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Troy DuMoulin, VP, Research & Development

Troy is a leading ITIL® IT Governance and Lean IT authority with a solid and rich background in Executive IT Management consulting. Troy holds the ITIL Expert certifications and has extensive experience in leading IT Service Management (ITSM) programs with a regional and global scope.

He is a frequent speaker at IT Management events and is a contributing author to multiple ITSM and Lean IT books, papers and official ITIL publications including ITIL’s Planning To Implement IT Service Management and Continual Service Improvement.

 

The Guide

"This blog is dedicated to making sense out of the shifting landscape of IT Management. Just when we thought we had a good handle on managing technology, the job we thought we knew is being threatened by strange acronym’s like ITIL, CMMI, COBIT, ect.. Suddenly the rules have changed and we are not sure why. The goal of this blog is to offer an element of sanity and logic to what can appear to be chaos."


Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactic as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First, it is slightly cheaper: and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."
~Douglas Adams

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Friday, October 31, 2008

7 Enablers for ITSM Expanded - Knowledge and Skill

A Little Knowledge Can Be A Dangerous Thing

If you understand knowledge to be the collection, absorption and internalization of facts and information, the application of that knowledge takes skill, which is a capability and proficiency based on experience, or better yet, wisdom. 

It all boils down to the concept that your ability to accomplish something worthwhile is typically directly proportional to your knowledge and skill related to your goal. For ITSM projects this means you know about ITIL and have experience in designing, documenting and deploying enterprise processes in a silo based culture.

Even though ITIL is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2009, it was just a few years ago when most people would tell you they had never heard of ITSM or ITIL.  Today, awareness has improved and most IT people you ask will tell you they have heard of ITIL and have a simple understanding of what it is.

That being the case, the people charged with project tasks, deliverables and the ongoing management of the process need to seriously consider more advanced education and learning.  This blog post lists a recommended level of ITSM education by role and involvement in your projects.

General ITIL Overviews

It is highly recommended that each person within the IT organization receive a high-level overview of ITIL as part of the project communication plan and for the ongoing training of new IT employees.  The level and detail of overviews can be customized in accordance with their level of participation in service management processes.

The ITIL overview is designed with the intention of providing an introduction to the ITIL framework, the processes and their goals and is a must for anyone who is even remotely involved in these processes going forward to understand the new and strange language everyone is starting to speak. It’s kind of like the language lessons tourists take before they travel abroad. They may not know any details but at least they can order a beer and ask to use the washroom. “Two very critical skills in any country”

Foundations ITIL Education

It is highly recommended that anyone involved in managing or executing daily ITIL process activities attend an ITIL Foundations class.  This is a prerequisite course for further ITIL study and certification, and should be made a mandatory requirement for those individuals tasked with the coordination, management, ownership or governance of your service management processes.

Key Roles:

  • Process Sponsors
  • Process Owners
  • Process Managers
  • Process Staff
  • Project Managers
  • Process Customers
  • ITSM Tool Owners / Administrators
  • ITSM Consultants

Intermediate ITIL Education

The Intermediate level courses are intended for individuals tasked with the implementation, ongoing management and continuous improvement of a specific or a collection of closely related processes. In the new ITIL v3 scheme this comes in two separate flavors. 1) Life Cycle Courses: A course based on a the management elements of a specific part of the Service Life cycle. e.g.: Service Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation, Continual Service Improvement.  2) Service Capabilities Courses: A series of courses based on a logical grouping of processes with a strong connection with each other and a focus on practical execution. e.g.: Release Control and Validation.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that the following roles be identified for intermediate level education and certification.

Key Roles:

  • Process Owners
  • Process Managers
  • Program / Project Managers
  • ITSM Tool Owners
  • ITSM Consultants

Advanced ITIL Education – “ITIL Expert Designation”

The advanced education courses and certification such as the those that focus on the full Service Life-cycle, e.g.: Managing Across the Lifecycle and the attainment of the “ITIL Expert” designation are intended for those who have overall ownership of a service management improvement program and are responsible for the ongoing governance and improvement of multiple processes. Some have argued that the Expert Certification is now a basic entrance requirement for ITSM consultants.

