I spoke to Claire Agutter & Dave Van Herpen last week to talk about their upcoming masterclass at the IT500 conference in June: DevOps & Agile In An ITSM World.
The workshop will look at how you can use DevOps and Agile if you’re already doing ITSM but want to do something new. Claire and Dave will look at how to use a blended approach to get the best results and will look at practical ways to improve whilst blitzing a process backlog.
The session will be interactive and will follow the why – what – how journey starting from looking at drivers and building the business case for transformation to interactive group sessions including:
Looking at the 3 ways of DevOps
Designing Kanban boards
Investigating opportunities and risks.
You should attend this conference if:
You want to become an ITSM ninja familiar with Agile and DevOps!
The official bit:
DevOps and Agile represent a new way of working, but it’s not all about throwing away everything that’s already in place. We will look at how these techniques can be applied alongside other methodologies including ITIL and investigate other propositions such as Value Stream Mapping, Kanban for IT Operations and the use of Scrum.
Are you starting to move from ITSM to Agile, DevOps and beyond? Let us know in the comments!
The ITSM Review are pleased to be confirmed as official Media Partner’s for the Beyond20 SIXTEEN ITSM DevOps Conference on the 2nd & 3rd May 2016 in Washington DC.
The conference will delve into a combination of Development and Operations alongside some ITSM best practice in the hopes of giving you the knowledge to make your organisation more efficient and enable you to continually deliver, even in the face of constant change.
You’ll be glad to hear that the two-day event will have 1 session per block which is absolutely PowerPoint free so you don’t drift off into a deep sleep. Instead, the conference will consist of a range of interactive Panel’s and Team sessions. The schedule promises to be innovative and inspiring.
The itSMF Ireland hosted its annual conference in Dublin last week. The theme of the conference was Continual Service Improvement something I for one was really excited about. Most of the time conferences will talk about Service Design, Transition or Operation but there’s usually little if anything on CSI. The other reason for the excitement was that for me, itSMF Ireland is my home conference so hands up, I may be slightly (read extremely) biased.
The conference itself was held at the Clyde Court Hotel in Dublin. There was a great atmosphere that day because the hotel is right next to the Aviva Stadium (or Landsdowne Road if you’re old school like me) the home ground for the Republic of Ireland football team. There was a World Cup qualifier that night against Germany and the whole nation was hyped up, hoping to create the glory days of Italia 90. Anyway, Ireland’s sporting excellence aside, the hotel was gorgeous, the food was fab and the people on reception were lovely. Parking was a very reasonable at 7 euros for the day *stares hard at the itSMF UK 2014 conference where it cost £45 for 10 hours parking – and no, the carpark didn’t have unicorns, rainbows or vodka fountains*.
The event was kicked off by Fran Davern aka the busiest man in Ireland. Fran heads up the itSMF Ireland management board as well as holding down a full time gig as principal consultant with Davern itSM. The conference was co run by the itSMF Ireland and the Irish Computing Society. The social media machine was well and truly ready for action with the organisers encouraging attendees to Facebook, Tweet and get involved!
Ian talked about practical ways to not only get CSI off the ground but to make it meaningful. He went on to explain that not all benefits are tangible but it doesn’t mean that they’re not important saying “Cost is tangible, value is a feeling. Value should be promoted to support CSI”. The key take away from the presentation was keep making improvements however small “Keep it manageable, small CSI improvements are important because the aggregation can have a big impact”.
Agile ITSM – Dave van Herpen, Consultant, Sogeti
Next up was Dave’s session on using Agile. Dave started his presentation by talking about Agile and not getting hung up about definitions stating “if you’re combining customer involvement, incremental improvements and fast value, you’re already be doing Agile.”
