Thursday, December 18, 2008
7 Enablers for ITSM Expanded - Program Momentum
ITSM Program Momentum & Sustainability
Adopting ITSM practices is never a short-term activity. For many companies, this means an ongoing improvement program that spans multiple years in order to make any significant progress in adopting ITSM practices. The very fact of the long-term nature of these initiatives is in and of itself problematic. Combine the fact that IT folk typically don’t have patience for any project that lasts longer than six months, and the other interesting statistic that the average CIO retention rate in North America is only 18 months, and you will see that many organizations adopting ITIL have very little appetite to go beyond a few processes. Maintaining momentum over a term of just a few years is a significant challenge most companies face.
If your organization is like most of the companies I have worked with, you have begun your ITIL journey by finding the funding in an existing operational budget, and without going to your business customer for any capital funding. This reason this often occurs is due to the fact that it is difficult to ask your customers for money for what they believe you are already doing.
For most organizations, this means that they will begin their ITIL program in what I like to call stealth mode. They will typically establish modest projects to improve their support processes, such as Incident, Request and Change Management, out of existing operational funds. Other processes that are typically launched early without much fanfare are Service Catalog and the start of Service Level Management.
However, most companies will not get much further before they realize they now need to address their ITSM tool strategy. They will certainly realize this when they tackle Service Asset and Configuration Management. At this point of the program lifecycle, it will become necessary to go public with their initiative, as capital investment will be needed to purchase a tool to support multiple integrated ITSM processes. To go public, the ITSM initiative will need a marketing strategy that capitalizes on all the wins and benefits realized by the improvement efforts during the period of ITIL by stealth mode. This next phase of your ITIL journey will be funded based on your marketing prowess.
At this point, the following elements are critical to keep the ITIL program rolling:
- The recognition of the ITSM program as a top IT strategic initiative.
- The submission of the ITSM program into the annual Project Portfolio process for prioritization and funding.
- The execution of a stunning marketing campaign highlighting all the improvements that have been realized while during stealth mode.
- The ITIL business case has to be linked to the provisioning of IT Services and their support of business value. Process improvement messages will not be sufficient.
- The formal ITIL education of all key stakeholders.
In short, it is possible to start your ITIL project in a low key approach; but, to keep it alive and healthy over the long term, it has to be formally recognized as a top IT initiative in support of business goals. It has to gain a profile so important that it outlasts the key stakeholders who start it.
The goal of this series of posts is to provide insight into what makes ITSM programs successful and sustainable over the long term. I am very aware that the scope of all the elements I have listed in 7 Enablers research can seem overwhelming and make the journey seem too difficult and the potential issues seem insurmountable; however, I assume you would prefer to be well informed rather than be unaware of the dangers that can distract you from the goal at hand. My intention here is to share with the readers Pink’s years of lessons learned from projects that have gone well and others that have died an early death due to constraints that were sometimes avoidable or at other times outside the control of those who were managing them.
Remember that these enablers represent the heart and lifeblood of your initiative. As long as there is a small trickle of movement and capacity through each one, there is hope for a successful conclusion to your efforts. Even the constraints should be seen as positive, in that they provide insight into what should be the scope of your initial efforts. Working within your constraints and not over-extending on your promises and objectives can lead to successes that allow you to expand each enabler over time for greater and greater achievements.
My best wishes on your ITSM journey.
For those of you who wish the full Paper including the research results you can download it at the following link. The 7 Enablers and Constraints of ITSM
Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?
“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping” ~Chinese Proverb
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
7 Enablers for ITSM Expanded - Organizational Change
Getting People To Actually Follow Process Is A Managed Activity Not Luck!
So you have designed a great process, have invested in a slick ITSM tool and paid your consultants for the best advice you could purchase. What makes you think anyone is actually going to follow the new processes after you close up the project and take down the posters?
To change from a previous to a new set of behaviors and eventually change the culture of the organization, there are certain critical success factors that need to be considered.
Focus On Behavior – Not Cultural Change
Culture change is beyond your ability or the project’s ability to modify and should not be the goal of the organizational change strategy. Culture in an organization is defined as a self-reinforcing set of beliefs, attitudes and behaviors and is one of the most resistant elements to change. To be successful, ITSM projects must understand and work within the boundaries of current culture in order to change these beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors effectively. That being said, culture will not change without the following ingredients.
The new behavior must be reinforced by:
- IT leadership messages and actions.
- Changing personal measurement and reward systems to establish personal accountability and compliance.
- Establishing permanent ITSM governance and management roles.
- The implementation of a continual service improvement framework of dashboards and assessments focusing on value but also compliance.
If you get all these things right and actually show that life has gotten better over the long term, you will have anchored the change into the organization, which will result in a changed culture.
IT Leadership Messages & Actions
Messages conveyed from senior management in the form of performance rewards, messages, attitudes and symbols continually reinforce current culture for the positive or negative. These messages provide people in the organization with unspoken guidelines for the direction of acceptable behavior patterns. People quickly determine what is “good and bad behavior” or what should be accepted or rejected from the message received from their leadership culture. In governance terms, culture is significantly influenced but what is referred to as “The Tone From The Top” – in other words, the spoken and unspoken messages sent from the IT executive leadership, which in turn influences managerial behavior and directly influences company plans, policies, and organizational direction.
Changing Personal Measurement & Reward Systems
Based on classical organizational design, the average person has a unique set of department or silo-specific tasks and activities defined within his or her job description; however, there have always been three types of work each person performs on a daily basis. But, only one type of work is typically documented in the formal HR job description. For argument’s sake, let’s call the specific set of tasks within a silo “functional work”.
The reality is that each IT professional has always been involved in three types of work (Functional, Project, and Process) long before ITIL or Service Management came along. What is new is that what was before undefined and unmeasured is now being formalized. Moving to an ITSM approach and changing behavior over the long term requires the opening of job descriptions in order to adjust individual key results areas and annual performance measures for process as well as functional activities.
Establishing Permanent ITSM Governance & Management Roles
IT services, as well as the ITSM processes that support them, inevitably span multiple organizational structures. In essence, IT services and their supporting processes can be understood as horizontal management structures, which are established and managed on top of the traditional vertical silos. As these services and processes are defined, a need becomes apparent to establish governance and ownership roles that don’t seem to fit well in the traditional technical domains.
A critical success factor for permanently changing behavior is the creation of new service and process roles to support the governance, oversight and management of the ITSM processes.
For more information on this subject check on the following link to “The Evolving Service Organization”
The Implementation Of A Continual Service Improvement Framework
One of the critical success factors in achieving process compliance and changing behavior is creating a sense of personal accountability through measurement and, yes, an audit. Another factor of human nature is that we often take the path of least resistance when under stress. The fact of the matter is that we behave better when we know we are being measured or held accountable for our actions. I am sure you have heard the quote: “What gets measured gets done!” By planning for, executing and publishing the results of your key performance indicators and the results of process assessments, you are buying insurance on the increased likelihood of deployment success, not to mention continual service improvement.
For more information on this subject check on the following link to “Why Bother with ITSM Process Assessments” and “Employee Compliance A Key Factor For ITIL Process Implementation”
One more post to come in this series “The 7 Enablers and Constraints OF IT Service Management” on the subject of sustaining momentum for your ITIL projects and then we will be on to other subjects.
Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?
“People’s behavior makes sense if you think about it in terms of their goals, needs, and motives” ~Thomas Mann