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An ITSM Challenge – Will You Accept It?

Posted By Daniel Breston, 19 March 2018

I am an American now living in the UK. I have led a life of COBIT but in the UK you need to adopt and adapt so ITIL became my framework. Practitioner as a Director at a bank. Certified in ITIL v2 and ITIL 2011. Wrote exam questions and became a trainer. ISO20000 as well. Yes - I deep dived into IT service management (ITSM) as per ITIL. 

In this journey, I met the contributors to ITIL, the speakers on the circuit, the writers of blogs and books, lead sales for tools, architects for simulations, and of course conference organisers. All great people, but also quite scary as they truly know ITSM and ITIL at levels I had not considered.

Examples: service desk with no tools but just using paper, blending of agile into ITIL, making change-release-deploy all automated but without chaos. I thought what we did at the bank was great, but these “Masters of the ITIL Universe” were truly Olympic gods.

You have to start somewhere…

I would go to conferences like itSMF UK’s annual conference or the Service Desk and IT Support Show, and be awed by their stories and knowledge. I even tried my hand at speaking, no big deal for a Texan, but terrifying when you are doing it in a new world at a monthly British Computer Society (BCS) event. Afterwards, one of the “Gods” tapped me on the shoulder and said that dreaded UK phrase: “May I have a word please?”

I was flabbergasted when he said that my session was not only interesting but entertaining. He then further suggested I “speak at conference”! WOW! Really?!? WOW!!! And so this is how it starts, because remember everyone has to start “somewhere”.

Now it is your turn…

That’s where it begun for me. My “first time”. Now I have done it a million times and it is time for newer faces, with fresher ideas to take over. Now it is your turn to have that “first time”.Now when the “Call for Speakers” is issued for any conference it can be easy to miss it. You have to keep going to the conference website or register your interest to become aware of the opportunity. Once issued though, the rush is on. Adrenaline pours into your body as you read the various topics they will consider, review the format of the submission, and see the dates for submission and notice for when you will be notified of your success (or failure). 

Your submission

Preparation is key. Think about it logically. A conference is going to at minimum want to know:

Who you are? Your biography. What you have done in ITSM or Agile or IT? What have you accomplished? What was the outcome of value to your organisation or client?

Speaking experience: remember that at one point all of us had none, so don’t be afraid to simply state that you’re setting yourself a new challenge and this will be your first time presenting. Use the opportunity to showcase other speaking-related things you’ve done if you have, for example company workshops. But don’t worry if your experience is zero. Trust me – conferences don't want the same people over and over again.

Title of your session: This is the hardest. You are competing for audience. If you are too cute in your title then no one will take you seriously. If it is boring, then well the perception will be that your session is equally boring. My hint do this last.

Brief synopsis of your session: 50-500 words-elevator pitch. Think backwards! At the end of the session what 2-3 things do you want them to remember or learn? What will people takeaway from your session? Now write your pitch to sell this as your “product”.

Longer explanation and maybe even some sample slides: sometimes they ask for this

Why you should speak?: interesting challenge – why you? Be brave and be Texan. Brag. You have a story to sell. By the time you have done all of this you will have a title so go back and complete that section.

Hit enter. Submitted. The wait begins.

What next?

I was rejected the first time. In fact, even after speaking at Lean, DevOps, and ITSM events I am still rejected occasionally. Ah well! Look at your story. Look at those that got accepted. Adopt and adapt and try again – never forget that failure is your most important source of learning. BUT- if you do get accepted…

Adrenaline. LinkedIn and Twitter bragging. Create your storyboard, slides, practice, practice and practice some more. Did I mention practice? Conference day you have a different badge – speaker. You walk around and people notice. As your session nears, the butterflies appear in your stomach. We all get nervous. Experience does not negate these nerves.

When you do your session, look for a friendly face. Target that person. Try to find three, in each section of the room, and keep looking at them. From the audience perspective it appears you are looking at all of them and engaging all of them. Moderate your voice. Don't read your slides. They came to hear you and learn from you, they can read the slides later. Make it fun! Have fun!

