You might have missed the fun and games around #SMCongress. Rob has summed up the skeptical perspective on it rather well and I've already had my chance to quiz some of those who were in the room on a podcast.
So I wasn't planning to make any specific posts on it.
After all being specific seems to be the one thing SM Congress isn't about. Yet.
Now before we go any further let me declare an interest. I had a an invite to attend Fusion as a member of the itSMF USA RevNet sessions that produced the concept of SM Congress. I know my thinking is usually aligned with most of the people who were there and that there isn't much that came out of it that I would probably have disagreed with - apart from ditching the hideous Universal Declaration of Digital Rights, which is a fail on so many counts.
The reason I couldn't take up the invite to attend was because I was busy in the real world that pays the bills and keeps the lights on. That real world is a very interesting place at the moment as organisations ready themselves to come out of recession. Many aspects of received ITSM wisdom will I'm sure be reevaluated as a result. The shift to align ITSM with the Agile manifesto, as SM Congress suggests, will be an interesting challenge. It is one we have long ago come to terms with in TCS, which is why my SIAM team is part of the same practice as our Agile team.
But it is a real world challenge, and needs critical thinking, careful presentation and new tools if it is to be successful. You don't just bolt on agile thinking to existing models and mindsets.
If there really is a brave new world then it has to be packaged and sold to multiple stakeholders with hard facts concrete solutions and practical help. Above all else it has to be aligned with their pre-existing objectives and agendas. That doesn't mean sustain the status quo for the sake of it but it does mean the solution has to fit the problem, not the other way around.
The constant retweeting of self congratulatory messages about how, with 170 on line signatories, this is the biggest thing ever in ITSM is a self destructive behaviour on so many levels that opens the whole movement up to ridicule unless matched by actions. Lets put this into perspective. there are over 2 million people with ITIL qualifications. The Back2ITSM Facebook group has over 700. Most of the attendees at the RevNet workshop have over a 1000 twitter followers each.
Most worrying for me about this kind of messaging is the underlying sub-text that there is some kind of competition, and that somewhere out there is an opposition that needs to be revolted against. I have enough respect for the majority of people who were in the room to think that they are neither so naive as to think there really is such an enemy, nor so politically manipulative as to want to create one. However the history of revolutions is not a happy one and I highly recommend a little light reading Another cautionary tale about power politics from an Irish perspective can be found here .
There is a reality though that we probably do need to face up to. We like to talk about the ITSM community as if it is a homogeneous group. I've railed in the past about the perception of them and us divisions . It is silly though to expect that we will all align all the time. Different geographies, different scales of organisation, different specialists that fall under the ITSM banner and different levels of management all need to make ITSM work for them in specific ways within a more universal framework.
The ITSM SocMed world doesn't have to act as one, and we should not expect the entire ITSM SocMed world to share all the same cultural norms. That requires respect for how those other cultures prefer to work and think and an understanding of their requirements. Much of the initial noise around SM Congress can be traced to this, particularly given how passionate and committed members of the community are, and how independently minded some of them are.
If people didn't care they wouldn't care.
So what does SM Congress need to do?
Thankfully a lot of effort is going into sharing the message at other conferences, such as the itSMF UK and Estonia conferences and this needs to continue if it is to succeed.
In Europe there is very limited interest in conceptual models so if SM Congress is going to have any impact on this side of the Atlantic it needs a road map and to articulate the benefits for both organisations and individuals, as AXELOS is beginning to do.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is to prove that this time things will be different and to highlight real successes that come out of the initiative.