måndag 12 augusti 2013

I want information and a purpose

I love my work. I am officially a process nerd in everyone's eyes :) But long ago i started to asked myself why. Why do i like it so much? Is it something magical in the processes modeling that makes it so interesting? Is it the creation and visual blooming that occur on a whiteboard when you start drawing it? Is it the pleasure when verifying that the outcome was actually what it was supposed to be? is it the feeling when CSI work starts to show in metrics and KPI's?

There is a lot of joy in the work, thats for sure. But the last years i have seen a pattern. What really is the essence of my satisfaction is in the construction of it all. When you start, you know what triggers it and you know what the outcome should be. In the beginning, everything in between, is just a blur and it is here it starts. Finding all INFORMATION. It is everywhere and it is endless. There are people involved, everyone has their requirements and suggestions. Opinions flow and everything is discussed e.g. tools, user interfaces, routines, sequences etc. It like a wonderful bowl of spaghetti, all nestled in one and each other. 

Sorting out the structure, dependencies, sequence and foremost identify all relevant INFORMATION needed to get to the outcome, is what triggers me. The more information you can get hold on the better, if you are able to structure it, otherwise it can be a nightmare. What i have realized is that i do not want a process, I want an information flow. Information guides me, not a process. I do not care if we are working on the Incident, Change, Problem, Event or any other process. That is so irrelevant as long as the outcome is clear. What is the purpose of gathering the information, who needs it, where does it come from, when is it available, in what context, how should it be structured, when is it needed and the guiding star: what are you supposed to do with the information once you get it, and dont give me any "it is nice to have".

I conducted a brain teaser the other day. I challenged myself to define the major information flows required to replace all the operation processes defined in ITIL. One information flow replacing 5 ITIL processes. I know, it was doomed from the beginning but i did it anyway as an experiment, to challenge the paradigms i have and with a lot of simplifications. Some interesting thoughts arise from it though. Information defined in a process that is needed in the same process is usually structured the way the process needs to consume it. The logic used is based on the logic from the process. When initially designing a process you do it one by one and therefor it makes sence focusing on logic for a specific process. Some examples are -Incidents, they are categorized and structured the way we think is good when it comes to firefighting and analysis of that. -Changes, they are categorized and planned through time and with impact assessments due to the importance of that. And it goes on like that throughout the most of the processes. What if the Incident process had to structure, store and manage all Incident information base on requirements from Change and Knowledge Management, or the Change process had to store and manage all change information based on requirements from Event and Incident management and so on. 

So my mind was set. I would structure all information from one view but which would i take. I started to think of many different views and i asked myself the following question. What do i know about the environment I am trying to define? We are still talking about all the Operation processes in ITIL. What could be the common view? Hmmm the conclusion was that the only thing i know for sure is that whatever we do today, will not look the same in a couple of years. Could i use this somehow in my view for structure? And i could. I asked myself what i could use as a base for something unknown and it was so obvious. Continues Service Improvement (CSI)  is a perfect base for the processes. If we have a process today and we know it will change over time it is CSI that will make it happen. SCI does not only improve something to be quicker, bigger, taller. It changes it as well. SCI is not only vertical, it is also horizontal. If the customer is the focus for SCI and all the processes are based on the ability to perform SCI improvement i think we have very good conditions to actually amaze people.

So if my information structure should be based on SCI, meaning that everything should be initially structured and based on the ability of measuring, reporting and improvement, what would happen? The first thing i noticed was that it all had a big meltdown. Suddenly there were no processes any more. From an improvement perspective the analysis required data from every process every time. That means that already from the the first step in every process, which is registration, the information should be stored and structured from a CSI perspective. That is the only way to secure that it will transform over time, as will the requirements of it (and if CSI is focusing on the customer you can figure out the rest). All this lead me to a quite interesting information flow covering all the major steps in each operation process. 

Just imagine the change impact assessment and risk assessment quality when incorporating historical statistics for issues involving affected HW or SW, persons involvement , time of day, historic availability, incident ratio related to changes, early life support outcomes and the list goes on. Everything i mention here is fully possible already today. There is nothing odd about it. It is already out there. But when i take a closer look at the information itself, how it is structured, shown in UI, ad hoc availability etc. I see that there are limitations due to that the way information is consumed from the process itself often rules and other processes "use what they can", if they want. The information is not isolated but but it is not effort less to use either.

So what will happen in a couple of years? Do we have processes or do we have information flows and rules that guides us from a improvement perspective? I do not know. but i know why i like my job :) I feel like the character Sherlock Holmes, and every day is a new episode with a new mystery that has to be solved. A new unknown that has to be broken down to particles, logically assembled together to create magic. 

I will continue to design and create processes but the process is a byproduct of something larger. The information flow and the improvement requirements is ruling my world. I want information and a purpose.

onsdag 7 augusti 2013

I want to amaze someone every day.

I have a picture in my head of a circus clown walking around giving children animal balloons, looking into their big eyes filled with amazement while the balloon is slowly transforming into the animal of their choice. I want to amaze people as well. Hell, thats why i go to work every day. But do I amaze people every day. No i do not, but i would like to. There are so much things that "I would like to". I imagine going to work where people were amazed by the things we could do for each other. 

I would like to see the face of the Incident Manager when a new Major Incident has occurred and before she even picks up the phone, all information about the last 24 hours of "tickets of any sort" is nicely structured based on the service and infrastructure involved in the Major Incident.

I would like to see the face of a customer getting a phone call from the Service Desk informing that the issue she experienced earlier is now solved and the customer realizes that she had never reported the issue in the first place.  

I would like to see the face of a manager when her group or function presents their short term and long term improvement plan, without her asking for it. Plan based on quality measurements and KPI's when she understands that it will solve the stuff her boss been nagging about. 

I would like to see the face of service customer when IT, in a constructive way, explains the implications, alternatives, risks, options and costs associated with their latest demand in an understandable way without one single IT term.

I would like to see the face of a coworker when a colleague steps up and says that I think you are doing a great job and leaves without expecting and answer or gratitude. 

I would like to see the face of a customer when IT calls to offer a new service which solves the issues identified ahead.

I would like to see the face of a Service Desk agent when she answers a call and all information of the caller is automatically shown and interactive on her screen. The callers used services and applications, related events, related ongoing and resolved incidents, related earlier issues, related scheduled and performs changes etc.

I would like to see the face of a service responsible looking at a KPI dashboard realizing that it actually says something. No analysis is required and countermeasures and success factors are obvious and clear.

I would like to see the face of the service management tool responsible when a requestor specifies new demands by explaining their expected outcome, purpose and information required to get there instead of requesting new fields, forms and buttons.

I would like to see the face of a Operations Manager when realizing that the Problem Management Process he really did not want or understand actually solved the long running issues they have been struggling with and a happy customer just call him to tell him that.

I would like to see the face of a coworker using a whiteboard marker that actually work.

I would like to see the face of me when this list is fulfilled.

Well as you can se there is a lot of things "i would like to" and the list continues. Some day I will get there. That is my unswerving conviction and firm belief. call me a naive, thats ok. I think it is a compliment.