Dave used a traffic example to explain how Agile works. He talked about a square in Holland that had the highest rate of accidents in the nation despite warning notices, traffic lights, signs and speed bumps. In the end, the local authorities were at a loss at what to do so removed all the traffic calming measures. That area now has one of the lowest rates of accidents because as Dave explained “if you have too many processes, people forget to think”. Dave went on to explain that we need to focus on customer satisfaction rather than just trying to hit SLAs or randomly chucking processes at everything.
Dave then talked about using Agile to make collaboration work saying “DevOps isn’t just about Development and Operations. It’s about having a multi talented team involving Development, Operations, Testing, Supplier Management and the business. It’s about everyone in the chain working together and helping each other out.” In other words if people actually talk to each other, we have a better chance of getting things right – yay for common sense 🙂
CSI: Bite Sized Nuggets – John Griffiths, Former itSMF Trainer of the Year
Following a quick coffee break, we were back to see John Griffiths present on doing CSI in small, manageable chunks. I’m personally a huge fan of this approach as it’s common sense. When you learn about the Deming cycle, you learn that small bite sized chunks is often the way to go rather than huge projects that will invariable fall apart once the day job gets in the way, we have a crisis or management get distracted by the next shiny new thing. Obviously that’s not the exact wording used in my ITIL foundation training but you get the gist 🙂
John started off the session by saying “it’s not called CSI for nothing, we must continue to drive improvements for our customers”. Should be common sense but how many of us forget about CSI when we’re at the sharp end of a Major Incident? Exactly.
#itsmfie15 John Griffiths invite all your suppliers to be part of your #CSI activities
John talked about the basic things that we need to have CSI in place. We need a CSI register, a strategy (so we know what we’re doing), a budget (so we can actually do stuff) and a comms plan (so we can tell the rest of the business about all our great work). The most important thing is to have CSI champions as people are everything. John talked about how Suppliers were key players at driving CSI at a strategic level. encouraging the audience to challenge them to get involved and suggesting the inclusion of a CSI clause in Underpinning Contracts.
John went on to explain the 7 step model using booking a holidays as an example sparking a huge response asking if we would all get holidays for doing CSI. Our Irish readers will know that there’s a tradition here in Ireland, there’s a talk show called The Late Late Show and one of the catch phrases is “there’s one for everyone in the audience!”. Sadly, it turned out that no, you don’t get a free holiday just for doing your day job but is was a brilliant way to explain how the model works.
John’s session was dedicated to his colleague Mike Baker who sadly passed away this year. John, your session was excellent and you did Mike proud, a sentiment that was echoed by the audience and all the session posts on Twitter.
Onwards and upwards – Stuart Wright, Severn Valley ITSM
Stuart was next in the hot seat talking about his experience of what works best when doing CSI. This was also the session that got #stewiesteam trending briefly on Twitter (more on that shortly). Stuart advised us to look to the results of our customer satisfaction surveys when looking for improvement opportunities.
Stuart also talked about the importance of promoting CSI wins telling the audience “ we’re good at what we do but we don’t tell anyone, we must promote CSI wins, we need a flag to wave that shouts “we’re better than everyone else!”
Stuart advised us to “stop writing policies on the back of fag packets, it’s not professional”. Thanks Stuart, that’s me told 🙂 He went on to explain how sometimes the things that give us the most pain are the things that can give us the most solid base to build improvements from, talking about the importance of baselining (gives us a solid starting point) and SLAs (if we don’t have them, the customer perception is “we can have anything we want, whenever we want”).
It was at this point in the proceedings that Stuart mentioned that he needed to do a bit of rebranding on his team as it was known as Stewie’s Team and not the CSI Team. Of course being in Dublin, no one was going to miss out on a golden opportunity for acting the maggot* and within minutes #stewiesteam was trending on Twitter. If I were to list the funniest tweets tagged #stewiesteam we’d be here all day but suffice to say there were lots of references to the A-team and a message may have been sent to the team back at ITIL towers (AXELOS) if we could introduce the term “pulling a stewie” for delivering CSI projects successfully if we ever move to ITIL 4.
