After many years of being on hold it is time to move on, in more than one way
My posts here died out because of the direction my work was taking me, and understandable changes in our working culture.
I've decided to leave that behind me to focus on some new ways of thinking and working. Exactly where that will take me is a new journey. I'm sure ITSM will remain a key part of it, but my interests in AI and neurodiversity are my priorites.
One last post will follow, reviewing two events I've just returned from. The itSMF UK conference, and the Dyspraxia Foundation conference. Both have given me much food for thought and confirmed my decision.
After that, expect the blog to be relaunched in a new form and under a new name.
Wednesday 15 November 2023
After many years of being on hold it is time to move on, in more than one way
Wednesday 20 November 2019
There was a certain sadness that many old friends weren't there, but also great optimism that so many new faces were, and not only there but they were speaking. I have to say that I had great fun mentoring several of the presenters, and chairing innumerable sessions where I mispronounced the speaker's surname.
But enough about other people.
I spoke in two sessions, and I found the audience reaction to be both interesting, and dispiriting.
My big session was about Business Agility and the impact that has on people. Afterwards, I had lots of people come up to me and the one word that they used time and time again was awesome. I scored around 75% 10 out of 10s.
Which is great, but you can't please all the people all of the time. Looking at the evaluation chart it is clear a lot of people didn't like me or my message.
I'm wondering why. It can't be because I called the audience representatives of the metropolitan liberal elite, can it?
Sadly I suspect it is because I told people that there are no easy answers. You can't turn your business into an agile enterprise by just adopting a framework like SAFe. And there isn't an easy ten-step plan to adopt.
I'm glad to say the Forrester guys were listening and referenced my presentation three times in their entertaining final keynote session.
The more fun session was a Room 101 panel where I tried to convince the audience that SLAs deserved to be consigned to Hell. It seems that after 25 years of saying that, it is still a radical message, and SLAs remain a psychological crutch for IT departments who don't want to actually engage with customer needs.
Thursday 26 July 2018
Just a dream, or does it have legs as an idea?
Well, initial responses to the idea seem very positive, and some very welcome input from the Back2ITSM community on things it has to address, like inclusivity, diversity, and the no-win scenario.
But there are at least four big questions that worry me.
- Will people buy it?
- How do we embrace diversity and inclusivity?
- Who would develop it commercially?
- What on earth would the course look like in reality?
- Could I still pay the mortgage?
An existing training company, a kickstarter campaign?
Friday 8 June 2018
On Tuesday night I was honoured to receive the itSMF UK's Paul Rappaport award for a lifetime's outstanding contribution to service management.
I hope that during that lifetime I have encouraged many people to stand up for for the things they value and to reappraise how they see the world and how their actions impact others. I am eternally grateful to those of you who have come forward and said that I might have done that to some degree.
At the beginning of the Awards Dinner, Sally Bogg gave a very powerful speech about how our industry needs to change. And I echo everything she said, and look forward to the future.
But my joy at receiving this year's award is tempered by the death last week of my wonderful cousin, Danny.
What follows is a rough transcription of my ex tempore speech on the night. For those who were there, I apologise for any inaccuracies, but this is what I would have said had I had time to prepare a proper speech. It is what I meant to say, even if I didn't say it at the time.
"I am extremely grateful to receive this award. There are so many wonderful people I've met during my career in this industry, some no longer with us, like Ashely Hanna and Paul himself, and others who aren't with us tonight, like Ivor Evans and Alan Nance. And I continue to meet new people who inspire and encourage me.
I'm sure, that like others who have been coming to these events for many years, I'm not alone in having in my head the opening lines of a speech, "just in case." For most of that time, my opening line has been 'Grateful though I am for this award it is a travesty of justice that Ivor Macfarlane hasn't won it before me.'
Well as many of you know, last year he did win it before me, so all is right with the world.
And normally that is where I would have finished this speech. But with your indulgence, I want to make some very serious additional points.
Early last week my beautiful cousin Danny killed himself.
Yes, I know, I'm a bit of a party pooper.
But I want us all to take some positives away from this.
Danny was in the building industry, a steel erector, tattoed and up for anything. He lived in the same small market town I was born in. His brother and sisters lived in that same small town, the aunt who loved him as a nephew did, and she also has the misfortune of being my mother. We are a very close family.
And none of us knew how he hurt, how he felt.
The last time I spoke to him online he told me how happy he was.