Afterwards reward yourself. I get an ice cream. Some get a drink. But once you have the bug – well do it again. The good news is you do not have to create a brand new session each time. Adopt and adapt this one for a year. Then next year as you submit chose a new theme for the year.

Why did I write this?

At the end of itSMF UK’s annual conference last year (ITSM17), I was honoured to be on a panel which included James Finister and Paul Wilkinson. Two ITSM legends, speakers, and industry changers. We were looking back at what happened over the course of the conference, what the key takeaways were, and what were the overriding highlights of the event. But amongst the positive feedback (it was a very good event), we could not help but voice our disappointment at the number of “same old faces” speaking. Don’t get us wrong, ITSM17 brought a good mix of new faces to the table too (in fact the two top speakers were both new), but there were still too many old faces too. 
So we issued a challenge: if you are a constant speaker at itSMFUK, please either do not submit for 2018 OR instead help find someone new to present either by themselves or with you. 

If you have never spoken at a conference before, but you have an interesting story to tell… now is your time to shine! We want new voices, new words, new ideas. Scared? I was too first time around. If it helps, those of us on the panel volunteered to  mentor anyone that wants to try.

Challenge issued. Do you accept?

The itSMF UK Annual Conference (ITSM18) call for speakers is now open, so please I beg, take on board the advice I’ve given in this blog – and put yourself forward! Not convinced you know what to say, how to say it, or where to start? Then take advantage of our promise of free advice and guidance. All you need to do is register your interest with itSMF UK by emailing and they will put you in touch with one of us to be your mentor. 

So what are you waiting for?

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Looking Forward and Working Together – ITSM in 2018

Posted By Barclay Rae, 18 December 2017

Two weeks ago, we held our annual itSMF UK conference (ITSM17) and it was a cracker. Delegates gave us fantastic feedback, sponsors and exhibitors loved the buzz, and even those that weren’t there in person got a sense of the event through an extensive social media presence (search #ITSM17 on Twitter).

It’s an exciting time for the IT service management (ITSM) industry, with new and refreshed frameworks in progress – as well as the continued growth of other models. Ultimately, the digital imperative is on all of us – we need to change, up our game, be part of the business, and collaborate better – so our use of models and frameworks will be more like a ‘pick and mix’ than a single commitment going forward. And our industry needs to celebrate diversity more than ever…

Conference Statistics and Feedback



Top Overall Sessions



Average Score


Jon Terry



Craig Johnson



Ivor Macfarlane



Daniel Breston



Kevin Holland



Paul Wilkinson



Simon Kent



Tony Price



Barclay Rae / Stuart Rance



Andrew Vermes



We also carried out a number of industry interviews with conference attendees – you can watch them here. Plus, there are also recordings of the opening keynote and the initial presentations from both days’ morning plenary sessions, including Bob Brown on day one and interviews with Claire Agutter, on VeriSM, and Margo Leach, on ITIL, on day 2, click here to take a look..

The conference’s use of new ideas and innovations worked well too – from the simple wallcharts to capture immediate session feedback,

to our thank you card initiative, 

to the CAT (conference analysis team), which reviewed every session and summarised the key elements in the final plenary discussion.

Conference Analysis Team Common Themes

1. Change is a reality – digital, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, as well as (of course) DevOps – these things are here and coming fast, so we can’t ignore them.

2. People – they are still at the heart of our work and industry. We need to recognise the need for emotional engagement, positive behaviours, and where service management people are agents of change and engagement, not simply firefighters. However, the biggest challenge remains – how can we engage more young people in service management?

3. Industry developments – after a long period of inactivity, much is happening around new and upgraded ITSM models – ITIL, SIAM, VeriSM, ISO20K, Cynefin etc. Whilst many of these will offer new opportunities, it’s important to see them all as tools and not panaceas; and with ITIL and VeriSM, it’s too early to make any real judgements at this stage as there’s little detail and content available.  

