I think we have all experienced the frustration of knowing we need to improve but not knowing exactly how to make that happen or where to even start. As we begin to look at our options many of us have said well let’s start by looking at ITSM and the ITIL® methodology only to come away from our analysis more confused than when we started. What we get is a list of all the many and I mean many options for improvement but what I am looking for is not an overall list but a course of action for me and my issues.
I think we all know from our experience that this can’t be done by reading a book or taking a class. Aligned service improvement can only be accomplished by understanding your specific business issues and then mapping out a plan to improve these well-defined issues in the right order and at the right time. In many cases working to improve IT processes is a case where doing less can equal gaining more. Taking on too many areas of improvement at one time or not capitalizing on the big wins can and will create more dissatisfaction. This is why it is important to do the upfront discovery, determine a well-defined set of priorities, and center your training program on the business needs.
Even when attending or having staff attend generalized training/certification classes a little upfront work can improve the overall ROI of the training. Having a plan with a prioritized list of strategically aligned improvements will benefit your organization by creating a heightened awareness of business specific areas for improvement. In addition, defining participant expectations and deliverables will ensure an intensified focus on business specific issues and drive desired outcomes.
It is also important to note that you do not have to go this alone and many times an outside-in look at your organization can be invaluable. But what is really needed are options as there is no one size relationship that fits all. Many organizations just need someone to reach out to for guidance and direction while others want more a complete ITSM service engagement. The number one goal is to improve and become a better aligned IT organization. There are as many options to achieving this goal as there are areas to improve. What is really important is that in the long run you own the improvements, they are sustainable, produce measurable results and provide a positive ROI on the investment.
A different train of thought
What is important to know is that there is help out there. ITSM and ITIL® methodology are a great set of guiding principles and processes but an initial introduction can be confusing and overwhelming. As with any set of tools or best practices what is important is to understand what needs to be accomplished. The amazing set of tools in the ITIL® tool box is just that, a set of tools. Just as a carpenter needs to know when to use the tools in his tool box it is important for us to know what tool to use and at what time and this can only be determined by understanding the real business need.
The ITSM set of best practices are no more than a menu of options. It all needs to be viewed from the basic principles. Not only is it not practical to implement all or even several of the best practices at one time but it will create diminishing returns. What is important to understand is that less is truly more in this case. Focusing on moving the bar on the highest need is the key. Again, the highest need can only be determined by doing the appropriate analysis and understanding the business need.
Below is another train of thought that centers on trying to define the difference between just training what I call presentation or training based on a practical application to your business I called true practical application
In looking at ITSM what normally gets focused on is the presentation and not the true practical application. When our education is based on generalized training we then have to weed through what is presented and then determine what applies to our situation. The real question to ask oneself if I am truly in need of the training am I experienced enough to determine the what, when, where, and how of applying this training to my environment. Applied training is based on good solid training but is centered on your specific issues which are defined by the following:
- Determined business need
- Defined opportunities for improvement
- A strategically based plan of attack
- How and where process fit into your environment
- Training aimed at problem solving