At least a couple of times per day someone find himself or herself in the position to start their journey, implementing ITSM based processes to really get their IT delivery flying. In most cases, this entry is not an easy one. There are so many things you could do, so many things you should do and most of all so many things people tell you to do.
The million dollar questions is of course, where and how do we ideally begin implementing IT Service management best practices?
As a IT Service Management consultant I often end up in situations where either the organization already tried but did not get the result they wanted, are stuck, or even worse, has created a monster that effectively are chewing up everything in the IT service provider organization. Very seldom, I have the immense pleasure to be involved in the very beginning, helping organizations slice the ITSM elephant, every time this happens I thank the karma gods. To understand why the reality is this way we need to understand the human nature.
We as humans always are looking for the easy way out, the shortcuts, and we tend to under estimate tasks and the same time we overrate our own ability to manage them without carefully thinking through things first. Do not get me wrong, we are all fantastic beings, capable of fantastic things, but as with everything we need to calibrate our efforts, run in the right direction, to get there.
However, there are good news for everyone. No matter if you are starting your ITSM implementation efforts, are in the middle of everything or finding yourself in trouble, the approach I am going to give you is the same.
To know how to improve you first need to really know yourself
There are three main steps:
- Set your goals
- Get to know yourself
- Fill in the GAPs
- Before we do anything, we need to decide the purpose, what we are trying to achieve. This might sound very basic but you have no idea how often organizations fail to set goals. There are several ways to do this, there are complete college educations about this topic and you can easily get lost in the jungle. I would like to help you slice the elephant. The goals has to be aligned to your business, that is, all organizations has goals/objectives and the ITSM implementation goals needs to be aligned to these. The goals also has to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Timely) for them to be useful and not just corporate buzzwords. Finally, the goals has to be prioritized to give the input we need for later stages.
- My favorite part is the getting to know yourself, the baseline assessment. If many organizations fail to set, good goals even more fail to do any form of relevant analysis of their present state. For me this is like getting into the car and just start driving, towards your desired destination, without having a clue of where you are. To know what you need to do you absolutely simply have to define your current state, your unique set of conditions, otherwise I can guarantee your result will a fraction of what you planned for. I always use the four P´s to get the rich enough snapshot of the current state of things.
- People, your staff, their skill-levels, knowledge capture and other soft aspects of your IT service delivery.
- Process, your routines, their maturity level, KPIs and other aspects of your ways of working.
- Products are the different tools you use, the extension of your abilities, to deliver IT services.
- Partners refer to your suppliers, the contractors that delivers inside your IT service delivery.
- Using the goals and the result from your baseline assessment you will be able to identify the GAPs, the holes between where you want to be and where you are today. Knowing your GAPs means you need to find out what you need to do to bridge them and it is now you take a closer look at ITSM best practices to see how you could do this. The goal priority will give you the element of urgency. The output from this step is normally a set of improvement opportunities, which effectively will be the backbone of your ITSM best practice implementation program, like manageable components in a big machine.
This approach is also enables you to be flexible, even agile, in your implementation program, all the time making sure to focus on what is most important and not doing things “according to the book”. I have never implemented 100% of a process in the first iteration, this is not smart, remember that before we run we need to walk. This approach does not take a lot of time nor consumes many resources but it will save you eons of time, many resources and you will greatly increase your success rate.
Stop focusing on theory, the books are great but they are books remember. Instead, look inside your own organization, what will make sense to you, what are the pain points, what are the lowing hanging fruits to pick first? Getting your processes to stick in your organization is another thing, another topic, but staring this way will certainly save a lot of energy to focus in the cultural changes that IMHO is where we need to concentrate our efforts to succeed!