ITSM Industry News Roundup – incl The CEO Who's Never Fired Anyone

749288301_45b0d7a34f_qNo time to read all the interesting info and news floating around social media and appearing in your inbox? Read our round up of what we’ve found interesting this week.

  1. Karen’s Conversations #4 – Karen Ferris talks to Paul Wallis and Fergus Cloughley the creators of OBASHI and Claire Agutter from IT Training Zone Ltd about the difference between CMDB and OBASHI, training and data flows. Watch here
  2. How to Navigate Office Politics and Avoid Needless Drama – Who doesn’t need to know how to do this?!? Read more here
  3. The First Big SDN Data Breach is Just a Matter of Time says Alex Scroxton of Computer Weekly. Read more here
  4. The IT Skeptic’s RealIT Radio Episode 5: Governance of IT – Dysfunctional families and IT organisations have a lot in common says Rob England. Listen here
  5. Meet the CEO Who’s Never Fired Anyone – Jennifer Liberto talks to Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire, about performance reviews, career tests and career progression. Read more here
  6. Put Yourself in Your Colleagues Shoes – Jorden Cohen wonders what else he would do differently if he looked at things from a different perspective. Read more here (via @GoNavvia)
  7. Big Data on the Service Desk – Does Size Matter? – Of course not, it’s what you do with it that counts. Read more from MaryR at HP here

Got some interesting news to share – say hello via @gobbymidget 

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Live from LEADit, Conference Review

Meeting April Allen (@knowledgebird) at LEADit - the itSMFA conference
Meeting April Allen (@knowledgebird) at LEADit – the itSMFA conference

DAY ONE

I’m at the itSMF Australia LEADit conference in Melbourne. It started with a buzz of excitement with a healthy turnout of 674 expected during the 3 days.

The opening ceremony from itSMFA Chair Kathryn Heaton and Australian politician Gordon Rich-Phillips were very positive about the state of ITSM in Australia and the future plans for even better cooperation between IT and the Government. Gordon Rich-Phillips stated, “IT is an enabler of productivity and employment” and emphasized and the importance of holding events like these in Melbourne where it is commonly accepted as the hub of IT particularly in the State of Victoria.

The keynote from Peter Nikoletatos on Accelerated Connectedness was an entertaining and insightful look at how to maintain the basics (Hygiene IT) whilst introducing an agile approach.  The second keynote from Nigel Dalton was a well constructed debate and case study on whether adopting The Cloud is ‘all about money’ or is it actually the opportunity to succeed (albeit with a different approach to organizational structure) with his role as CIO at The REA group proved as a case study.

The main focus of the day from the perspective of the keynote and breakout sessions was the high level discussion on the ability to take Service Management beyond IT into other areas of business so they are integrated and not separate entities.

Some feedback from delegates suggested that more was needed in terms of how to implement ITSM outside IT. Some of the tool vendors I expressed concerns that the event had to develop this offering or miss the huge opportunity of being part of the larger business operation.

Peter Hepworth from Axelos provided an update on the 60 strong team now running the ITIL and Prince2 best practice frameworks including Prince2 for Agile.

Overall the first day of the LEADit conference has been incredibly productive and I have been very impressed by the amount of social interaction and discussions between end users, speakers and vendors alike in very relevant topics that many in Service Management face. This event is highly regarded by many of the attendees as one of the top five of itSMF events globally and at this stage I can only agree.

DAY TWO

Another really good day at the LEADit conference for ITSMF Australia in Melbourne. The keynotes in the morning were two of the best I have seen at any event and will live long in the memory.

The first keynote was from Jason McCartney, an AFL hero who was badly injured in the Bali bombings in 2002 and his story of how he overcame injuries to marry his wife ( less than 2 months later) and return to his passion of playing football at the highest level when doctors said he wouldn’t ever play again. It was a great uplifting speech and one of the best I have ever had the pleasure to watch. Jason held our attention from start to finish which most presentations rarely do.

