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Optimizing Value Streams and Processes

Value streams are getting a lot of attention these days for a couple of reasons. One is that value streams allow us to identify opportunities to minimize waste or bottlenecks across organizations, processes and functional silos, and to improve the flow of value. Organizations adopting DevOps , for example, are using value stream mapping as a way to improve the flow of activities during the software development lifecycle, and to improve cross-functional collaboration. Another reason is that value streams direct our attention to what customers value. For example, organizations can use value stream mapping to streamline new product development activities, improve time-based measures such as lead time and time to market, and identify ways to improve product quality. They can also use it to streamline the activities involved in integrating a new employee into the company and its culture. What these both have in common is that the focus is on optimizing the value-adding activities; with the

Then and Now – Site Reliability & DevOps

In the past, the idea was to build in the non-functional requirements of service to the best of our ability based on experience or best guess. Sometimes the general thought was, “We will worry about any residual work for availability, capacity, and reliability after the product or service is deployed”. This focus ensured that the product was fit for purpose, but did not ensure that the product was fit for use, that it was reliable. This approach is very costly to the operations of the service and negative consumer impact impedes opportunities for market share.  This type of focus also creates silos between Dev and Ops and Ops become firefighters.  The costs for operations are not sustainable! In addition to loss of revenues, staff morale begins to slip.  So, reliability is really the key to success. Think about your cell phone. A heavy focus on functional requirements would mean that you can make phone calls. You can text, you can  take photos, you can use your maps and a variety of

Co-Creating Service – Customer and Provider Responsibilities

Best practice has proven that to be dynamic and to consistently meet changing business requirements, services must be co-created with our customers.  I learned in a recent ITIL 4 certification class titled Driving Stakeholder Value (DSV)  that providers will start with a stakeholder map and follow up with a customer journey map. If you are not yet familiar with Customer Journey Mapping, I strongly recommend learning about this critical skill needed to enable the co-creation of services.  Once you have a stakeholder map and have mapped the customer/user journey, you will need to identify the roles required. In our example below, we use the two roles of customer/consumer and service provider. Each of these, although not the only stakeholders involved, is critical to the success of co-creation.  Notice a relationship is being established via these responsibilities  Both the service provider and the consumer have responsibilities.  An IT service provider, for example, manages resource

Constructs of a “Service Relationship” – ITIL 4

Generally, when we think of “relationships” we immediately think of the people aspect.  In ITSM we are referring to the relationships between third-party vendors, suppliers, customers, and many other stakeholders necessary to deliver the optimum service. It is mandatory to be able to manage those relationships at the appropriate level. One way to understand the “organization and people” involved in those relationships is to understand the constructs of a “Service Relationship” .  ITIL provides us this model.  Starting from the bottom of the diagram and moving up, let's  discuss the critical elements   of a Service Relationship:  Resources – All resources including people, process, and technology. In ITIL terms that includes resources from all Four Dimensions: People and Organizations  Information and Technology Partners and Suppliers  Value Streams and Processes  Products – A configuration of resources provided by the service provider that are potentially valuable to their cus

Virtual Classroom Training Guide

I am  often asked for tips and tricks for virtual classroom success. The team at ITSM Academy has put together this guide for your viewing and downloading pleasure... I hope it helps (and that you get to use it soon!)   Download the .pdf

What's in Your Strategy?

One of the things we frequently hear from individuals who attend the advanced ITIL ®  4 classes such as High Velocity IT and Drive Stakeholder Value is how very different ITIL 4 is, and more specifically, how relevant it is to challenges currently facing organizations. So how can organizations leverage this guidance? They need a strategy. More specifically, they need a set of aligned strategies that are linked to the  organization’s overall objectives. According to  ITIL  4 ®  Digital and IT Strategy , this set of strategies includes: A  business strategy  – how an organization defines and achieves its purpose A  digital strategy  – a business strategy that is based all or in part on using digital technology An  IT strategy  – a technology strategy and corresponding architecture that supports the digital strategy; along with the back-office strategy and administrative elements of information technology (e.g., the data center and infrastructure) While seemingly separate and distinct, th

Effective and Efficient Incident Response – Rethinking the way YOU work!

Learn more about new ways to do work! Explore DevOps, ITIL, SRE, XLA’s and more ! Silos are not uncommon, but when you silo the service desk from second and third-tier support staff, you likely have a recipe for pain. An ineffective incident response system within the organization is painful and disrupts the entire organization, especially the customers. We must shift the way we think and work to stabilize and improve the situation. One organization felt that they had a grip on service desk and incident management, but they blamed the subject matter experts for breaches to Service Level Agreements . The blame game is always detrimental. Their process consisted of the service desk agents receiving the incident, performing the initial triage, and then forwarding it to the subject matter expert based on how they categorized the incident. Sound familiar? Sometimes we pass tickets to and fro, get everybody and their brother involved, wait on email responses, and create chaos that frustrat

Grilled Pizza, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Continual Improvement

Originally posted on owlpoint.com  August 6, 2020, written by Greg Smith , Director of Service Delivery and Resident Pizza Maker at OwlPoint Like many others, I’ve recently taken up a few “COVID hobbies” to keep me occupied (and sane). After homebrewing a few gallons of root beer, I decided I needed a hobby that didn’t result in such large quantities of food that had to be consumed in a relatively short amount of time. After some thought, I landed on making pizza on the grill as my next hobby attempt. Though I’ve always liked cooking and grilling, I’d never made pizza from scratch before, let alone doing so on the grill. It seemed like it would be finicky and have plenty of opportunities to mess up. But I’ve heard that there’s no such thing as a bad pizza, so I ordered two cast iron skillets from Amazon and set about my new hobby. Normally, when I engage in something new, I research the entirety of Google for hints, tips and what to avoid. After spending a couple of nights researchi

