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ITIL Practitioner - Components of a Service

At the core of ITSM is the idea of delivering services to customers, how these services will be engaged to deliver some form of value to the customer and the customer’s organization, and the value captured by the service provider.  For this to be accomplished we must first understand the key elements of an IT service and how, as a service provider, we deliver the correct set of services effectively and efficiently. 
 “A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks”.  This allows the customer to create the desired business outcome without having to invest in specialized tools or skills.  By linking activities performed by the service provider to the desired business outcomes the provider can be seen as contributing value, not just as a cost to the business.
The value of a service is derived from what it enables someone to accomplish or what outcomes it enables them to realize.  Th…

Continual Service Improvement (CSI) and Survival

The systems, the processes, and the culture that worked for IT service providers 20 years ago will not work in today’s environment.  No big news here!  Most IT support staff will agree. The truth is that the same could be said for systems or methods that service providers used five years ago or even last year.  The dynamic and rapid change of business requirements demands that a service provider be dynamic and continuously adapt to evolving business needs and outcomes.
When you get into your car and turn the key or push the start button, most would expect that the car is going to start.  You might also expect that it has wheels, an engine, and all the elements necessary to drive this car, right?   This is the same expectation that a business operation expects.  When a service is provided the business expects that service is going to have all the working elements to ensure that it does what they need. The customer expects that the service is available and secure for day to day operati…

Measuring Goals for DevOps Test Succcess

Each organization will have to define what their quality goals are for integrated testing based on the business and customer requirements for speed and outcomes.  The fact is that these goals must be quantified or in other words measurable. If you are not measuring your testing activities in alignment with the strategic goals then success becomes subjective and it will be very difficult to show value for your effort.
Some examples of measurements might be in the form of Run-To-Plan and Pass-To-Plan. Run-To-Plan (RTP) is the number of the total planned tests that have completed and typical goals are to have 95% RTPPass-TopPlan is the number of tests that have passed and a typical goal for this metric is to have a 90% PTP The criteria for determining when testing is complete is agreed by all stakeholders.   It will be impossible to have all stakeholders on the sprint team, but certainly input and validation from key stakeholders will have to be included before acceptance of the test res…

Changing Culture to Become Agile Based

Success in modern technical endeavors absolutely requires multiple perspectives and expertise to collaborate. (1)  When I ask managers attending my classes if their organizations practice ‘agile’ they hesitate and say something like we kind of do but not in all areas of the organization. Further questioning usually uncovers that most of this agility starts and ends with the software development teams. When asked if these practices have been introduced to the business units there is a long uncomfortable pause, and then I hear 'we don’t usually talk to those groups'.

Over the last couple of decades, a new set of major management philosophies have been developed and are now being adopted to ITSM. These new ways of thinking enabled manufacturing, software development and others to analytically realize both disciplined execution and continuous innovation, something that was thought to be mutually exclusive and impossible to accomplish with traditional management methods. Over the …

Agile Change Management

I always hear people say ‘Don’t like the weather, wait an hour it will change’.  The one constant in our lives is change. In business today, customers, users and stakeholders all have the expectation that as IT service providers we can and should be able to handle change requests at an ever-increasing pace.  Yet they still have the expectation that an appropriate response to all requests for change entails a considered approach to assessment of risk and business continuity, change impact, resource requirements, change authorization and especially to the realizable business benefit. For us to be able to do change management in an Agile environment, does that mean we must give up those requirements for speed and agility?
The purpose of Change Management is to control the life cycle of all changes enabling beneficial changes to be made.  I was once told by a very wise thought leader ‘Being agile is a state of mind.  It’s more perspective than prescription.’  Why can’t we have a change man…

Service Offerings and Agreements

When we think about what services we are going to offer we immediately think of the Service Catalog.  We must also consider what agreements go along with the delivery of those services.  What levels of utility and warranty are going to be expected over the life of our services?   What about services that will be supplied by external service providers; who is going to manage those?  Let’s take a look at which ITSM processes we will need to engage to ensure that we are able to strategize, design, deliver and maintain services that will meet our customers’ needs over the lifetime of the services.
In Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA), we look at Service Portfolio Management (SPM), Financial Management (FM), Demand Management (DM) and Business Relationship Management (BRM).  These are all processes within the Strategy stage of the Lifecycle.  We also explore Service Catalog Management (SCM), Service Level Management (SLM) and Supplier Management (SM) processes within the Design stage o…

CSI and the Communication Plan

Timely and effective communication forms a critical part of any service improvement project. To transform an organization and move people and process from just thinking about Continual Service Improvement (CSI) activities to actually allotting time to be able to performing CSI activities, it is critical that all stakeholders are informed of all changes to the processes, activities, roles and responsibilities. The goal of the communications plan is to build and maintain awareness, understanding, enthusiasm and support among all stakeholders for the CSI initiative. A communication plan is much more than just sending out one notification on what is about to happen and should be a series of notifications and meetings to keep people engaged, informed and passionate while incorporating the ability to deal with responses and feedback from the targeted audience.
First, we must design how we will communicate and then we must define what and to whom we will communicate.
The plan must contain: What…

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