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Any real life examples of a Service Design Package?

I have been asked this question several times before and I actually blogged about it in 2011 (http://www.itsmprofessor.net/2011/08/service-design-package-sdp.html).   This is a tricky question because the SDP is merely a package of documentation that tells the “story” of a service, from concept to testing to deployment and beyond.   The documentation can take many forms, from documents, records, source code comments, electronic media

Each organization and each service will have different criteria, looks and feels to their SDP.   Apprendix A of the Service Design publication provides insight into the type of information that should/could go into the SDP.  My best advice is to avoid reinventing the wheel – leverage documentation that already exists (e.g., requirements documents) and capture information at the point where it is being determined or distributed.   Leverage the concept of the SDP as a vehicle for gathering better and more complete documentation.   Decide on a repository – wh…

Learning Best Practice Can Be Fun But Should It Be?

How would you describe having fun? When asked, many will describe the outcomes from having fun as a time when they feel most alive!

Educators from Kindergarten classrooms through college and career training courses will integrate blended learning techniques to increase the knowledge transfer and comprehension of concepts being taught. Some will say that is fine but making it “fun” is a waste of time; a luxury. Perhaps.Is it?Why not just learn the facts?Why should we attempt to have fun along the way? Left Brain; Right Brain Many in IT Service management such as engineers and IT staff have proven to be predominantly left brain driven.Great!This means they have natural ability to learn facts, have logical thoughts, see things sequentially and are very rational thinkers.These will do well on exams. Right Brain dominant individuals are more intuitive, see things holistically, and are great at synthesizing information.We can see then that both skill sets are required for a value driven servic…

Defining Business Benefit

In a previous blog I wrote about the need for a high performance Service Desk with the value proposition being reduced re-work, less down time, better utilization of higher cost resources (knowledge management), increased stability and predictable levels of IT services.  In order to deliver this value, we must effectively communicate goals and business benefits in a language that the business finds relevant and meaningful.   Consequently, metrics and reporting should reflect business outcomes and business needs.

IT Support Metrics Average speed of answer. First Call Resolution. Average Escalation Duration.Total # of incidents recorded by: Service, CI, Assignment team.IT Goal
Less down time, lower abandon rate, quicker speed of answer. Less down time, lower abandon rate, greater use of knowledge bases.Less Down time, predefined escalation paths, greater cooperation between technical resources.Precise picture of which services and Cis, having the greatest impact on the organization. Capture…

Do LESS with LESS! Really??

Since the start of the millennium we have all heard that we must do “More with Less”.

I recently read an article where the idea of “Less for Less” was looked at from the perspective of if our resources are cut then we will have to cut programs, products, and services also. Perhaps we should look at how to cut back on to whom and what we produce in order to stay within our means. Government sequestration may have triggered this way of thinking for some service providers. This is a catchy title but is this really the case?Is there a different perspective on “Less for Less”? Think back a few years when a downturn in the economy negatively impacted the workforce.Families got creative.The new trend became staycation instead of vacation.A staycation meant less travel arrangements for less time in planning, less time on the road or in airports and therefore less missed connections, less cost for the family resulting in less stress and less debt!What about VALUE!Was there value in this?Many di…

Four Service Characteristics

Recently I came across several articles by researchers and experts that laid out definitions and characteristics of services. ITIL provides us with a definition that can help drive the creation of value-laden services:

A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks. An area that ITIL is not so clear is in terms of service characteristics. Several researchers and experts put forth that services have four basic characteristics (IHIP):

·Intangibility—Services are the results of actions not things. They have no physical presence and represent a logical set of elements. One way to think of service is “work done for others.”
·Heterogeneity—Also known as “variability”; services are unique items because of the mechanisms used to deliver services-that is people. Because the people element adds variability, the service is variable. This holds true especially for the value proposition—not everyone perc…

Balance in Service Operation IV

Previously, I have delivered several articles on the challenges that IT organizations face in trying to balance opposing goals and objectives especially in light of the fact that in every organization, the one constant is change.The focus of those pieces described the tension between the perspective that IT is a set of technology components (Internal IT view) and that IT is a set of services (External business view).They also spoke to the fact that, no matter how well the functionality of an IT service meets stake holder’s needs, it will be of little value if the IT infrastructure is unstable causing instances of unavailability and inconsistency in performance levels .Of course we (IT/Service provider) must be able to do all of this at the same time as providing services that deliver acceptable levels of quality while efficiently utilizing the organizations resources.

