Wednesday, March 29, 2017
IT Service Management Evolved
“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” ~Jack Welch
The principle of entropy teaches us that all human systems decay over time unless new energy and direction is applied to ensure that they stay relevant and meaningful. This is equally true of the service management processes we have all known and appreciated for the past 20 years. However during that period of time ITIL® has not been static, in fact we have seen at least 2 major shifts in context, scope and positioning of the library of books we reference for good IT Service Management practices. Those of you who have been around long enough will remember that ITIL’s 1st major change occurred when the framework evolved from a series of independent books on discreet subjects to the ITIL v2 model of two core books called Service Delivery & Service Support. Many of us look back on this period as the good old days when IT Value delivery could be described as 10 easy to understand processes related primarily to service operation.
The 2nd major shift and perhaps the most profound occurred in 1997 when ITIL® v3 emerged with a shift away from Technology Management to a focus on Service Management and added another 16 so called new processes making the total 26. Of course new is a relative term in the sense of when Christopher Columbus discovered the so-called new world how new was it? What really changed was not the world but our understanding of the scope and context of what the world entailed. In 2011 there was a new edition published with some refinements made to each of the lifecycle books but I would suggest that the 2011 edition was more about continual improvement then a radical shift in approach.
Now in 2016-2017 we are seeing a 3rd major shift towards what many of are calling Agile Service Management. This new evolution is being driven by the growing rate and speed of business demand and our industry’s inability to scale and respond fast enough based on the current state of technical complexity and fragmented processes. The business pressure being generated by this in-balance is creating huge interest in activities related to process simplification, standardization and automation. These conversations are all leading towards the question of how do we go faster while managing risk? The answers to these questions are addressed in the IT management subject areas I like to call the accelerators focused on practices related to Lean, Agile and DevOps.
The industry focus on these topics of acceleration is evident across the entire IT ecosystem; whether you see it in the articles published on Tech news sites, vendor product marketing pitches or the primary themes of our industry conferences.
What we are indeed seeing is the 3rd major evolution of IT Service Management to what many are calling the quest for “Fast Flow”. The outcome of this 3rd major shift is the review of our classic ITIL Strategy, Design, Transition and Service Operation processes in the context of how they can be accelerated and de-centralized to support the emerging practices of Agile and DevOps teaming structures.
Speaking of conferences Pink Elephant was very pleased to have hosted our 21st Annual conference two weeks ago and all of these trends were visible in session after session.
One session which caught my eye was a session conveniently titled:
Communicate. Connect. Change. Service Management Evolved –
Presented by Christopher Kuhn the Chief Operations officer from OTRS.
It was obvious from this session that Christopher and I are singing from the same song sheet as he addressed the need for ITSM processes to become more nimble and be reviewed from a first principles perspective vs. implemented in a theoretical ITIL by the book approach.
From his session Christopher listed typical implementation errors that result from a rigid and uniformed application of just enough ITIL theory to be dangerous. Some of those errors included:
- Un-flexible processes primarily focused on risk reduction vs. balancing the need to increase speed of value creation while managing risk
- Processes being driven by tool design vs. business needs
- Idealistic process documentation reflecting theory over practical application
- Process definition derived from the ITIL Bible without taking into consideration the context of the company needs and objectives
- Processes implemented as isolated silos
It was great to see OTRS as a tool vendor communicating this same message and calling for the need to re-examine how we do work and deliver value. What we all agree on is that it is time to evolve Service Management once again to align with the industry’s need to accelerate our IT Service Delivery capability to enable our business customer’s to respond quickly to market changes. By dong so we as IT Service Providers continue to remain relevant and focused on customer value.
Troy’s and Christopher’s Thoughts What Are Yours?
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” ~Jimmy Dean
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Lean Service Management Resolutions For 2017
Optimizing Processes and Services for Easier, Better, Faster, Cheaper!
For me personally, the holiday season is always one of reflection on endings as well as new beginnings. It is the nature of life and the foundation of learning that we need to take time to pause, reflect and acknowledge that each year brings blessings and challenges, anxiety but also hope for the future. For many reading this article, I am sure that 2016 was a year filled with both of these extremes as we collectively observed major changes on a global, professional and personal scale. However, change is the nature of life and without it humanity would lose its competitive edge and desire to improve.
As IT professionals, we are certainly seeing a change in the wind when it comes to the language we use and the priorities we are currently focused on. As an analyst, writer and speaker focused on topics such as IT Governance, Service Management and Continual Improvement, I have noticed a dramatic shift in the language we use to describe current and near-term objectives. Just a few years ago, the words you heard in meetings, at conferences and webinars were all focused on delivering stability, reducing risk, increasing maturity and ensuring compliance. While these words remain important, our language has shifted dramatically to focus on words such as speed, agility, velocity, flow, and fit-for-purpose.
Reflecting on this dramatic shift in what we are paying attention to, it is not too difficult to determine the source of this change in focus. In summary, there are many contributing factors such as:
- Increasing rate of business demand for IT Services
- Growing complexity of our value systems and partner networks
- Consumer driven expectations for on-demand, streaming and instant on
- Reduction of human resources to deliver services
- Inability of our current processes to keep pace or scale
- The increased pressure of technical debt ignored for so long
- The drive to virtualize infrastructure and network assets to increase automation
- The growing frustration of our business customers related to our rate of delivery
- To name just a few…
All of these items amount to what we can list on the stress and anxiety side of the scale. So where is the hope for the future?