4. Partnership – we must continue to focus on value for our businesses (and customers’ businesses) in partnership and as part of these supply chains and not separate from them. We are the business, so let’s not continue to promote separation and distance from our ‘customers’ (internal or external). Instead, let’s see ourselves as being part of the same team and organisation.  

5. Let it go – ultimately service management people keep the business world ticking over, our place in this is changing for the better, and we are moving to being recognised as a more strategic and less reactive function. Our focus for too long has been on specific frameworks and processes – all of which are useful, but none of which should be the sole emphasis of our activities. We also need to ensure that we focus on continuous improvement, using business-focussed metrics and not simply being slaves to the service level agreement (SLA).

All these points were discussed at the plenary panel session – please look out for blogs over the coming weeks and months to support these points. We also have a call for practitioners to join us next year to present what they’ve done to improve things based on what they learned at the 2017 conference – if you would like to be part of this, please get in touch.

Other Points of Note

At the conference we also announced the launch of a new itSMF UK subsidiary company – EssentialSM – this will provide short independent consultancy assignments that help organisations to deliver improvements quickly. This includes some focused packages – please see more on EssentialSM packages here.

We also launched two new papers – one with CIO Watercooler and another with Cherwell – we also have a sponsored video that discusses professionalism, shortly to be released in conjunction with Cherwell.

Whilst you are here, let me also inform you of the dates for your diary for ITSM18 – 19th November – 20th November which will take place in London with a new slick format. This will cover two days, the first of which will be a traditional four stream conference. On the second day, however, we will be running mostly workshops, discussion groups, industry meetings, and sponsored events, in addition to one or two conference streams with key sessions from day one. If you have any input or thoughts on this or the format of our future conferences please let us know.

More conference outputs will follow, but now I’ll let you get back to your Christmas shopping…
P.S. If you are looking for a Christmas gift for a colleague, we have already planned a whole year of activities for 2018 – you can view our full calendar of events here – perhaps an opportunity to join an itSMF UK workshop or one of our other events would be the perfect stocking filler?

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There's a Shift Needed in ITSM

Posted By Paul Wilkinson, 28 November 2017

This is the most exciting time EVER to be in IT….but are we up to IT!?’ was the theme of my session at the annual itSMF UK conference - ITSM17 – last week, in a very grey and wet Manchester. The weather reflecting the mood in my session title. However, although the sun didn’t break through in the Manchester weather, it did break through in the conference. There was a real buzz and I felt a positive shift in attitudes, awareness, and focus. There was more content around an increased desire to shift IT from being a service provider to a strategic partner, and a desire to shift from process outputs to business outcomes. In fact, the twitter cloud tag revealed that ‘Business’ was the most tweeted word!

This buzz was specifically evident on day two of the conference with the announcement of the new VeriSM approach and the update to ITIL. Both of these initiatives aimed at shifting the focus from frameworks to value and outcomes, and as Claire Agutter mentioned in her VeriSM announcement ‘It is time for IT to take the lead’.  This also mirrored the mood shift I wanted to create ‘No more victim, poor us, the business doesn’t understand us’ to taking a more pro-active lead.

In my session I quoted Brian Johnson ‘IT is too important to be left to IT’ but I went on to add, ‘But the business isn’t mature enough either’! Here is a link to my pre-conference article explaining the background to my statements. Business and IT have a rocky relationship. Digital Transformation is the latest industry buzzword, which is a reason that ‘Business and IT-Alignment’ is once again a C-level concern. Yet it appears that neither IT nor the business is mature or capable enough to capitalise on this. However, this growing strategic role for IT means we can no longer afford to fail, which is why a marriage guidance counsellor is needed to heal the relationship and give both parties a roadmap for moving forward. 

Who needs to play this marriage guidance counsellor role? Back to what Claire said ‘It is time for IT to take the lead’. Enter the business relationship management (brm) role and capability.