Stuart talked about the need for keeping the show on the road and ensuring that CSI sponsors remained committed. He also talked about differing approaches and that sometimes we need to slow down the hares in our team and to get the tortoises to speed up.
Stuart’s final piece of advice was to use simple the simple things to keep momentum going – on one engagement the staff canteen had menu holders with space for additional pages. Stuart used the outside covers to hold leaflets promoting the CSI wins of his department – a move that publicised to the world and it’s mum all the fantastic work being achieved.
Practical CSI: Getting started with Continual Service Improvement – Stuart Rance, Service management & Security management consultant, Optimal Service Management
Mr Rance had the first post lunch slot and was quick to bring in some ground rules: “House rules, do not fall asleep, I will see you and I will point it out whilst laughing at you”. We wouldn’t dare Stuart 🙂
Stuart explained that in it’s simplest form, Kanban is “stop starting things and start finishing things”
Stuart explained the ITIL approach to CSI using practical examples:
Vision – “a lovely big picture of what the future looks like
Where Are We Now – baselining
Where Do We Want To Be – measureable targets: “never believe something can’t be measured. If you care about something enough, it can be measured because you will find the extra resources and money.”
How Do We Get There – the plan
How Do We Measure The Milestones – in short:
Don’t focus on process maturity, focus on what your customers care about
Don’t confuse technical targets with business targets
Use Critical Success Factors (CSFs) instead of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to demonstrate performance in customer service reviews and you can have a real conversation about value rather than arguing over numbers.
Don’t use numbers to tell your customers they’re happy, it will only lead to disaster
(I may have heard this last point delivered in the style of Craig Revel Horward from Strictly “that was a disaster darling”)
How Do We Keep The Process Of Improvement Active – the CSI register is a place to write down things you ought to be doing; it’s also a great way to promote success.
On a personal level, my favourite part of Stuart’s session was around achieving culture change. Stuart chose a very zen approach : “If you want to make a culture change, change yourself because it’s the one thing you have under your control.”
On one particular engagement, Stuart change the culture from “lets have a witch hunt and fire people” following each failure to a no blame culture by, in his own words “ostentatiously crowing about my own failures.” It reminded me of when I was a baby techie, I worked for an organisation where in the Server team, you got handed the sword of grayskull from He-Man / She-Ra as a reward for bouncing the most live servers that week.
Stuart finished on a strong note by reminding us all that: “the biggest enemy for CSI is complacency and doing too much. Just start with the little things and keep going”.
Improvements should always be agile, incremental ( as opposed to big bang) Stuart Rance #3. #itsmfie15
CSI: Taking a Different Perspective – Michael Brophy, CEO, Certification Europe
Michael had the penultimate session of the day and started by reminding us to “never try anything for the first time when you’re up on a podium in front of a room full of people.” Mile’s perspective focused on 3 areas:
Starting off with a discussion on standards, Mike used ISO 27001 (Information Security), ISO 22301 (Business Continuity) & ISO 31000 (Risk Management) to demonstrate that we don’t have to be afraid of using standards: “you don’t need to be an expert to read ISO 27001, but if make some improvements to your information security based on what you’ve read, you’ve made your organisation more secure and that’s CSI.”
Using ISO standards (27001, 22301, 31000) can help you improve your service – information security, SLM, risk assessment #itsmfie15
The final part of Mike’s presentation looked at how using Lean could make big savings in efficiency, enabling you to do more with your existing resources without having to negate gains with additional overheads. Mike also encouraged the audience to ask for an independent perspective “we had got to the point where we couldn’t see the wood for the trees”
Michael Brophy demonstrates how services can be improved through a Lean approach, great presentation #itsmfie15
Andrew got the audience energised with an interactive exercise designed to make us realise that focusing on quantity over quality isn’t necessarily the best thing and that we need to focus on people rather than just looking at the numbers and the KPIs
Andrew made the point that every process has white space, it’s how you manage it that matters. Andrew suggested having rules to manage white space for example the technician has one chance to guess at root cause and then has to follow the full process.
