Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Establishing Or Assessing An ITSM Program
A Health Check For ITSM Program Success
IT projects do not have a great track record of success. Various studies published by the Standish Group, KPMG or Robbins-Gioia all conclude that the likelihood of IT projects delivering on their promised value proposition is no higher than 54%.
At Pink Elephant our experience shows us that IT Service Management projects falter at even higher rates due to their high dependency on organizational and behavioral change and their tendency to be misunderstood, underestimated and under-managed.
The tangible tasks of creating process documents, and configuring service management tools is the easy part and is not by the way the goal of a service management project. The primary risk to ITIL project success is the political and cultural ability to deploy the process and policy changes across the non-aligned, separately managed IT towers and technology silos that make up a typical IT organization. Without the ability to drive real change across these political and often external boundaries the project returns almost no value and the money spent on process design and tools is a wasted investment.
To avoid this trend we need more than our best intentions. The following lessons learned from failed projects can help us open our minds to managing risks and planning to succeed rather than become yet another statistic
- IT Service Management/ITIL projects are actually transformation programs requiring significant shifts in behavior and cultural change across multiple groups.
- Process documentation is not worth the paper it is printed on without the ability and will to enforce its use.
- An IT Service Management tool alone will never enforce new behaviors or best practices.
- Most organizations fail at their initial process improvement efforts by focusing on the technology or tool elements of the project and underestimating the effort required to address the softer people and governance issues brought by the transformation effort.
- Most projects reveal clear, early warning signs that the project is at risk but these signs are missed, ignored or not managed.
Many organizations that undertake programs to improve their IT Service Management processes and service delivery capabilities are frustrated by a general lack of results or the overriding failure to achieve their ambitious goals.
Much of that frustration can be directly attributed to a single, pervading factor:
Leadership’s inability or unwillingness to understand that adopting service management concepts and processes within traditional siloed focused IT organizations means some degree of change to a large part of the current function’s structures, work practice, values, and measurement systems.
Certainly these two elements are necessary and even critical but they are still only enablers - not the goal itself.
- Documenting processes is a necessary step due to a quirk of human nature that believes that unless a practice is written down and enforced it remains un-defined and open to argument and interpretation.
- The Service Management tool certainly contributes to the goal by lifting the process from paper and making it tangible, visible, measureable and hopefully more efficient. (Though not always the case)
The goal of a Service Management initiative is to establish a common and efficient approach for the various functions within the internal and external IT value chain to deliver stable and reliable IT Services to the business customer. Process documentation and the underlying IT tools are simply a means to the end and not the end in and of themselves.
Building Blocks for ITSM Programs
When developing a transformation strategy in an ITSM project or improvement effort it is necessary to ensure that your plan (or the consulting proposal you are evaluating) takes into account all of these core elements:
- 1) An ITSM transformation program must include:
- Governance for the Project and Ongoing Process
- People (awareness, communication, and training)
- Process (design, feedback, documentation and approval)
- Technology (selection, configuration, testing and ongoing management)
- That ITSM improvement opportunities (big or small) must be run as a formal project with IT executive support and involvement to gain acceptance across the various functions that will need to participate and comply.
- The drivers for change need to be grounded in the business:
- Well defined and mapped back to a strategic business direction or decision
- Understood and communicated to ensure a shared sense of urgency and buy in to the project objectives
- Requirements and designs are driven by and tested against the change drivers
- The people participating directly and indirectly in both the project and ongoing process will be evaluated based on their contribution to the development, deployment and ongoing execution of the new practices and processes.
The key to managing successful ITSM programs is understanding the building blocks to success!
Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?
“It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes (tools and process documentation)” ~Douglas Adams with my artistic add