Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2014

Ebony and Ivory - Agile and ITIL

Today technology has been integrated into almost every aspect of business and continues to grow in importance with every new innovation. It is impacting organizational structures, business processes, how and what products and services we offer to our customers.  This tidal wave of change is increasing in complexity and velocity.  These dynamics are shaping the strategies we must employ to manage our IT environments.
Given the changes that are happening in the digital world today, support organizations have had to look at how to enhance and speed up the traditional waterfall approach to management of our IT infrastructures.  ITIL and Agile are not contradictory of each other.Agile development provides opportunities to assess the direction of a project throughout its development lifecycle.  It is amethodology on how to deliver projects, that is iterative, adaptive and an incremental approach to project management which can be used for almost any type of project.
ITILis about best practice…

You Don't Need a Weatherman to Tell Which Way the Wind is Blowing

Bob Dylan once wrote “The times they are a changing”
DevOps is a cultural and professional movement that improves IT's time to market through better communication, collaboration, integration and automation.  It is the intersection of development (software engineering), technology operations and quality assurance (QA). DevOps is as much about a different way of thinking as it is a different way of behaving.
Dev-Ops is a solution to a business problem - one that requires faster deployments, more innovation and tighter integration with all stakeholders. It is as much of a visionary shift as it is an opportunity to leverage build-deploy-operate technologies.
Visionary shifts require that an organization Create a sense of urgency, to stay stagnant is to fall behind the competition.Form a guiding coalition, get buy in from senior leadership and collaboration with middle management.Create a vision.  Apply agile tenets to the entire service lifecycle, breakdown complex processes into simple m…

DevOps – IT and Business Performance

The relationship of IT Performance on Business Performance is becoming more evident today as service providers strive to meet the dynamic rate of change that is required to meet business requirements.  It is unfortunate that all too often the evidence for the lack of IT performance is brought to the forefront because processes break down, cost overruns occur, and business outcomes suffer.  When the flow of work is broken the service provider is not enabled to provision service at the rate of demand that is required and the cost of provisioning tends to soar.
When we look at the lifecycle for the deployment of a new or changed service we recognize that there are many roles, functions and activities that a service provider must manage and control.  When the development activities are silo’d from deployment and operational activities the value stream tends to break down and IT staff suffer.   This breakdown often results in frustrated staff that feel that they are not enable for success. …

DevOps for Newbies

You may have heard a lot of buzz around the DevOps movement that is taking hold in today’s industry where service management quality and efficiency are paramount.   The term "DevOps" was popularized through a series of "DevOps Days" starting in 2009 in Belgium and it is said by those present that they knew they were witnessing something very different and unique.  They knew they were on the verge of something that would change the way that all service providers designed, developed and delivered services in every industry.  Since then, there have been DevOps Days conferences held in India, Brazil, Australia, Germany, and Sweden and other parts of the globe including the United States. 
So what is it? Business demand is increasing! That is not news. The need to produce services fast is increasing!  We know that methods such as Agile, Scrum and others that have increased capability for development of products but we must recognize that as only one element in the value s…

The Status of a Service

During the lifecycle of a service, it will progress through thirteen different statuses as it moves from the portfolio into the service catalogue and finally into a retired state.We are going to look at four of the statuses, that are undertaken within the service portfolio that help to bring a service from an idea, suggestion request or plan to one that has been commissioned and authorized to meet a set of defined objectives. They are define, analyze, approve and charter.
The process for initiating a service can come from any number of sources and take a number of different formats.  For simplicity we will just refer to these as requests. These requests can come in the form of a strategic plan, an enhancement from BRM, an opportunity for improvement from CSI or as a suggestion from some other service management process.  Define: Here we define the desired business outcomes, opportunities, utility and warranty requirements.  A definition of the service itself and any anticipated investm…

The Different Types of Service

In the Strategy stage of the Service Lifecycle there are several questions an IT service provider must ask in order to determine the services they should be delivering, whom they should be delivering them to and is value creation and capture possible.  They are:  What is our business? Who is our customer? What does the customer value? Who depends on our services? How do they use our services Why are they valuable to them?  Given the answer to those questions, the service provider can then determine the types of services to be delivered, resources needed and what risks and constraints need to be identified and managed.  
There are three types of services the provider will have to consider, supporting services, internal customer facing and external customer facing services.  Services whether internal or external are further broken down as core, enabling or enhancing.  
Here we will be looking at supporting, internal and external facing services. Supporting Services:  A service that is not …

The Evolution of a Definition

The definition of an IT service has certainly evolved:

IT Service(ITILv1):    A set of related functions provided by IT systems in support of one or more business areas, which in turn may be made up of software, hardware and communications facilities, perceived by the customer as a coherent and self-contained entity. An IT service may range from access to a single application, such as a general ledger system, to a complex set of facilities including many applications, as well as office automation, which might be spread across a number of hardware and software platforms.

IT Service(ITILv2):    A set of related components provided in support of one or more business processes. The service will comprise a range ofConfiguration Item(CI) types but will be perceived byCustomersandUsers as a self-contained, single, coherent entity.