Final Thoughts, preview of forthcoming attractions and award winning tweets
Before we knew it, it was 4 o’clock and it was time for Fran to wrap things up with a preview of forthcoming attractions:
There was also an award for the best tweet that day with the prize going to the very deserving Niamh Armstrong:
All in all it was a great event with some fantastic content. There were attendees from all sorts of organisations from the financial services industry (AIB), utilities (ESB) and third level education (Institute of Technology, Tallaght – again – not that I’m biased but a big shout out to ITT and to Lorraine Carmody). For my money, the itSMF Ireland is one of the friendliest itSMF chapters, everyone had a good time and everyone went away with something be it new friends / work contacts, a new enthusiasm for CSI or new things to try back in the office. Thank you to the itSMF Ireland for inviting us along and we’ll be back next year. Oh and just in case you’re wondering, Ireland won the match (1-0 #thanksshanelong #COYBIG).
That’s all folks, go raibh maith agat agus slán abhaile.
I find attending conferences and events extremely useful. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge in the shape of industry experts, vendors and people like you and me who have already gone through those pain points we are currently dealing with. All we have to do is listen, take notes and grab handouts.
Useful as conferences are I, like many of you, do not always have the ability to take a day or more out of my working life to attend and as for getting money from the boss to travel to, attend and in some cases stay over at events, well lets just say I’m getting lots of practice at writing business cases with persuasive arguments.
To save you some energy for that impressive and compelling business case here is my list of the events, conferences and experiences for the first half of 2015 that are worth your time and (your bosses) money*.
The first of a new series of Knowledge Exchange seminars sees itSMF UK looking at Service Management today and how industry experts and leaders are dealing with the current big challenges we’re facing and promises to help us prepare for the intense changes ITSM is currently undergoing.
Despite being a trade event SITS has a fantastic amount of useful info you can take away with no less than 36 seminars being held over the two days from the likes of the fabulous Andie Kis who should have a conference all to herself and everyone’s favourite Texan Daniel Breston.
What’s more if you book before Tuesday 2nd June entry is free!
If you are a public sector service desk then this one is for you. SDI events are always well thought out with the mixture of presentations, case studies and interactive activities making for an enjoyable, engaging and worthwhile experience.
At £185 (+VAT) these days are fantastic value for money and are particularly good at focusing on a particular subject or issue.
If these all sound great but you just don’t have the time then there is an alternative…
Every 2 months Conference in a Box send out a package covering a different subject with Metrics, Social IT, Best Practice, Gamification and Kanban being covered so far. In your box you’ll find a collection of learning materials, access to the speakers online and some goodies to ensure you don’t miss out on one of the best bits of trawling the exhibition floor.
Conference boxes are between £29.99 and £59.99 and have the added bonus of you being able to attend in your pajamas!
*All conferences/events etc above have been attended/test driven by either myself or a team member. If you run or know of a conference that you think would be beneficial to the ITSM community please let us know via this link
Greg and Ian are service management practitioners for Legal and Insurance services and members of the BCS Service Management Specialist Group, who both self–funded their trip to the ITSMF Estonia conference.
This year’s conference saw something old and something new. The old was a return to the Novotel London, a venue whose size fitted nicely with the event and had a much better layout than last year at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. The new was the double session format. This meant that each seminar session was made up of 2 x 30 minute sessions rather than a standalone 40/45 minutes.
In amongst the usual mix of consultants and vendors in the exhibition hall were a couple of welcome newcomers. The Conference In a Box stall had a fine selection of salted caramel brownies to give away, whilst the Velocity stand had an entertaining and highly competitive ankiDrive game (a new twist on the Scalextric) where delegates compete against each other for a prize. Rebecca came a very respectable joint fifth and we wont mention Duncan’s abysmal performance!
John Windebank, Chair of itSMF UK kicked off the conference reminding everyone that with $3 trillion invested in IT every year we have a great responsibility to ensure that we stay current and relevant and not just rest on one’s laurels.
