Tuesday, April 19, 2011
ITSM Enabler, Constraint, Terminal Blockage
Enabler? Constraint? or Terminal Blockage?
The long time readers of this Blog will know that I am a big proponent of the the Continual Service Improvement principles related to The Theory of Constraints (TOC).
Two central messages of TOC in my own words are:
- Every system for generating value has at least one constraint or bottleneck.
- A system or process for generating value is not capable of producing that value any faster than it’s primary constraint or bottleneck will allow.
However to actually use this information in a useful manner you have to know what those constraints actually are. This starts by actually mapping out the system or process in the logical flow of steps or data so that you can clearly understand the chain of linked activites for value generation.
What is not defined cannot be controlled
What is not controlled cannot be measured
What is not measured cannot be improved
eg: The input trigger starts here and the widget comes out the other side. In the case of an ITSM or knowledge process the goal of the process is accomplished.
Now because we live in a universe of balancing forces there has to be a Ying to every Yang. If Constraints limit the flow of the system or process than an “Enabler” will support the process objective.
Think of enablers as critical success factors that have to be in place to achieve to goal you are after. At Pink we have defined 7 Critical Enablers for ITSM Project success and they form the basis for a research paper George Spalding and I are currently putting the finishing touches on. For more information on what those enablers are you can read the following article:
To provide a further explanation on the concept of “Enabler - Constraint” I have written the following analogy
“Getting To Work On Time”
Consider that any project has certain critical success factors that are required to make the goals and deliverables 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 initiative at risk. Making the naive assumption that these critical factors are present in enough quality and quantity is often a terminal mistake. Understanding what these factors are and managing the risks related to their absence is key to knowing if you have sufficient means to achieve your ends.
To illustrate this concept, consider the analogy of getting to work on a Monday morning, assuming that you commute to work in your own mode of transportation.
To get from home to the office parking lot, you require several enablers to be in place though you probably did not give them much thought as you were sipping your morning caffeine ladened beverage.
- Car: A car or some form of transportation is the most obvious enabler; however, a car alone will not make the journey possible. (ITSM Project Equivalent: An approved, funded project, IT Management Tool)
- Fuel, Money: The car needs fuel and you need money (more and more these days) to fill the car with fuel. (ITSM Project Equivalent: Resources: The very real People, Time and Budget required for the project)
- Directions: A car with a full tank of gas without a vision or goal of where you are headed is not much use unless you are out for a joyride. (ITSM Project Equivalent: An clear vision, strategy and roadmap plan over a realistic time frame)
- 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. (ITSM Project Equivalent: Agreed and documented, process, policies, metrics and ongoing governance structures)
- A Driver’s 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 by which all drivers must adhere to, the resulting lack of which would present a chaotic and dangerous environment in which to drive. (ITSM Project Equivalent: ITIL Certification as some element of proof that your team or the consultant you hired has based a minimum level of education in order to understand the problem if not the answer)
- Knowledge & Skill: You need to know how 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. (ITSM Project Equivalent: Contrary to some folks opinions certification and fancy lapel pins is not enough! You need people you can rely on for answers that have been in the trenches and have the ITSM lessons learned battle scars to prove it)
While most of us don’t think of them on a daily basis, these enablers are critical to actually achieving our goal of getting to work on time (Or succeeding in our ITSM Project). If even one of these critical factors is limited in quantity or quality, the likelihood of succeeding at our or mission of getting to work is at risk.
A common statement that I hear from many organizations that do not succeed in their ITSM objectives was 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.
For more information on the Theory of Constraints: Theory of Constraints & Continual Process Improvement
Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?
“Freedom is not being a slave to any circumstance, to any constraint, to any chance; it means compelling Fortune to enter the lists on equal terms.” ~Seneca
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Practitioner Radio Episode 8 - Financial Management
Your Money For Nothing and Your IT For Free
Chris Dancy and I Explore Everyone’s Favorite Topic - Money!!
Troy’s Thunder Bolt Tip of The Day: The day you began your ITSM journey you began the march down a path that will inevitably lead you to a customer requirement to do service based costing.
- Technology Panel
- Financial Management Article (Troy)
- Canadian Money
- Service based Costing vs Vendor Accounts Payable Process
- Service Based Cost Model
- Recovery is a nice way of Chargeback
- The Nile
- Mixed Supplier Model, the cloud doesn’t change this!
- The IT Accounting Group
- Contact Management, found in Procurement
- Each Manager does their OWN contract management
- Service Catalog Podcast
- When do you start having the COST discussions?
- Service Asset
- The PRODUCT is NOT the full extent of the SERVICE
- Cost Center Accounting
- Is IT a cost center?
- You’ve been given the latitude to NOT be transparent; you are STILL a cost center.
- Is there a difference between and invoice and getting budget!
Chris And Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?
“This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. ~Douglas Adams
To subscribe to Pink’s Podcasts on iTunes