“It’s not what you are dealt in life – it is how you deal with it” ~ Jason McCartney

The second keynote was also very good from ITSM Ambassador Malcolm Fry. His keynote was very original and was based around looking at various famous types of artwork like Banksy, Salvador Dali and Monet and how they relate to ITSM in that sometimes Service Management isn’t about the little details its about the bigger picture and that you can look at things in a different way especially how the Service Desk works.

The Breakout sessions were well attended again today and lots of positive and informative contributions from the speakers. A lot of focus of the event has been the whole ITIL vs Cobit and ITIL versus Agile debates with justified arguments on both sides. A lot of the end users I spoke to today were focused on delivering customer satisfaction and getting the basics right and were attending the courses relevant to these topics.

The final keynote of the day showcased the key findings of a collaboration between itSMFA and ISACA into problems faced when developing strategic IT plans (the ebook is available from the itSMFA or ISACA website).

Caption
Left to right: Peter Hepworth (CEO, Axelos), Kathryn Heaton (itSMFA Chair), Bruce Harvey (itSMFA) at the LEADit Gala dinner.

Evening entertainment was the Telstra Gala Dinner and ITSMF industry awards. A well attended evening (they could have filled the hall twice) to celebrate the successes of the year and show gratitude to long standing members to the itSMFA. Congratulations to Karen Ferris of Macanta Consulting for here lifetime achievement award.

BYOD concerns? It's time to dust off the ITIL service strategy book!

It's time to grab the duster to dust off your ITIL service strategy book
It’s time to grab the duster to dust off your ITIL service strategy book

At this year’s itSMF Australia LEADIT14 Conference I am speaking about what the BYOD revolution means for ITSM evolution. I will be looking at each of the 26 ITIL processes and how they will need to change or adapt in the face of BYOD.

Whether we like it or not, BYOD is here to stay

Recent research by Gartner states that by:

  • 2016, 38% of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers
  • 2017, half of employers will require their employees to provide their own devices
  • 2020, 85% of companies will provide some sort of BYOD program

Despite the challenges that BYOD brings, the proven benefits of BYOD can be recognised with a sound BYOD strategy. Increased productivity, increased staff satisfaction, attraction and retention of talent are some of the benefits that can be realised.

The ITSM processes within the ITIL Service Strategy are pivotal in ensuring that you get your BYOD strategy right.

Start with Strategy Management for IT Services

Is the driver for BYOD within your organisation the result of senior managers wanting to access corporate data on their latest device? Or does it align with the organisational strategy and business drivers such as cost reduction, increased productivity, increased mobility, talent attraction and retention, competitive advantage etc?

How will BYOD enable the organisation to achieve its business outcomes?

Once it has been decided that BYOD is an integral part of the organisational strategy, the strategy for the BYOD service can be defined during the Service Portfolio Management process and documented in the Service Portfolio.

Service Portfolio Management

The Service Portfolio Management approach of ‘define, analyse, approve and charter’ applies to the BYOD service as it does to any other service under consideration as an offering to the organisation.

Questions that need to be asked during ‘Define’ include:

  • Which employees, employee groups or user profiles need access to BYOD?
    Does BYOD extend to consultants, contractors, partners etc?
  • What sort of mobility is required and by which employee groups? Are they home based, office and home, on the road?
  • What types of devices will they want to use?
  • What privileges or permissions do they need?
  • What data will they need access to?
  • What is the risk profile of the data?
  • What applications do they need?
  • When will they need access to resources and which resources?
  • What functionality will they need e.g. initiate web-conferences, run reports on corporate data, access HR systems etc?
  • What integrations will be needed e.g. CRM, ERP etc?
  • What is the best way to engage employees to accommodate modification necessary to their devices for security such as encryption or authentication?
  • How will devices be supported? Do we outsource support? Do we ‘time-box’ support in that support only spends so long trying to resolve an issue and after that the user is on their own? Do we only support commonly used devices?

The list goes on.

Service Portfolio Management will also need to look at what will be contained within the BYOD policy. The trick – and easier than it sounds – is to come up with a common-sense policy that allows employees to use their devices without jeopardising security.