IT Service(ITILv3):AServiceprovided to one or moreCustomers, by anIT Service Provider. An IT Service is based on the use ofInformation Technologyand supports theCusto…

Process Maturity – How can I Assess it?

A process is doomed if you ever consider it done!  Unlike an audit that examines evidence to determine compliance, a process assessment is conducted to evaluate and organizations strengths and weaknesses.  The assessor will ensure that this baseline is utilized to identify process improvement opportunities that ensure business outcomes.
The ITIL Process Maturity Framework (PMF) was defined specifically for ITSM processes and consists of five levels of maturity.
·Level One – Initial At this level there is not a defined process, there are some procedures and few results are retained. ·Level Two – Repeatable At this level of maturity there is a recognized process but the objectives are not clear and targets are not formalized. ·Level Three – Defined It is at this level of maturity that the process is defined and documented and there are agreed upon targets. ·Level Four – Managed A managed process at this level is well defined, interfaces and integrates with other processes and objectives for…

Process Maturity – Documenting the “As Is” Process

There are many challenges to defining and documenting a process for ongoing continual improvement and to ensure process maturity is in alignment with the overall business strategy and outcomes.  One such challenge is to be able to document the “As Is” process.
When documenting the “As Is” process caution must be taken not to accept the existing documentation, or flowcharts provided as the true baseline of what is really being done.  What are the current activities and procedures that are being used and what is the step by step workflow that participants and stakeholders are actually performing?  The actual is what really needs to be captured. 
The complexity of this challenge is exasperated by the fact that frequently when determining and “As Is” state for immature processes the assessor or process design engineer will discover that there is not one single process that is being followed but in fact many?  What then?
Non adherence to process is generally due to little or no governan…

Process Maturity – How do I measure it?

In order to manage and control processes and services, they have to be monitored and measured. The design of the measurement methods and metrics used to measure process are critical to success and might even be the most crucial element.  In practice we tend to see Critical Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators defined in the process documentation but is anything being done with those?
We not only need to define the metrics for measuring the process but also must ensure that the design and implementation of the process also includes a system for ongoing monitoring, reporting and most important action for continual improvement of the process. Without it the process is destined to fail.
Process designers must assert caution and use wisdom when defining the metrics and measurements for the process.  Careful consideration must be given to how these measurements are going to affect and change the behavior of the practitioners and stakeholders that produce or receive value from thi…

Process Maturity Requires - People, Process, and Technology… Let’s talk Process!

I recently heard an ITSM manager state… “The engineers think that it is the processthat is slowing us down” then he went on to say “Of course we here all understand that the process is intendedto slow us down”!  I was waiting for others in the group to comment and no one mentioned a word.  
WHAT?!  Is that really ever the intention or the purpose of a process?
What a process is – or should be
A process is a set of activities with predefined inputs and outputs which are intended to meet the needs of the business and stakeholders!  A process has clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and workflow. When was the last time you heard a business representative say could you design a process to slow things down?  In reality we need to look at how we can design processes or activities within the organization to increase quality and speed!  The real challenge is how do we do that?  How can we get just enough process and control for consistency, automation, and speed and yet do this at the leas…

Happy Birthday ITIL!

ITIL is turning 25 this year. 
In honor of this milestone, AXELOS commissioned a study (The Importance of ITIL® – A Global View – 2014 and Beyond) to provide a global and independent assessment of the current perception of ITIL, engaging nearly 400 C-Level and medium tier service managers in key international regions across a range of industries.
One of the stated reasons that the study was commissioned is because ITIL’s benefits are being questioned in light of factors such as cloud computing, more advanced automation, and agile. The results of the study reaffirm ITIL’s value, particularly in the eyes of IT executives. In fact, according to the study, just under 70% of executives indicated that ITIL is becoming more important in light of these trends.
Some interesting results include: 71% of those surveyed view ITIL as playing a tangible role in supporting the move to DevOps and Agile ITIL 2011 adopters are more likely to see ITIL as growing in importance40% of non-2011 respondents pla…

Service Strategy and the Service Portfolio

Service Portfolio Management is a process that ensures that an organization has the right mix of services to meet business and customer requirements.  Strategists can use the service portfolio to evaluate offerings that are under consideration for investment and also to determine which services should be retired!  A complete history of people, process, technology and information from concept to end of life could be tracked via the service portfolio.  This investment framework is a valuable asset to every service provider.  The Service Portfolio and the activities performed in service portfolio management process serve as an overall basis for making strategic decisions regarding service offerings.  Major changes (those requiring executive approval) will be processed through the service portfolio management pipeline.  It is here that a proposal is defined, analyzed, approved and chartered before moving into service design and more importantly before moving to project management.  

