In 1911, Frederick Winslow Taylor initiated the modern practice of business management. In his work Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor put forth the idea that running and managing a business is a science based on data and proven methods, rather than a series of ad hoc, unguided and uncontrolled actions. Unfortunately, Taylor was a victim of his day and age. He had good intentions in putting forth “scientific management”, but based his ideas on some flawed principles. Taylor stated one these principles in this way:
“Now one of the very first requirements for a man who is fit to handle pig iron as a regular occupation is that he shall be so stupid and so phlegmatic that he more nearly resembles in his mental make-up the ox than any other type. The man who is mentally alert and intelligent is for this very reason entirely unsuited to what would, for him, be the grinding monotony of work of this character. Therefore the workman who is best suited to handling pig iron is unable to understand the real science of doing this class of work.”-Principles of Scientific Management
A vital part of making any ITSM implementation successful should be the recognition of the importance of people in the equation. Everyone in a service provider organization, as well as the business and the customers play equally important parts or roles in the success of delivery of value. The fundamental flaw in Taylor’s thinking was that only some people were capable of understanding the principles and methods of “scientific management”, while others were just “oxen” or “brute muscle”.
When it comes to ITSM, it is imperative to remember that everyone is capable of understanding ITSM best practices and is capable of using the ideas and practices found within ITIL® and other frameworks and standards. This means you should give everyone in your organization the opportunity to learn and use ITSM best practices to help bring value to your customers and the organization. One way to ensure this is to provide proper education and training to people in your organization. That education and training could be formal or informal, internal or external. Different people need different levels or types of education and training—but everyone should be educated and trained in ITSM best practices.
We can learn valuable lessons not just from ITSM best practices, but also more importantly from our own past. By looking at the ideas of men like Frederick Winslow Taylor, we can see how far we have come and recognize how far we still have to go. Good education and training in ITSM best practices is a definite step towards that better future.