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Service Acceptance Criteria

I have often been asked what value does the Service Acceptance Criteria (SAC) provide?  Along with other criteria and elements, the Service Acceptance Criteria forms what is described in ITIL and the Service Design Package.  With so much importance on Design, Development and Deployment, the significance of the SAC increases as we look to optimize service value.  Do you want to increase value to your business and customers? First let’s understand what the SAC is.  Service Acceptance Criteria:   A set of criteria used to ensure that an IT Service meets its functionality and quality requirements and that the IT Service Provider is ready to operate the new IT Service when it has been deployed. This set of criteria is in the form of a formal agreement that an IT Service, Process, Plan or other deliverable is complete, accurate, reliable and meets the specified requirements.  In the past, this has sometimes been thought of and enacted on at the end of the value stream. High performi

Incident vs. Problem

You may have seen a similar blog from the Professor a few years back that talked about the distinction between the idea of an incident vs problem.  Everything from that article is still relevant.  As process and methods for development and deployment have matured so has the usage of Incident and Problem Management. This is one of the most often confused points in for Agile, LEAN and ITIL adaptations. The ITIL definition is the same. Incident: Any unplanned event that causes, or may cause, a disruption or interruption to service delivery or quality Problem: The cause of one or more incidents, events, alerts or situation­­­­­­­ Where and how we apply Incident and Problem Management is evolving. A decade ago, and still in some organizations, Incident and Problem Management are processes exclusive to Service Operation.   ITIL is so very relevant and today we find, with the onset of DevOps and cultural shifts, many organizations are adopting little or zero tolerance

Service Asset & Configuration Management (SACM)

Service Asset & Configuration Management (SACM) is the one process that touches all of the other ITIL processes. SACM’s purpose is to deliver accurate and up-to-date data and information to every other process across the lifecycle.  The fascinating fact about SACM is that in many cases it depends on those other processes through their defined, documented and agreed to activities, to 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. SACM ensures that CIs (configuration items) are properly identified; baselined and that changes made to them are properly controlled and recorded.  This

The Purpose and Value of a Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

I am often asked the purpose and value of a Business Impact Analysis (BIA).  The purpose of a BIA is to quantify the impact to the business (in dollars and cents) that the loss of a service would have.  It is a valuable source of input when trying to ascertain the business needs, impacts and risks that the organization may face in the delivery of services.  The BIA is an essential element of the overall business continuity process.  It identifies the most important services to the organization and therefore will help to define the overall strategy for risk reduction and disaster recovery.  At a more granular level this analysis enables the mapping of critical service applications and technology components to critical business processes.  It is an invaluable input for Continuity, Strategy, Availability, Design, and Capacity Management and can have a significant impact on the cost of designing, delivering and maintaining these services based on their criticality as defined by the busin

The Role of Process Practitioner

The role of the Process Practitioner is by far one of the most critical, and is sometimes overlooked in lieu of others such as Process Managers and Process Owners.  Don’t misunderstand, Managers and Owners are important and are key success factors, but the Process Practitioner role is where the rubber meets the road.  This is the role assigned to individuals who will be performing the work on a day to day basis.  ITIL has always emphasized the need for clearly defined roles for Process Owners and Process Managers. ITIL also speaks to the role of Service Owner, an individual who is accountable for and represents the end-to-end service.   Within each process, there may also be roles that are designed to carry out certain process activities … these are the “Practitioners”. Without this role and skill set everything else becomes a moot point. Successful service management dictates that specific individuals are assigned to specific roles with specific responsibilities for one or more p

Strategy - Are Service Models Required?

