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Conducting Productive Meetings

When we think about ITIL® we think about being able to manage the delivery of value-laden IT services to customers. But are there other, less obvious ways we can use and gain from the best practices and ideas contained within ITIL®? One of the areas that ITIL® and ITSM can help us with is by making conversations and meetings more effective and efficient.

One of the ways that ITIL can help us with meetings is by using the concepts embedded in RACI. Traditionally the ideas of being responsible, accountable, consulted and informed have been for use with process activities and levels of authority and accountability. However, once we identify those levels and assign them to roles we can use them to help us establish the proper attendance at a meeting. When sending out a meeting announcement or invite we can indicate that the meeting is for those roles holding particular levels within the RACI models. In this way we have the appropriate roles and individuals at the meeting.
Another way we can improve meetings is to apply the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. This six level model forms the basis of learning and certification in ITIL® We can set up the agenda based on each of the levels: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. This would allow us to have meetings that begin with getting everyone on the same page with definitions (Knowledge) and working through the meeting to the understanding (Comprehension to Analysis) and creation (Synthesis) of appropriate deliverables or outcomes from the meeting. You can then wrap up the conversation through a quick around the room evaluation of the deliverable. Using Bloom for a consistent structure of agenda will lead to a process-like repeatable capability for more effective meetings.
Another similar approach is to structure meeting agendas using the five stages of the service lifecycle. Begin the meeting by establishing the strategic or high level outcomes, outputs or deliverables of the meeting. Create the detailed design of the meeting outcomes or deliverables. Then build (transition) the outcome or output or deliverable from the meeting. Determine how to implement the deliverable. Then finish the meeting by determining when and how to come back together to determine improvements.
These are just a few ideas for using the concepts contained within or related to ITIL® for improving meetings or other less obvious activities. Take some time to look beyond just using ITIL® for its first and foremost purpose: delivering value to customers through IT services.

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