My beautiful cousin Danny killed himself.
In the organisations we work in, and particularly in the IT departments, the ITSM professionals are often the focal point for an emotional, human, view of the world. We know that many of our colleagues might be somewhere on the autistic spectrum. We also know that we, ourselves, are often working in very stressful conditions.
Please look out for others. Please look for the signs of stress. And not just in others, in yourselves as well.
In the last week, I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from our ITSM community. Both online via the Back2ITSM group on Facebook and in person during SITS. I am sure to have missed someone out but I've received messages of love from New Zealand, Australia, India, South Africa, Russia, The Scandinavian countries, Europe, the UK, Mexico, the USA and Canada.
It is incredible we have become such an international community and family. And we should be very, very proud of that.
Many of us did not know the immediate trigger for Danny's death at the time, but in retrospect, I think he never recovered from seeing his mother, my much loved and missed Aunt Cindy, taken away from him as a child. Taken away from him, from her other children, from her husband and from everything a mother should be, at far too young an age, by that cruellest of diseases, Motor Neurone Disease.
I don't want to take anything away from tonight's charity, because I suffered from learning difficulties as a child myself, but some of you will recall that for my birthday this year I requested donations to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
If you could give them some donation, and in doing so remember my cousin Danny I would be very grateful.
As indeed I am to the Directors of itSMF UK for this award. Now please enjoy the rest of your evening"
Friday 28 October 2016
I spent ages handcrafting a blog to support the session, but since it doesn't seem to have made the grade for inclusion on the Fusion site for some reason, here it is for everyone to enjoy:
- The watermelon effect where individual vendors achieve contractual targets but overall service satisfaction is low
- A lack of flexibility and innovation
- High transaction costs with a wasteful management overhead
people, processes, tools, technology, data and governance
across multiple suppliers,
to ensure efficient, predictable and flexible delivery of
end-to-end services to the business user to maximize business value”
Risk and Reward
Although much of SIAM thinking developed from a perceived need to make external suppliers "play ball together" it is clear that SIAM needs to embrace integration across enterprise IT and IT in the Business. That integration also needs to be orchestrated across the service lifecycle. Whilst ITIL provides a useful foundation for SIAM it is only part of the overall SIAM capability that an organisation needs to consider, along with programme management, security, architecture and transformation.
Governance and Change
Thursday 31 December 2015
I'm glad to say that at conferences at least audiences seem more able to distinguish those speakers who have coal face experience.
Thursday 26 November 2015
The prime reason I've been lax in updating this site recently is how fast things seem to change in my immediate world. Of course as soon as you lift your head up you realise that everything around you has stayed pretty much the same, and that the rip tide you've spent the last half hour fighting went totally unnoticed by the watchers on the shore.
Not drowning but waving?
The future is bright, the future is SIAM. To my honest amazement I've found myself in my mid fifties leading a wave of ITSM innovation . After all I'm less Generation Y than Generation What Did I Come Into This Room For?
A future blog might highlight how wrong that state of affairs is, but for now lets accept that I do actually have my finger on the pulse of the ITSM global community.
So what are my feelings, especially after this weeks itSMF UK conference?
First the good news. The conference exceeded my expectations in every dimension except for the quality of the coffee. The venue was relatively accessible, the atmosphere was, to quote my colleague @itilpunk "intimate" the sessions and debate were relevant and the vendors were fully engaged. I'm in a difficult position when it comes to discussing the future direction of itSMF UK because I've been involved in some of the behind the scenes debates, but generally I'm happy, and I have every confidence in the new chair, CEO, and board of directors.
Some really positive messages came out of the AllthingsITSM podcasts I guest hosted on.
- The long overdue death of the monthly report
- The rise of tools to support SIAM
- The importance of collaboration
- The recognition that old support models need to change
I was also lucky enough to chair two great sessions by Sue Cater and Pat Bolger
For once I missed the gala dinner but it was worth it to spend time with Ivor Macfarlane and Luciana.
There is no nice way of putting this.
I bit my tongue at times but if you think devops = agile, that service managers need to be more technical and that painting a picture of a framework based utopia without any idea of the pain involved in getting there is the future of ITSM then you've forgotten the lessons a lot of us have had to learn the hard way.
Above everything else please, please realise that spouting jargon and yet more jargon is not the answer. There were a couple of "conversations" in which I just nodded at what I hoped was the right point, rather like talking to my dear old doric speaking step-nan.