The reason I say this is that recent research of 3,200 employees between the ages of 21 and 32 (the Gen Y demographic) revealed that more than half (51%) of the study’s respondents stated that they would bypass any BYOD policy at work. We have to recognise that these workers were raised to consider access to information a right, not a privilege. They are accustomed to being connected to information – and one another – at all times.

There is not enough space in this article to go into detail about what should be included in a BYOD policy but there is much available on the subject via the Internet.

When the BYOD service has been defined, analysed and approved, it can then be chartered. Service Portfolio Management will need to ensure that the provision of BYOD as a service remains viable and where it is not, consider whether elements of the service can be retired.

Financial Management

You’ll need Financial Management to investigate the cost of providing a BYOD service including the Return on Investment  (ROI) and Return on Value (ROV). Whilst organisations may realise cost savings through reduced hardware purchases and perhaps support costs, there may be increased costs in additional security and administrative systems and infrastructure investment.

Organisations may have to provide equipment allowances such as employee interest-free loans for new devices, stipends etc. and allowances for applications purchased for work-related purposes. These additional costs need to be weighed up against the inherent purchase and support cost savings of BYOD along with the ROV of employee engagement, retention, satisfaction, and productivity.

Financial Management needs to consider aspects such as – who pays for the device usage? If an organisation only wants to recompense for work related calls and data, this could put a large burden on the financial team who will have to validate all claims. This poses a challenge to forecast and manage cash flow.

Business Relationship Management (BRM)

BRM is crucial in the establishment of a BYOD service and determination of the business need behind why people want to use specific devices. Is it just a new fad or is there a real business driver? BRM should work with the business to look for business efficiencies and technology advances that can make jobs easier or provide benefit to the organisation.

Demand Management

This will be pivotal in determining the demand for the service? Where and when will the demand come from?

At itSMF Australia 

So that is just a taster of how the Service Strategy processes will need to operate to support BYOD. If you want to hear how all the other ITSM processes will have to adapt for BYOD, come and hear my presentation at LEADIT14. We haven’t even touched on Information Security yet!! You can find out everything you need to know about the conference here.

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Orange, green, blue, purple – what colour is ITSM?

photo (2)PINK. The answer is still PINK.

PINK14 seem a long time ago now, and I have to confess that I am already secretly (although I guess it’s not a secret when I publish it in an article right?) planning my trip for PINK15.

There has already been a stream of blogs from people providing their thoughts on the conference:

So I guess I’m a little late to the ‘event review party’ (sheesh my legs are still tired from the theme park that was Vegas) but better late than never. So here goes my review.

My favourite sessions

The calibre of the sessions varied depending on the topic and the speaker, but two sessions in particular stood out for me:

  • Slow IT: Meet in the Middle (MITM) – Rob England
  • How to Create & Manage a Successful Service Catalog – Jack Probst

What I loved most about these two sessions was the audience. No offence to either presenter but there were times when I wasn’t giving them 100% of my attention, because I was too busy watching and listening to the delegates in the room.

Rob England

Rob discussed the need to slow down the pace of business demands on IT to focus better on what matters, and to reduce the risk to what already exists (you can view Rob’s presentation as part of TFT here). His session was laden with common sense, and his message clearly resonated with the audience.

There were lots of nodding heads and signs of agreements. There were ‘oohs and ahh’s’ every 5 minutes (to the point that if any one entered the session late they probably wondered what the heck was going on). There were cries from the audience of ‘how?’ and ‘yes!’ It was very entertaining and enlightening to watch, and I think it’s fair to say that Rob had a few new groupies by the time his presentation was over.

Jack Probst

Then there was Jack’s session on service catalog (let’s not have the argument about the spelling). And before I attended the conference a few people had recommended to me “if you only see one session make sure it’s one of Jack’s”, and I’m pleased to say that this will probably be the same advice I give to any new timers next year.