ITIL 4 and Site Reliability Engineering

Originally posted on owlpoint.com , August 11, 2020, and written by Mark Blanke , CEO of Owlpoint, and Chairman of The CIO Initiative One of the aspects of ITIL 4 that has impressed me the most is the integration and reference to so many other best practices and frameworks. One such reference is to Site Reliability Engineering aka SRE . SRE was originally developed by Google in the mid 2000s as a way of operating and administering productions system with a software development mindset. One of Google’s key drivers in building out SRE was to help bring developers and operations people together. Sounds like DevOps , right? In reality, they come from the same mindset, but there are key differences. Google only recently started sharing the SRE concepts. It was their secret sauce and a way to be far more effective in operating their systems and maintaining a highly reliable environment. However, over time, they realized that it would be better for them to share their methods, so the

ITIL 4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value: Maximizing the Consumer Experience

Originally posted on The AXELOS Blog , February 2020 and written by Christian Nissen , IT management consultant and lead author for the ITIL 4 Drive Stakeholder Value module. Back in the industrial society, goods were a dominant factor in our lives. But in the “service era” we prefer to replace ownership of goods with access to services and resources without necessarily owning them. This is happening with and without digital transformation , although the latter accelerates this phenomenon: think Uber and Airbnb. In this context, the ITIL® 4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value module – within ITIL 4 Managing Professional – is about the engagement and interaction between service providers and stakeholders and the conversion of demand to value via IT-enabled services. But what does this mean in practice? Previously, services were treated in the same way as manufactured goods: it was the customer’s responsibility to derive value. Conversely, the core concept of ITIL 4 is that value is co-c

Improving IT service outsourcing experience: The magic of bringing XLAs & SLAs together

Our friends over at CitrusCollab shared this really interesting case study: Improving IT service outsourcing experience: The magic of bringing XLAs™ & SLAs together Business Situation A regional utility company with 10,000 employees was ending a first time, multi-year IT infrastructure outsourcing contract with a well-known, sizeable India-based outsourcer. At the termination of the contract, the client was extremely unhappy with: the lack of service quality, the lack of promised innovation and cost reductions, the poor employee experience with the technical services delivery quality, the unacceptable governance experience with the management of disputes and issues, the ineffectiveness of financial penalties as a lever to obtain service performance improvements.  CitrusCollab consultants assisted in the outsourcing contract rebid process. We created several Employee Experience Level Agreements (XLA*) to augment the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the new IT Infrastructur

The Four Dimensions of ITIL 4 and the Changing World of Work

Originally posted on owlpoint.com , June 15, 2020, and written by Mark Blanke , CEO of Owlpoint, and Chairman of The CIO Initiative The Four Dimensions of ITIL 4 and the Changing World of Work Recently Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced his employees could continue working from home “forever.” Knowing some people like an office environment, Dorsey is keeping the door open for those who want to return to the workplace. But ultimately, he is leaving it up to each employee to decide what they want to do. Dorsey’s statement follows reports that Fortune 100 corporations, including JPMorgan, Facebook, Capital One, Amazon, Microsoft, Zillow, and others, are extending work-from-home policies. Post-COVID-19, having employees in an office environment can be a sticky proposition. What if someone falls ill and infects others? What if a valued employee simply doesn’t want to come in – ever? What if half of your office space is continually empty? This leads to another question – why rent expen

IT's impact on the employee and customer experiences during COVID-19 (and beyond)

Originally posted on tsoshop.co.uk, AXELOS Global Best Practice Blog , July 2020 and written by Rae Ann Bruno , President of Business Solutions Training, Inc (BST) As it became evident that sheltering was going to be a requirement during COVID, things changed drastically and quickly for organizations. The workforce became remote virtually overnight. Information technology (IT) was suddenly 'at the table' with the business decision makers - some for the first time - to help organizations set-up a remote workforce and service their external customers. What IT accomplished for their organizations, demonstrates the value of the ITIL 4 guiding principles and a focus on the employee and customer experiences. According to PRINCE2 , a project is 'a temporary organization that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed business case.' Project managers are empowered to chair the project team and direct them toward successf

HVIT – An Atmospheric View of High Velocity IT

A Digital Transformation requires radical and profound change that orients an organization toward an entirely new direction and takes a service provider to an entirely different level! High Velocity IT (HVIT) is the application of digital technology that will likely play a major role in significant business enablement where speed is crucial! This is an Atmospheric View of High Velocity IT - Meditate on this for a few - POWERFUL! High Velocity IT is just a normal way of doing business for some organizations. For others it is an aspiration and many service providers are on a quest to get there fast. Best practice shows that there are three core elements required for HVIT and after taking a deeper dive into these aspects I became excited to see how these characteristics can change the world! Want to LEARN more? Get Certified in HVIT. The HVIT Certification Course takes a deeper dive into this model. This is more than a skillset it is an ability to shift the entire organization t

The EVOLUTION of the ENGINEER – Site Reliability Engineers

ALL CALL SREs REQUIRED!  Let’s take a walk down to the ocean and while you consider the opportunity, benefits, and $$$, think about dipping your toe in. Let’s explore Reliability, Site Reliability, and the Site Reliability Engineer .  No doubt the world is evolving. People are evolving and tech is evolving. Business and customer requirements are evolving. The evolution of systems requires the evolution of engineers. Nature and pandemics put undue stress on our resources! In comes the Certified Site Reliability Engineer .  "Urgent, Urgent, Urgent… All hands on deck!",  is a call that practitioners, managers, and organizations do not want to hear and recognize must stop! Reliability – At a minimum, we recognize that the delivery of service is not dependent solely on the quality of the product itself and the goal is not that the products or service merely be deployed. A service must be operated and sustained over a period. How long? For the life of the service.