In certain circles the phrase “Keeping it real” loosely translates to being true to your roots and not pretending to be something you are not (for additional and more colorful interpretations see the Urban Dictionary definitions).
In launching this blog titled “ITSM for the Real World” I am borrowing from that phrase to focus on how to “Keep IT Real”.
My intent herein is to move away from the trend I am seeing in our Industry towards more and more of an academic or theoretical approach to solving problems. I wish rather to focus on practical solutions that can deliver results and be realistically implemented by the average IT organization.
So much energy and resources in our industry have gone towards creating reams of white papers, documents, frameworks, revised frameworks, new and improved frameworks (you get the picture), etc.., but in speaking to real practitioners and average IT folk who are being asked to implement ITIL or a version of an ITSM program, the feeling I get is that although people are a lot more knowledgeable about what ITIL is, many are no more clear on how to go about accomplishing these great things than we were 6-8 years ago in this industry.
I was presenting at a conference a few weeks back and was amazed by the hunger that many of the people there had for good usable information. Not just any information, but real practical guidance on what can and should work in an organization.
I fear that in our desire to create a picture of what an IDEAL IT organization looks like in our Industry, we have forgotten how to lead people to that place where they can learn from the examples of others and gain benefit from the lessons those others learned not necessarily in just what they did right, but also in the sharing of their experiences of how they came to the place that they are.
The ITIL books are a great place to start to create the thirst for knowledge that will lead people to answers, but they do not necessarily contain those answers themselves. Too much of our focus in our ITIL oriented conferences and interest groups focus so much on these IDEAL states spelled out in books and white papers sponsored by folks interested in selling products and services. We need to get back to a place where we foster the sharing of information in the IT industry about what can work, what has worked, and what should continue to work in the future.
I for one would like to see more conferences like the HDI Service Management conference that was held in Miami this past October. As a presenter, this conference was like none other I have been a part of in the past. Rather than the standard ITSM based Conference of 1 hour lectures sandwiched between frenzied keynotes, the entire conference was a series of 3 hour workshops which were intended to be interactive.
As a presenter who thrives on interaction I was both excited and frightened by the concept. On one hand, it would allow for the ability to dig much deeper than a one hour lecture allows, allow real practitioners to share their collective experiences with the subject matter, and force people to interact with their peers rather than just sit next to them. On the other hand, if the group did not want to interact, or the presentation did not resonate well with the audience, 3 hours could have felt like an eternity.
I was truly pleased with the results, not only did people participate, they enjoyed the format and said as much when asked. The 3 hours flew by and the conversations in the rooms created a level of value that I have never seen at a conference. I know I walked away from the experience with more knowledge and a healthy enthusiasm for the sharing of information that is encouraged in that format.
In terms of “Keeping IT Real”, we need to have more forums like that in our industry where it is not just presenters lecturing for an hour then walking away after answering a few questions. We need to encourage an environment that values the sharing of knowledge and understanding that by giving freely of this knowledge we as an Industry will be better because of it. Put the information out there about how people are approaching things and what is really working. Then relating that back to the “Academic” information in a way that allows people to understand not only the “What” but also the “How”. This will benefit not only the individual IT teams out there, but it will also benefit the software companies selling ITSM Suites, the consultants selling ITSM process services, and others who benefit from this industry by providing training, education, and related services.
I am encouraged to see a greater desire to share information recently in this industry. The number of ITSM related groups on professional networking sites like LinkedIn.com have grown exponentially over the last 6 months. A few of those groups are even focused on creating a more open sharing of ITSM related information (see the Open ITSM Solutions Alliance for instance). Additionally some companies are beginning to freely share information about ITSM related process that most consulting companies typically charge a premium for. See the Pepperweed Process Model for an example (in the interest of full disclosure I must tell you that I am an employee of Pepperweed and an author of some of the content in the model. That said, were I not, I would still be impressed with the model itself and the fact that Pepperweed has made it freely available to anyone who wishes to utilize it).
In summary, this post and future posts from this blog are intended to put a focus on Real things that we can do both within the industry and additionally as practitioners allow more people to be successful in their ITSM endeavors.
I look forward to sharing information again in the near future.