I promised a second blog based on the English-language presentations at the itSMF Norway annual conference but then I had a better idea … rather than just giving you the something akin to Twitter highlights I decided to be cheeky and ask a couple of the presenters to write blogs based on their presentations. Smart or lazy, I think it is better for you the reader.
Here is the first from Paul Wilkinson of GamingWorks – no stranger to writing blogs for my Forrester blog roll. The second is by Stuart Rance of HP and this will appear soon. Paul’s topic?
“How to improve the Return On Value (ROV) of an IT service management training initiative”
To quote Paul: “Hardly an innovative, exciting, sexy subject when everybody wants to hear about cloud, BYOD, social media, and all that new stuff.” BUT Paul was asked to present the same session he delivered in 2012 given that it was one of the top 3 well-received the previous year. I personally thoroughly enjoyed it – Paul is good at making you believe that there is “a better way” when it comes to changing the way we think about IT service delivery.
What were Paul’s key messages?
What was so important? Why should you read on? What should YOU now do differently?
Paul set the scene nicely. In his words (with a little editing by yours truly):
I’d not been to Norway for 32 years (I’m now embarrassed to say), so I really didn’t know what to expect as I travelled to the annual itSMF Norway conference in Oslo last week. I certainly didn’t expect the high price of just about everything; and I wondered if I would get a true picture of Norway in an airport hotel (in Oslo) with over 600 IT and IT service management (ITSM) professionals.
Now this is where my blogging could get me into trouble (or even more trouble), as I make a few personal observations as well as ITSM observations. But please humor me – they are all said in a very positive manner as I wonder what I missed in the Norwegian-language sessions and what those outside of Norway miss everyday. I’ll also write a second blog to cover some of the valuable content as soon as I make time.
My initial observations …
Firstly – “Wow, over 600 attendees for a country the size of Norway.” According to Wikipedia, Norway has five million citizens. You can do the math (or, as I would say, “maths”) relative to other countries. We have 63 million citizens in the UK …
I hope that it makes you smile but, more importantly, I hope that it makes you act. I’ll leave it to Paul . . .
“IT’s not about the IT?” Really?
I’m always surprised — no, amazed — in fact staggered. That’s it, literally staggered, at how poor “we in IT” are at being customer and service focused. Ever since I passed my ITIL v1 exam I have been aware that ITIL (the ITSM best practice framework) has always, always, been about customers and service. David Wheeldon taught me this when I was a “technogeek” who thought that end users were something dangerous and contagious.
I used to think that we should outsource the business, as they got in the way of IT and were simply annoying. David taught me that end users were human after all, just like us, and it was our job to provide services and value to them. I wasn’t convinced initially, but I was willing to be open to the idea.
That was more than 20 years ago, and while we have had ITIL in all its variants for more than 25 years, we still score badly on the customer-focused side of things.
Why does IT struggle with the concept of customers?
At our core we are “IT people” (hopefully you are shouting at your screen, “No, I'm a business person!” but please bear with me), so it is all too easy for us to look at the future of IT service delivery purely from a technology perspective; that is, to be absorbed by the opportunities and challenges such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), mobility, social, shiny SaaS ITSM tools, and cloud per se.
For instance, my colleague Glenn O’Donnell can often be heard saying that “the future of service management is an automated one,” and, unless you have access to the report from which I lifted this quote (and much of this blog), it is too easy to forget about how the “yellow brick road” to the future affects our people. Glenn’s report covers this in some detail, and I have politely stolen some of it to include below.
Looking at the future from an employee perspective = fear
Some great IT service management (ITSM) conversations with BMC this week got me thinking about ITSM people “stereotypes” and what we can learn from them in terms of communication, education, and ITSM tool selection. It started from my mental 2D matrix that plotted organizational ITSM tool need against the axes of organization size, e.g. enterprise, and level of ITSM maturity – with the latter, in my opinion, being a better gauge as to the ITSM tool that is most appropriate.
Conversations about the people within the organizations, however, made me wonder about the need for a third axis of “ITSM mindset” which could further better help to pin down the type of ITSM tool for a particular organization through a now-3D matrix.
Did Somebody Mention Stereotypes?
Oops, yes that was me. My imagination conjured up three stereotypes, and perhaps there are many more, but I liked that they leant themselves to a collective description of Brawn, Brain, and Heart (oh yes, it's a little "Wizard of Oz").