I was honored to have been asked by itSMF UK to participate in the Conference Analysis Team (aka CAT team), to visit a number of sessions and to take notes. There were indeed some cool CATS in the team, I represented one of the Dinosaurs. This short article sums up some of my observations and feeling for optimism.

IT and Business Behaviour

The first session I attended was ‘Behaviour and Relationships in Professional Service Management’ facilitated by Mark Smalley. The session focused on the shift of behaviour required from both the business and IT. ‘Behaviour is the weakest link in realising business value’. Some key behaviours being:

IT needs to: 

Understand the business and IT’s impact (which is the same as our top scoring Attitude, Behavior, Culture (ABC) card, worldwide from more than 4000 organisations).
Engage with the business and follow shared goal(s)
Talk benefits costs risks not technology
Suggest innovation (to solve business problems, not sell new technology)

The business needs to:

Articulate strategy and needs clearly, and keep IT updated
Determine risk appetite and priorities, and take decisions (which is the same as our number three ABC card – everything has the highest priority according to the business)
Engage and participate with IT
Invest in digital skills
‘Trust’ and the ‘co-creation of value’ were stressed by Mark. We won’t get the trust so long as these behaviours persist, and without the trust we won’t be seen as a strategic partner – helping the business ‘co-create’. But these behaviours have been around for the last 20 years or more! These represent deep routed cultural challenges between business and IT. Another top scoring ABC card is ‘The them and us culture’! (These are the top scores from Mark’s workshops so far).
All of this supports my call for BRM as a CORE capability to tackle these relationship issues. Which perhaps is why this is a fast growing best practice.

The Role of BRM

The next session I attended was ‘Getting a seat at the Decision Making table’ with Jon Baxter which stressed the need for becoming a strategic partner using BRM capabilities. Jon explained that his first BRM role was like ‘Triage in an A&E’ unit. Fielding complaints from the business, IT, and suppliers. Jon hit the nail on the head for me stating ‘Application is what counts’ which Roy Atkinson echoed in his closing keynote – it doesn’t matter which framework or practice we adopt ‘It doesn’t work if it is not applied’. Which I also covered as an issue in my session ‘the need to translate theory into practice’ is something we are poor at, and then we blame the best practice!

Jon stressed that our first goal must be to ‘build credibility’ and at the same time ‘leverage credibility’ to become a trusted advisor and ultimately a strategic partner. This built upon Mark’s story. The need for ‘trust’, trust coming from credibility. Start with relationship management and value management capabilities urged Jon.

Alignment vs Convergence?

My third attended session was ‘IT-‘Alignment’ – It doesn’t work’ by Simon Kent. I often get accused of being hyper active and leaping around the stage. In comparison to Simon I look like I’m on sedatives. Simon gave a passionate plea for dropping ‘alignment’ which has been around for 40 years! And obviously isn’t working! He said we should shift the ambition to ‘convergence’. 

One of Simon’s suggestions was then picked up and referred to in a number of sessions. ‘Stop using the words ‘the business’ – we ARE the business!’ He called for dropping the ‘service provider - alignment mentality’ of being an order taker and follower to becoming a strategic business partner helping lead and shape business strategy and demand. Nice ambitions! But let’s not start trying to run before we can walk.
In my session I countered part of Simon’s plea for convergence. I totally agree with this as an ambition. However, I revealed some current issues which show the need for alignment in certain areas before we can start talking about ‘convergence’ and being a ‘strategic partner’.

I showed a dictionary definition of Alignment: ‘Change something so that it has a correct relationship to something else’. We certainly don’t have the correct relationship at the moment!

