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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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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our IT Measures Are Not Balanced

What Get’s Measured Gets Done & Sometimes What’s Measured Is The Only Thing That Gets Done

Over the last few months I have been thinking about what it means to develop meaningful measures for IT Management. Of course this is due in part to the fact that I was working on my Balanced Score Card (BSC) Presentation for the upcoming Pink conference in February as well as the fact that I was speaking on BSC and Continual Service Improvement (CSI) at the PinkPERSECTIVE Events. In any case, suffice it to say I have had measures on the top of my mind for the past while.

It was on the PinkPERSPECTIVE tour in India and Indonesia that the need for this article became apparent. It has been 19 years since Kaplan and Norton first published their acclaimed book “The Balanced Scorecard” describing a practical approach for translating an organization’s mission and strategy into a comprehensive set of Performance and Outcome Measures that provides a framework for Strategic Measurement and Management.

In their book they explain that there are four major areas of measurement that must be considered for long term profitability, growth and sustainability.

Those four areas are:

  • Financial Perspective: To succeed financially, how should we appear to our shareholders?
  • Customer Perspective: To achieve our vision,  how should we appear to our customers?
  • Internal Business Processes Perspective: To achieve our vision, what management processes must we excel at?
  • Innovation, Learning & Growth Perspective: To achieve our vision, how will we sustain our ability to grow, change and improve?

To focus on only one or a partial aspect of these 4 measurement quadrants eventually leads to long term organizational and capability damage.

However, 20 years later we don’t seem to have moved very far on this front and we seem to be hobbling along. Perhaps that is the point! We are hobbling along measuring what we know how to measure versus what we should measure. For many IT shops that comes down to technical performance measures and overall IT Costs. So in essence our industry’s total strategy can be summed up in the following statement.

IT Strategy: Every Year We Will Make It Go Faster and With Less Costs. (end strategy)

So if you work in an organization where your total goal is to deliver a 10-15% cost reduction on IT Services every year you will have focused most of your Portfolio initiatives on the following:

Data Center Consolidation, Desktop Consolidation, Application Consolidation, Virtualization, Green IT as it relates to consolidation, organizational consolidation and now cloud services.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not decrying these worthy activities. Kaplan and Norton themselves point out that a primary area of measure must be financial.  However it is very possible to score big on one area such as cost reduction and gut the other four areas of organizational value and capability. By trimming the fat to the point we are cutting into the bone it is very possible to drive customer satisfaction into the ground, have no appetite for maturing process and have nothing left over at the end of the year to invest in your staff’s skill development.

In this sorry state of affairs we find ourselves grasping the brass ring of cost reduction while the very structures and capabilities we need to sustain profitability, growth and agility face the chopping block!

To illustrate the illogic of this type of management approach Kaplan and Norton use the following effective analogy.

For the purposes of this article lets assume that “Airspeed” = decreased costs, higher margins and short term profitability $$$$

Imagine entering the cockpit of an airplane in flight and seeing the pilot focusing only on a single instrument?

You engage the pilot in the following discussion:

  • Q: I’m surprised to see you operating the plane with only a single instrument. What does it measure?
  • A: Airspeed! I’m really working on airspeed this flight, we have been told to focus on speed as the primary objective.
  • Q: That’s good. Airspeed certainly seems important. But what about altitude?
  • A: I worked on altitude for the last month and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Now I have to concentrate on maximum air speed.
  • Q: But I notice you don’t even have a fuel gauge. Wouldn’t that be useful?
  • A: You’re right; fuel is significant, but I can’t concentrate on doing too many things at the same time. So on this flight I’m focusing on air speed. Once I get that worked out we’ll work on fuel.

I am sure that like me you would have some major concerns if you were flying on this particular aircraft!

But in a sense this is what we are doing when we focus on cost and profit at the expense of all else. This is particularly challenging during difficult economic times such as we have been experiencing over the last couple of years, and there are times in a company’s lifecycle where one of the four areas of measurement and management need to have a heavier focus than the other quadrants to achieve specific short term goals.

However, lets now loose track of the long term vision!

No one want’s to burn out the engines as they race towards profit, hit a mountain due to poor direction / altitude or run out of talent fuel before they reach their destination.

Time to start focusing on balance and making sure that financial goals are supported and sustained by a practical focus on customer, process and internal enablers!


Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” ~Albert Einstien

 

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Posted by Troy DuMoulin on 12/22 at 03:51 PM
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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Integrated ITSM Project Plans

Successful ITSM Project Plans Integrate 4 Core and Dependent Work streams

It culture and method has a pre-disposition to work in silos and this can often be translated to how we tackle IT Service Management projects. What I have often observed is that separately managed projects with their own project plans will be established for process work, tool configuration and the orchestration of a Management of Change strategy.  The challenge with this silo approach is that it promotes a dis-connect between dependant work streams that need to be coordinated and scheduled in an integrated manner.