So to reiterate, this struggle can be broken down into four general imbalances so that an IT organization can identif…

Process Centric Thinking

What do we mean when we say “process-centric” thinking? What we mean is that individuals, groups or teams and even an entire organization sees their work and activities being driven by or related to process first, rather than person, technology or information first. Remember that a process is a structured set of activities that take inputs and convert them to outputs that help to satisfy business, customer or user outcomes. When we look to accomplish work or produce a good or service we are going to do that in a structured way (a process). To paraphrase Dr. W. Edwards Deming, “…if you cannot describe your work or what you do as a process, you do not know what you do.”

A “process-centric” approach should not imply that you should forget completely about people, technology or information. These are important factors in completing the production of goods and services. It is that these other factors make the process possible. In turn, a process relies on these elements to work most effect…

ITSM and the Consummate Gardener

The Consummate Gardener


There are times in IT Service Management that seem to be like dry cold spells.Times when the funding is dry, the resources are lean and to all but the consummate gardener might appear to be nonproductive in the way of moving forward.The consummate gardener will find something to put on the schedule in the bitter cold of January, something like garden planning, tool maintenance, or alphabetizing the seed packets. Perhaps browsing seed catalogs and more to ensure they are prepared for the next season. Why?They have a vision!The crop, the wonderful fruit of their labor realized.
Back to the Basics Like the gardener there are areas of ITSM Best Practice that a service provider can continually be preparing for and improving.When times are lean and dry as well as when they are not.With all the terms, the technology, the latest and greatest buzz lets pause and step back; back to the basics.For the gardener that is the seed, the soil and the tools that will be needed to e…

#SMFlashbook – Best Tip(s) for Building a Service Catalog

This blog is being posted today as part of a larger community effort to publish common topic blogs on the same day.I encourage you to review the other blogs on this subject by searching the hashtag #SMFlashbook.

I was simultaneously confused and disappointed by the recent itSMF/Forrester survey results that indicated a large number of organizations had not built a Service Catalog due to lack of funding. I am also always confused when organizations move forward with their Service Management initiatives without first defining their services. So I challenge you with a question:How can you manage services if you do not have a clear understanding of the services that you provide?

Here are some very simple and virtually free tips for creating an initial and meaningful Service Catalog: Step away from your tool.The first steps can be captured on paper, whiteboards or in documents.The tool part will come later.Gather stakeholders and collectively define and agree on your business services. If you…

Changing ITSM Seasons

As we approach the fall and winter in the northern hemisphere, the change of seasons makes me think of the whole idea of renewal. This leads me to think about the place of renewal in ITSM—Continual Service Improvement. To make improvement work really well it must be a continuous activity. At a minimum, we should take some time to recognize that ITSM has seasons just like the physical world. Each year as we strive to deliver value to our customers, users and business partners we should think about those seasons. The seasons of the year offer up an opportunity to renew our efforts in ITSM and to bring new life out of the longer-term activities and efforts within our organizations. Just like the need to change a battery in a smoke detector once per year, the “battery” of your ITSM work might need replacement, recharging or renewal. What does renewal of an ITSM implementation or effort look like? Here is a short list of the activities and steps you might take to help your own “renewal”: Rev…

Value of the Service Desk

Respond more quickly to urgent business needs and incidents while simultaneously providing stable, secure and predictable IT services, despite the fact that the systems on which the business operates are typically fragile and hostile to change.Sound familiar?Improving operational reliability and communications between ITSM functions and processes begins at the Service desk.

I have to quote a coworker of mine at this point “All things flow through incident management”.The service desk is the eyes and the ears of the IT organization.If you think about it and utilize the service desk from both an operational and tactical perspective , ensuring that all of the other ITSM processes and functions are feeding accurate and up to date information and data that the service desk needs, they can become the glue that that binds the entire organization together in alignment with both IT and strategic businessgoals.A single great process alone cannot deliver as much value to the organization as man…

Rule of Law

Too often I encounter learners who struggle with the concept of governance. This idea does not need to be difficult to understand nor to implement. The idea of governance is based on an older idea known as "rule of law". This idea arose in the Enlightenment and has driven modern civilized society ever since. The understanding of the rule of law is that everyone (people and businesses) is subject to rules and regulations that keep mankind from descending into chaos and anarchy. Governance is simply the modern terminology for this concept. Other terms we use in this same sense are "management" and "control".

Governance at its heart has two basic forms. The first is Governance ("Big G"). This is the type of governance whereby established ruling entities (governments and/or lawmakers and/or courts) create rules, regulations and policies (statements of intention or expectation) to keep us all from going crazy and destroying each other. We experience &…

National Customer Service Week October 7-11

It’s one of my favorite times of year…time for us to get ‘United through Service,’ which is this year’s theme for National Customer Service Week, according to the International Customer Service Association.

