EdifyIT Blog
17 Feb

Thriving in Continual Service Improvement (CSI) is a target that is often missed.   ITIL projects fail even when the processes, policies, SLAs, SLOs, and blueprints are in place. Management teams are pleased and everyone impressed with the work completed. However, on the ground, the project isn’t working at all. This is what I call a successful paper project. Outwardly, it has all the right components and information in place, but it just sits on a shelf or the local G: drive because of insufficient resources for supporting CSI to thrive in a live environment.

This is a common issue and will continue to happen despite the advanced automation that technology provides us today. Why, because IT organizations are managed and run by people. People in IT are working longer hours, are under tremendous stress, and are constantly faced with budget constraints, limited resources, and they may be using outdated technology or insufficient tools.

There is a way to address this issue and similar issues by improving work attitudes and beliefs around ITSM in general, specifically through improvements to CSI.  Looking to the present leading to the future of ITSM, there is a fresh concept  invoking a new good practice model for managing the people element of ITSM projects and effectively managing the process issues promoting a thriving healthy CSI in a live environment.  A good practice model combined with technology provides the recipe on how to tackle those common people and process issues. 

“Over time, small moment by small moment each day when applying the five-limbs in IT, change and transformation inevitably happen.”

—From “The Art of Practicing Yoga in ITSM”

Work Beliefs

One area to start with when addressing people issues is to recognize the difference between action that are done on auto-pilot versus actions carried out with intention and awareness.   Acceptance is a key practice if you are to succeed in creating the changes that lead to improvement.  Accept the actions driven on auto-pilot to recognize when it's having a negative impact, both to your ITSM goals and to your aspirations of continued success.  When we accept these type of behaviors, we are then better prepared to both address the results of these behaviors and to improve the behaviors themselves.  Acceptance enables a transformational change that leads to more positive outcomes. The practice of acceptance starts the wondrous journey of transformation and sustainable improvement within your IT organization. This practice also promotes increased morale with your staff: it creates a new awareness of their positive contributions to the business, which leads directly to job satisfaction.

I am referring to actions and behaviors from a “being mindful” perspective. The beliefs carried over or stemming from conditioning working in the IT industry. Working in IT is a unique world. Twenty-five years ago, IT was considered a unique department with its own rules and bylaws, and the IT department seemingly had the business at their mercy. All IT had to do to obtain funding was ask for it. Jobs in IT were perceived as too technical for someone working in a business role. This led to many unrealistic beliefs held by the IT worker as well as many of the negative perceptions that people have of an IT department. Many of these negative beliefs and perceptions still exist today. For IT to survive in today’s world, IT workers must fully align with the business, establish themselves as partners, gain endorsements from the business, justify costs, and at the same time maintain a high standard of quality and value.

You may have acquired misguided perceptions about IT work that you took to be true and hence believed in them enough to create strong beliefs about them, causing these patterns of thought to become an intention leading to auto-pilot type actions.  Have you ever noticed some of the negative beliefs you have about IT or your job? These typically grew from negative sources or beliefs. Any positive beliefs you hold about IT, your job, the company you work for, your manager, your peers, and your work environment probably came from your own beliefs or other positive sources. These positive reinforcements enable you to think clearly and make informed decisions. They also allow for forward thinking, thereby creating an environment that continually strives and improves.  When the energy of the team is focused, and everyone is working toward the same goals, conflict can be addressed positively. Even more, these positive sources can help your thinking become clearer—and more aware, so that your goal becomes both to succeed personally in your job and to contribute to the organization’s success.

A good practice model helps to both foster positive work beliefs and minimize negative work beliefs—beliefs that impact CSI efforts, and once eliminated CSI begins to thrive. A solid CSI plan and processes  that are used with full awareness are essential for CSI to thrive and succeed.  

18 Nov

Incidents Gone Wild

Written by

When you read the explanation ITIL defines as an Incident, you may wonder why the Incident volume in your organization is spiraling out of control.  It could be it's own reality show, "Incidents Gone Wild" The ITIL definition reads "An unplanned interruption to an IT Service or reduction in the quality of an IT Service, Failure of a Configuration item that has not yet affected Service is also an Incident".  

Each time I read the definition, I think if Incidents truly were raised only by the definition of an unplanned interruption, then the volume of Incidents would peak at a lower number and stabilize at a volume fit to your organizations infrastructure and there would be no need to "clean an incident ticket" after it's closed.  It seems the opening of an Incident most times is the catch all for everything. 

Incident Management is the main artery of Service Operations.  The visibility and support for Incident Management is significant, so why wouldn't it be the catch all for everything?  Right?  Makes the life of the Service Desk & the Support Operations easier accessing control over all infrastructure activity through one console rather than assessing each occurrence and determining if it's a change, a request, an event or an incident.  

Incidents are linked to contractual and legally binding service level agreements with your customers which drive the timeline of resolution; plus incidents are the easiest to capture, manage and report on.  Incidents are as common as the common cold, and they're spreading infecting volumes invoking a host of issues in an environment which is striving to be proactive in Continual Service Improvement.  Service Operations  address with fixes which soak up resources and dollars, then justify them because SLA's are met, bearing no penalty costs.   

There are too many approaches available through the age of information and knowledge of best practices and good practices to keep contributing to untidy Incident volumes.  How is it during a time of maturing knowledge and wisdom, that our Incident volumes keep increasing?  There are many causes contributing to the mass volumes of Incident tickets managed each day and for each cause organizations  keep falling backwards to the same old patterns such as cleaning tickets and avoiding the  root causes. 

The frustration in an organization struggling to implement ITIL and other best practice methodologies is looming from conflict between details of a strategy plan, and the service management principles actually practiced in a live operations environment.  The conflict is resolved by pretending to implement ITIL or other best practice methods.  If the business isn't putting strict governance around the operations to enforce the process and policies defined by the business and IT management, then there is no means to maintain a proactive continual service improvement environment.  Be realistic about what your IT organization is responsible for and align tightly to the needs of the business with the focus on the customer. 

Don't pretend to do ITIL do ITIL, CMMI, CoBit or the methodology of best practices which fit  to best serve your customers and to manage the service.  Once you make a commitment to a set of standards, follow through and most importantly tighten the governance around Service Operation and be sure there are no "hidden" practices.

Look at all angles, make informed decisions, and by all means, STOP dumping toxic waste into your Incident Management system.  Go Green, and tame your Incidents! 

Happy New Week!


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