Monday, 29 December 2014

Who Will Go To The Ball in 2015?

It is that magical time of year when ITSM pundits everywhere make their predictions for the coming year, safe in the knowledge that no one ever checks up on how well their predictions have performed in the past.

Well possibly Rob England does.

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:

3a. BizDevOPs because DevOps is so 2014


3b Customer Experience / CX

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

Space 2014

Many of you will have played the Apollo 13 ITSM simulation. Many more of you will have seen the film. Some of you might have been sufficiently  intrigued by the story to go in search of more information about NASA  and the lessons we can learn from both their successes and failures. Some of those lessons were  clearly described by Col Hadfield at the last Pink conference in Vegas, for instance the need to practice failure.

What you almost certainly won't have done is to attempt to run your very own space programme.

At least not until now.

Let me introduce you to Kerbal Space Programme.

Just moved into a beta release  it offers you the chance to build up to manned, or at least kerballed,  interplanetary space exploration from very basic beginnings.

The physics are slightly simplified, and currently component unreliability is not built into the game engine, but trust me as you play it you'll find quite enough things go wrong to keep you busy and to keep you thinking about ways to avoid mistakes that lead to failed missions. I'm not proud, I have to confess that still I have several kerbals stuck in orbit around distant planets with only the very vaguest chance of being rescued when my technology reaches the next level. And one or two kerbals who sadly didn't make it home

So what are some of the lessons a game like this can teach you that are transferable to ITSM?

Gene Krantz, the crew cut Apollo programme controller  is on record as saying "The main reason Apollo succeeded after the loss of the Apollo 1 astronauts is that we introduced excellent configuration management."  It applies in this simulation as well. As you build launch vehicles, capsules and landers you'll get to understand how important it is to know exactly what equipment you've put into every vessel. Few things are as annoying as piloting to the other side of the solar system, successfully landing and planting a flag only to find that the gallant crew cannot get back on board to return to Kerbal because you've  forgotten to add back on a ladder that you took off an earlier version to save weight. Just like in IT we get caught out by that unimportant change that nobody bothered to record.

Why did you have to save weight? Well because nothing comes for free in this world, or out of this world.  Everything has an impact on something else. Often that impact does not become apparent immediately so Root Cause Analysis becomes interesting, as it does in IT when the root cause isn't something that happened immediately before the outage.

As well as keeping track of configuration items another key tool  essential to getting your kerbals to set foot on distant planets is good workflow. You always need to be on top of what id due to happen next, and whether it it still the "best next action". That leads to  considering your...



...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.

Obviously that error of judgment is obvious to any one who has seen the progress of previous ITSM initiatives. That is unless those lessons learnt in the past aren't actually transferable. For instance a knowledge of how Russia and the USA used un-manned probes to go where no man had gone before doesn't really translate to the kerbalverse, where unmanned probes drain limited battery power much quicker than the almost indestructible kerbals. Just because something worked for one organisation doesn't mean it will work in your situation, and in particular you need to be aware of the dangerous halo effect.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The 2014 Retrospective


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.