Next up was Richard Corbridge, CIO at NIHR Clinical Research Network asking us to be prepared for the future. With the internet of things rearing its head we need to know now how we’re going to deal with all those items that will soon be connected to our networks, such as heating systems, flood, fire and dementia monitors. Is it even sensible to try and catalogue all of them?
Back to basics? Shouldn’t that be forward to basics? – Ivor Macfarlane, Service Management Specialist at IBM
This session focused on real world learning and how we’ve got to get the basics right to be able to deliver value to our customers.
Ivor started by talking about what the text books say versus the real world. If we’re trying to demonstrate value quickly so that we can get support and buy in, why would we start with Configuration Management? If it can take up to 18 months to see tangible value from a CMDB, why are we doing it first if quick wins are key? Start with something the CEO and CFO like and go from there.
Things have changed since the good old days, now everyone does ITIL to some degree; it’s the levels as you go up and improve that are amazing. New back to basics needs to focus on Service and giving our customers value.
Embarrassingly it took 3 versions of #ITIL before service management became Service based @ivormacf#itsm14
This session was based on Dave’s take on Newcastle University’s ITSM journey over the last 5 years. Dave’s point was that we need to be lead by our customers.
One of our favourite examples from the session was a Service Desk call David happened to oversee. One of the doctors from the university called the Service Desk to report his PC wasn’t connected to the network. Service Desk tech asked him if he could check if the network cable was plugged in to the back of the PC. The reply?
“I’m afraid I don’t know how to do that. I’m only a brain surgeon.”
Like Ivor, Dave is very much of the opinion that we need a culture change; we need to focus on customers and services rather than just the technology. We need an open environment and we need to talk to each other. Not rocket science but it’s amazing how many people forget. Sometimes all that’s needed to sort something out is to pick of the phone or go and see someone. It’s easy to hide behind e-mails but let’s face it – a stroppy, passive aggressive e-mail chain as long as your arm helps no one – least of all your customer.
One of the main messages of the session was that having an expensive, market leading ITSM software solution will not solve all your problems. As the saying goes, a fool with a tool is still a fool.
What we loved most about Steve’s session was his honesty. Yes, getting control of your licences is not easy and it’s not a one off exercise. In our experience, it can be a complete freaking nightmare but you’ve got to start somewhere.
The session had lots of interesting facts here about how to get support and buy in for your Software Asset Management process. 30% of software used in Europe is being used illegally. A recent Gartner study has revealed over 30% of CEOs are concerned about software audits.
He also shared his advice on getting started. Don’t try to fix everything at one – start with your top vendor and work down. Great advice! We’ve seen so many people try to do it all at once and either miss something glaringly obvious or get in a right old flap about where to start, panic, and then give up.
Keynote – Mark Hall, Director of Service Management & Operations at Aviva
There were a number of standout sessions. At this year’s event. In the realm of future ITSM, came Mark Hall’s first day keynote speech. He talked about the benefits associated with building teams that are able to take advantages of agile frameworks to move more swiftly. A key component of this are self-forming teams that are empowered to right their own agenda in a bottom up fashion, rather than a micro-managed top down approach. However, the key idea that for me was the dissolution of the traditional customer/supplier relationship. Rather than think of ourselves as suppliers delivering to internal or external customers, we should see ourselves as part of an extended value chain that extends outside of technology through the whole of the business. For me this was a fundamental shift in perception about what I do and more importantly how I do it.
First time I've heard someone say NOT to be a service provider. Interesting notion #itsm14
If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.
Moral of the story? Problem Management is about getting it right first time. Having Problems isn’t a bad thing, it’s how we respond to them that adds the value.
