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Author, Speaker and Digital Business Alchemist

ITIL

I have this recurring nightmare that just won’t go away.

So, there I am… I’ve just woken up from a nap on my favorite recliner in my living room. I’m still a bit groggy, but I look down and see my young daughter looking up at me intently through her hazel eyes. Really, she’s staring at me.

I sit there for a few moments, looking back at her and then I ask “what is it, Virginia?”

She looks away for a moment, looks back into my eyes and then asks the question parents don’t expect their children to ask until after they’ve had “the talk.”

Then she asks me:

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If you’ve read or paid attention to anything that I’ve written over time, you’ll know that I hate clichés.

OK, I’m lying through my teeth! I love them, but not for the reason which might seem apparent. You see, I think there’s a lot of truth and a lot of mischief in clichés. In each one, there is a nugget of truth which is often obscured or masked by a thick layer of common sense. Not the common sense that is like “you shouldn’t let your kids play in traffic.” No, I mean the common sense that is more like sleight of hand — if you say it quickly enough, (most) people will accept the statement at face value, nod their head approvingly and then move on as if what was said is (actually) true — even if it’s not or a gross oversimplification of reality.

I enjoy them, because I enjoy identifying them, stomping them into the ground and having people come to recognize them for what they truly are. In the expression “you only get what you pay for,” we have another viable candidate to do damage to.

Why am I railing against this one now? Why is this relevant to ITSM? I’m glad that you asked!

ManageEngine recently announced that its Standard Edition product would be made freely available to all current and future customers.

What does this mean? Why is it important? Is the cliché really true?!

Let’s have a look, shall we?

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While it may not be evident to those who don’t know me well, I’ve had an interest in performance management and metrics for almost as long as I have been a working professional. Indeed, I have been actively researching this since around the time of the Y2K “crisis” — which roughly translates to about 17 years. Some times I’ve been more active in my research than others, but it’s always been core to how I think and work with customers and approach any project.

Well, even though the past months may have looked like I’ve been sitting on my hands, I can assure you that I’ve not. I’ve been busy on a number of fronts, including performance management and metrics. It’s a “good news, bad news” proposition really — I haven’t had a lot of time for “fun,” but I have gotten a lot done. There is a lot of work left to do (I think it’ll be the rest of my life, really…), but I think that it’s finally time to bring it to the forefront.

It’s time to launch! What does that mean? Well, the first thing is that I am kicking this all off with a BrightTALK webinar “Built To Perform: A Pragmatic Look At Performance Management.” During this session I am going to address the items in the abstract that I wrote for it, as a way of providing a general introduction to the area and a way to frame all of the work done and those things that will be unleashed over the next few months. In addition to this webinar, you can expect that there will be other blogs, articles and webinars associated with it.

Needless to say, I think this is the start of something big! I hope that you’ll find this interesting and will join me.

kengon

 

I recently appeared on the ITSM Weekly Podcast (#117) with Mark Kawasaki [@WindUpBird] and Matt Beran [@MattBeran].

Podcast Pic

kengon, Mark and Matt on the podcast!

It was a lot of fun, despite having bandwidth issues during the hangout. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to participate!

Have a listen/view (click this link to go to the podcast) and let me know what you think!

 

The past few weeks have been pretty good. I spent part of it at the annual ServiceNow user conference — Knowledge13 in Las Vegas. It was a great conference and I’m so thankful to my esteemed colleague Michael Dortch for the opportunity to attend as a speaker and participate in his panel discussion on “ITSM in 2015 — and beyond!“. I had such a great time and have lots of stories to share, look for that in another blog!

Having had the opportunity to talk about my perspectives on the ITIL Joint Venture here and here and knowing that I was going to be at the conference, Linda King of G2G3 asked me if I was interested in having a conversation with a representative of the JV while at the conference.

JV Announcement

Small extract of the webpage with the Capita JV announcement

Within seconds of receiving this invite via Twitter direct message, I launched back with an enthusiastic: “YES!!!” Maybe I should have been a little more restrained with my response, but do remember that I am an American! 🙂

Given this, she set up a time to have a conversation with Chris Barrett (of Capita) who is one of the newly appointed directors for the Cabinet Office / Capita Joint Venture. I purposely arrived early on Tuesday so that I could ensure that I’d be on time for our meeting. I’m thinking that you’d like to know a bit about what happened?! OK, let’s do a run down, shall we?

