Building Your ITSM House – Part 2

Have you found your trusty hard hat and tool belt?  I hope so, because I’m back and ready to start diving into the details of building your ITSM house.  In Part 1 of this series, I discussed some things to think about before you even get your hammer, saw, and trusty toolbelt out to build your ITSM house.. In this segment, I’ll explore the first step for building your house – planning – which you could think of as developing the “blueprints” for your ITSM house.

What are blueprints used for?  When building a house, blueprints are used to document:

  • The floor plan, including placement of the walls and size of the rooms
  • The locations for plumbing, electrical, heating, and ventilation systems
  • The elevation of the house – an indication of what your house will look like when it’s built

Usually, each of these elements of a blueprint are documented individually, but when viewed as a whole, paint a complete picture of the plan for building a house.

As you might imagine, there’s also a sequence to the blueprints.  For example, until the floor plan is developed and documented, you can’t determine the placement of the plumbing or electrical systems.  Make sense?

Just like with building a house, a good ITSM implementation begins by developing a solid set of plans, or blueprints. How should you approach developing your ITSM blueprints? Well, I’ve got you covered on this – use ITIL®’s Continual Service Improvement (CSI) model! The CSI model is a simple, yet effective approach for planning and building your ITSM house. The CSI model consists of six questions:

  • What is the vision?
  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How do we get there?
  • Did we get there?
  • How do we keep the momentum?

I think of the CSI model as the master blueprint for your ITSM blueprints!

Developing Your Blueprints

The first four questions of the CSI model provide guidance for planning your ITSM implementation.

Step 1
First, we start with the question “what is the vision?” To answer this question, you need to develop a business case.  A business case provides the rationale and justification for the ITSM implementation. Do you remember seeing in Part 1 where I mentioned identifying the “burning platform” for igniting your ITSM implementation?  I also talked about determining “how much house can I afford?” The business case is where you identify that burning platform, as well as the overall approach for your ITSM implementation, including:

  • Justification – why the company should do this
  • Budget requirements – what investment is needed
  • Expected benefits – what is the return on the investment, both in quantitative and qualitative terms
  • Resource needs – what internal and external staff are required
  • Time horizon – what is the timeframe for the initial implementation

Think of the business case as the “master floor plan”.

Step 2
The next question to answer is “where are we now?” An assessment provides a snapshot of your ITSM world and helps answer this question. Don’t skip this very important step!  An assessment also provides you with the basis for future comparison, to determine if you’re making progress for achieving the goals and benefits you identified in your business case. There are several items/actions to consider when capturing the current state of your environment:

  • Interview key stakeholders, both within, and external to, IT
  • Do a gap analysis, comparing the current state with an industry standard
  • Use an assessment model, like CMMI or TIPA
  • Hire an experienced, qualified external consultant

Step 3
The next step is deciding “where do we want to be?”, and this is where an ITSM plan comes in. The ITSM plan addresses the specific design and implementation approach, process implementation sequence (it’s very unlikely you will implement all processes at once!), and integration points for process implementation. The ITSM plan should also discuss how changes and improvements to services and processes will be handled, how new services will be introduced into the environment, and who is going to be on the building crew, otherwise known as the ITSM implementation team.

Steps 4 & 5
Other items that should be included as part of your ITSM plan are an organizational change plan and a training and communication approach.

The organizational change plan discusses how to help move the organization’s people, processes, and technology from the current “as is” state to an effective, sustainable “to be” state.  The organizational change plan includes how to move to new behaviors and attitudes in order to achieve and sustain the outcomes from the ITSM implementation.

The training and communication approach discusses the specific messages or content, target audiences, media, and frequency of training and communication activities.

Step 6
Finally, you’ll need to develop a roadmap to answer the question “how do we get there?”  Like the blueprint that describes the placement of the electrical and plumbing systems for your house, the roadmap graphically illustrates the approach described in the ITSM plan, and is a great means for communicating and measuring progress for your ITSM implementation.

You may be thinking, “Hey Joe, you didn’t talk about the last two questions in the CSI model!”  Never fear, I’ll cover those two questions in future installments of this series.

While this may seem like a lot of work up front, the benefit is that you have a great set of blueprints having the right amount of detail. Just like carpenters follow the old saying “measure twice, cut once”, doing this level of planning will help your ITSM implementation run much more smoothly. With a great set of blueprints, we’re ready to move into the next phase of building your ITSM house – establishing the foundation. So until next time, keep your saw sharp!

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Posted by Joe the IT Guy

Joe the IT Guy
Joe the IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).


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