Jack is a very enthusiastic and passionate presenter. I confess that when I entered the room I thought I understood service catalog and when I left I wasn’t so convinced (it was a tad high level for little ol’ me), but nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was question after question literally every five minutes from the audience (ok so maybe it wasn’t just me who found it high level) and once again the audience was very engaged. By the way if anyone saw my tweet about ITSM Review and service catalog, it was from this session.

What I loved most about this particular presentation though was not the actual session or topic, it was what happened after. I wanted to introduce myself to Jack given that the previous week he had written an article for us, and I had to wait a considerable amount of time to be able to do so. There was a very long line of people with questions.  All too often I see similar scenarios at events, and all too often I see very short responses given as answers, or occasionally no answers at all, but not with Jack. He gave clear answers and took contact details to provide even further information after the conference.

It’s interesting because many people raised the question of whether the PINK conference provided enough value to warrant the hefty conference price tag. My thoughts? If all the delegates did was attend these two sessions, then I would say they certainly got their money’s worth.

All the other sessions

A lot of people raised the suggestion that next year there should be less tracks and that presentations should be shorter, which I think is a fair comment.  There were many occasions when it felt a bit like Sophie’s Choice deciding which presentation to go to, not least when I had to make a decision between James Finister and Karen Ferris. James won solely on the fact that it was less distance for me to walk (the Bellagio is HUGE and I only have little legs … although not as little as Gobby Midget).

The keynotes on day one were incredible, and I think that PINK has quite a challenge on its hands finding anyone to match them next year. The keynotes on day two were sadly not as impressive, and along with many women I found the session by Josh Klein particularly poor. It was stereotypical and offensive. I appreciate that all of said stereotypical/offensive comments that he made were meant in good humour, but this is 2014 and jokes about women knowing nothing about tech and only being interested in shoes are not acceptable. There again I’d question whether there was ever actually a time when they were acceptable (although I wasn’t alive in the 1970s).

Anyway, enough of my thoughts for a second, let’s hear from a practitioner:

Currently our main aim at South African Reserve Bank is to be more service focused as well as looking at managing change and so my aim coming to PINK14 was to go to these types of sessions.

I was especially looking forward to Expanding ITSM Beyond IT: Providing Real Value to the Business by Joshua Smith – IT Service Management Team Lead at Mohawk Industries and I think I have taken away some useful points from the session.

We are currently moving to a new Service Desk tool provider and so I am looking forward to visiting the stand and getting to know the people there.

My favourite keynote has definitely been Caroline Casey, she was fantastic and very inspirational [unlike the keynote of Joshua Klein which I walked out of].

On the whole I would say that I have not had the “WOW that’s amazing I will definitely take this back with me” moment I was hoping for but I still think that the conference has been worthwhile.

– Siphiwe Mkwanazi – Head: Service Management Centre, South African Reserve Bank

Final thoughts

The theme was superheroes and I was suitably impressed with how PINK managed to ensure that the theme was present throughout the conference. The dressing up as superheroes and dancing through the ballroom wasn’t really my cup of tea, but that was simply a mismatch between American and British humour. It certainly drew plenty of laughs from the audience.

I won’t mention too much about the awards as you’ll be able to read articles from the winners here at ITSM Review over the coming weeks. However, what I will say is that at itSMF UK many of us complained that the award ceremony was too long and ‘went on a bit’, and yet at PINK we were complaining that the awards were a bit of a letdown (in terms of presentation not the actual winners) and too short. Safe to say that we (the ITSM critics) always have something to moan about and we’ll probably never be happy.

Finally, before I leave you with some photos of the exhibitors along with their views on the conference, there is one piece of feedback that I personally want to give to PINK for the 2015 conference. What I have to say is this:

 

“MORE GEORGE!!!!”

 

Seriously, the man is an absolute breath of fresh air and there was a never a dull moment when he was on stage. Pretty please work even more George Spalding into the agenda for 2015.

