itSMFnz12 key take-aways

Published on Thursday 14 June 2012 by in Blog, News with no comments


I did ITsm My way’ was the theme at the annual itSMF event in New Zealand. This news item is a brief summary of some of my key take-aways from the key-notes, and results from sessions conducted by GamingWorks as part of the overall program.

Rob England, aka the IT Skeptic, presented TIPU a pragmatic approach to CSI. Central to Rob’s approach is the ‘Human pace of Change’ and ‘people and behavior’ being critical success factors. Rob also stressed a need to Focus on the Why? Question, the Problem/Needs/Risks. Why in fact are we doing ITSM and what are the priority improvements that NEED to be made?  Using TIPU to choose pragmatic improvements that everybody can agree.  ‘CSI comes at the start not at the end!’ was another key message. In these financial times when budgets are under pressure, plus the fact that many ITIL ‘Implementation’ initiatives fail because of the way they select and chose processes to implement, TIPU provides a pragmatic way of selecting and embedding improvements in the organization.

Kas Ferris presented her book ‘Balanced Diversity’ , a way to make change stick. 4 key areas and a set of pragmatic practices to make change succeed. ‘Fostering commitment’, ‘Clarifying expectations’, Building momentum for change’ and ‘Instilling capacity for change’. Karen also stressed ‘It’s not just a question of changing the culture, but creating a culture of change’, mentioning how simulations can help with ‘Building momentum for change’.  Critical to the success of any change initiative is to balance the interventions you chose across the 4 key areas.

Peter Doherty presented Zen and the art of service management. Focusing on people, communications and leadership in a whirlwind presentation which left you feeling dizzy with the amount of energy he put into his performance. Key take-aways being the need for leaders to engage with, empower and enable teams by understanding and utilizing the differences in people (understanding models like Myers Briggs and HBDI). The need to instill a sense of ownership and ‘family’. Not just creating ‘buy-in’ but ‘Internalization’ – ‘the way we do things around here’.   Using quotes from leaders that inspired him, such as Capt M. Abrashof (It’s your ship) and Colin Powell, who said  ‘Theories of management don’t matter, endevours succeed or fail because of people’.

Owen McCall. Ex CIO, gave a CIO perspective on using ITIL to create a world class team. ‘From fat guy to a worldclass marathon runner’ was an analogy he used. (Being as he himself proclaimed larger than the average guy). It’s not going to happen overnight, you need to grow in capabilities…..much in fact like ITSM improvement. He presented his  model. Maslow’s  hieracrchy of IS needs. – Starting at the top and working down:  ‘Competetive difference using IT’ ,’Business enabler using IT for process automation and effective decision making’, ’IS  cost effectiveness’, ‘Systems reliability’. If you equate this with the definition of a service according to ITIL he has just defined ‘Value, Outcomes, Costs, Risks’. IT organizations are not going to be a partner talking about ‘Competitive difference using IT’ if they haven’t got the basics right! Start demonstrating Reliability and Cost effective delivery. It is all about ‘Influence and credibility’ over time. This also aligns with the key trends in Business & It alignment, an international survey.

As the theme of the conference, and indeed frameworks such as ITIL, is all about ITSM, a great question posed by Owen was ‘What distinguishes Service organizations’? A startling discovery for him from a survey was ‘a high level of customer advocacy’, caused by ‘exceptional customer service’, realized through ‘a highly engaged workforce’ – it comes back to people again. Leaders must ensure they lead and manage teams, and design the organization and processes to make it easy for employees to deliver ‘great service’. This comes down to ‘empowering employees’.

Are we currently delivering exceptional service? What customers would champion our services? What barriers are preventing us delivering exceptional customer service?. Owner recommended using Net Promoter to survey customers.  Another instrument that can help is the ABC of ICT as an assessment instrument. See the results from the ABC workshop on day 1 of the conference below.

I presented the ABC of ICT.  Global results and critical success factors. ‘I did ITsm my way’ was the theme song of the conference. I suggested this may be one of the reasons for the large amount of ITSM failures. The massive hunt for ‘ITIL certificates’ and the misguided approach to ‘Implement ITIL’. Perhaps more appropriate Sinatra songs would be ‘Call me Irresponsible’, or  ‘Let me try again’, as many organizations are on their second or third attempt at ‘implementing ITIL!

Some of my key messages were ‘Top in the list of CIO issues is Leadership development and staff training ‘, ‘CSI should be a core capability’, ‘Managers must engage and involve people’, ‘Managers must define, manage and reward desirable behavior and confront undesirable behavior’ . These messages were all confirmed by the speakers above.   I also showed how simulations can help create buy-in, overcome resistance, empower people to change, translate theory into practice. A simulation can help support the key areas in the balanced diversity approach, help show the power of a pragmatic approach to CSI, such as the TIPU approach, and allow people to experience  what ‘exceptional customer service’ needs look like.  Once again I asked how many people were doing ITIL and how many could tell me the definition of a Service? Once again very few could tell me. Once again I showed key reasons for failure and asked ‘how many have read Planning to Implement Service Management’?…..I am sure you can guess how many hands went up!

The conference workshops kicked off with an ABC of ICT workshop, using the ABC of ICT card set as an assessment instrument. A group of 28 people took part. It was the first ABC workshop in New Zealand.

the first exercise was the Customer exercise. Linking nicely which ‘Which 3 cards would the customer choose if we asked them?’Owen Mccalls presentation. What is stopping in fact Customer advocacy, what are the behaviors we display that show we are not delivering ‘exceptional customer service’?  These are barriers that prevent advocacy and these are barriers that must be removed to enable teams to deliver great service.

No respect for, or understanding of users 4
No understanding of business impact and priority 6
ITIL is the objective not what it should achieve 4


Not capturing the right knowledge for reuse 4
Maybe we should have tested that change first 4
Never mind about following procedures, just do what we normally do. 4
Internally focused 7
9 to 5 culture 6
Plan, do, stop….no real continual improvement culture 4

The resistance exercise

We also performed the ‘Resistance’ exercise. ‘What type of resistance do you see, or expect when you try to adopt and apply ITSM best practices. These are the cards chosen.

The SILO mentality 7
Never mind about following procedures….just do what we usually do 6
ITIL never work here 5
Throwing solutions (ITIL) over the wall and HOPING people will use them 5
No management commitment 4
Not my responsibility 4

 The results of the exercises show that there is still very much an internal IT focus and lack of value and customer excellence from the way most people adopt and deploy ITIL. There is a clear lack of using ITIL as a CSI instrument. There is lack of consistency in use and management commitment isn’t supporting and enabling success. There is a lot of work to be done,

At the end of each of my sessions and at the end of Peter Doherty’s session we asked people to ‘raise their hands if they are going to go back and DO something about these issues!’. More than a third raised their hands. I was more Cynical and skeptical than the IT skeptic himself as I suggested ‘Not my responsibility’ is one of the top cards. Prove me wrong and show me next year you actually went away and solved these issues and are willing to share this with other itSMF members.

Post conference workshop

GamingWorks held a combined ABC – Apollo 13 session as a post conference workshop. I challenged delegates to attend and to come and learn how to solve the issues above. come an translate your new itSMFNZ learning experiences and new theory into practices. Come and capture concrete, prgamatic improvements and insights you can take away and apply in YOUR organization. See the results here.



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