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Control Charts

In the 1920’s while working at ATT Bell labs, Dr Walter Shewhart (mentor of W Edwards Deming) sought a way to improve telephone transmission systems. Seeking to reduce variations and failures, on May 16, 1924 Dr Shewhart wrote an internal memo introducing the concept of the control chart [Wikipedia]. Today the control chart (AKA process quality control chart or Shewhart chart) has become the standard statistical tool for finding variation that lead to continual improvement. As with other continual improvement tools, the control chart can be understood in a short time, yet takes a lifetime to master as a truly powerful tool for statistical and incremental improvements.

The control chart is a tool that tells us whether a process or system is in a state of statistical control. The state of statistical control is one in which a minimum or acceptable amount of variation is acceptable while still meeting the desired output of the process. Shewhart recognized that every process and system has…

How Do You See ITIL?

As with most things, ITIL® can be viewed from multiple perspectives. I have found that many people seem to take a polarized view of the set of best practices. They either see ITIL® from a very literal, functional and operational focus or they see ITIL® from a more figurative, conceptual and strategic perspective. The interesting thing about ITIL® is that it is both of those things and everything in between all at the same time!

After spending many years reading, thinking, teaching and using ITIL® I have found that one of its greatest benefits is its flexibility. The set of best practices can be seen from strategic, tactical and operational perspectives. In addition it is my firm belief that to be a true expert in the best practices one must be able to think at all three of those levels at the same! Because ITIL® takes a lifecycle approach (cradle to grave for the life of a service) it operates very strategically. Because ITIL® provides a set of processes for achieving value for customer…

Keeping People Engaged

One of the most important questions we can ask in ITSM is “How do we keep people engaged and excited about ITSM?” This question is fraught with danger. If too little energy is put into keeping people engaged then ITSM has a chance of withering and dying. If too much energy is put into the people aspect then other important efforts gets sacrificed. So how do we find the right balance? How do we know what is the right level of energy to employ in an effort to keep ITSM on a steady path for your organization? The answer lies in the concept of engagement. The term means to hold the attention or efforts of a person. To keep people engaged we must therefore keep everyone involved, active and attentive to ITSM in our organizations. How do we keep people engaged? By giving them new opportunities to learn, demonstrate capabilities and new challenges to overcome. We can provide new areas for exploration and engagement by using process and maturity assessments to identify current levels of maturi…

The Meaning of IT

What does the IT in ITIL® stand for? This question may seem easy to answer. The IT stands for “information technology”. But what does that really mean? Is there more than one way to answer the question of what the IT in ITIL® means? I believe there are more than one context or meaning for IT and we must be aware of the distinct meanings. Let’s take a look at some of the ideas or concepts behind IT.

·IT as “information technology”: This most basic use of IT refers to the physical and technological pieces and components made up of electronics and operating/machine software. E.g. A desktop computer is IT as “information technology”.
·IT as “management information systems (MIS)”: Computerized components that are used to manage, control and govern information used to run a business or organization. E.g. A customer relationship management system is IT as “MIS”.
·IT as “collection of applications and infrastructure”: This umbrella use of IT encompasses anything technological or computerized r…

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