The exhibitors

I really shouldn’t miss out the vendors, given that without them PINK wouldn’t be able to run their conference. I personally felt that there was a nice atmosphere in the exhibition hall at this particular event. I’m not sure whether it was layout, the attendees or the fact that the vendors just generally seemed to be a lot more laid back and friendlier than I’ve seen them at other events – whatever the reason it was nice.

I particularly enjoyed assessing each vendors marketing efforts. From “spot me in a t-shirt” competitions to barbeque giveaways (yes you did read that correctly) there was certainly something for everyone. Anyone who knows me will know I get annoyed by vendors on booths very easily, but bar one minor incident that involved a finger (don’t ask) I never had a reason to complain!

Although talking of annoying, seriously, it’s time to stop tweeting about your PINK booth now people!

Before I finish up, here are some photos of a few* exhibitors looking all ‘dapper’ on their booths:

BMC Software
BMC Software
CA Technologies
CA Technologies
Cherwell
Cherwell Software
EasyVista
EasyVista
LANDESK
LANDESK
ManageEngine
ManageEngine
Navvia
Navvia
ServiceNow
ServiceNow
SysAid
SysAid
TeamQuest
TeamQuest

*Please note that no favouritism was involved in selecting which exhibitors to display here. I simply used all of the the professionals photographs provided to us by PINK.

The final finally

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Pink Elephant on behalf of everyone at ITSM Review for having us involved as media partner this year. We thoroughly enjoyed the conference and all of the amazing networking opportunities that the event presented us with.

So who else is going to PINK15?

Pink Elephant 18th Annual International IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition

Fatima Cabral and George Spalding delivered the opening keynote at PINK 2013
Fatima Cabral, CEO and George Spalding, Executive Vice Preseident at Pink Elephant delivered the opening keynote at PINK 2013

We are excited to announce that we will be a Media Partner for Pink Elephant’s 18th Annual International IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition (aka Pink14), 16-19 February 2014, at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

The event brings together 1,500 like-minded IT professionals, with over 160 sessions spread over 14 tracks – covering a vast array of subjects from all across the ITSM spectrum.

What you can expect

  • 14 tracks of educational, strategic, tactical and operational content. Tracks include: The 3 I’s of Leadership; CIO Forum; ITSM Winner’s Circle; ITSM Project Management; Service Support and Operations; How-to ITIL Clinics and Workshops; CSI – There Is No Finish Line; Using Frameworks and Standards to Achieve Business Value; Pink Think Tank; Tools and Technology; Breakfast Clubs; Discussion Forums; Half-day Workshops; Platinum Sponsor Stream – BMC Software. You can find out more information about all of these tracks here.
  • A various array of pre-conference courses covering ITIL and Lean IT Certifications; and post-conference workshops covering COBIT and ‘how-to’ instructional workshops.
  • Presentation of Pink’s IT Excellence Awards, with awards for: Project of the Year; Practitioner of the Year; Case Study of the Year; Innovation of the Year; and IT Leader of the Year.

Both Rebecca Beach and I will also be in attendance. If you would like to schedule a meeting with either of us at the conference please email me. We are interested in hearing from all attendees whether you are a vendor, practitioner, consultant or other!

We hope to see you there!


Event Summary

WHAT

Pink Elephant Annual International IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition (aka Pink14)

WHERE

Bellagio Hotel

WHEN

The conference runs from Sunday 16th – Wednesday 19th February, with pre-conference courses running from Wednesday 12th – Sunday 16th February, and post-conference courses from Thursday 20th February to Saturday 22nd.

BOOKING

Booking rates are available online

And the winner is…

kindleWe recently gave all you lovely people the opportunity to win a Kindle Fire in return for writing a review on

Rob England’s (a.k.a ‘The IT Skeptic’) latest book “Plus! The Standard+Case Approach: See service response in a new light”, and today is the exciting day when we announce the winner!

With all of the reviews in, Martin Thompson took his place at the judging table and began reading through the submissions. I had to tell him twice to remove his grey wig and remind him he was judging book reviews not auditioning to replace Judge Judy, but we got there eventually…

A massive congratulations to…

The winner of our competition and proud new owner of a Kindle Fire – Karen Ferris!

