Giving Back To The ITSM Community: We Move, If Slowly, But With Purpose

It started as a blog called Giving Back To The IT Service Management Community – a personal plea for anyone involved in IT operations, IT service delivery, IT support, etc., to “give back” to the larger community. Hopefully it highlighted (or reminded us of) the need for the creation of lower-level, more granular, and ultimately more practical best/good practice information that is freely available to IT service management (ITSM) practitioners; as a quick start mechanism and/or to prevent the continued reinvention of the wheel by organizations wishing to better themselves.

Many (OK, some) ask “Where has this gone?” or “Where is the free content?” Great questions, but ones that I will conveniently avoid (hopefully like a skilled politician); although others involved, I expect and hope, will provide updates on this in the comments section below.

To some Back2ITSM might appear yet another forum for “the usual suspects” (bagsy me be Verbal Kint) to “socialize” themselves to their ultimate downfall. However, I beg to differ. I feel that this has legs, no matter how short those legs might eventually be; which brings me to the reasons for this quickly written blog:

  • I still need to feedback the limited but interesting responses to the Back2ITSM survey.
  • I want to publicize some Back2ITSM “coming soons.”

Survey feedback

In a previous blog – From The Coal Face: Real World IT Service Management And ITIL Adoption Sound Bites – I reported that only 149 people started the survey of which only 76 completed it. It wasn’t great and I am happy to take the blame. But IMO it is still worth sharing the “process status quo” results for others to ponder; results that will be used, in conjunction with other feedback (including the survey's comment-based feedback on specific needy areas), to direct our continued efforts.

Some interesting areas, which I couldn’t help applying my colored crayons to, but I am not going to spoon-feed you – take what you will from this.

Coming soon in Back2ITSM

Firstly, I think we are close to having a platform to share relevant ITSM content. We hope that the technology will eventually offer the ability to rate and recommend both content and creators – we have to avoid the information and opinion “jungle” that is Google and LinkIn groups (yes there is some great stuff but how do we know which bits it is?).

In the here-and-now, the Back2ITSM Facebook group is home to some great minds and fascinating, if not educational, conversations. Join it if you dare. The people on the Facebook group have become “involved” and are sharing (if only to the group at the moment).

The itSMF UK, SDI, and Hornbill were already backing Back2ITSM; LANDesk has also thrown its hat (and resources) into the ring. In many respects people’s time and existing IP availability for sharing is better than financial assistance.

The April Service Desk and IT Support Show in London will have various Back2ITSM activities. I hope that it is a tipping point in terms of momentum – as we start to deliver on our vision of a self-helping ITSM community and move from a focus on formal best/good practice to a mindset of real-world “shared practice.” One size definitely doesn’t fit all so why do we consistently look for the “one way” that we all need to follow; especially when that one way only takes us to the periphery of our final destination. Pink12 is more imminent in the US; I’d be surprised if there aren’t related conversations as a minimum.

Finally, please be patient. This isn’t a commercial venture with massive R&D, production, and marketing budgets. It is a just a collection of like-minded people who want to make IT service delivery (and, en route to that, ITSM) better for all.

Think about what would help you and what you could do to help others. Think about what is stopping you. Time and availability is an issue for all but I can’t help think that not having time to share (give and take) is like saying “I don’t have the time to go on a time management course.” Work smarter not harder.

As always your comments, thoughts, opinions and in this case observations are both appreciated and encouraged.

 

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If you enjoyed this, please read my latest blog: http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann  

Comments

Pre-requisites

First of all thanks to Stephen for the effort he, and others have put into getting this off the ground. I would really recommend the facebook group for those who haven't found their way there yet. Membership is growing fast with well over a 100 members when I last looked. What marks it out for me is both the quality and the spirit of the debate going on. Egos have very much been checked in at the door.

But what I really want to comment on something from the survey results which I've seen several times before in similar surveys.

How can change management be so mature (72% All good/good) when those processes that are a per-requisite for best practice change management are nowhere near as mature?

If you don't have your CIs/assets under effective control, if you don't manage availability and capacity effectively, if you don't have effective contingency provision, and above all else if you don't fully understand the business level view of service management how can you be delivering really effective change management? For that matter, without those per-requisites, how can you even know whether your change management process is effective or not?

Just asking.

Great point James ...

... my esteemed colleague Glenn O'Donnell was talking about change management on an internal call yesterday. In addition to the processes that you refer to ... many organizations think they have change management down pat, but the results of the Forrester/itSMF USA ITSM survey still show way too many incidents related to/caused by changes. Does this come back to metrics or realism and honesty? Or all three?

Change without release mgt? Doing it wrong

Good point Stephen. I think people *think* they're doing change management. I used to think I had a pretty good change management process going, which was based on the RFC processes I've lived and breathed elsewhere. Recently I came to understand that we were doing it wrong. In my experience, most organisations are actually doing a basic form of release management: "I want to move this to a new server", "Have you done a new server form and tested stuff?", "Yes", "Then on you go. Try not to break anything". That's good but there's so much more to change and release management, and as the earlier comment says, it needs the other processes to do it really well.

Facebook Discussions - Edited Highlights

A quick summary of Facebook discussions to date can be found here:
http://www.theitsmreview.com/2012/02/back2itsm-story/