fredag 7 juni 2013

ITSM, why the distance between theory and practice

During all the years of practicing ITSM i have always wondered why there is such a gap between the written word in books and online compared to challenges that you actually face while trying to implement and practice service management. You would think that you are in for a frantic roller coster when reading of organizational challenges, CMDB's, services, metrics, attitude, operations, customer-centric, processes and outside-in approaches. When gathering all challenges and hurdles you would need to cope with, on the road to ITSM, its easy to pick one or a few topics that are the least vague from you perspective and start with that. 

A few years down the road you ask yourself why you have not got any further with the initiative than you have. Feels similar? I have met countless companies that gladly have showed their initial approaches and plans, their implementation strategies etc. They range from small pragmatic to full scale projects but they all have something in common. That is that if they had the chance of doing it again they all would do it differently. It does not necessarily mean that they have failed the mission but on the question "what would you have done differently today" they all get that spark in their eyes and off we go. The easy solutions and corner cutting strategies burst out and the quick wins are lined up. I ask my self, why is it like this? Does all experience come to the conclusion that we did it wrong and there is a easy way out but that holy grail is always out of reach?

I do not have the answer on that but let us continue on the same path. Could it be that when initiating and pursuing service management, any organization, and i mean "any", like in all, learn things from them self, and their organization, that they actually did not know earlier? Could it be that even with the best knowledge within the topic of service management their is always a big portion of self awareness that is always overlooked? When looking back on all the companies i have meet i can see professionals with great knowledge and there is a well spread mix of internal as well as external resources or both in the initiatives with management commitment. If self awareness is an important part of the success of service management then i guess that goes hand in hand with unique challenges as well. After all it is attitude and people it is all about. We try to define it with processes and support it with tools and follow-up with metrics but what is the point if the attitude and people are not onboard. 

So how do we practice and perform changing attitude of people? could it be that simple that instead of embarking on a big service management program we need to practice what we learn to actually learn? What would happen if we did a lot of service management practice but in a very limited space? I mean if we could define one or a very few services in a limited space and go all-in on those. Limit the number of people involved and make it all happen within that limitation. I do not mean go short cuts or corner cutting but all the way with everything. A few people feeling all the benefits of service management. It seems that if we actually had a service which really meant something to the customer and really enabled the provider to do the "right" things instead of "good" things I reckon it would sell itself? if everybody could see, smell and touch all the benefits with working this way it would adopt itself, would it not? The service management initiative could support people change their attitude and ways of working instead of fighting or trying to convince them. 

I like the idea of inspiring people's curiosity and their inner confidence of "the right way". It is very hard to discharge a working solution that can be demonstrated hands-on. On the opposite hand it is very easy to discharge something which cannot be proven more than in theory. Could that be a way we successfully can change attitude? Well you be the judge. 

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