Karen’s review was chosen because it gave the most succinct description of the Standard+Case concept, a summary of the book and a reason for reading it.

The Review

I must admit to being sceptical (no pun intended @theITSkeptic) when Rob started to talk about the Standard + Case approach, and the use of ‘Case’ when faced with incidents, requests, changes etc. that we do not have a ‘standard’ model for dealing with.

I couldn’t see that handling these situations, as a ’case’ was different to how most of us manage this today. However, having read Rob’s book, the penny certainly dropped! This book is an eye-opener and a must-read.

Rob is not proposing that Standard + Case (or S+C) is a new practice but is an approach for formalizing what happens today when there is no formalized approach available.

This book describes the rigour required when dealing with response situations so that all instances of service response are managed, reported and improved – not just the standard ones. We often have models or procedures to deal with the things we have seen before and know how to deal with. We have categories, workflows, checklists and templates etc. We have the guidance provided by ITIL. But what happens when we are faced with a situation that is unfamiliar? As Rob says, what happens when we fall into that fuzzy cloud that says ‘resolve it’? ITIL gives some guidance for these situations within Problem Management but goes little past root-cause analysis. This book fills the gap.

What is also exciting about this concept is the use of gamification to offer challenges to service desk personnel and the ability of S+C to provide a career path for service desk personnel within the service desk. This has been a challenge for most, if not all, service desk managers who see staff come and go as the service desk is just seen as the doorway into the rest of IT.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone involved in situation response. It is an easy read and Rob provides a step-by-step approach for adoption of S+C as well as a S+C Tale, which we can all relate to, and brings S+C to life.

As Rob states in his first chapter, “The Standard+Case approach will improve your service response without a great deal of impact or investment in your current ITSM practices and systems”. This is why everyone should consider S+C.

This is a game-changer and I think Rob’s best work yet.

Thank-you Karen for your review both from us at ITSM Review and from Rob, we hope that you are your new Kindle Fire will be very happy together.

And to all the others…

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone else who participated and got into the community spirit with this competition (ok so maybe you was all doing it for the Kindle Fire but we’ll pretend otherwise…).

A thank-you also from Rob, not just for writing the reviews, but but for taking the time out to read his book in the first place and for recommending it to colleagues and peers. By helping to share his ideas hopefully more will implement them within their businesses and ultimately improve their approach to IT Service Management.

And finally…

If you haven’t read Rob’s book yet then not only did you miss out on the opportunity to win a new, shiny technology gadget but you’re also missing out on some great insight and advice.

Don’t just take it from me either, I’ll leave you with some other quotes:

“If you are quite new to ITSM or have not yet been fully converted into an ITIL ideologue this book can be nice introduction to an alternative, the author may say complementary, method to ‘process’ management.” – Stephen Alexander

“While not specific to IT, if you are an IT manager, CIO, Service Desk manager etc. etc. read this book and look to embed a Standard + Case approach into your IT organization.” – Mark O’Loughlin

“After you have read this book you will have a good ground and recommendations for how to manage Standard+Case covering pointers for how to think considering tools, policies, classifications, strategies etc. it’s a must for anybody that wants to take the next step in support evolution.” – Mika Salo

Plus! The Standard + Case Approach: see service response in a new light is a fast, complete and clean read introducing Standard + Case approach by Rob England.” – Rui Soares

“The important thing that Rob teaches us in this book is not about the existence of Standard and Case… we knew this since a long time ago in ITSM. The important concept is that we need structure, policies and resources properly balanced to manage both kind of responses, instead of keep trying to use a single set of policies, procedures and tools for everything.” – Antonio Valle

“It’s a good read and recommended to anyone involved in IT support and perhaps those involved in non-IT support. Are you prepared to become more effective?” – Stephen Mann 

“I would encourage strongly giving Rob’s model a try if you are struggling to get organized in the service response area.” – David Lowe

“I will be using many of Rob’s ideas as I work with my customers, and I recommend that you do the same.” – Stuart Rance

Image credit

CHANGE: Don't be a Statistic!

