ISM: The Service manager of tomorrow

Published on Monday 17 September 2012 by in Blog, News with no comments

Bussum 13 September. More than 250 delegates took part in the ‘ISM experience’ organized by BHVB and a number of its ISM partners. During the ‘ISM Experience’ delegates got to see, feel and experience the ISM method and its value in helping IT organizations better manage IT. The event was aimed at both sharing and creating knowledge around ISM.

ISM is an Integrated Service Management approach. Integrating elements from a number of best practices such as ITIL, MOF, BiSL and integrating People, Process and Product to realize demonstrable performance.

Delegates were invited several weeks before the event to name the key issues and problems that wanted to address. The top themes included:

  • Resistance to ITSM improvement initiatives
  • The IT manager and ISM
  • The Service manager of tomorrow
  • The process manager as coach


  • Fail factors associated with standards (such as ISM/ITIL/BiSL)


  • Optimalization. Getting the most out of the investment


  • The Business case for ISM
  • KPI’s

Two of the ISM partners, direct competitors of each other, joined forces to develop workshop sessions for the ISM experience, enabling delegates to recognize these issues and explore potential solutions. GamingWorks and Simagine developed two games as part of the learning experience.

The ISM experience game (AHEABC)
Combining the Attitude, Behavior, Culture (ABC) worst practice card set from GamingWorks – which is an awareness and assessment instrument that focuses on globally recognized worst practices in ITSM, and A Heart Effort (AHE) from Simagine – a game designed to facilitate discussion and enable discovery. The cards and the question in the game focused around the main themes of the conference.

During this game teams of 5 or 6 people selected cards and discussed themes. Facilitated by ISM experts key findings were recorded.


This was one of the key themes of the ISM event, as such the AHEABC sessions focused on identifying key types of resistance:

  • Saying ‘Yes’ and doing ‘No’, for example change acceptance testing; recording work-arounds.
  • Throwing solutions over the wall and hoping people will follow them.
  • Unclear communication(Why are we doing ISM/ITIL? What are we going to do?); Unclear ‘What’s in it for me’?
  • Leadership (walk-the-talk, lead-by-example); managers trying to do too much themselves instead of delegating and leading, coaching and mentoring; Not confronting undesirable behavior.
  • People continue to work the way they used to work.
  • Hero culture.


  • Ineffective and insufficient communication around the processes.
  • Too little involvement from the people in designing and deploying the processes (Thrown-over-the-wall).
  • Embedding the processes in the daily work is difficult.
  • We use a different framework in development, so we will not adopt ISM/ITIL.


  • Large resistance deploying the tool; Too little involvement of people during design and deployment; too little involvement of the process involved roles and those responsible for using it effectively.
  • Tool investment decisions made by the wrong people.
  • Suppliers behave like car-salesmen, promise golden mountains, more and more hidden costs.
  • People think the tool will solve the problem, no need to spent effort on the processes.


  • Too little focus on ‘steering’ on the agreements and the results to be achieved; too little understanding of the results to be achieved.
  • People against KPI’s, they are threatening and can be confrontational.
  • Too little ‘shared goals’, too many silo and department goals.

People were then asked to name a key success factor they had discussed and heard during the AHEABC exercises. The actions discovered would help address other key conference themes, such as ‘The role of the manager in ISM’, ‘The Service manager of tomorrow’, ‘The process manager as coach’.

  • With this type of change (people, culture, behavior) effective and timely communication is vital – ‘Objectives’(Why), what is going to change, communicate and celebrate results, explain ‘what’s in it for me’, explain what is expected of people.
  • Involve and engage the target audience in designing, developing and deploying THEIR  processes and procedures (prevent the ‘Throwing-it-over-the-wall’ effect); involve people in reflecting and improving their own work.
  • Managers must be able to communicate effectively ‘walk the talk’, ‘lead by example’, engage and involve’, ‘motivate, coach, inspire’, confront undesirable behavior, celebrate and reward ‘wins’; manage by walking around and talking



  • Let people design own processes; Let people assess and propose own improvements to the processes; let people discuss and agree dependencies and information needs from the processes.
  • Involve the business in process design (Customer contact processes).


  • Creating buy-in by involving all stakeholders in tool choice (requirements to do the work), Tool design (fit with needs) and tool deployment (able to do the work).
  • Requirements management for the tool is crucial (with those responsible for the process activities and results).
  • Multidisciplinary teams (break down the silos) for tool deployment. (better insight into what other people need, dependencies).


  • Steer on agreements; manage the agreements; an agreement is an agreement; develop agreements together
  • IT KPI’s must be aligned with business KPI’s, measure customer satisfaction.
  • Communicating the business case, benefits, value to the business of the processes; agreeing the role and responsibilities of the business.
  • Decision making process – also dare to STOP projects and investments.

Service Desk theatre

Simagine (developers of games such as ‘Control-IT’) and GamingWorks (developers of games such as ‘Apollo 13 – An ITSM Case Experience), also developed a combined ‘Game Theatre’ for the ISM experience. They developed a service organization based around a conference organization, to mirror the actual ISM experience event. Delegates could submit questions and incidents to the Service desk theatre. At the start of the game the service organization was chaotic, lacked control and was unable to perform well. Between games rounds delegates, working together with ISM experts, were able to reflect and apply ISM best practices, experiencing CSI in action. At the end of the event the service desk was achieving all of its SLA’s. Resolution times matched to business priorities, reduced wasted costs, increased throughput of work.

In the first round they simply lost my incident, nobody got back to me, in the final round they solved the incident on time ensuring the next session was able to start on time!’.

Key learning points taken from the CSI workshop:

  • Clear communication about customer needs and expectations
  • Using ISM People, Process, Product and Performance to gather bottlenecks, discuss and prioritize improvements.
  • Involve the customer in prioritizing improvements
  • Don’t try and improve everything in one go, be selective (resource availability, maturity) with improvements, choose improvements that will improve customer experience and performance
  • Ensure adequate information, communication and hand-over to those executing the process
  • Managers must coach and motivate, where necessary managers must confront undesirable behavior.
  • People must know the goals, the targets ‘when are we successful?’, ‘what have we promised to deliver’?
  • Communicate and celebrate the successes
  • Insight into performance for all involved

The two games facilitated as part of the ISM experience helped delegates translate ISM theory into practices and capture key improvements they could take away and apply, helping create ‘The Service manager of tomorrow’.



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