As Mark and Jon had already explained. ‘Trust’ and ‘credibility’ are barriers to becoming a strategic partner. Here are some key trends and challenges from a series of global simulation workshops which clearly reveal that IT service management (ITSM) capabilities are a barrier! Jon revealed in his study that the majority of organisations are still either a service provider or still struggling to deliver on the service provider promises. I revealed in my session that 70% of IT investments don’t deliver business value – billions are lost every year because of downtime. Communication between IT and non-IT is in a state of crises. There is talk of a chasm. This is not the basis for ‘convergence’. But it isn’t just IT that needs to up its game. An Isaca study revealed ‘More business involvement in the Governance of Enterprise IT (GEIT) is required’ and highlighting a low maturity score on benefits realisation’. Jon’s survey also revealed that ‘‘Value management is unfortunately the least skilled competency in the IT business partner domain’. Here is also another article explaining the ‘Value’ challenge.
It is my opinion, that until we can align our ‘language’, align our understanding of goals and ambitions, align our behaviours and thinking, we will not be able to converge. Both business and IT will need to change. Here is an example of the language challenges we in IT must overcome.

Key Findings

In the panel session led by the CAT team, we gave back some of the key topics and findings from all of the sessions. I won’t go into those here. I will however say that one delegate challenged the panel, in fact in my mind he challenged itSMF UK, AXELOS and all of the ITSM framework owners ‘How to get a session at a business conference or with a business team to convince them of the value of ITSM….because they don’t care about it. They’re not interested’. Here is one example from my own experience, not at a business conference, but to the board of Directors for gaining commitment to ITSM AND for changing business behaviours. 

In the panel we asked ‘how many people have gained some concrete takeaways they can use’? Then ‘How many will ACTUALLY go back and use them’? We also challenged the people who put their hands up to nominate themselves for a speaking slot at #ITSM18 to come and explain what they did to help shift ITSM to the strategic partner role we’re all looking for.  
James Finister in one of his his panel statements said ‘If you only take one thing away from #ITSM17: go back to the office and start challenging what you do, just because you've always done it doesn't mean it's still providing value’.
Finally, Roy Atkinson closed the conference with his keynote and added a slide from one of my 2017 sessions. ‘The fact that business and IT-alignment has been a top issue for 15 years clearly shows that current approaches to closing the gap are not working’. 

I am curious to see how many people will use the takeaways and how many will come back and present next year. Me being a #Gromit ‘Grumpy Old Man in IT’ I’m cynical. One of the top scoring ABC cards chosen in world-wide workshops = ‘Not my responsibility’.









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SIAM: the good, the bad … the obligatory and the virtuous

Posted By Conor Mckenna, 15 November 2017

This is a guest post, contributed by Michelle Major-Goldsmith, Manager, Service Management Capability at Kinetic IT; and Simon Dorst, Manager, Service Management Service, Kinetic IT

In the last few years, service integration and management (SIAM) has become ‘the new black’, high on the hype-curve. Despite the publication of white papers, blogs, and twitter hashtag feeds, providing various flavours of commentary and opinion, until recently there’s been no formalisation of the term SIAM, nor a standardised methodology. As such, practitioners were left lacking when looking for answers to the questions of what is SIAM? and ‘can it help manage complex IT environments?.

In order to try to bring commonality of purpose, we joined a collective of IT consultants, trainers, and practitioners (now known as the ‘the SIAM Founder Member Architect Group) who embarked upon creating a foundational Body of Knowledge (BoK).

As we’re on the verge of revealing the next step, the SIAM Professional BoK, this is an opportune time to provide you with an insight of the good, the bad … and other traits of SIAM.

A brief history of time – or at least of SIAM

The term service integration and management or SIAM, and the concept of SIAM as a management methodology originated in around 2005 from within the UK public sector. In 2010, the UK Government published a new information and communications technology (ICT) strategy, which included moving away from large prime supplier contracts to a more flexible approach using multiple service providers and cloud-based solutions.

SIAM interest became global when in 2015 AXELOS published several white papers on SIAM, and in 2016 the SIAM Foundation Architect Group was formed by Scopism. The objective was to bring the giants of the SIAM world together and create a consolidated view of their knowledge and experience. This culminated at last year’s itSMF UK conference with the release of the Foundation Body of Knowledge, providing common terminology, a standardised description, and practical guidance (as well as winning the Thought Leaders of the Year award from itSMF UK).

