which we are traveling.
You can find copies of the Pink Perspective slides, surveys and the regional results on David Ratcliffe’s President’s Blog.
As promised I intend to analyze the data we are collecting from the many attendees of the roadshow as part of an upcoming paper and conference session I am planning to deliver at our 13th Annual ITSM Conference this coming February in Las Vegas.
The Horse Race So Far:
This list represents the status of the overall results so far. However, keep in mind that we have not yet accounted for the results from Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas and Toronto. Here are the overall rankings so far as we head into the third and final lap.
From greatest to least challenge:
6. Ability to Effect Behavioral Change: Changing organizational behavior/culture and ensuring compliance to new practices over the long term
2. Resources: Access to necessary project and ongoing process resources (time, people, funding)
7. ITSM Program Momentum: Maintaining momentum, priority and funding for the ITSM programs
5. Ability to Deploy: The organizational capability to deploy new policies, processes and tools across silos
4. Integrated Tools: Availability of integrated ITSM tools to support process workflow and automation
3. Knowledge: Your level of information, knowledge and skill related to ITSM
1. Leadership: Executive and senior level support and sponsorship
Interesting results so far!
It appears that the people issues are ranked as the most challenging with leadership and vision being listed as the least difficult constraint. Without reading too much into this just yet it would seem that many organizations understand and accept the need for change but are struggling with how to make this happen in a politically-charged landscape of IT silos with limited resources.
More to come soon!
Troy’s Thoughts. What Are Yours?
”If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.” ~ Douglas Adams