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Troy DuMoulin, VP, Research & Development

Troy is a leading ITIL®, IT Governance & Lean IT authority with a solid and rich background in Executive IT Management consulting. Troy holds the ITIL Service Manager and 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 acronyms like ITIL, Lean, Agile, DevOps, 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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Why Bother With ITSM Process Assessments?

It’s not just about knowing where to start, it’s more about proving how far you have come!

So you are off on your ITIL journey and you are either starting to plan how to eat the elephant one bite at a time. (excuse the pun) Or you have been at this for some time and it is now important to get an objective perspective of what your processes look like in live operations.

In either of these two contexts you are considering if it is worth the time and the bother to put your organization through the effort and stress of an assessment using internal resources or external consultants. 

If you are like many people I have spoken with over the years you may be hearing two competing voices in your head.

Voice 1: Best practice literature, ITIL and Pink Elephant all say we need to establish a baseline of current maturity before we take the next step. (The “Where are we now?” question of the six step improvement model found in the ITIL Continual Service Improvement book.)

Voice 2: We don’t need an assessment! We know we don’t have much in the way of process and we know exactly what we need to fix first. Why spend the time, energy and money on an assessment that we don’t need!

Sound familiar? I have heard that statement on more than one occasion and from the perspective of only needing input for project planning voice number 2 is hard to argue with.

 

However, in my personal opinion there are four primary reasons you do an ITSM process assessment.  Gaining insight and information for project planning is probably the least compelling.

So here are the top 4 reasons you should strongly consider the need to plan a series (yes I said a series) of process assessments.

Reason 1: As I have already mentioned it is helpful and healthy to obtain an accurate snapshot of your current process maturity, gaps and cultural climate to use for planning purposes. This information is useful for setting project priorities, establishing road maps and looking for quick wins to improve current practices. However, more importantly the information and data you gather before you actually fix anything will be critical for reason #4.

Reason 2: Investment validation (building your business case for project funding) is the next critical reason to conduct an assessment.  I am fond of repeating a wise saying I once heard. “It is not real until it is documented” It is a quirky part of human nature that allows us to deny or at least postpone the reality of things that are not documented. Somehow putting it down on paper and making it official forces us to at least consider the need to act on the things we have put off dealing with.

Reasons 1 & 2 assume you only do an assessment up front prior to beginning your improvement efforts.  The next two reasons require you to consider the need to conduct additional assessments following any improvement actions.

Reason 3: So you have deployed new processes, established policies, documented new roles and implemented improved tools. What makes you think that people are going to change their behavior and not revert to the way they have always done things? One of the critical success factors in achieving employee compliance and changing behavior is creating a sense of personal accountability through measurement and yes audit. Another factor of human nature is that we often take the path of least resistance when under stress (and who is not under stress) when we know we are not 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 a series of self or external assessments you are buying insurance on the increased likelihood of deployment success, not to mention continual service improvement. For more information on the subject of establishing personal accountability and employee compliance take a look at the following article.

Employee Compliance A Key Factor For ITIL Process Implementation

Reason 4: The most compelling reason to conduct at least two process assessments (if not more), is the cold hard fact that you will have shown evidence of the benefits and return on investment promises you sold to your boss as part of your ITSM business case.  An ITIL implementation program is always a journey of many steps and you may or may not have had formal funding for your first improvement projects. (Many organizations start this journey in stealth mode and fund their initial actions through existing budgets.) However, eventually you will need to go to the well so to speak to ask for real resources (time, people, tools and money) to support your next targeted improvements. To do this you will have to show your sponsors and benefactors that you achieved something worthwhile in the first round of improvements by pointing to the evidence provided by an initial assessment report. This, of course, requires you to have conducted an assessment before you started to fix things so that you can compare the improved present against the wild west past.  Without the two separate snapshots it will be very difficult to prove that life has gotten better. Yet another one of those quirky human nature elements. “We have short memories!” and “It’s not real unless you document it!”


As I list my four reasons for assessments you may be thinking that the last two points can be handled by metrics and reports that are generated as part of your ITIL project. This may be true in part, but consider that reports are typically targeted at specific activities or Key Performance Indicators. Assessments allow for a much broader snapshot of the current practice and can include observations for all four of the key enablers of any process (Governance, Process, People and Tools). Add to this the power of having an outside objective voice conduct an assessment on your behalf and the power of the report is significantly enhanced.

In summary, conducting a process assessment for the purpose of planning input is only one of the reasons you will want to seriously consider investing time and energy into organizing and conducting an ITSM process assessment. At Pink we offer you several tools and options to equip you for success. Please take a look at PinkSCAN Online


Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?


“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.” ~ Confucius

 

Posted by Troy DuMoulin on 04/25 at 05:00 PM
  1. Failure to succeed with IT Service and Asset Management projects is common.  Gartner reports that 40% of organizations implementing ERP find the actual time and money spent on those implementations exceed the original estimate by more than 50%.  The failure rate for ITSM is quite similar.

    I’ve been responsible for over 400 implementations of IT Service and Asset Management.  Risk to these projects does not usually arise from technical failure, rather from a steady drift in intent, which persistently widens the gap in expectations between the technologists and their customers.

    Vision development with senior management and realistic long-term planning for regular releases to the ITSM/ITAM “product” seem to be key to developing a constancy of purpose.

    With each successive release cycle a thorough assessment, gap analysis and reprioritization - using old-fashioned product management techniques for inclusion of new “product” features - has shown to be the most consistently successful approach to achieving success.

    Consider the advantages of defining your systems architecture not only in technical terms, but also how it will distribute political control over information, because all economic benefits arise from use and not from design.

    Processes don’t do work, people do. We encourage our clients to use inclusive assesssment workshops to apply three mutually reinforcing principles of leadership - engagement, explanation and expectation clarity - that can tap into the voluntary cooperation of your people by building their trust through fair processes and constancy of purpose.

    “Think big about what you can achieve; think small about how to achieve it.  That’s because you get things done through individuals and small groups of individuals.”
              —General Bill Creech

    Posted by Cary King  on  04/30  at  03:31 PM
  2. Well said Cary

    Its all about People, People, People, Processes and Technology.

    Nice Quote

    Troy

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/30  at  04:43 PM
  3. It is not only about knowing where to start, its more about proving how far you have come!

    Posted by team building  on  10/01  at  05:20 AM
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