When writing the SIAM Foundation Body of Knowledge, we came across some great material, too much and perhaps too practical to put into the Foundation BoK. So, this year we continued by writing a Professional-level Body of Knowledge. We expanded our team to more than 40 global practitioners to make sure the new BoK would reflect current practices, but also pitfalls and successes.

In this BoK we take the theory of the Foundation BoK and put it into the reality of the roadmap that we’re all on, and which is also the basis for our presentation at the upcoming itSMF UK event (ITSM17). The SIAM Professional BoK will provide more in-depth guidance, accompanied by examples of how to, or how not to, apply this into practice.

But we also want to make sure that SIAM is considered as part of modern-day ITSM, as is the undeniable reality of having to deal with multiple suppliers. We’re hoping that SIAM can step outside of the IT arena, and play its part in Enterprise Service Management (ESM), managing business services across multiple domains and providers (although this may need an additional integration layer).

So, what is SIAM?

Simply put, it’s in the name: service integration and management, and in particular service integration across multiple providers. The management of multiple service providers by a single organisation provides significant challenges in overall administration. SIAM seeks to address the need to provide a standardised methodology for integrating and managing multiple service providers and their services. It enhances the delivery of the end to end supply chain, it provides governance, management, integration, assurance, and coordination to maximise the value received from multiple service providers.

SIAM is not just a methodology for the management of services by a single organisation or governing body. It supports cross-functional, cross-process and cross-provider integration, in a complex sourcing environment or ecosystem in which all parties understand their role and responsibilities, are empowered to deliver, and are held accountable for their outcomes. As such it’s more than a rigid contractual performance structure, but an organisational change that includes collaboration, and end-to-end focus into the core of every stakeholder involved.

More tangible than this collaborative, end-to-end culture (as important as it is!) is the structural and functional organisation that SIAM provides to a multi-provider environment. The SIAM model provides a single logical entity with accountability for the end to end service delivery, known as the service integrator. The customer organisation has a single management relationship with the service integrator, and the service integrator manages the relationships with the multiple service providers supporting the organisation.

The definition of this structure also allows for a clearer definition of a process model (tooling strategy, and governance, reporting, and performance framework) and then the allocation of mandated or directive practices. So, whilst in some case the service providers may have to use the same practice (for instance ITIL), in most cases they can use their own preferred one (for instance Agile), as long as the interactions between the providers and with the service integrator meets the predefined outcomes (i.e. the WHAT and not the HOW).

That’s the good, now the bad …

Like many practices there are some wild stories out there regarding SIAM. In fact, that was part of the reason why we got into writing blogs, white papers, and then the Foundation Body of Knowledge, and now the Professional BoK. We want to present SIAM as a coherent framework, to make sure that people understand what it is and how it can help them.

So, SIAM is NOT …

  • The former name of Thailand … well it is, but not for our purposes ;-)
  • A silver bullet – it will not solve all your issues (you know … the ones you’ve been trying for decades to have ITIL resolve, and then you thought DevOps would take care of them, and now you’re looking for the next best thing…)
  • A replacement of ITIL either. Whilst there are similarities and overlaps to the basic principles of both (but then again, that would be the case for most service management practices), SIAM is not meant to take over where ITIL left off. But neither do you need to choose between ITIL or SIAM (or any other practice for that matter). SIAM is unique in offering a structure, culture, principles, and practices for managing a multi-service provider environment, which then allow the use of your framework-of-choice!
  • A fad, something those consultants came up to sell some books, training and consultancy … wait a few years and they’ll be singing a new song! SIAM has actually been around for more than 10 years and there is already a treasure trove of tried-and-tested SIAM practices out there. The need to build an agile ecosystem of multiple service providers and utilise best-of-breed, collaboration, and coordination is not going anywhere!

