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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, January 27, 2012

Practitioner Radio Episode 20 - Deploying ITSM Processes

Wrong Turns Are Often Based On A Case Of Mistaken Identity or Direction

So you have been asked to setup and establish an IT Service Management improvement program!

Congratulations, you have been in-trusted with a key element of your organization’s plan to improve service delivery, service availability, and customer satisfaction.

Now the key question is: How do you get started on this major task and what critical knowledge do you need to consider from a People, Process, Product and Partner perspective?

The First Step Is To Understand The Goal!

At Pink Elephant our decades of experience teaches us that IT Service Management programs are really people change initiatives, but that they are frequently mistaken for an ITSM tool implementation or process documentation project.

Certainly these are both important elements and even critical for overall project success, but in the end neither the process document or the wonderful new ITSM tool you just purchased produce results by themselves.

Because of this case of mistaken identity many frustrated IT leaders have invested significant resources, time and money and received very little benefit or return for their efforts. To avoid becoming an unfortunate statistic it is critical that you start your journey with a good understanding of the goal you are being asked to achieve, and to make sure others especially your manager does as well. 

Join Chris and I as we explore the practical aspects of what it truly takes to adopt ITSM practices and how documenting versus deploying processes are two very different objectives.

Process Adoption - PRACTITIONER RADIO EPISODE 20 by ITSMWeekly

Process Adoption - PRACTITIONER RADIO EPISODE 20 from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

Show Notes:

Example Transformation Time Line Graphic

Troy’s Thunder Bolt Tip of The Day:

When considering ITSM process adoption carefully consider the amount of change your organization can absorb at one time. Most organizations can handle no more than 2-3 parallel ITIL process projects as a maximum

Troy’s & Chris’s Thoughts What Are Yours?

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” C. S. Lewis

To subscribe to Pink’s Podcasts on iTunes

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The World Has/Is Changed/ing And It Impacts You!

I am sure several of you receive the daily LInkedIn Today news of Interest articles. I typically scan them to look for articles that apply to our practice and areas of interest related to organizational transformation. Today’s list or articles was particularly powerful - and a bit disturbing!

I highly recommend that you read the three Business Insight articles I have listed below, though you may not appreciate their edgy titles. Each article deals with how the workforce in the west is shifting from a generalist to a specialist mindset and how the Asian market and workforce has already evolved as the de-facto manufacturing engine of the world.

The articles make provocative statements such as:

1. We have seen the end of the industrial revolution in North America (I would add the West).

2. We no longer have the Manufacturing ECO system and supply chain to sustain many of the middle class jobs our economy has relied on.

3. Generation Ys are settling for what they can get in the way of jobs.

The application of this knowledge is that the Western economy and individual’s jobs will depend more and more on the specialty knowledge and skills they can acquire that will set them apart and make them unique. Also a growing understanding and belief that the status quo of how things are done today is no longer acceptable due to the waste that pervades our Western working practices. Process improvement and the application of Lean principles will help Western companies become more efficient in order to compete with growing global market pressures.

In my personal view, ITSM and other Enterprise Governance type knowledge, skills and certifications play an important role in creating individual and organizational differentiation. This is the premise of the article I wrote last year called: The Rising Wave Of Enterprise IT Certifications - Surf’s Up—Grab Your Board:

As you will read in that article, I believe the rising interest in enterprise IT certifications stems in part from these market shifts. In the West but also in the East individuals are looking for knowledge and their substantiating certifications to give them unique skills and value to help them compete in a global market.

Understanding these trends can help organizations and individuals make the necessary shifts in Attitude, Behaviour and Culture they require to stay competitive and employed.

Avoiding or ignoring the reality of these economic shifts can only be to our peril.

The specific business Insider articles that promted this post are:

Why Apple Makes iPhones In China And Why The US Is Screwed

If You’re An Average Worker, You’re Going Straight To The Bottom

13 Ways The Recession Has Changed How Millennials View Work

Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.  ~Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Three Doors Of ITSM Demand

IT Service Management Is Not A Closed Loop Value System

To Stay Fresh & Relevant We Must Capture & Manage New Demand

Where Have We Been:

Based on Pink’s research and consulting experience most IT Service Management (ITSM) improvement projects over the last 5 years have focused on the ITIL Service Transition and Service Operations processes. This is not surprising in many respects in that while with ITIL version 3 provided us with a full service lifecycle most organizations are still focused by necessity on improving the basics of service availability.

From the perspective of business risk this is a logical starting place since there is an intrinsic need to stabilize the current environment before an organization has the capacity and available resources to tackle the more proactive aspects of Service Strategy and Design.

However, eventually despite the challenges of economic conditions and constant changes to sourcing strategies IT service organizations need to consider and address the end-to-end lifecycle of demand & supply.

