The BIG BANG of Best Practices!
Serview hosted their 14th annual Best Management Practice conference in Seeheim in Germany. The theme of the conference was ‘the BIG BANG of Best Practices’ In his opening speech to almost 400 delegates Markus Bause explained the big bang theory, not in terms of the beginning of the Universe (which was a little outside the scope of experience or capabilities of the delegates) but in terms of the Big Bang of IT Service Management which started in IT and is now expanding into the wide universe of communities ‘facilities management’, ‘ customer service management’, ‘Financial management’.
I was pleased to see that streams included IT Governance, Leadership and Organizational change as well as IT Service management and Project management.
To me the big bang represents the sudden dawning of enlightenment that ‘Behavior and Culture’ are more important than ‘Processes and procedures’, and that ‘Practice’, ‘Experience’ and ‘How to’ is more important than ‘Theory’, ‘Certificates’ and ‘What’ to do.
I asked Antoine Bonenkamp from Peoplecert what the Big bang meant for him. He agreed he sees a shift of Service management best practices into other communities. Good news for the training, consulting and tool vendors.
I also asked Amrit Saroya, global marketing lead at Axelos what the Big bang meant for her. She agreed a market shift towards ‘Enterprise Service Management’ but added the Big bang for Axelos also meant the introduction of the professional development program and the launch of ITIL practitioner, 2 initiatives aimed at taking professionals to the next step after certification, a shift towards practical skills and more value from their training investments.
It was interesting to discover that the BIG GANG of DevOps has not yet reached here. The majority of people did not know what DevOps was, or thought it was a framework of tool. As one delegate asked ‘How easy is it to install the Phoenix project”?
GamingWorks showcasing ‘practice’
GamingWorks was given a stand to showcase our simulations, however we wanted to enter into a dialogue with attendees to test their theoretical knowledge and identify challenges they needed solving.
We laid out materials for 4 simulations: Apollo 13 – ITSM & ITIL best practices
Challenge of Egypt – Project management best practices (e.g Prince2, Prince2 Agile, Agile PM, PMI)
Oceans99 – Information security best practices (e.g. Resilia, ISO27001)
Grab@Pizza – Business and IT Alignment best practices (e.g. BRM, COBIT, ITIL)
We gave delegates 2 questions they needed to answer relating to each of the game scenarios on display. We also said that we played the Customer roles for the simulations should they feel they needed to talk to us in order to answer the questions.
Delegates could use their ‘Best Practice theory’ to answer the questions posed. These ranged from ‘how would you prioritize these incidents’, ‘Which changes should be scheduled with the limited slots available’? ‘Which decision should you make on scope, quality, time given constraints on money and project exceptions’? ‘Which risk countermeasures would you invest in given a limited budget’? ‘How would you Prioritize the 3 possible CSI improvements based upon the current balanced scorecard results’ – all questions relating to recognized issues, surely with their theory this should be a piece of cake!
What we discovered:
- People made many assumptions and answered based upon their theory rather than testing their assumptions with the Customers or of asking the Customer about VALUE and real NEEDs! When we pointed this out they recognized this as a real issue.
- People who did not know an answer did not seek somebody else (network, ask for help, break out of SILO thinking) to answer a question.
- As one delegate declared ‘mmm…this isn’t so easy, the theory is one thing but finding the right answer means engaging with the Business’. (Design for experience?…..Focus on value?…2 new guiding principles from ITIL practitioner).
We asked delegates which challenges they faced with Best Practices? Which practical skills needed to be developed? These were some of the themes:
- Tool stand owners stated problems with people ‘implementing tools’ without considering the processes, the responsibilities – then blaming the tool. In ITIL practitioner terms ‘a Holistic approach’.
- Internal metrics that stimulate ‘undesirable behavior’ e.g % calls solved in time, as opposed to checking and confirming customers satisfied with the way the call was solved. A strong focus on ‘internal metrics’ as opposed to business metrics.
- Too much focus on ‘implementing ITIL’ – ‘that’s what it says in the book’! rather thman ‘adopt’ and ‘adapt’.
- We have a new tool but people don’t follow the process or fill in the tool.
- See our case example on solving the tool related issues.
- Scope changes in projects and project sponsors ignoring the agreed ‘processes and procedures’ within a project environment.
- Scope changes all have to have a change form and this takes time to process causing frustration and damaging ‘Agility’.
- Lack of understanding or using ‘Tolerances’ everything gets escalated to project manager.
- Too little recording of issues and use in risk management. Too little effort on risk management at start of projects.
- See a case example of creating a risk culture, and bringing stakeholders together to agree procedures.
- Lack of senior ‘board level’ ownership of security policies and enforcing these, too much thinking it is an IT issue that can be solved with technology (firewalls, virus-scanners).
- Not enough awareness or focus on people and behavior relating to security.
- See our CIO workshop session focused on creating awareness and ownership.
Business & IT Alignment
- A strong recognition of too many business projects and changes and the business demanding all THEIR changes are the most important.
- Business Unit directors throw their IT demands over the wall, when IT declares ‘resource issues’ the business says ‘that is your problem!’ (Lack of IT Governance).
- One delegate told me in frosty terms that I (as business customer) was wrong with my choice of answer!! ‘According to ITIL..’ was how the delegate tried to convince me I was wrong. ….never mind my business context and the business goals I needed to achieve for the shareholders!
- See our Alignment workshop held for ISACA/itSMF.
What prize were we giving away at our stand? An Ipad? A fit-bit?….No. A free game to play with internal decision makers to explore and solve one of the challenges mentioned above! From theory to practice.
I was also delighted to hear Michael Weber from Serview explaining that simulations can be used for much more than simply awareness, they also help with ‘assessing and identifying pain points’ and for ‘empowering teams to identify and agree improvement actions’ – providing input to a CSI initiative. See our survey results on the benefits of simulations.