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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."
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Friday, November 17, 2017

ITIL - The Continued Pursuit of Relevance & Value

Systems Thinking Requires Understanding the Full & Dynamically Changing Picture

In a recent article on CIO.com Charles Araujo states his personal opinion on the continued relevance of the ITIL framework in the context of modern day business models focusing on increased digitalization and innovation. He asks the question “Is This ITIL’s Last Gasp?” but it is fairly clear from his article that this is not a question but a statement to the contrary, he claims his views are backed up by the organizations and senior leaders he consults with and advises. “These organizations spend little time focused on efficiency and optimization – the traditional value drivers of ITSM but rather are laser focused on agility and adaptability.”

While I would agree that this is the current focus of our industry Lean teaches us that there are three core dimensions for creating value. Those three dimensions are Quality, Speed & Cost. All three must be present and continue to be a focus to deliver on the expected value our customers require. It is also very normal for organizations and even industries to focus on one of these dimensions for a period of time based on market pressures. For many years the focus of our industry was on quality as expressed at that time using words such as Availability, Compliance, Resilience. Following the 2008 financial crisis organizations were concerned about cost reduction in response to unexpected drops in revenue, now as we emerge into a new era our traditional business model is threatened by disruptive technologies which have given rise to disruptive competition. So, without question this turns the dial to focus on speed to market, agility and innovation. In turn, this focus on speed has created the energy and creative approaches we see represented in the Agile and DevOps communities which needs to be embraced, integrated and acknowledged as introducing welcomed change into our understanding of the full value system.

It is the full value system that I would like to call your attention to, while Agile and DevOps represent positive change they do not represent nor do they aspire to cover the full set of capabilities for creating and sustaining value. In the IT industry, we - as do all service organizations - exist within the context of a supply chain. In essence, we receive demand and turn that demand into outcomes our customers wish to fund or purchase. To achieve this goal there are specific capabilities that turn inventory into finished goods based on received orders and product innovations. However, there are also other capabilities - providing governance oversight, strategy and direction over the full value chain, as well as specific capabilities underpinning the full value chain to ensure that both functional and non-functional requirements are considered as part of the plan, build, run process. While Agile and DevOps create positive momentum and improvements in the capabilities for improving flow and service delivery, they focus on enabling the “Software Factory”, a term which represents only a part of the full IT Value Stream. In short, the new and emerging models for creating improved agility and speed do not provide the full story or complete list of capabilities for creating and sustaining value. Eli Goldratt - the author of “The Goal” and the father of the concepts behind the Theory of Constraints built on Lean Systems Thinking - described localized optimization without understanding the full context as potentially detrimental. To ensure full system velocity you have to understand and intentionally govern and manage the full system. Or, if different parts of the value system are being agile in different directions due to a lack of alignment around values, beliefs, priorities or practices, you can quickly see what happens to overall velocity (which by definition means “Speed With Direction”).

So yes, Axelos has announced an update to the ITIL framework and I acknowledge that it could have come sooner. However, I would like to reflect on the fact that ITIL has gone through previous Iterations each being driven by changing business needs as we see occurring now. This will be the 4th time since its inception in the late 80s that ITIL has gone through an improvement cycle. Each time that has happened the scope of context has grown, and focus has shifted towards the issues facing organizations at that time. With ITIL version 2 we were introduced to the concept of a lifecycle, with the update in 2007 (version 3) the focus moved from process for process sake to service outcomes, efficiency and effectiveness. The 2011 update called out capabilities such as Business Relationship Management and the Service Catalog each in their own way increasing the focus on customer engagement, alignment and value definition. Now as we consider the next update Margo Leach, Chief Product Officer at AXELOS, correctly identifies the need for ITIL to evolve to keep pace with the times, as it has done 3 times previously.

“The core principals of ITIL are valid and remain critical to enabling businesses to transform and scale,” Leach stated. “But we need to add an additional focus to the core of ITIL: speed-to-market and agility — that is a business’ ability to respond to commercial threats, market demands and market opportunities.”

To use a helpful metaphor, I would like you to consider and ask yourself that when Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, how new was it? What really changed? Did the world change, or our more complete understanding of it with additional context added? What really happened was that the map changed in relation to its scope, context and even how it was drawn. This is exactly what is happening now once again with ITIL, and the gift that ITIL has continued to provide to the industry is that it gives us a place to go to begin to understand the wider context of Service Management. It provides the wider canvas for how things connect and relate to each other without trying to re-write or re-define those areas. If you need deeper understanding you can refer to a number of deeper reference models that give you a more prescriptive “how to” on your subject of choice. There is however a place and a need for a model that describes this bigger canvas, showing - to the best of our current ability - the wider definition of Integrated Service Management. Continuing our metaphor, one could ask if there are still undiscovered continents, places on the map where the detail is dim and the caption reads “Here there be dragons!” My assumption is YES, around every corner and across every horizon is a new adventure and an undiscovered land.

So, to summarize I would have to say that I completely disagree with Charles’ assertion that this is “ITIL’s last gasp”. As long as ITIL continues to play the role it has done in the past and continues to push our understanding of the larger picture further it in my opinion continues to provide value and remain relevant

Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?

“The big picture doesn’t just come from distance; it also comes from time.” ~Simon Sinek

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Posted by Troy DuMoulin on 11/17 at 04:35 PM
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