And though Tony Price is a worthy winner of the lifetime achievement award I'll say yet again that it is a scandal Ivor Macfalane has yet to receive it.
Monday 29 December 2014
So ignoring my previous and frankly repetitive predictions from other years what do I think is going to get us all excited?
By now I hope you've realised SIAM is well along the hype curve but here are my two SIAM specific predictions.
Number 1: People will wake up to the number of "SIAM Experts" out there who actually aren't. They've either never done it, done it once, or know somebody else who has done it.
Number 2: People will start talking about "SIAM and....." Insert buzzword of choice but DevOps has to be one of them.
Number 3.:Your buzzword of choice shall be either:
Number 4: People will start talking about having a career structure in ITSM again, for the first time since the late 90's.
Number 5: OK this is an old one I'm re-visiting, but I sincerely hope there will be at least one conference this year that breaks some boundaries and includes ITSM, project managers and architects.
So that is it for this year. Short and sweet for once
(Note: I've had to close comments on this post due to persistent spamming)
Saturday 20 December 2014
...Timing. The same action can have disastrously different results if mistimed. Much like those IT departments who only decide to implement best practice ITSM after senior management have already lost all faith in them.
Sunday 7 December 2014
2014. What a year. My absence of blog posts betokens just how crazily busy it has been and how quickly events have unfolded. So it is time to catch my breath and catch up with what I think have been some of the key developments before coming up with my predictions for 2015 and reviewing the ones I made for 2014.
I think I've broken most of my personal records for travel this year. I managed to visit twelve countries and to present key notes on three continents. Compared to Kaimar Karu of course I am just an amateur at this travel business.
What it has highlighted for me is how mature the ITSM market is becoming in India, Australasia and Scandinavia, and how complacent Europe and the USA have become.
The think tank on multi-vendor management that I was privileged to be part of at Pink 14 showed how powerful the ITSM community can be when it mobilizes the range of knowledge and experience that it possesses. Yet the audience still seemed to struggle to grasp the message that the outsourcing and commoditisation of IT services is the norm for large enterprises outside of the USA. Not only that but I detected a distinct vibe that technology is still seen by IT departments as an end in itself,
In the UK, in contrast, I'm seeing CXOs focusing exclusively on the value technology can deliver to the business, but I'm not seeing the majority of the UK ITSM community grasp the implications of that. I'm still appalled and shocked at how many times I've interviewed candidates for senior roles this year who have answered questions with "Because ITIL says so."
We've seen, the beginning of big changes at itSMF UK but I think 2015 is going to be a make or break year for them, and, indeed, for the UK ITSM conference and exhibition market in general.
It has been interesting to see AXELOS develop this year, and indeed, to be part of some of those developments. To some degree I can say the same of the ISO standards world, which seems finally to be waking up to multi-vendor models and the value of governance. On the othe rhand I get the impression that for many of us COBIT is appearing increasingly attractive.
And then there is DevOps, or even, and I believe correctly, BizDevOps.
I can't talk about DevOps without talking about my trip with Stuart Rance to the itSMF Australia conference this year.
What a great experience it was. Not only was it great to meet up yet again with Karen Ferris, Breed Barrett, April Allen and Kathryn Howard, but also to meet Kathryn Heaton, Bradley Busch, Claire Brereton, Michael Billimoria and others, including Steve, the koala, seen here with Stuart Rance
Away from the conference I got to spend a lot of time with CIOs and the big message I got was how mainstream both Lean and DevOPs have become in this geography, and how keen they are to embrace SIAM.That has to be balanced against how simple the business models they are operating within seemed compared to the complexity in Europe.
The DevOps debate I took part in at LeadIT was a fascinating and fun experience. If you thought it was good being in the audience, and the feedback we got suggests it was, then being in the behind the scenes preparation workshops was something else. What would you expect with the likes of Kaz Ferris, Malcolm Fry, Rob Stroud and Rob England involved?
Another great experience this year was the itSMF India conference. Suresh has made a massive impact on itSMF India, and on everyone he has met this year as those who ran into him at SITS and the itSMF UK conference can probably testify. Personally it was also very satisfying to see TCS getting actively involved as gold sponsors.
A final high for me was the meeting Stuart, Barclay and myself had with the newly fledged IT4IT community. Again this is something I'm immensely pleased that TCS is supporting.
So what will 2015 bring, and what of SIAM in 2014?
Watch this space.