Thursday, 29 May 2014


When I talk about ITSM and SIAM I'm increasingly struck by the development of an implicit underlying model that I guess is analogous to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

In the mists of time it seemed vital to get people to embrace the concept of process and following ITIL guidance. That still remains true, but it is really just an enabler for ITSM excellence.

When I begin to look around at the organisations and individuals who are successful in our world I don't see people who say

 "We should start  doing it this way, because that is what ITIL says."  

Instead I see people who don't confuse the means and the end.  They ask

"What does IT need to change to be more effective in supporting the business?"

Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don't  The ones who succeed answer the most important question:

"How do we make IT become more effective in supporting the business?"

If we are honest most of us know what IT needs to do differently but what we don't know is how to make it behave differently.

There has been some interesting research into the difficulties of making parents take up vaccination programs again after the damage caused by pseudo-scientific claims of a link to autism.

What interests me, apart from the fact there isn't a single glib answer, is the value put upon an individual. or an organisation's, self image.

When we ask a  manager, a team, a whole IT department to change their behaviors to protect their jobs they actually hear a totally different message:

"You aren't as capable as you think you are - or worse still you really are as bad at your job as you worry you might be at 2am in the morning"

So the question becomes how do we persuade people to change without undermining their sense of self?

I don't have that glib answer, but it is a question we need to ask.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, James. I've been wrestling with the "you hear it again and again and yet you are not making changes and progressing" question, and I am beginning to think that we all need to work on a system of organizational change. My own way of getting at it is five-fold, with a twist on grad school learning: VIRSA
    Vision - You must know where you are going and be able to convey that to others. As Simon Sinek said, "Start with Why."
    Incentive - You need to answer the "What's in it for me (WIIFM)? question. It can't be facile, either.
    Resources - Well, of course.
    Skills - If you don't have them, you'll need some of those resources to get them.
    Action Plan - What happens first, second, third...? Who does what?

    I have seen this work effectively in an otherwise change-averse organization.