Where the stereotypes are:
Brawn– this describes the traditional IT Hero mentality, it’s all about you and the IT. Very much an IT-centric approach to IT delivery. Probably no concept of IT services and no interest whatsoever in ITIL (the ITSM best practice framework). It’s all about IT muscle in dealing with a never-ending stream of IT issues – the proverbial fire fighting. Talking to a Brawn about ITIL wastes everyone’s time, they will never be interested.
In September 2009 I wrote a "blog" called "Great ITSM and ITIL People to Follow on Twitter." In stumbling upon it again yesterday I couldn't help wonder:
What had happened to some of the Tweeters on the original list?
Who do I now follow that I didn't way back then?
In doing this I couldn’t help feel that, while I value Twitter as both an information resource and a workspace, I have been somewhat sleepwalking through it the last two years.
Why am I sleepwalking through Twitter?
It seems a strange thing to admit to, doesn’t it?
I literally “work” in Twitter these days and I would lose a dimension of my capabilities and “personality” without it (or a similar social environ). But the fact that I still place a heavy emphasis on the Tweets of the people below, that an updated list would not include that many more Tweeters, and that I didn’t realize that a few of the Tweeters listed are no longer actively Tweeting is quite scary to me.
My conclusion is that I have been very lazy in my use of Twitter (heaven forbid that people think that “number of Tweets” is a sign of Twitter proactivity).
So what should I do?
My original thinking from nine months or so ago (when I realized that Twitter was becoming a little incestuous in terms of my following of people) was to follow more Tweeters. I think I have nearly doubled the number of people I follow but I am still in the same place in many ways.
Involve all functions in design. Involve and include all functional units, development and operations. Bringing people together in face-to-face meetings, workshops, forums, and simulations to stimulate discussion, engagement, involvement, and address resistance. Resistance is a fact; you will encounter it. Bringing people together helps to make it visible, helps to create buy-in, and empowers people to change their own ways of working.
In my recent blog on the top 50 ITIL adoption mistakes many related to the people-side of changing the IT service management (ITSM) and IT delivery status quo. In many ways, people are the ultimate barrier (or success factor) to effective ITIL adoption or to other aspects of an IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) organization successfully meeting business demands for IT services.
We often get the technology and process elements of what we do in I&O right, but the people-side of things can be a different matter. Paul Wilkinson of GamingWorks has been a champion for addressing the ABC (attitude, behavior, and culture) of ICT for many years and he shares his (and his colleagues) thoughts with us below.
So what goes wrong?
As more and more organizations adopt ITSM frameworks such as ITIL, it often seems that ITIL or the framework is the goal itself, rather than being a means to an end – that is trying to improve the delivery of IT services from a business perspective.
Paul states that, in his experience, 70% of ITIL-adoption initiatives fail to deliver on their promises, i.e., realizing the value that the I&O organization (and business) had hoped for; with 50% of failures caused by resistance. However, we (the people) tend to blame the framework or the technology. But it often has nothing to do with ITIL – the root cause is commonly the way in which we (mis) apply and (mis) use the framework. That these failures are often down to people issues.
In a “spare” hour this afternoon I needed to create a list of the Top 20 ITIL adoption mistakes for a Forrester client. An hour later (I made sure I time boxed myself to avoid scope creep … oh dear, scope creep could be included below too) I had 50. Quite scary really.
Anyway, IMO it’s an interesting list and most likely incomplete. What it is, however, is something that could potentially be used as a tick list for organizations starting out with ITIL or considering a change of IT service management (ITSM) tool. Please take a read and let me know what I missed (or if you think I am making bits up).
Understanding and Vision
1. Believing the ITIL hype or, for my American friends, “drinking the Kool-Aid”. It’s about improving the business not adopting ITIL
2. Not understanding what ITIL is, i.e. that it is only a framework. There is no such thing as ITIL-compliance. Oh and ITIL does not equal ITSM and vice versa
3. Not understanding that it isn’t about “doing ITIL” but rather that it is about “using ITIL”
4. Thinking that either ITIL is a silver bullet or that it is “the only fruit”. What about ISO 20000, COBIT, USMBOK, Six Sigma, and CMMi?
5. Not fully understanding the breadth and depth of the changes it will require across people, process, and technology
6. Not understanding the level of resources (including cost) and commitment needed to adopt it
7. Not understanding the criticality of people to success