Pink’s recommended approach is to establish an overall project plan with at least 4 core sections for each ITSM service improvement project. Each of the 4 core sections may have a separate project owner but the initiative is managed as a coordinated whole rather than having for example a separate process versus tool project. I specifically reference 4 core work streams as illustrated in the diagram used for this article however certain ITSM projects will have additional work streams for example: (A Service Asset and Configuration project will have a data work stream, A Service Catalog project will have a Service Definition work stream, A Financial Management Project will have a Service Cost Model work stream) each equally requiring integration with the 4 core work streams discussed in this article.

For the purposes of this post we will focus on the 4 core and common work streams for any ITSM Improvement project.

At Pink Elephant we leverage Project Management concepts found in both Prince 2 & Agile Project Management. Primarily we believe it is critical to manage ITSM projects in a stage gate (go / no go) approach as well as to ensure iterative prototyping and quick wins identification through out the lifecycle of the project and deployment stages.

The following diagram illustrates the 4 core work streams:

  • Process: The development of the high level and detailed process deliverables such as Policies, Process Flows, Roles, Procedures, Classification Structures, Approval workflows, metrics and support for post deployment coaching.
  • Tools: The development of requirements, selection of new or existing tools, process/workflow configuration, Integration to other tools, report development and lab based deployment support.
  • People: The identification of project resources, definition of process roles, RACI development, process skills training development and the execution of process deployment workshops.
  • Governance: The identification and establishment of a tiered enterprise and distributed process ownership structure which will participate as key stakeholders during the project phase and own the accountability and responsibility for ongoing Continual Improvement. Adjustment of organizational reward and measurement systems to ensure support for the new process behaviours are realized and embedded after the project closure

Note: It is our experience that organizations often neglect the Governance work stream which results in the initiative’s ultimate failure despite the project having been run successfully up to project close. This is a subject I addressed recently in the article “Help No One Is Following My Process


When setting up your initial project plan we recommend the following general stages. Based on Prince 2 practices each phase should have a key stage gate decision before the project should be approved to move forward.

Baseline Assessment: For reasons I have documented in the article “Why Bother With Process Assessments” we highly recommend starting with a baseline gap assessment.

  • Stage Gate Decision: What areas of improvement will be handled as targeted service improvement initiatives managed by specific stakeholders and which processes should be improved using a formal improvement project?

Project or Roadmap Planning: Using organizational, process, tool and cultural knowledge gathered in the Assessment Phase you will now define your scope, project charter, steering committee, project plans and high level (Management of Change, Risk Management, Communication Plan, Education Plan) requirements

  • Stage Gate Decision: Is there a business case for the project, is it funded to move forward?

High Level Project Deliverables: This stage of the project focuses on answering and documenting the “Who, What, When, Where and How” questions. For example: Who is the owner, what is the process, what are the roles, what are the general tool requirements.

  • Stage Gate Decision: Is their political and organizational agreement on the high level deliverables? (It is critical not to move forward with the detailed and more difficult work until these questions have been answered positively otherwise the project continues to spin back to basic assumptions causing the time and cost of the project to expand beyond tolerance.)

Detailed Project Deliverables: This stage of the project focuses building on the agreed definitions of the high level project deliverables and includes activities such as: The development of detailed procedures including tool usage; The definition of complex classification and approval structures to be automated in the tool; The creation of skills based training materials for use during deployment; Targeted advanced education for key process stakeholders and owners; The definition of the process and tool deployment strategy.

  • Stage Gate Decision: Following the completion of all detailed project deliverables a decision is required to move the process to production based on the agreed deployment strategy. This is a careful assessment to validate if all the required deliverables, conditions and organizational elements are in place to support a successful deployment and hand off to the ongoing governance structures and roles

Deployment Phase: During this phase deployment workshops and training sessions are run in batches with segments of the in-scope departments and groups. The level and type of deployment training will depend on the role being trained. For example: Is the person part of the process or a customer which interfaces with the new process and tool. Typically workshops are 1-3 hours in length and will comprise part process and part tool type training conducted in a lab or online classroom environment. The period of deployment will vary in length based on which ITIL process is being deployed and how distributed the organizational and geographical scope is. It is good practice to keep the process design teams in place as an after care or coaching team for a period of time following the completion of all process deployment tasks.

  • Stage Gate Decision: The final stage gate decision is to close the project. It is a good practice to conduct a project lessons learned review at this time for use in future planning and ITSM ininitatives

At Pink Elephant we have used this gated approach to successfully assist many organizations deploy and adopt ITSM best practices and I trust that these concepts assist the readers of this blog to gain a higher degree of success for what are challenging transformation projects.

Troy’s Thoughts What are Yours?

    In this world there are four kinds of people:
  • Those who make things happen
  • Those who watch things happen
  • Those who have things happen to them
  • Those who wonder what happened

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Posted by Troy DuMoulin on 12/02 at 12:20 PM
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