  This level of certification is recommended for the following key roles.

Key Roles:

  • Service Managers
  • Service Delivery Managers
  • ITSM Consultants

So in summary whatever your involvement in the ITSM world some level of education and certification will be a necessity at some point in your IT career. Of course it does not hurt that a recent survey by ZDNet’s Tech Republic listed 2 ITIL certifications as part of the top 15 paying IT Certifications. If knowledge for personal improvement does not get your interest maybe money does.

For more information about ITIL courses you can check out Pink’s website. Yes a bit of a shameless plug but what do you expect, I am Pink and proud to be!

Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?

He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.” ~Douglas Adams

 

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

7 Enablers for ITSM Expanded - Resources

Resources Fuel The Fire Of Execution

It was a very wise person who first said that nothing in life is free.  This is of course true for ITSM projects as for anything else.  Sitting down with the right people from across the organization to define new policies, processes and tools takes a significant resource investment (time, people and money).  That being said, one of the most frequent statements I hear from people when I speak to them at conferences or in courses is that they are expected to implement ITSM practices without any formal investment in any of the above other than perhaps their salaries.  They are expected to change organizational behavior and pull the ITIL rabbit out of the hat, so to speak, because they have ITSM somewhere in their title.

While for the purposes of the research we recently conducted I aggregated time, people and money under the single title of “resources”, these are in fact three separate enablers / constraints.

Time

Several respondents in our research said that they had all the leadership and organizational will they could wish for; but, they were swamped with an IT project portfolio that was overwhelming, with half a dozen initiatives being perceived as more urgent than their ITSM projects.  There is only so much time in the day and they are already running at max speed and doing their email at 10:00 pm each night after they feed the kids and put them to bed.  Sadly, the urgent always takes precedence over the good and necessary.  Survival always trumps strategy.

People

If your organization is like many we have worked with, year after year of focusing on cost reduction has reduced your IT operational staff to what feels like a bare minimum to keep the lights on.  What people you do have are very hesitant to commit to what appears to be the latest management fad and set of acronyms floating down from senior management.  The key stakeholders that are critical for you to involve in the ITSM initiative are busy fighting the daily fires (often caused by immature processes) and are too busy to come to your process and tool design meetings. 

This general lack of people is a very crucial issue for ITSM in general.  After years of cost reduction and containment, there really isn’t a lot of bandwidth for people to get involved in the project, let alone manage the ongoing processes once they are deployed.  While you can hire consultants to help alleviate the resource crunch for the project, who gets to run them after the consultants leave? 

Money

A lack of available funding is often a constraint that is shared by many organizations, and while money cannot buy happiness it can get things done!  However, in our research we discovered that there are some organizations that have the money, but lack of time and internal people were their most serious constraints.  One respondent from the Calgary Pink Perspective event stated that that the issue was not money (thanks to the oil boom in western Canada), but skilled people and affordable housing to attract talent to the region.

Meanwhile we still face the challenge of having to change the wheels on the bus as it travels down the highway. This reminds me of that EDS commercial “Building Aircraft In The Air” that came out after the super bowl a few years ago.

Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours

”Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” ~Douglas Adams

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

7 Enablers for ITSM Expanded - Leadership

”Leadership is not something you do to people, it’s something you do with people.” ~Ken Blanchard

Life seems to come at you in a series of waves. At times you feel like you are surfing the crest balanced between the forces of change and the quiet pools of serenity. However, there are other times when you have the impression the wave is breaking over you or that you have been left stranded and forgotten in a stagnant pool. Wherever you find yourself today the good news is that each phase is transitional and that life really is a series of dependent and connected events that bring you to new horizons and views of reality.

