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Double Dutch – two keynotes at Service Manager Day

Excellent knowledge sharing from Service Manager Day 2016

Fifteen years and counting

Service Manager Day is an annual Dutch event that was held for the 15th time on March 17th 2016 with the overarching theme ‘user central’. It was attended by a couple of hundred people who were treated to a variety of talks and workshops about IT service management.

Recent editions of the conference have included international speakers and this year’s line-up welcomed David Cannon (US), Charles Betz (US), Clair Agutter (UK), Peter Lijnse (Canada), Christian Tijsmans (Belgium) and Nelli Serifovski (Denmark). David and Charlie provided keynotes, as did Jurgen Apello. No disrespect to the other speakers, because they also had great content, for instance Peter Lijnse’s concept of “value leakage”, but this post restricts itself to a summary of David’s and Charlie’s keynotes. Take a look at the conference site, @SMD_2016NS and the visual summaries for more insights.

The future of ITSM – David Cannon

David Cannon talks the future of service managementIn his talk ‘The Future of ITSM’, David Cannon’s key point was that IT service managers in regular IT departments are at a crossroads. Do they ignore the implications of the digital enterprise and end up in the basement looking after the plumbing? Do they quit and join specialised external service providers? Or do they embrace the challenges of the digital enterprise and learn the language of value and innovation?

David made the painful observation that in 25 years of IT service management, just 3 processes seem to have been implemented to a reasonable degree of proficiency: incident management, change management, and service request management. So ITSM has to up its game in order to remain relevant and demonstrate value that is recognized by the business!

The role of the end user

A point that particularly appealed to me was recognizing the innovative role of the end user, whether internal or external. Users have a tendency of discovering unexpected ways of applying whatever resources they have at their disposal, and this also applies to IT. So it makes sense to include them and their contributions in product development.

A final point to consider is realizing how often users are disrupted by IT issues. If their information systems are designed to keep them in the flow, then productivity and satisfaction will improve.

DevOps and Disruption from Charlie Betz

Charlie BetzHow do you summarize what Charlie Betz shared on the topic of ‘DevOps and disruption’? Dave van Herpen tweeted: “Wait. Did you just hear that? It was my jaw dropping on the floor. @CharlesTBetz nails it. Nails what? Well, everything.” As usual, Charlie’s talk was comprehensive, authoritative and challenging. Challenging in the sense of asking the audience to rethink their mental models.

For instance, that we should think about work from projects, processes and ad hoc sources as “just work”. It all needs to be done and it makes sense to converge these flows instead of dealing with them separately.

Speed improves stability

Another key point was that speeding up the frequency of releases benefits the stability of systems and services. We often have a mental model that change harms conservation and vice versa. Charlie pointed out that by making changes frequently, you improve your capability to make changes well, leading to fewer disruptions – particularly when the changes are small.

The last point that I’d like to reiterate, is that we should realize that we’re in the business of developing (and managing) products. Product development requires radically different mental models and approaches than production.

Charlie made heavy references to Don Reinertsen’s seminal work on lean product development, including the important concept of prioritizing work based on the “cost of delay”. Calculate what each piece of work is worth, and prioritize accordingly. Some of Reinertsen’s analyses are not for the faint-hearted but hey, who said IT service management in a digital world is easy?

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