Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The ITSM acid test for People, Process, and Tools

The ITSM trinity of People, Process, and Tools is most evident in reporting. If all three corners of the triangle are not in alignment, the following issues will be evident:
  • If PEOPLE do not have the proper incentives and deterrents to encourage desired behaviors, reports will often have missing or incomplete information. This is because only enough information is captured in records to allow the person to meet their needs, while the needs of others are unlikely to be met.
  • If PROCESSES are not defined, agreed, communicated, and trained, reports will have information that is disjointed, duplicated, and inconsistent between groups and team members. This is because different areas are applying different standards to how they capture information in records.
  • If TOOLS are not properly configured, reports will not aid analysis required to determine trends and enable effective decision making. This is because the tool does not correlate information well, or is unable to access information in a manner to allow for trending.
How do we avoid these challenges? 
  • Ensure that processes are more than documents in a binder. They must serve as agreements between teams on how work will be performed.
  • Develop tool configurations in concert with process development. This must be an iterative approach as process development should drive tool selection and configuration, while tool capabilities may impose limitations on a process.
  • Train staff on the intent of the process and how to use the tool to enable the process.
  • Publish clear standards on how information created during process execution should be captured in records.
  • Sanction appropriate rewards and reprimands to drive adherence to norms and rules.
  • Monitor and improve all of these elements.
Getting the ITSM trinity working in concert will transform an ITSM practice into a value engine for the enterprise. That's the best kind of report!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The most neglected role in IT Service Management?

Pop Quiz:

  • Who do most people in your organization go to first when there is a notable Problem?
  • Who provides your final IT sign-off on a significant Change?
  • Who defines the available Service levels?
Hopefully, your answer to all 3 questions was the same - the appropriate Service Owner. Sadly, in many organizations this is not the case. The ITSM organization is really a process organization. Even if the process owners try to focus on process improvement, they get sucked into being the default service owners for every IT Service. In trying to pull double duty, they often make little progress on either front. 

A friend of mine recently reminded me that Senge's Fifth Discipline calls out focusing on "highest leverage" points. One of those points for IT Service Management is clear accountability and authority for IT Services. A motivated Service Owner can often overcome poorly defined or nonexistent processes. 

If you're early in your ITSM journey, it's easy to get focused on all the processes described in ITIL. Don't fall into the trap of doing IT Process Management - it's called SERVICE Management for a reason!