A recent question came from an ITSM practitioner who asked “Just what is a Service Model anyway?” Within the context of service management, you will likely here reference to the “Service Model” in every lifecycle stage but none more so than in the Service Strategy lifecycle. A little background: Within the context of best practice, it is in the Service Strategy lifecycle stage that a proposal is submitted.  This proposal is a formal request for a new line of business or service and will be processed through the pipeline of the service portfolio to be defined, analyzed, approved and chartered.  This approval is the executive authorization and will result in the service being chartered.   The proposal will include a high level “Service Model” and be accompanied with a full-blown business case. Once a service is chartered it will generally move to the Project Management Organization (PMO) where the chartered project is initiated for design. Service Model: A Servi

Service through Knowledge Management

I believe that a service provider can improve by choosing to follow best practices from ITIL, Lean, Agile and more.  That said I also believe that Knowledge Management will be the glue that ties in all together. Knowledge is required to deliver maximum results.  Knowledge Management ensures the right knowledge to the right people at the right time.  Think about yours or your customers service provisioning model.  How much time, money and resources is spent because of the lack of knowledge at the right time?  How frequently do we need information or access to the information and it is NOT available?  Not only is information not available when we need it, but sometimes it is replicated in many ways in many different places so that there is no real way to determine the definitive source.  It is difficult to get management control over the outcomes of an organization when the knowledge is out of control.  Knowledge Management is required throughout the Service Lifecycle.  A few exampl

Service Test Models

Quality: The ability of a service or product to meet customer requirements and create value for that customer.  Perceived quality affects customer support more than any other element.  Products and services must attain a certain minimum level of quality.  No other components can make up for a significant shortfall on this one and the perceived loss of value this can create. In business today, “Time to Value” has increasingly become one of the most significant measures an organization reviews and reports on.  Today’s ever more progressively shorter time scales for this cannot be met without being able to incorporate such practices as continuous delivery (CD), continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD), which all are dependent on our ability to do continuous testing. As many of you have certainly experienced, this need for speed continues to be a clear and present danger in our ability to create a high trust culture where testing and learning from failure is allowed

The Whitehouse - Transitioning of Power to the New Administration

So the election is over and we move into the transitioning of power to the new administration. This doesn’t officially happen until January 20 th 2017. President elect Trump met with President Obama and so begins the transfer of Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom. So with such a short time the transfer between the transition teams and the operational teams has to happen quickly, efficiently and effectively.  This transfer of power has happened 43 times in our nation’s history with 11 happening so far in the postmodern era and the Obama to Trump administration being the twelfth. Can you say change model? The ability to have this smooth transition rests to a significant extent on the ability of those involved to be able to respond to existing circumstances, their ability to understand the situation as it currently exists along with any options that may be available, along with the known consequences and benefits.  The quality, relevance and accessibility of this knowledge

What is RCV?

RCV stands for Release, Control and Validate.  These are critical activities that are required for every deployment.  Proper Release, Control and Validation (RCV) is achieved as a result of integrated process activities.  In today's dynamic business climate, service outages cause real bottom line impact to the business. Mature processes are critical in enabling IT organizations to smoothly transition new and changed services into production, helping to ensure stability for IT and the business. The ITIL Capability course, Release, Control and Validation (RCV), provides the best practice process knowledge required to build, test and deploy successful IT services.  RCV is also the name of an ITIL intermediate training and certification. This course provides in-depth knowledge of the ITSM RCV processes that include: Change Management Release and Deployment Management Service Validation and Testing Service Asset and Configuration Management Request Fulfillment Change Evalu

Organizational Change Management

Change is not something that you do to people, change is something that you do with people. What thoughts occur when you or your staff are notified of a significant change to a process or service?  Is it one of dread, fear or perhaps frustration?  Managing organizational change should be a required element in any or all process and service changes where significant impact for users and staff are expected.   Service providers must ensure readiness for the change and ensure that a cultural shift does indeed take place.  Organizations change for a variety of reasons that could include the need to “get better” or perhaps to “be the best”.  Sometimes organizational change management is triggered by the need to deal with a changing economy or revenue loss.  At the outset, management must be honest with workers and still able to convince them that the best way to deal with current reality is via change.  Each individual’s ability to understand and to accept change will vary.  Change is i

Every Business Has Become a Technology Business

Every business has become a technology business.  Let that one sink in for a moment.  With the internet of things ever increasing it has become ever more imperative for us to make wise decisions about how to move forward on which IT services we should be delivering into the future (pipeline), how long we should continue to deliver our current (catalog) and when should we retire them (retire).  We literally could be an app away from becoming irrelevant. It is no longer enough to satisfy our customers, we must now delight and excite them.  They have to be able to enjoy the experience of how they receive these services along with the knowledge and comfort that the service provider of choice can continue without interruption to deliver this level of performance and functionality and even deliver new capabilities swiftly and often. By engaging in DevOps principles & practices (Scrum and Agile) at the strategic level we can begin to prioritize new and changing customer require