Not that we are not seeing CSI improvement activities in upstream aspects of the value system. Many organizations have current improvement initiatives targeting pre-production / development capability areas such as Project Management, Application Development, Architecture, etc.. But these are largely being run as independent improvement projects which are not linked or prioritized by an overall IT Operating Model strategy. 

This end-to-end view of the full demand / supply lifecycle has been the recent focus of several of my practitioner radio episodes.

Where Do We Need To Be:

Within the larger context of the overall demand / supply value system there are major capability areas which play a critical and interdependent part in the customer value delivery story. At a high-level these capability areas can be viewed as Demand Capture, Plan, Build, Run (D,P,B,R) with a overarching goal of Continual Service Improvement.

Sound familiar? Well it should since this is the basic construct of any value generation system or supply chain and it just so happens to correspond to the ITIL Service Lifecycle of (Strategy, Design, Transition, Operations & CSI). In fact when speaking with most IT Executives about ITSM or ITIL I start the discussion at this level before I ever introduce the concept of best practice process frameworks. ITIL in this context is simply one of many useful reference frameworks which support the overall D,P,B,R lifecycle. I specifically wrote “one of many” in that ITIL does not cover everything which goes on in the full lifecycle but does a decent job of covering many of the major aspects of each stage. Other reference models cover application development, architecture, project management, security, etc..

An interesting observation is that we are pre-conditioned in many ways to not think of Demand as the first step in the value chain. For example while I referenced the “Demand and Supply Lifecycle” above this is not the typical order in which we are used to hearing these words.  For most readers the term “Supply & Demand” will be more familiar. However, this sequence is not describing a value system process but rather refers to an economic model that describes how the available supply and cost of goods & services is driven by market demand.

Demand Management:

Once you have begun to tame the twin tigers of production stability & service availability it is time to focus on new value creation. My personal recommendation is that one of the first CSI focus areas should be the front office processes that deal with capturing demand. 

Demand Management has at a high level three primary tasks:

  1. Predict demand based on historical usage
  2. Influence demand based on incentives & compelling service offerings
  3. Receive/Capture demand for new & existing services

The third task requires the creation of clear channels and roles for understanding what our customers require and want versus telling them what we think they need. While this sounds obvious it is not in my experience common practice.

For example: If it is common practice then why is this one of the most frequently stated complaints from the business; “IT Does Not Understand Business Priorities”?

This is problematic in that understanding business demand as it relates to investment priorities and service requirements is critical for effective service management. Consider the following:

  1. Not understanding Demand causes IT to deliver services that do not meet business needs
  2. Having limited to no input from Demand into Plan is a recipe for not getting the service design specifications correct
  3. Not understanding the Plan or design specifications causes confusion in the identification of acceptance criteria for the build, testing and promotion to production tasks
  4. Having non-aligned, poorly designed, insufficiently tested and ill coordinated service elements being introduced to the Run / Production environment delivers service outcomes that are unreliable and do not meet business needs

Lean Principles: As an additional consideration to this logic tree add the Lean principle of Pull vs. Push. This principle declares that an efficient value system should only create product inventory or invest in services, which the customer asks for. (After all they are the ones paying the bills)

In essence customer demand (pull) provides the primary trigger for value creation. The opposite of a pull model is an organization, which decides based on its own best assumptions what services the customer will likely want (push).

In this context the (Pull) based value system is working on stuff the customer wants versus building it and hoping they will come (Push). Unfortunately “Build It And They Will Come” only usually works very well in the Hollywood Movie “Field Of Dreams”   

The Three Doors Of Demand

With the recent release of the 2011 edition of ITIL we have seen another step forward in improvement of the demand / supply life cycle. This improvement is represented by the elevation of the Business Relationship Management process and function to Service Strategy. In my view this change places the BRM process and function at the right level to enable it to perform as the strategic channel for receiving new business requirements into Service Portfolio & Demand Management. 

To take this discussion further there are in fact three primary channels or doors for receiving or capturing customer demand.

Business Relationship Management: provides the strategic and interactive aspect of receiving strategic demand and supports future state planning. It also supports Service Level Management in the definition and reporting of service level agreements.

The Service Catalog: Provides a portal for automated self service, Demand Management analytics and front ends the Request Fulfillment process in support of order provisioning.

The Service Desk: Provides the human interface for Request Fulfillment for those customers who prefer not to interact with an automated Service Catalog User Interface (UI)

These 3 doors of Demand are the customer facing channels into the (D,P,B,R) lifecycle. Their existence and relative maturity have a major impact on the customer experience, satisfaction and dependent value generation processes. They represent the front office of an IT Service Provider.

When planning an ITSM roadmap consider that improving the front office can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction providing you have already addressed the production availability issues.

Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?

”Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.”
Ross Perot


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