ITIL Tattle

ITIL Tattle

Blog posts on ITIL and ITSM news and best practice from the ISG ITIL Team

Ten Mistakes People Make Implementing Service Based Culture

Fly trapped in Venus Flytrap

With a forward look to future article on the ITIL 4 Guiding Principles, this weeks article is a click-bait inspired list. There is no real subjective data here – it is an experiential polemic (posh word for a rant).

1. Proceed without securing senior management buy-in
It seems obvious but this important. Fortunately, within Information Services Group at The University of Edinburgh, our Chief Information Officer, Gavin McLachlan was clear from the outset that Service Based Culture was central to our change themes. With Service Excellence Programme there is a real sense that senior management buy-in goes beyond Information Services Group.
2. Expect colleagues to “just get with the message”.
If ITIL was easy then everyone would be an expert. It is complex and that complexity is then being mapped onto your organisation. So for us at The University of Edinburgh, which is hundreds of years old, complexity is a given.
So whilst ideally colleagues would be trained to at least Foundation Level (3 day course), in reality many who are asked to use service management tools are not afforded this opportunity. As such, having sympathy for their bewilderment and allowing time for adjustment to new work practices is desirable.
3. Misunderstand the business
As a University, our two core business streams are teaching and research (with a third overlooked sibling whose name is something like “external engagement” but is referred to as “the other stuff”). So all services in the University should have a clear view of how they underpin one (or both) the core business streams.  Understanding how these services relate to our diverse user communities, the seasonal patterns of demand and the around-the-clock global reach is non-trivial. Of course, this is all a lot harder if the next mistake has been made…
4. Fail to declare available services
Having a service catalogue process is essential so that the currently supported services are defined. Ideally, a service catalogue process is shared across the organisation. The current Service Catalogue used in ISG benefits from including non-ISG services from other areas such as Finance. If this were to be replaced with a University Service Catalogue process, that would be a major step forward.
5. Implement new processes without data
If you have been trying to provide service support using a functional mailbox, extracting the data to inform service improvement is tedious and unsatisfactory. If you have data collected in a service management tool, it is possible to make objective decisions based with relevant reports from specific slices of the data.
6. Implement new process based just on data
Being immersed in data is not enough. In ITIL the acronym DIKW refers to the transformation pathway Data->Information->Knowledge->Wisdom. The Wisdom comes from chatting about the Information with those closest to the process who have the Knowledge of what is actually going on.
7. Bite off more than they can chew
Rome was not built in a day. Don’t expect instant results. Progress is achieved with a repeated cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act.
8. Implement additional ITIL processes without fixing existing ones first
This is a subtle one. Most organisations start their ITIL journey by introducing ticket management to handle Incident and Request Fulfilment. As they mature, and informed by the data collected, the Problem and Change Management disciplines are added. Inevitably, in the previous absence of these disciplines being formally used, the ticket management process becomes overload with Problems and Changes. This is particularly true when Service Level Agreements are not policed. Put another way, you find second line teams using ticket management as service to-do-lists thus losing sight of the user. If you don’t unpick this as you formally implement Problem and Change, your operators will continue to use Incident or Request Fulfilment tickets.
9. Overlook housekeeping
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Technical debt does not just happen in the services monitored. It happens in the support and monitoring itself. Are your operator management processes are resilient to staff turnover?  Are your operators adhering to the devolved processes?
10. Lose sight of value to the business
The first ITIL 4 Guiding Principle is Focus on value. Sometimes the ITIL framework needs to be interpreted in novel ways to maintain the value to the business. If dogmatic adherence costs the business, then it is not adherence!

What is clear from above is that there are no short-cuts. Move too fast and people are left behind. Next week, Robert will be discussing the Guiding Principles in depth…



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