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ITIL 4 Guiding Principles – Keep It Simple

Keeping it Simple is one step towards creating a world where people get up in the morning and are inspired to go to work and love to do the work that they do. The more complex something is, the more there are ways for it to go wrong. We as an industry of service providers must become educated and stop the insanity! Getting the education and the certification is a wonderful first step but once qualified we must adapt those learnings to make it simple and “Keep IT Simple” 


“Keep it Simple”, one of the seven ITIL 4 Guiding Principles is a topic we have written about many times over the years.  It is anything but simple. We must acknowledge that IT services are comprised of many complex systems and if there is a way to make them even more complex IT Professionals in general seem to have that idea down to an ART. 

So; How did we get that way. Business requirements are dynamic and are consistently evolving even as you read this line. Over a period of years and in many cases decades the systems that support those requirements have evolved. Historically IT professionals adapted to the bureaucracy that they were wedged into in order to survive. A bureaucracy typically refers to an organization that has multi-layered systems and processes. These systems processes and procedures were designed to maintain uniformity and control. Keep it simple! We need just enough process, just enough governance, and just enough incremental ongoing improvements to make it simple and to keep it simple. Processes overtime in many cases became over-engineered and while they might gain the control needed for compliance and regulatory demands, they tend to slow down the flow of work, create roadblocks and sometimes become a major impediment to getting quality and value delivered on time. It really hurts our capability when the process becomes the goal rather than the outcomes that generate real value! Monolithic applications, legacy systems, and siloed cultures all add the complexity for the delivery of services to customers. 

DevOps and Agile professionals are adapting to new ways to remove waste and to increase the flow of work for all value streams using LEAN practices. Applying one "ity bitty" micro improvement (simple) can sometimes have an extreme impact to the agility of your value streams and to the overall value potential. Notice the ity bitty?! Take one small improvement opportunity to simplify a process or system and break that into many other small increments of improvement. Prioritize and pick one. Work fast to integrate that change into the process and then start again. Remember you can not implement a process. It is an ongoing emerging set of activities which hopefully evolve with the dynamic needs of the business and customer. 

Deming says: Plan, Do, Check Act! Agile says “one increment “or iteration of work at a time. ITSM best practice says that with Continual Improvement you must “Keep The Momentum Going”. All will require an outside-in perspective with ongoing feedback loops to help us prioritize the next step towards “Keeping IT Simple” one of the DevOps Principles is “Shortened and Amplified feedback loops. The sooner the better. If a process, service, metric, report or anything that is in play today does not add value, take corrective action or eliminate it! Keep it simple and adopt ITIL practices and then adapt keeping it simple and speaking "simple" as you co-create with others.

Make it Simple and Keep it Simple! … Keep the Momentum going and inspire others to greatness!

...educate and Inspire 

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