Operation and DevOps

DevOps is a culture, movement or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both   software developers   and other   information-technology   (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes.   It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building,   testing , and releasing software can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably. It’s about improving, communicating and collaboration.  From a Service Operation perspective we are already part of the way there, so maybe it won’t take as long or require as much organizational change as we think. Application management is responsible for managing applications throughout their lifecycle.  Application management covers the entire ongoing lifecycle of an application, including requirements, design, build, deploy, operate and optimize.   The application management function is performed by any department, group or team involved in managing and supporting opera

CASM and the 3 Ways

Agile Service Management ensures that ITSM processes reflect Agile values and are designed with “just enough “control and structure in order to effectively and efficiently deliver services that facilitate customer outcomes when and how they are needed.  We accomplish this by adapting Agile practices to ITSM process design.  Implement service management in small, integrated increments and ensure that ITSM processes reflect Agile values from initial design through CSI. By being able to incorporate a variety of tools from many practices, the Certified Agile Service Manager (CASM) can engage both the operations and development sides of the organization when defining and documenting processes, engaging in a major project or just move through these steps as part of an improvement project.   By incorporating these DevOps principles along with the CASM role, we can begin to incorporate the idea of process and functional integration much earlier in the development lifecycle.  It allows

Agile Process … What?! Is That an Oxymoron?

To survive in today’s competitive business climate organization’s must respond quickly  to their customers’ evolving needs and desires.   How many times have you heard that? We know from experience that an agile culture where agility is gained through people, process and tools can enable organizations to gain market share and competitive advantage.   And still, more organizations than not silo agile principles to software and product development. Ever wonder why, as an industry, we are not getting the types of returns that are expected from our efforts? Agile software development alone will not get us there!  Other factors include: Ability to quickly respond to customer feedback and needs – Customer engagement. An understanding that the customer and business requirements are dynamic and that we must have agile processes in place to respond to them. (Not only agile development) Sustained innovation and speed from idea to end of life for the service and processes. Incre

DevOps & the Top 5 Predictors of IT Performance

DevOps is here and it seems to be what everyone in ITSM is buzzing about. So what are the goals and how do we know it’s not just the next hot kitchen color for this year?  DevOps is a cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations professionals while leveraging agile, lean and traditional ITSM practices. Stakeholders on the development side will include, but not be limited to, all of the people involved in developing software products and services.  On the operations side it will include, but not be limited to, all of the people involved in delivering and managing those software products and services and the underlying IT infrastructure on which it is being delivered.  The goals are to better align IT responsiveness to business needs, smaller more frequent releases, reduce risk, increase flow, improve quality and reduce time to market. These can only be accomplished by underst

IT Benefit to Business

In a previous blog I wrote about the need for a high performance Service Desk.   So what do we get in terms of business benefit? The value statement in IT terms is reduced re-work, less down time, better utilization of higher cost resources (knowledge management), increased stability, reliability, availability  and predictable levels of IT services. So the question is how do we effectively communicate the business benefit of our support efforts? The goal of course is to align our IT metrics to the business benefit and define that benefit with language the business can relate to and understand.     IT Metric 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 cooper

Are You Ready for the Football Season?

It’s that time of year where the kids are heading back to school, the seasons are about to change and YESSS it’s time for FOOTBALL!!!! The other night I was watching the HBO series NFL Hard Knocks about the Los Angeles Rams training camp and it dawned on me how much a football organization is like an ITSM organization and how they can incorporate the 12 Agile principles into their game plans.  I know your saying, what?? But hear me out and let me explain: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer. Ultimately this means to win the Super Bowl, but we have to win each week against a different opponent, with different circumstances at each game. Weather, crowds, injuries all have to be adapted to. We have to welcome changes, even late in the game.   Some changes might not be so welcome but we have to be agile and adapt to whatever circumstances arise during game day. This may mean dealing with something bad or some opportunity presented to you during the game.   (Respond to