National Customer Service Week (NCSW), held October 7-11 in 2013, is designed to raise awareness of customer service and the vital role it plays within an organization. It is also an opportunity to say thank you to those who work in customer service for a job well done.
Organizations take part in NCSW by hosting events in their workplace.  These events can be large or small, serious or fun, they can be held all through the week or just on one day…. It's up to each organization to decide how to celebrate.
Many organizations use this week as an opportunity to provide training and refocus the efforts of their staff on the needs of their customers. In IT, a common misconception is that the Service Desk is responsible for customer satisfaction because of its role as single point o…

Recommended Reading (Part 2)

Last week, we discussed the value of having well-rounded knowledge of ITIL, ITSM, Organizational Change and Business Management in preparation for and after the Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) course and certification. Here is the continuation of my recommended books.  As a lifelong learner, I am always looking for new works.   Please feel free to make additional suggestions via comments to this blog. Part 2: Recommended ReadingWho Moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters The Balanced Scorecard: Transforming Strategy in Action by Robert Kaplan and David Norton Good to Great by Jim Collins Competitive Advantage by Michael Porter Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter Reengineering the Corporation by Michael Hammer and James Champy Reengineering Management by Michael Hammer and James Champy Principles of Scientific Management by Frederick Winslow Taylor First, Break All the Rulesby Marcus Buckingham Now, Discover Your Stre…

Lifelong Learning - Recommended Reading (Part 1)

As a follow up to my recent discussion on the differences between being a ‘student’ and being a ‘learner’, I thought it would be useful to provide a somewhat comprehensive list of readings and source material to help those who are heading into and/or beyond the pinnacle of their ITIL learning journey—Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC).  Preparing for MALC requires a deep level of commitment, beginning with a sound understanding of the five ITIL core books.    To truly be an ITIL/ITSM Expert, you should develop some complementary skills in Organizational Change Management, Business/IT Management and other ITSM frameworks and standards?

While it is unreasonable to expect a learner to complete all of these readings as part of their MALC preparation, the spirit here is to recommend a versatile business view that will serve you before, during and after you become an ITIL Expert.    The road doesn't end at MALC - lifelong learning habits will keep your knowledge and perspective fres…

The Service Desk of the Future

The Service Desk of the FutureComplimentary Webinar

Join us on Thursday, October 17th at 11am (Eastern)
Panelists: Donna Knapp, ITSM Academy, Curriculum Development Manager


Every aspect of the service desk has changed in recent years: people, processes, and technology; the use of data, information, and knowledge; and, perhaps most dramatically, users. Today’s technology users are increasingly savvy and self-sufficient. In this session, we explore the strategies companies are using to address trends like social support, mobile support, self-service and self-help, BYOD, and cloud computing. 
Attendee will also participate in a debate about the role of the service desk in the future and walk away a checklist of considerations to consult when developing future-state road map for their own service desks.

Are You a Student or a Learner?

Are you a student or a learner? We do not often stop to think about the labels that society applies to us during our everyday lives. However, the roles we play and the labels we apply can be very reflective of how we see the world and how we react to the environment around us. Such is the case of the roles or labels of ‘student’ and ‘learner’. So what do these labels mean and which one is the proper one to apply at a given time?

The role of student is one that has to do with skills and competencies. The role of learner has to do with passion and curiosity. Students are time-bound; learners are life-long. We associate students to curriculums, objectives and expectations. We associate learners to awareness, visions and desires. Students sit in classrooms; learners inhabit the world. Students gain through education and training; learners gain through experience and inspiration. So which is the right role to play or label to wear? Well, both are correct and are not mutually exclusive. W…

DevOps and the IT Culture Cocktail Party

Join us on Thursday, September 19th at 11am (Eastern) for a complimentary webinar; DevOps and the IT Culture Cocktail Party.  Presenter: Jayne Groll, ITSM Academy Co-Founder.  Register
 Organizational culture plays a major role in adopting and adapting Service Management processes. Given the uptake of multiple frameworks, standards and practices, IT has actually evolved into a multi-cultural society, each with its evangelists and detractors. This presentation provides the ingredients for a potent “IT Culture Cocktail” using DevOps as the mixer. Come join the party and become an “IT Culture Mixologist”.


Documented Policy

Governance: Ensures that policies and strategy are actually implemented and insures that the required processes and procedures are followed.This includes the defining of roles and responsibilities, measuring and reporting and taking any actions to resolve any issues identified.

Policy: Formally documented management expectations and intentions.Policies are used to direct decisions and ensure consistent and appropriate development and implementation of processes, standards, roles, activities, IT infrastructures and anything that will give guidance on the management of your organization.The objective of policies and procedures is to document an organization’s policy for operation and the procedures necessary to fulfill that policy.  Policies and procedures answer the “what” and “how” questions for individuals within an organization.Written documentation will allow for consistent treatment across the organization.Policies and Procedures also help to create an internal control framework. It…