It Always Comes Down to This

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Now that I’ve been in the consulting side of ITSM for a while, I’ve noticed a pattern.  Maybe it’s always been there, but I’m now really tuned into it.

The success of every ITSM implementation comes down to one thing.  People.

The process and technology parts of an ITSM implementation, in comparison to the people side of an ITSM implementation, are relatively easy.

People, or more specifically, IT people are the most significant obstacle to effective ITSM.

Believe it or not, when you articulate the outcomes of an ITSM implementation in ‘business terms’ to the business—the business actually *wants* IT to do this.  They want IT to become reliable, to act in a consistent manner, to be cost-effective while delivering business value (yes, it can be done!), to become the trusted advisor in the use of technology, to identify and drive improvements, to become integrated (not just aligned) with the business…

It’s IT that usually can’t get out of its own way.  Sorry, but I’m calling it as I (often) see it.

Why is this?

I was having this conversation just the other day.  IT people don’t appreciate processes and procedures.  Accounting has processes and procedures that entire companies follow and utilize, everybody does what they’re suppose to do, and it works.  Payroll has processes, and everyone understands that in order to be paid correctly, there are certain procedures that must be followed.  I could keep going…sales…manufacturing…distribution…inventory….all have processes and procedures.

Why does IT think or act as if processes and procedures don’t apply to IT?  Or even worse, why does IT often take a “my way or the highway” approach when implementing ITSM?

From my perspective, the problem is usually found between the collective two ears of IT people.  Does the following sound familiar?

  • Lack of teamwork…”they” need to get their act together over in <insert department name here> …WE don’t need ITSM; we are doing fine.
  • Resistance… I will support ITSM as long as I don’t have to change anything that I do.
  • Everyone wants accountability, but no one wants to be accountable.
  • One of my favorites:  “This will just slow me down”….then hearing the complaints about having to work over the weekend or late into the evening cleaning up the mess from a poorly designed and tested change.  You don’t have time to plan, test, and communicate it, but you complain about the time it takes to fix it?  Really?

These are just a few of the cultural issues that must be overcome to be effective at ITSM.

Amazingly, there are two very simple things that will go a long way towards addressing these issues.

  1. Communicate – talk to each other.  Talk about the issues.  Talk about the challenges.  Talk about what went wrong.  Talk about what goes well.  Talk about what is missing.  Talk about what could be.  But it’s more than just “talk”.  Listen.  I mean really listen, not just hear.  While bringing issues and challenges to light is important, talking without anyone listening is just noise, and is not communication.  Listen for the common themes.  Listen for the good ideas.
  2. Inclusion.  Good ITSM is not just something that the ITSM team does.  It’s what everyone does, so involve everyone.  Take those good ideas and common themes and make them part of the ITSM solution.  Remember, process owners by themselves do not execute processes….people do.  Be part of the solution, make it work.

Communicate.  Include everyone.  Doesn’t sound so tough, does it?

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2 thoughts on “It Always Comes Down to This”

  1. ITSM is 90% people and 10% process. Studies show that organizations are six times more likely to be successful with this type of change when they plan to address the people side of the equation.

    1. Thanks Pam for your comments – we are in complete agreement. ITSM is truly a “people first” initiative. Sadly, too many think of ITSM only in terms of technology and process and overlook the critical aspects of how to prepare people for success with ITSM.

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