Change is inevitable, how you manage the organizational aspects will make all the difference

For decades the industry experts have been telling us that 70% of organizational change fails. These experts include recognizable names such as Kotter, Blanchard, and McKinsey. It’s a scary story! This means that 70% of changes fail to recognize a return on investment, and achievement of stated goals and objectives.

In service management the change could be the introduction of new technology, organizational restructure or process improvement. These changes could represent a significant investment of time, money and resources. So can we afford not to break the cycle and allow history to keep repeating itself?

Not only do failed changes result in wasted time, money and effort but they also make subsequent changes even harder. Failed changes result in cynicism, lost productivity, low morale and change fatigue. Expecting people to change their ways of working will be increasingly harder if they have been subject to a series of failed change initiatives in the past.

Failure is due to lack of focus on organizational change

It is my belief that 70% of changes fail due to the lack of focus on organisational change. Projects have specific objectives including on time, on budget and delivery of specified functionality. Projects install changes but do not implement them unless organizational change is included within the project.

If a change is to be truly embedded into the fabric of the organization and recognize the desired outcomes, there has to be a focus on the people. Organizational change is a challenge to many because it involves people and every one of those people is different. They have different desires, beliefs, values, attitudes, assumptions and behaviors. An individual may embrace one change because it is aligned with their value system and they can answer the “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) question. The next change may be rejected because that question cannot be answered or the change is perceived to have a negative impact on the individual, their role or their career.

Therefore before we embark on any change we need to clearly identify the target audience. That is anyone who may be impacted in anyway by this change, both directly and indirectly. We need to understand the target audience and their level of awareness for the need to change.

Through identification of the right sponsors for the change at every level within the organization, equipping them with the skills and capability to raise awareness and create a desire to change we are more likely to have a successful outcome.

Announcing is not implementing!

A communication strategy and plan is a key component of the organizational change program. It needs to address the needs of the audience, the key messages and how they will be packaged and delivered. The sender of the message is important. Messages around the business need for change are received better when they are delivered from the CxO level. Messages about how the change will affect an individual are better received from that person’s manager or supervisor.

We also need to select a variety of practices or activities to ensure that the change becomes embedded and people do not revert to old ways of working or their comfort zone.

In 2011 I wrote a book called ‘Balanced Diversity – A Portfolio Approach to Organizational Change’ which provides 59 distinct practices that can be selected from to embed change. Although the framework introduced in the book can be used for any change in any organization, I have discussed how it can specifically be used within IT service management.

In IT we often expect that providing people with some training or undertaking an ITSM maturity assessment will create the desire for change. It takes much more than that and because every change is different we need to use different practices that address the specific needs of the change and the target audience.

I don’t have the space here to discuss each of the 59 practices but a white paper on the subject can be read here.

Keep checking – there is no room for  ‘set and forget’

Finally it is critical to keep checking back to ensure that the change is being successfully embedded into the organization. We often talk about the Demming cycle in IT service management but don’t apply it to organizational change. We need to plan what practices we are going to use to embed the change, do them but them continually check back to ensure they are having the desired effect. If they are not, we need to act before the situation is irretrievable.

If you don’t want to become a 70% statistic and you want to ensure that your changes are a success, get some organizational change capability on your projects. It will be worth the investment.

Image – © Lilya – Fotolia.com

Rob England: The People in ITSM

Maori proverb: "He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata." What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.

It’s all about the people.

A service exists to serve people.  It is built and delivered by people.

Even in the most technical domains like IT, the service is about managing information for people to use, and managing the way they use it.

When we change IT, a lot of the time we are ultimately changing the way people behave, the way they do things.

There is an old mantra “People, Process, Technology” to which I always add “…in that order”.  By which I mean prioritise in that order, and start in that order.

People, Practices, Things.

Actually I don’t like that mantra; I prefer “People, Practices, Things” as a broader, more inclusive set.  Either way, it all starts with people.