Lean Service Management
The good news is that there is a growing recognition that, “What has got us this far will not take us further!” Companies, leaders and individuals are all beginning to recognize that it is time to simplify, standardize, modernize, accelerate and automate. In essence, we need to “Lean” out the way we get things done, address the complexity of process, architectures and organizational structures. In short, we need to get more high value work done faster in shorter iterations by reducing waste, improving flow and doing less!
We simply have no choice in the matter as pointed out by Jack Walsh in his quote, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” In reaction to this new reality, IT organizations are rapidly embracing the concepts of Lean, Agile and DevOps to simplify and accelerate IT Management practices such as Service Management, Project Management and Software Development. The goal being to update and accelerate the practices of the IT value chain of Plan-Build-Run to address the very real need for Better, Faster, Cheaper! Rather than think of these models and concepts as separate, it is critical to understand how each works together and collectively deliver improved business value.
At Pink Elephant, we have coined the term Lean Service Management to refer to the integrated collection and application of Lean, Agile, DevOps and IT Service Management (ITSM). To focus on only one element without understanding the relationship of each will lead you to further complexity and increased silo behavior, taking your organization further from the goal of accelerated value delivery.
So with this context in mind and looking to the bright future of 2017, my wish is that as an industry we make the following resolutions!
- Learn & Apply Lean Practices To IT Processes - It’s time to take a hard look at your existing processes for Service Management, Software development and Project Management with a focus on simplicity, removing waste and increasing speed. Lean and Agile principles teach how to be faster, cheaper, better!
- Embrace Lean Service Management Gain an understanding of how Lean, Agile, DevOps and ITSM relate and how they are more effective collectively. Increase your professional skills in these areas by considering training, conferences and webinars on how to integrate these practices for maximum effect.
- Establish Structures, Roles & Cross-Functional Teams Which Enable High Velocity Collaboration - Establish service and market-oriented cross-functional roles and teams who own the full lifecycle of a service including responsibility for ongoing support and improvement.
- Strengthen/Upgrade Your Leadership & Organizational Change Management Skills - Agile and DevOps teams require leadership skills, which enable and facilitate high performance teams. Learn what it really takes to be a highly effective Lean leader to collaborate, improve personal accountability and establish a continual improvement mindset.
- Attend Pink17 In February - Kick-start and fast track your personal journey of understanding and application of Lean Service Management principles by attending an event uniquely designed to give you maximum exposure to build on the knowledge you already have and increase the value of your organization’s investment in ITSM processes and tools.
The future is always uncertain but the trends are clear, for those that have eyes to see and ears to hear. Join Pink Elephant and I, by acknowledging these changes by boldly embracing Lean Service Management principles!
Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?
”There are four purposes of improvement: easier, better, faster and cheaper. These four goals appear in the order of priority.” ~Shigeo Shingo
Thursday, December 08, 2016
PR 71 - Using Kanban for ITSM & Operations
Being able to visualize work and create transparency is the beginning of improvement
One of the major tenants of Lean thinking is the principle of Jidoka, which means “making the invisible visible”. Creating transparency in how work is received and completed is a critical step in order to understand, measure and improve. This reality has given rise to the Lean practices of Visual Management or as one organization I know likes to call it: “Working Out Loud.” In this session George and I are talking with our return guest J. Paul Reed about his views and experiences of how a Kanban Board allows organizations to create transparency into work, provide key metrics such as Lead and Cycle Time, identify Bottlenecks and quickly act on visual cues to improve throughput.
The Kanban board is one of the most widely adopted Lean tools and has become popular with the Agile and DevOps movements and is now finding its way into IT Service Management and Operations processes. Join George, Paul and I as we explore this topic and provide examples of how Kanban enables IT teams to improve visibility into both planned and unplanned work and how it ultimately helps teams by honouring reality.
- Guest: J. Paul Reed
- Kanban - Origins Toyota Production System & Lean Thinking
- Kanban - Make work visible and focus on the flow
- Challenge was how to use a Kanban for un-planned work
- Agile and DevOps leverage Visual Management and Kanban boards to visualize work in progress
- Using Kanban when a team is distributed or virtual
- The focus is how is working flowing, where are the bottlenecks?
- Unplanned work often is what consumes the majority of existing capacity, Kanban makes this visible
- Kanban allows you to honour reality
- Kanban is the only place where all work is visible - (The Lean principle of Jidoka)
- What is not understood / defined cannot be stabilized, measured, improved
- Kanban improves flow by limiting Work In Progress and increasing throughput
- The cost of task switching (every time you interrupt someone writing code you loose 1/2 hour)
- Even machines suffer from Context Switching
- Discounting the myth of unlimited capacity
- Taiichi Ohno “Let the flow manage the process and not management manage the flow”
- Kanban scales very well to groups or scales down to individual work
- Using Agile - Scrum and Kanban for Request Fulfilment
- Using Kanban for 1x1 and explaining unplanned work
- Value Stream Maps vs Kanban Boards
- Can you use Scrum for Unplanned work?
- Kanban can be used for both Planned and Unplanned work
- How do you do Kanban wrong? (Organization’s with a blame and shame culture)
- If Kanban does not have Work In Progress limits it has limited value
- Personal Kanban
- Using Kanban boards for personal life (MediaBan, ChoreBan,….)
George’s, Paul’s & Troy’s thoughts what are yours?
“I find that when you open the door toward openness and transparency, a lot of people will follow you through.” ~Kirsten Gillibrand
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