My own life is no different than yours and recent changes in leadership scope have broadened my responsibilities at Pink Elephant and I am learning a whole new definition of busy. It is for these reasons my writing as of late has slowed down a tad. However, I have finished writing the research paper that I promised you a few months ago and I will now provide that to you following these series of articles which expands on the initial concept we discussed earlier this spring.

Last time I wrote on the 7 enablers I presented a model of critical success factors needed to be successful on your ITSM journey.  These past articles set the stage for this model:

7 Enablers & Constraints of ITSM
ITSM Enablers Getting You To Work On Time
Perspectives From The Pink Perspective Tour

The following list represents these 7 Critical Enablers:

  1. Leadership: Executive and senior level support and sponsorship
  2. Resources: Access to necessary project and ongoing process resources (time, people, funding)
  3. Knowledge: Your level of information, knowledge and skill related to ITSM
  4. Integrated Tools: Availability of integrated ITSM tools to support process workflow and automation
  5. Ability to Deploy: The organizational capability to deploy new polices, processes and tools across silos
  6. Ability to Effect Behavioral Change: Changing organizational behavior/culture and ensuring compliance to new practices over the long term
  7. ITSM Momentum: Maintaining momentum, priority and funding for the ITSM programs

The basis of this model was substantiated with research we successfully completed with over 300 participants. You can find the research posted on the Pink President blog and it will also be imbedded in the full paper I will share with you following the next series of articles.

The Results Are In!

My intent with this new series on the topic of the 7 enablers is to provide more detail and context for each one.

The first and arguably the most important enablers is:


Leadership & Vision

Many hundreds of books have been written on the subject of leadership and the role a leader plays in providing the vision, direction and the compass that a project needs to be successful.  Without a leader’s blessing, passion and direction, very little is accomplished that has lasting effect.  This is true of all major endeavors, and it is certainly true with ITSM projects. 

We live in a time when the vision of the IT Executive is changing from one traditionally focused on technology optimization and cost reduction to an evolution towards service delivery and value generation; however, many IT shops still struggle with the value of ITSM principles when they are still firmly entrenched in a purely technology mindset.  For an ITSM project to truly succeed, the executive sponsor needs to understand what it means to be a service-focused organization and support the establishment of the processes that make this concept a reality.

However, many organizations are challenged with a CIO and executive IT team that have not bought into the principles of ITSM.  This proves to be very challenging when you consider that ITIL is a Service Management framework that has as its primary goal the delivery of services.

“Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.” Source:  ITIL® V3

In my experience very few organizations understand the concept of an IT service and even fewer organize themselves around the delivery of IT services.

To be effective, the leadership of an ITSM program must profoundly understand what an IT service is and wish to establish the disciplines that make the delivery of services possible.

What we often see is that the ITSM program sponsor has agreed in principle that the project represents a set of positive goals and has agreed to fund some initial efforts, but is still largely unconvinced of the exercise’s strategic nature.  The green light has been given, they have agreed to stand up at key meetings and say positive things, but little effort is made on ensuring that the remaining six enablers are in place and managed in a proactive manner.

It has been argued that the true skill of a leader is not just the shaping of vision and direction, but also the task of execution.  Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan make a very powerful statement in their book, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done:

“A high proportion of those who actually rise to the top of a business organization have made their mark – their personal brand as high level thinkers. They aren’t interested in “how” of getting things done; that is for somebody else to think about.” Source: Chapter 2 – The Execution Difference

The concept of Execution is a discipline worthy of discussion in and of itself. This is a topic I will be speaking on at our upcoming ITSM Conference in February when I review the principles of Execution in terms of ITSM projects.

Rather that pointing toward the hill and saying “Make It So”, true leaders must take the point and lead the ITSM charge.

Several of you have pointed out in previous comments that without a healthy enabler in Leadership then the rest of the 7 are moot. (Read The Comments)

Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?

”It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” ~Adlai Stevenson

 

 

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