A fool with a tool is still a fool.
More than 10 years has passed since GamingWorks first published their book IT Service Management From Hell: A Guide to Worst Practices. 10 years later there still appear to be too many fools in IT. In this series of four guest blogs, IT Service Management from Hell co-author Paul Wilkinson will be looking at the reasons and giving some best practice advice for solving this ongoing problem.
Find part one of the series here, and part two here.
In our first two blogs we explored the ever increasing gap between business and IT and how Attitude, Behavior and Culture (ABC of ICT) are the key reasons we have failed to successfully adopt and deploy frameworks to solve the problem. We mentioned that more than 70% of IT organizations are unable to measure and demonstrate value using frameworks and tools. In blog two we said the first step is to firmly embed into the mindset of every member of IT the concept of a service according to ITIL v3. A Service is “a means of delivering value to the business in terms of outcomes the business wants to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks”
So where does the problem lie in how we adopt and deploy the frameworks? Once again I’ll use ITIL v3 because it is a good starting point and reference as to what we are doing wrong and what needs improving. According to Service Design improvement initiatives should be based around the four ‘P’s: People, Product, Process, Partner. If we examine most of the improvement programs and initiatives we can map them onto this. However there are two aspects about the four ‘P’s that can be improved upon.
- The 5th P – “Performance” – should be added to the model. Performance, or Value in ITIL v3 terms should be ‘leading’ in the design of service management improvement initiatives. See the diagram. Before you design and implement processes, adopt and deploy management technology, send people on training or engage partners you should ask the question ‘Why? What value? and/or how will this reduce costs and risks’.
As we mentioned in blog two, this point is proven by the fact that when we did an ABC of ICT survey with more than a thousand IT professionals the number one IT worst practice they selected in the workshop was “no understanding of business impact and priority” and number three was “IT is too internally focused.” If we do not understand the business needs then how can we hope to realize value? The fact that we are still too internally focused explains to me one of the reasons we keep presenting the same worst practices every ten years.
The second reason being that one of the top three chosen worst practices by more than a thousand IT professionals is “not my responsibility”. Nobody apparently feels responsible or accountable for breaking through the problems, hence the fact that business & IT alignment seems to be a constantly recurring theme and the reason we keep giving the same worst practice presentations every ten years! When we do decide to make a project proposal for implementing tools or ITIL is it any wonder that many of the projects in these difficult financial times gets cancelled. The number ten in the list of ABC worst practices – “IT thinks it doesn’t need to understand the business to make a business case.”
So that is one aspect of the four ‘P’s that can be improved upon. Ensure that the ‘Performance’ or ‘value’ underpins all of our initiatives. We must be able to demonstrate the value and the outcomes the business needs when we apply the four ‘P’s. What is the second aspect of the four ‘P’s that can be improved upon to ensure lasting, sustainable success?