Stop derailing your ITSM activities

Four Things That May Be Derailing Your ITSM Activities – Part 2

In part one of this blog I covered two possible causes of IT service management (ITSM) derailment: (1) the lack of executive support, and (2) silos in action (or this could have been “silo inaction”). In this post, I will cover another two possible causes and what you can do to improve the situation.

Derailment #3 – Agreeing to Use a “Cookbook” Approach

Many of us have well-meaning coworkers who simply are trying to help. They do this by showing up at your desk with, or by emailing you, the “latest” buzz in how to implement ITIL® or LEAN. Even worse, they give you a “case study” of how another company accomplished delivering against a very involved service management plan. You might also hear phrases such as “…we should try this…” or “…we can do the same thing they did…”

However, in many cases, our well-meaning colleagues have not really read and understood what they are giving us. As all good ITSM practitioners know, frameworks are not recipes. Your situation and goals should be the main factors in the development and adoption of your service management processes. You cannot blindly use the ITSM “recipe” of another organization and expect a flawless improvement project and result.

Other warning signs that indicate others are asking you to use a cookbook approach include that:

  • People push an ITSM tool discussion instead of a process discussion
  • Leadership/management makes a “…just do it the way <company/department name> did it…” statement when you are presenting your proposed adoption plan
  • People quote statements from vendor blogs on how easy ITSM tool implementation are
  • People want you to use analyst documents/articles as operational instruction sets

But you don’t have to agree to the cookbook approach, and this is how you can improve the situation (to get a solution that better matches your organization’s needs):

  • Be well read. Be able to discuss the articles sent/given to you in the context of what your service management project is trying to achieve. You might like to mention that using a hammer on a screw rarely works – even though it can be fun.
  • Be willing to listen to others when the talk about their “cookbook” approaches. In most cases, coworkers are only trying to help you to move forward and simply do not understand the change they are proposing.
  • Read your organization’s strategic plan and goal. Make sure that you clearly understand the intent of the strategic plan and are able to articulate how service management fits into it.
  • Ask the person providing you with the “cookbook” to help you walk through how the “cookbook” will work in your organization’s process flows. Where appropriate, politely point out where it will and won’t work.
  • Stay up to date on your ITSM training and knowledge. Know and understand the frameworks your organization uses, or could use, and why.

Derailment #4 – You

Yes, you. It’s not a mistake, I mean you! Your service management activities or plans might be derailed because of you or your actions. It is very tough to look at your work, your efforts, or your attitude to determine if they are factors in things not succeeding but it is these “inward looks” that can help you to quickly move your things back on track.

As ITSM practitioners, we owe it to our parent organization to be good stewards of the resources we are provided with and to do work that helps the organization meet its goals. So consider the following examples as indicators that might point to you being the cause of the derailment:

  • You do not communicate effectively with the executive team
  • You help propagate silos in the organization
  • You are not up to date on the current ITSM framework trends
  • You insist on sticking with a plan even though it clearly is not working
  • You hyper focus on small details, which do not affect the overall outcomes
  • You have a very loose plan on how you will accomplish service management activities and improvements

If this sounds even a little bit familiar, don’t worry, you can improve the situation by:

  • Scheduling regular meetings with executive team members to discuss ITSM progress and next steps
  • Ensuring that you work to break down silos by having process discussions with other teams. When team members start the “blame game,” help position them to see the issue from others’ perspective.
  • Building a detailed improvement plan. Follow the plan. Be flexible to adjust the plan if something is not working.
  • Realizing that while small details can be important, you cannot lose sight of the big picture. Ask yourself “What does the organization need?” and “Are we helping the organization to move forward?”
  • Utilizing the ITSM communities such as the Back2ITSM Facebook Group or the SysAid IT Professional Community. There are many great, wonderful, and knowledgeable practitioners out there who can help. Put your situation out in the communities, or privately with individuals you trust, to get feedback.

So that is four possible causes of ITSM derailment but there is one other important thing to remember if you find yourself entrenched in one or more of these derailments (or other causes). RELAX! You are a practitioner. No one expects you to be perfect the first time you try something new or try to improve things. So step back, take a deep breath, and determine your next steps. I’m a firm believer that if you give your best effort, then good things will happen.

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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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