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 1 of the series here.
In our first blog we discussed the fact that the gap between business and IT seems to be growing and despite all the best practice frameworks we are not bringing IT under control. The first blog declared that the reasons were not the frameworks but the ABC of ICT. Attitide, Behavior and Culture within IT.
This second blog is entitled: Taking the first step in closing the gap.
Lau Tzu the great Chinese philosopher made a quote that very roughly translated goes “A journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step”. This is sound advice for those of us embarking upon our long, tiring, sometimes painful, journey with ITIL in an effort to bring IT under control and close the business and IT alignment gap.
ITIL v3 is the latest of the frameworks that claims to help address the alignment issues we mentioned and help IT organizations finally gain control, so I will use this as a starting point to show why ABC (Attitude, Behavior and Culture) is still a problem and what we should be doing to finally resolve it.
Well first of all let’s look at what ITIL v3 says about a Service. This to me is crucial. If IT people could grasp, embrace and fully understand this concept we’d have the gap closed in no time. A Service, according to ITIL V3, 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”. If every single IT person could ask themselves the question ‘how does this activity contribute to business value’ or ‘how does my current behavior cause unnecessary business costs and create business risks’, we’d be a long way onto solving business and IT alignment. This is the crucial first step changing people’s attitude about what it is they do and why they are doing it? We can’t possibly be aligned when most people in IT don’t understand the business needs. Don’t believe me? In a series of global ABC workshops with more than 1000 IT professionals the number 1 chosen ABC ‘worst practice’ was “no understanding of business impact and priority”. We in IT do not know or understand business priorities.
Changing attitude is the first step. But what about now embedding this into ‘Behavior’. Actually make it happen. This is where the tools and frameworks come in. Adopting and implementing process based working is all about introducing new ways of working. New ways of behaving. The way in which we currently adopt and deploy the frameworks and tools is also one of the key fail factors as to why we are still failing. 70% of IT organizations are unable to demonstrate the value gained by implementing these types of improvements.
So where are we going wrong in our adoption of frameworks? And how can we ensure that we can adopt and deploy them successfully? In the next blog we will tell you how.