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Education in a Changing World

In years past you had to have some years behind you so that you could talk about the good old days.  Conversations would start with statements like “Remember when…?”   Today when a conversation starts with those words it could be a young person talking about how they did things last year or last month vs. how they go about their day to day activities today.     Things are changing so fast!  How does this affect educating and training learners and what needs to be tracked and recorded?  Certainly, not the same as it was a decade ago.  A recent solicitation stated “ Use of ed tech is skyrocketing, students on campus tote several devices each, but service needs range from high tech (wifi, connected classroom) to mundane (rat in the cafeteria, dorm toilet won't flush). All those needs have to be logged, serviced, tracked, reported on - hence the high demands on the platform used”.  Opportunity for bigger, better and more technology abounds! The tools that we u

BRM, DevOps and Excellence in IT Service Management

To say that digital technology has changed the world is an understatement. Digital transformations are revolutionizing entire industries and reshaping every aspect of business. To stay competitive, businesses must accelerate the delivery of digital products and services. To meet business demand, IT organizations must accelerate the delivery of secure, high-quality and reliable software features and functionality ( DevOps ). The thing about any transformation, whether it’s the digital transformation affecting the world, or the DevOps transformation affecting IT organizations and their business partners, is that it’s never only about the technology. A successful transformation requires shifts in peoples’ behaviors, mindsets, vocabulary, roles and reporting relationships. It requires changes to processes and to day-to-day operating procedures. Perhaps most importantly, the ability to undertake and achieve any transformation is determined by whether, or not, the company’s leaders

Why RCV?

I was recently asked the following: “I want to take the “Release, Control and Validation” (RCV) class.  As a Release Manager, I know it will help but I need to justify this for my manager.  What is the value of taking this class?” Every organization can be effective with release and deployments.  What is needed today is for us not only to get the job done but to do it efficiently.  Efficiency infers that we deliver value, but that we design and deliver services, BETTER, MORE, FASTER THAN EVER BEFORE and at the same time we are being COST effective. The role of Release Manager, although it is central to the release and deployment process, is much broader in scope than many organizations or managers realize.  This role in Best Practice is separate from Change Manager and from the actual Validation and Testing Manager or even the Change Evaluation role.   Frequently these roles will be assigned to one or more persons.  It does not mean that you have to open several new req's

The Business Relationship Manager

The Business Relationship Manager is a role that serves as a strategic interface between the IT Service Provider and one or more Business Partners (or Business Units within a single organization) to promote, and influence Business Demand for IT services and products. They also work to ensure that the potential business value from those products and services is realized, optimized and properly documented.  The Business Relationship Manager can accomplish this through the engagement of four core disciplines which are defined as part of the house of Business Relationship Management (BRM).  This house is built upon a foundation of BRM competencies which support the Business Relationship Manager role and ensure it has the skills and aptitudes to be effective and deliver value to both the Provider and its Business Partner. The Four Core BRM Disciplines: Demand Shaping: This discipline stimulates and shapes business demand for the provider’s services, capabilities and products. It ensu

Business Relationship Management (BRM) Metaphors

The Metaphors for Business Relationship Management (BRM) can be helpful ways to think about and describe the BRM role, discipline and organizational capabilities. There are three metaphors we currently use today.  They are as follows: BRM as a Connector: The BRM acts as a connector between the Service Provider organization and its Business Partners – forging productive connections between Provider resources and the Business Partner and among Business Partners.  There are three primary aspects to the BRM’s role as a connector: Facilitate productive connections and mobilize projects and programs. Stimulate, surface and shape business demand for the Business Partner while increasing the savviness within the Business Partner regarding the Provider’s services and products. Influence the Provider to ensure appropriate supply of services and products, both in terms of quality and capacity. (1)  BRM as an Orchestrator: The BRM also acts as an orchestrator between the Provid

The Service Management Trinity

In a previous blog from the ITSM Professor we focused on the relevance of ITIL and ITSM Best Practices to contemporary IT service providers.  We learned how a successful DevOps initiative must embrace ITSM, Lean, Agile and other frameworks and practices to ensure success.  The solution to value is like a diamond and has many facets!  In 1992 I read an article that talked about the key to delivering value and the topic was all about People, Process and Technology. Twenty-five years later I must agree this is still the winning formula.  What might be different is how we view and utilize these for success. What will Change? People – Integrated teams with ownership and accountability. Visualized workflow and clear direction.  Communication, Education and Collaboration required.  Inspire and Educate! Process – NO MORE overburdened bureaucratic d ifficult processes to follow.  We want just enough process, just enough governance and the process activities will no longer be

Is ITIL Still Relevant?

With the onset of practices such as DevOps, Continuous Delivery, Rugged Code, and Value stream mapping, is ITIL / ITSM Best Practice still relevant? The short and emphatic answer is YES! Let’s look at how ITSM Best Practices are relevant and enable some of the initiatives that are in the foreground of Service Management for many contemporary IT organizations today. DevOps – DevOps is a cultural and professional movement that focuses on communication and collaboration to ensure a balance between responsiveness to dynamic business requirements and stability.   Therefore, things like Lean and Value Stream Mapping, practices like Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment, all become a subset or a building block to a successful DevOps initiative.  DevOps is frequently an organic approach toward automating workflow and getting products to market more efficiently. Ok, if we can accept that then the next question is … What are you going to automate?    ITSM Best Practice

IT Service Management - Tools

In today’s world where demand for up to date services has grown and the lead times for delivery has continued to be shortened I am often asked, what is the best tool? The answer is, of course, “it depends!” Every organization has different needs, budgets and resources, however the requirements for automated building, testing and delivering new functionality has never been greater. Every organization must be able to look at the list of requirements for tools from both the operational and development sides of the IT organization as the functions become more and more integrated. The starting point is a list of generic requirements. An integrated suite is preferable and should include options such as: Service Portfolio Service Catalog Service Design Tools Discovery/Deployment/Licensing Technology Workflow or process engines CMDB’S Configuration Management Systems (CMS) Self Help for Users Remote Control Diagnostic Utilities Reporting Tools/Dashboards Service K

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