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Based upon a recent exchange with Stuart RanceJason Druebert asked me:

Twitter Conversation with Stuart Rance and Jason Druebert

Twitter Conversation with Stuart Rance and Jason Druebert

I think that this was a great and timely question to ask. As one might expect, I do have my own preliminary thoughts on the Joint Venture (JV) with Capita. Rather than composing a response and cluttering up the timeline, I thought it would be best to use this as an opportunity to post a short blog! 🙂

Let’s have a look at my thoughts, shall we?
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My next couple of blog posts may seem as if I am just rambling, but I can assure you that there is a larger design intention at play here. In this one, I am going to follow up on my last post (The Power of Cultural Forces which used the ITIL tender announcement to illustrate the underlying principles) and talk a little bit about the limits of learning. Why the limits of learning? Well, frankly, we need to talk about it — we’ve not been doing well as an industry and it’s about time we fixed it!

For the purposes of this post, I will use USMBOK and an aviation example to make my points, wrapping it up with a few comments on ITIL and certificate programs. An aviation example? Why? Well, for those of you who do not know it, among other things, I am an Instructor and (Stan-Eval) Check Pilot. What does that mean? I provide flight instruction and  evaluate their knowledge and skills to ensure that pilots are fit to execute their responsibilities as Pilot-in-Command (PIC). I will say more about this in future posts, but let’s just say that this has an important shaping effect upon how I think and approach my work.

In fact, I think that a significant part of why I am good at what I do is precisely because I have this experience and background. Needless to say, I have an appreciation for “learning” that transcends what most people mean when the term is used. Would you like to know more? Good. Let’s have a look…

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Since the ITIL tender was issued in late 2012, there has been much discussion about the future of the framework and what this means to those that have come to rely on it. Indeed, as time has passed, especially over the past few weeks, many have anxiously awaited the Cabinet Office to publish the results of their evaluation and announce a “winner. In a certain sense, I can’t blame anyone for that. After all, many have jobs and/or are engaged in businesses which are directly related to this framework, so any reduction of uncertainty regarding its future should be a good thing for them.

As far as I am concerned, I’d like to go on record as saying:

I am not (and haven’t been) attached to the outcome. The fact that Capita has won is fine with me! It’ll all work out, in the end.

It’s not that I don’t “care,” because I do. I just think that the work I am doing transcends any one of the numerous frameworks or standards that I might be paying attention to at any given point in time.

Despite this, I think that this single event provides us with an opportunity to talk about a number of things that are very important to those with an interest in service management. So, for the purposes of this series of posts, I shall use ITIL as the foundation for a discussion about the power of cultural forces.

Let’s dive in, shall we? Good! 🙂
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Let’s start off with a simple, necessary assertion:

No one book will ever contain all of the things you need to know about a given area of study/interest.

No place is this more evident than in the area of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and (more generally) IT Service Management (ITSM). If you’re reading this, it’s 99.99% likely that you have some interest in one of these topics and are likely consider yourself knowledgeable about them. A wise author once wrote:

“It’s not what you know, it’s what you know that just ain’t so”

Now you might be saying to yourself, “what does this have to do with the ITIL books?!” Well, I am very glad you asked, because I have a story to tell you. Let’s get started…

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In a Tweet on 03 Mar 2010, I said:

You heard it here first – next big thing to watch out for is “ValueWashing”. Be diligent and think it thru to identify the diff!

Really, it was inevitable. Any term that has some form of living spirit to it shall eventually fall prey to vendor marketing and popular misuse. The most recent casualty is the term “value”.

In a certain sense, I am honored, because I’ve been ranting about value for many, many years. Long before I could probably even spell value, I was an advocate for it. Now, I find myself being dwarfed by the gigantic marketing machines and webinars that try to suck people in with visions of value that cannot really deliver value.

This is nothing more than “Valuewashing”. Yes, you heard it here first. I’m claiming the space. That now begs the question — “what is valuewashing?”. Well, I  started thinking about this in terms of Greenwashing. Let’s look at the Merriam-Webster definition for Greenwashing:

expressions of environmentalist concerns especially as a cover for products, policies, or activities

I’ve seen other definitions that I like better, but I’ll start with this one and expand out.

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