We’ve been using railways (railroads) as examples for this series of articles.  Ask a railway how important the people are.  Railways are complex and very dynamic: they need to adapt to constantly changing conditions, on a daily basis and across the decades.  We are slowly getting to the point where we can automate the running of railways, but only because the trains run in a tightly designed, constructed and operated environment that relies on people to make it work and keep it safe.  Much like IT.

I’ve never bought into this feel-good stuff about successful companies being dependent on a caring people culture.  Some of the most successful railroads in the ultra-competitive US environment have pretty rough people cultures – they treat their staff like cattle.   And other railroads are good to their people – though most of them are off to what we would consider the tough end of the spectrum.  I don’t think it correlates.  I could say the same about software companies I have worked for:  from second family to sweatshop.

However it is probably true that all successful companies have a strong culture.  Staff know how it works.  They may or may not like the culture but if it is strong they identify with it and align to it, to some extent.  So culture is important.

And cultural change is hard – in fact it is a black art.  The bad news is that changing the way people behave – remember our first paragraph? – is cultural change.  Behaviours only change permanently if the underlying attitudes change.  And people’s attitudes only change if their beliefs move at least a little bit.  Culture change.  Fifty years ago railroads were places where men – all men – died regularly, learned on the job, and fought as hard as they worked.  Now the people are trained professionals and the first priority of most railroads is safety.  Twenty years ago the New Zealand Railways had 56,000 employees, couldn’t move anything without losing it, lost millions, and wouldn’t know what to do with a container.  Now 11,000 move record volumes of freight and do it profitably.

“Just because you can change software in seconds doesn’t mean organisational change happens like that”

You can’t make those transformations in short timeframes.  Just because you can change software in seconds doesn’t mean organisational change happens like that.  You would think railroads take longer to change hardware technology than we do in IT because it is all big chunky stuff, but really our hardware and software platforms change at about the same pace; years and even decades.   Plenty of Windows XP still around.

Technology is the fast changer compared to people and process.  Just because you rolled a flash new technology out doesn’t mean people are going to start using it any differently unless you ensure they change and their processes change.  That human rate of change is slow.  People  will change quickly in response to external pressures like war or threatening managers, but that change won’t stick until their attitudes and beliefs shift.  I bet the safety culture on US railroads took at least one generational cycle to really embed.

In response to a few high-profile crashes, governments in the US, UK and other places have mandated the introduction of higher levels of automation in train control over recent decades (despite the much higher carnage on the roads but that’s another discussion).  Much of this push for automation stems from frustration over driving change in behaviours.  Does any of this remind you of IT initiatives like DevOps?

Culture can change, and sometimes it can change quite quickly, by human standards.  It takes strong and motivational leadership, a concerted programme, and some good cultural change science.  The leading set of ideas are those of John Kotter and his Eight Steps to change, but there are many ideas and models now in this area.  In IT, everyone should read Balanced Diversity by Karen Ferris.  And you will find a multitude of suggestions on my free site He Tangata.

Whatever methods you use for change, pay attention to three aspects:  motivation, communication and development.

Motivate them in these ways:

  1. by getting them involved and consulted;
  2. by showing how they benefit from the change;
  3. by making them accountable and measuring that accountability;
  4. and by incenting them.

Communicate early, communicate often, and be as transparent about decision-making as you can.  Tough decisions are more palatable if people understand why.  Communication is two-way: consult, solicit feedback (including anonymous), run workshops and town-halls.

Development is not just one training course.   Training should be followed up, refreshed, and repeated for new entrants. Training is not enough: practical workshops, on-the-job monitoring, coaching support, local super-users and many other mechanisms all help people learn what they need to make change successful.

One final thought: examine your current and planned IT projects, and work out how much effort and money is being spent on the people aspects of the changes the project wants to achieve.  I’d love to see some comparative research on the proportions of money spent on people aspects of projects in different industries like railroading, because we in IT still seem to suffer the delusion that we work with information and technology.