CategoryTrichromy

Posts about the Trichromatic approach to service organisations

Not Culture

I thought I’d take some time out from some rather serious and quite involved writing that I’m doing to exorcise (exercise?) a minor obsession of mine.

Organisational culture seems to be a buzzword in ITSM circles at the moment, and for good reason. I think its becoming clear to most that the laudable aims of our discipline cannot be achieved without paying attention to the people who work within the sector. Good old homo sapiens, we’re not like microprocessors; we don’t execute a JP NZ 4000H command if certain conditions are met or not met. So the question appears to be, how do we align the mindset of those working in the ITSM enterprise with its stated goals.

The answer to most is simple. Get the culture right.

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Why IT Service Must Leave Taylorism Behind

These days, much of the internet chatter generated by the IT service community is on the subject of change. It is unclear whether this is due to the sector looking over its shoulder and seeing the eager face of digital approaching, scythe in hand. Perhaps the industry has had a genuine epiphany and has realised that the old style of IT service isn’t cutting the mustard with the users (customers).

Regardless of the reasons why, there is undeniably much ado about this topic and phrases such as transformation, renaissance and even metamorphosis trip easily from the pages of numerous blogs. Without doubt, this is a very refreshing development after years of what felt like shouting in the wilderness with a few others (for example, Aale Roos). It might be a bit early for breaking out the Veuve Cliquot as there are still huge swathes of ITSM functionaries out there who avert their eyes from anything that threatens the orthodoxy that they have become comfortable with over these last thirty years.

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Just Do It

One of my oldest friends is fond of using the word dischuffed. I met him when I was still living in the south of England. He hailed from the north so I assumed it was some Lancashire phraseology because I’d never heard it used prior to meeting him. Unconsciously, and probably by dint of spending a lot of time with him in my twenties, that word has become a part of my personal lexicon. I’ve seen it listed in the Collins dictionary recently and was a little surprised to find that it is a real word!

Today it’s proving very useful because I’m finding myself highly dischuffed by the fact that I left a Nokia phone charger (not so important) and my Moleskine notebook at the venue of a speaking gig that I attended yesterday.

That Moleskine notebook contains all manner of scribblings. There is a chapter of a novel that I was writing last year, countless business ideas and various other notes. That Moleskine is like my unconscious made material. So yes, very dischuffed.

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Fear and Loathing in IT Service

I recently had a speaking gig at the offices of Zendesk in London.

Now I want to say that they are the vendors of an excellent service tool, which has a distinct focus on the customer, something that’s perhaps missing from their ITIL-compliant competitors. I also want to say that I had a conversation with one of the attendees who was an IT service delivery manager at a media firm, and was also a Zendesk customer. I asked him why he opted for Zendesk instead of one of the compliant alternatives. He said that in his media firm, customers (please don’t make me say users) frequently requested all manner of non-standard and bespoke arrangements. He said that the many of ITIL tools forced him down very trammelled flows. He said that Zendesk was more flexible.

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Post-ITSM and Paradigm Shift

Paradigm shift is a term that can be misapplied.

Some use it to describe new methodologies; that is, new ways of doing things.

In fact, the term is closely associated with Thomas Kuhn’s 1970 classic The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions. In his book, Professor Kuhn examined some of the major scientific upheavals of centuries gone by: the change from Ptolemaic to Copernican astronomy, the shift from the phlogiston theory of combustion to the discovery of the element oxygen, and the revolution that caused Newtonian physics to be replaced by Einstein’s theories of relativity.

In each of these instances, although the practical ramifications of the scientific change may have been minimal, the change to the theoretical underpinnings was enormous. For example, the practical application of astronomy in Ptolemy’s time was to help farmers predict seasons, rainfall and that sort of thing through observation of celestial objects. That didn’t change a great deal once the Copernican system was adopted, except that by employing the new tables, the predictions were more accurate. However, the theoretical predicates behind the later theories were entirely different. The same was true about the shifts following the change in understandings regarding the the role of oxygen in combustion and Einsteinan physics.

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Can IT Service Ever Be Sexy?

So let’s get to the point.

In the first post in this series, The Process Age of IT Service Is Over, I used the verb proselytise on more than one occasion. Since then, I haven’t stopped proselytising. In case you missed them (to coin a hash tag), I have posted the following all on the subject of transforming front-line IT service such that it is fit for the digital era.

Such extensive proselytising was always going to have an end. I mean, I wanted to do something about this state of affairs and be, as they say, the change that I wished to see in the world. This was the reason why Cxi was created. The name is a mnemonic which means customer experience and innovation – and it’s pronounced “cex-ee”.

So you see, IT service can be sexy. Continue reading

Control::Chaos

Content is good.

Isn’t it?

It better had be, because I’m producing a lot of it at the moment here on the Cxi blog. I hope that it’s worthwhile reading.

Interestingly, in all the stuff that I churn out – writing, talks or whatever – it’s always the same subject that I’m pulled up on. Particularly by my Scandinavian friends. That subject is control – or to be more specific the fear of what would happen when any abdication of control occurs.

For those unfamiliar with my writing on the topic of IT service, my deeply considered recipe for the improvement of front-line services is to drastically reduce control. As I’ve repeated often, ITSM is predicated on control; on the processes and the targets which reveal its rather ancient scientific management (1911) and systems thinking (1950s) heritage.

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Kill Your Service Desk

My recent LinkedIn connections might know me solely as a SQL data specialist. There are however, many former colleagues on that social media platform from earlier in my career, who will be aware of the years of graft that I put in as an IT support, IT service and IT management functionary. I also have a few connections from my time spent drowning in academic papers at the Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield.

Quite a number of these contacts may be unaware that over the last five years I’ve spent a portion of my spare time writing, blogging and tweeting about the ways in which IT service work is organised and how it might be improved. In this I bring together my commercial experience and my work psychology education, as well as a good dollop of creative and maverick nature. I’m mainly critical of the status quo, and try to concentrate on looking ahead to benefits that may accrue from new models of work.

This writing activity began in 2009. The early pieces are remarkably similar to the stuff I am churning out now, although they were a little unformed and perhaps heavy on the work psychology. However, quite early on I hit a nerve (evidenced by the popularity of the post) when I suggested that we were witnessing the slow death of ITIL. Since then I’ve been arguing that the entire concept of ITSM is problematic in relation to good human service.

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