Projec…

SACM (Configuration Management)

Service Asset & Configuration Management (SACM) is genuinely the one process that touches all of the other ITIL processes. SACM delivers accurate and up-to-date data and information to every other process across the lifecycle.What is really cool about SACM is that in many cases it depends on those other processes through their defined, documented and agreed to activities, to help insure that the data and information about those assets is up to date , accurate and properly recorded through the Configuration Management System (CMS),No organization can be truly efficient and effective without having a configuration management process to insure we understand how and where that infrastructure, application, tools, documentation and sometimes even people are being utilized in delivering business outcomes and creating value.
Service Asset & Configuration management ensures that CIs (configuration items) are properly identified; baselined and that changes made to them are properly contr…

ITSM - The A B C’s of Financial Management

At the core of IT Service Management is the ability of the service provider to align capabilities to meet business requirements.  Not only is it expected that the service provider does this but today’s market requires that we provision faster than ever before for the least amount of cost. This requires a shift from looking at costing models that focus primarily on components such as HW, SW, or other infrastructure costs to a model that looks at what is it costing us to provision the end-to-end service.  When we think of Financial Management most will immediately think of number crunching, bean counters, and all those mathematical formulas that go along with that.  It is all of that.  We need to be able to create business cases and to justify the cost of new or changed services in our environment. Financial Management for IT services will certainly include calculations for Return on Investment and Internal Rate of Return as well as assistance in assessing the overall Value on Investme…

CPDE (Design considerations)

So who should consider becoming a Certified Process Design Engineer?Well anyone can consider it.Is your organization engaged in some type of certification, working to reach some optimized level of maturity, trying to improve the processes you already have or create a process to meet some new customer requirement? All of these scenarios would employ the skills of a CPDE. To start with, no matter which framework or standard you are utilizing processes must be:
Defined Documented Managed via performance metrics Continually improved Undertaking this effort is not as simple as it may appear and having a staff member with the necessary skills and capabilities (CPDE) ensures that clear and measurable improvement targets along with a process design approach can and will be carried out.You first must understand the factors that are triggering a process improvement initiative.They may include: Changing customer requirements Processes that are to complex or have become bottlenecks Inadequate measures or…

The Certified Process Design Engineer (CPDE)

There are many frameworks and standards that define best practices for achieving quality IT service management (ITSM) - ITIL, ISO/IEC 20000, COBIT, CMMI, DevOps, Knowledge-Centered Support, etc. While each describes processes and controls (what to do), none provide clear, step-by-step methods and techniques for actually designing, reengineering and improving processes (how to do it).
IT organizations must not only do the right things, they must do the right things right.The CPDE takes a practical step by step approach to developing and implementing ITSM processes across the entire lifecycle of IT services.It ensures integration with project and program management and the application and software development processes as well.Allowing for strategic, tactical and operational alignment across the entire organization.The CPDE is well suited to utilize these different best practices and additionally play a significant role in the DevOps movement that is taking hold in IT organizations acros…

Why become an ITIL Expert?

Are you a manager or practitioner in the IT Service Management Profession?Would you like to advance in your IT career?Perhaps you have many years’ experience in IT and service management and would like to increase your credibility.
According to information on ITIL-officialsite, ”The ITIL Expert level of qualification is aimed at those individuals who are interested in demonstrating a superior level of knowledge of the ITIL Scheme in its entirety.  Achieving this level of ITIL qualification will benefit a candidate in both their personal and professional development, by aiding career advancement and progression within the IT Service Management field.  Candidates who achieve ITIL Expert level will also satisfy the prerequisite entry criteria for the ITIL Master Level; the highest level qualification within the ITIL scheme.” The ITIL qualifications scheme offers a modular approach to the ITIL framework. In this scheme, candidates are free to select from a variety of qualifications which fo…

Cloud Services and Warranty Processes

As business organizations opt for support from the cloud to provision Software, Platform, or Infrastructure services the need for warranty through the service value chain becomes paramount. Service warranty is gained by achieving specified levels of availability, capacity, continuity, and security.  The dynamic, nature of the business and varied demand from multiple customers and user profiles must be considered when defining and investing in cloud architectures.  Each customer will expect that only their application or service will be delivered to users when in fact multiple customer and user communities could be leverage from the scalability and shared resources in the cloud.
Availability/Capacity and the Cloud
Service providers must gain assurance that multiple instances of the same application are delivered in a scalable manner.  In order to ensure availability and leverage capacity on demand additional tools and technologies such as load balancing, server virtualization, applicatio…

Velocity

Velocity, it’s just such a cool word!  When I type it, it just has to be italicized.   When I say it, I think of a speeding red Ferrari, a fighter jet or Superman zooming through the air to save Louis Lane from certain doom.  It’s one of my favorite TV channels.  In the world of Dev-Ops, Scrum and Agile it’s the rate at which a team converts items to “DONE” in a single Sprint, usually calculated in Story Points and is really one of the pillars of the DevOps.
DevOps is a response to the symbiotic relationship of software development and IT Service Management and the historical disconnect that has usually separated these two very critical and interdependent functions.  This divide has often manifested itself as conflict and inefficiency. The purpose being to help an organization rapidly produce softwareproducts and services while ensuringcommunication, collaboration and integration between these diverse professional groups. Development is usually of the mindset where change is the thing t…