Tobias talked about his experiences trying to focus his team on understanding exactly what problems are rather than jumping straight to solutions. He detailed a three stage approach that ultimately can be applied to almost any area of life. First you focus on detailing what the problem is and all that relates to it. Secondly, you look at the goal you are trying to achieve. And lastly you look at the solution once you’ve truly explored the other two. What really made the presentation stand out for us was Tobias’s focus upon how problems make us feel. Approaching and acknowledging the feelings we have about problems allows us to better deal and ultimately solve them.
Axelos announced the changes to the website and the extension to the PRINCE2 best practice PRINCE agile the first of, what I’m led to believe will be many “Axelos and…” initiatives. As always there were the supporters and the detractors but I feel that it shows Axelos’ acknowledgement that it’s best for organisations when they cherry pick the bits of the best practices that work for them.
Suresh’s session started on explaining that there is a lot of confusion over the difference between Governance and Management with IT governance primarily concerned about IT’s delivery of value to the business and mitigation of IT risks whereas Management plans, builds, runs and monitors activities in alignment with the direction set by the governance to achieve the enterprise objectives or, more simply put…
Doing the right things is governance, doing things right is management – @sureshgp#ITSM14
Nothing short of hilarious and I think the majority of the attendees were immensely entertained. We thought the food was delicious, although there have been others that disagree and as we were on a table with the Velocity guys we were well entertained.
Unfortunately the actual awards were not as good as they could have been. We would have liked to see more lead up to the awards with more information circulated on why the nominees had been nominated. There seemed to be a slight absence of interest with the applause dying out in many cases before the winner had even reached the stage. It is such a huge achievement to win an award and we truly hope that more thought is given to promoting the nominees and their achievements next year.
A full list of the worthy winners (and finalists) can be found here. All of us here at the ITSM Review would like to congratulate both winners and finalists on their fantastic achievements. Well done to all.
A big topic of discussion was the new double session format. For our money, when it worked it worked well but when it didn’t, it really didn’t. A positive example occurred on the first day with David Wheable followed by Eva Franconetti & Mark Adley of Telefonica. David was able to use real life examples from Telefonica’s approach within his talk. This gave an element of ground work to Eva and Mark’s, allowing them to concentrate more fully on the detail. In contrast, Tony Brough and Daniel Breston had spent a lot of time working together to align their presentations. Despite their best efforts though, the subject matter of each was too far removed to begin with. In the end it felt like two separate presentations that didn’t quite have enough time.
The venue was lovely and easily accessible albeit extortionate in terms of parking. At £45 for 10 hours we would have expected the car park to be made of gold with vodka & coke fountains and unicorn valets but, in fairness, I guess that’s central London for you.
All in all it was a good event with some great content. The ultimate test is whether there is anything you want to try when you get back to the office and we certainly felt that, whether our colleagues are ready for our new ideas is another matter altogether.
Thank you to itSMF UK for inviting us along and we hope to see you again next year.
Spring has sprung and the IT conference season engine for 2012 has officially started. Actually, Las Vegas and Orlando got going in January/February, but at least we’re civilised enough to wait until the clocks go forward before we dust off our conference venues.
April is special of course as this is the month that we see the Service Desk & IT Support Show return to London’s Earls Court from the 24-25 April, with over 80 suppliers demonstrating 250+ products and services.
This is the UK’s biggest showcase for the IT Service Management and IT support industry and this year the central exhibition will also benefit from a comprehensive two-day free education programme, which combines eight keynotes, 40 seminars, breakfast briefings and roundtable discussions.
A full exhibitor list is available here. Looking over the attendees we can see that there are plenty of the “usual suspects” and that’s always a good thing. Even better is the news that there will also be nearly twenty completely new faces taking part this year.
“The support from the industry this year, as always, has been fantastic. Our 2012 line-up of big name exhibitors and illustrious expert speakers has already generated a lot of positive feedback from pre-registered visitors,” commented event manger Laura Venables. “I’ve been working on the show for five years now and it’s a testament to its continuing success that, with less than two weeks to go, we’re still getting significant exhibitor interest from some top ITSM providers.”