The SIAM Roadmap

The basis of our presentation at ITSM17 is centred around the SIAM Roadmap, which has four iterative stages:

  •   Discovery & Strategy
  •   Plan & Build
  •   Implement
  •   Run & Improve

A keen observer will notice how these stages are aligned to the ITIL Service Lifecycle and many other lifecycle models, which is of course not by coincidence as those models are tried and tested, plus it allows for an easier alignment with those practices.

Find out more at ITSM17

If you’re attending the event then hopefully you’re able to join us for our sessionSIAM - The Good, the Bad, the Obligatory, and the Virtuous’ (20th November at 11.30am) where we’ll expand on this, and the roadmap, by providing some best and not so good practices. We’ll be presenting together with Claire Agutter from Scopism

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Why Key Risk Indicators Trump KPIs for Problem Management

Posted By Peter Norris, 08 November 2017

When conversations turn to measurements, key process indicators (KPIs) always get raised as a mandatory requirement for anyone running a process. KPIs really are a “must have” if you want to see how your process is performing, and to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and compliance to it. 

But what are the real goals of any process, and can KPIs help us ensure that we achieve these goals? Well, yes they can – however, in the case of problem management, the key measure for our senior management at Nationwide is not how many problem cases are open, how many root causes are yet to be uncovered, or the percentage of incidents associated to a problem record. What most concerns them is whether a priority 1 (P1) incident has a real likelihood of recurring. 

Identifying and Managing Risks

So for us, at the highest level, key risk indicators (KRIs) are more important than KPIs. Our KRIs give our senior management a snapshot of our exposure to being headline news. And then having to respond to additional information requests from regulators in addition to our staff being unable to help our members in a branch, and to our members being unable to open a new mortgage or pay a bill.

Our Problem Management Journey

At the start of our problem management journey we had simple KPIs to track our process. Knowing that we generally did not complete actions agreed at the post implementation review as quickly as we should, we focussed on how long it took people to complete their tasks.

However, as it became clear that our senior business stakeholders viewed each unaddressed P1 incident as a risk to service, we knew that we needed to really focus on the actual risk to IT services. 

To address this we introduced very simple KRIs (for example, volume of P1 incidents where root cause is not found and volume of P1 incidents where all activities have not been completed). In fact, they weren’t really indicators of actual risk but, as our process was immature, they gave us a basic indication of exposure to recurring P1 incidents.

Then, as the process has matured, and we really started to understand where we needed to focus our resources (“I need to know you’re addressing the things that keep me up at night” is a statement from the Head of IT Service Delivery that we keep reminding ourselves of), those two KRIs became KPIs, and two new KRIs came to the fore – the volume of P1 incidents with a material risk of recurrence and the volume of critical problem tasks outstanding. 

Reporting KRIs and KPIs

These simple KRIs now get the headlines at our regular forums and on balanced scorecards – whilst KPIs help us internally ensure that the process is moving as quickly and efficiently as possible, these two KRIs are the first measures we cover when we’re talking to any senior stakeholder about the problem management process. 

Because they’re ultimately concerned about a P1 incident happening again, rather than whether we’ve reached the “green” threshold on any particular KPI report.

Want to Know More?

If you’d like to know more about reporting KRIs and KPIs then please join me at the upcoming itSMF UK conference (ITSM17) in November, where I’ll be presenting with my colleague Ian Porter on “Solving your Customers Problems at the PUB”.

We’ll be discussing the overhaul of our problem management process and how focusing on our internal and external customers helped us to: focus on what was materially important; change perception of the process as quickly as possible; use scarce resources most effectively; ensure our stakeholders were aware of the investigation progress (and its achievements); implement measures to ensure progress was made; and ensure senior management didn’t lose sight of exposure to recurring incidents.

It will be a very practical session covering our service management journey, mistakes we’ve made, things we’ve learned, what’s worked well, and how you can use these learnings to kick start or improve your own problem management process. I hope to see you there.

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