An ITIL project in the real world

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Here's how our Incident Management project was announced to the IT staff...

First, it was mentionned at a staff meeting (PC support and Sysops) at the same time as 4 other projects. In 2 minutes max, the sponsor (who had almost forgot to mention it) described it as "more enhancements to the Service Desk tool, and improvements to the escalation process." Not exactly in line with the message I would like to convey - this is a real "process improvement project", that will require staff and managers to change their habits in order to better serve our customers - but that was already better than nothing :D

Actually, to me the objective of the first announcement was only to see if the sponsor was ready to talk about it public. And give the project some exposure.

Then, and that's the better part, it got announced to all the IT staff via an internal IS news a few days later, with details on goals, scope, schedule, project team, along with a link to a full presentation of the project. The announcement was prepared by me but signed by both sponsors.

The goal of that second annoncement was twofolds: display the sponsors' commitment, and let IT staff know that they are going to be involved and impacted.

As many people were on vacation, I could not get much feedback then, out of the encouragements from the colleagues who know how much I have been lobbying for this project! We'll see if the announcement has reached its goal when we do the kickoff meeting in 2 weeks, and when we try to get people collaborate for the design and deployment of the improvements...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Finally, our Incident Management ITIL project got announced in IT!

But half of the IS staff os on vacation next two weeks... I'm going to have to wait for their return for the official kickoff meeting. At least we can officially get some initiatives started :D

Monday, February 06, 2006

I've got the second approval for our ITIL Incident Management project!

The first sponsor was allocating my time and consulting money. The second sponsor was allocating 50% of a colleague's time. Also, together, these two sponsors represent 100% of our support and operation groups! So we're starting tomorrow...

The good thing with this time spent gathering signatures and approvals is that it forced the sponsors to stand up for the project and take ownership. It will probably last for a little while... gotta hurry now, and prove that they get the expected return on investment!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

How we built ITIL awareness in our company

As the formal acceptance of the project will still take some time, here's something to keep you interested: how we built ITIL awareness in our company.

As interest for ITIL was starting to show up, we tried a few initiatives to grow the overall awareness... We had a half success. Here's what we did, and how it worked out.

  • First initiative: 2 days of custom made "Introduction to ITIL" sessions

    Internally sponsored by: the quality management guy.

    Provided by: one of our suppliers, who had a great experience of ITIL, but who were usually not selling ITIL consulting.

    Content: First day was an express walkthrough ITIL processes. Interesting for the ones who had a clue. Not interesting to the others. It was too brief to get them to understand how these best practices in Service Management could really apply to us. They felt we were soooo different it wouldn't be of much help.

    The second day was exposing the difficulties, pitfalls, methods on implementing ITIL. When the first day did not convince anyone, the second day only raised more questions and doubts.

    Result: I have heard of some successful "Introduction to ITIL" sessions. Ours was certainly not one of them.

    Why it failed: One of the reasons for that failure could be that the sponsor of these sessions was totally outside of the "operational field". The managers in charge of operations who were not interested found not interest in what quality was trying to sell to them. Another explanation could be that that initiative was outside of any project. It was kinda linke "Here's ITIL, guys!"-"So what?" Last, you'll probably have a better "Introduction to ITIL" session from a consultant who is used to that kind of exercise. Not from one who does it for the first time, just for you.

  • Second initiative: ITIL foundation training for all the Service Desk, PC support and local support internal employees. Proposed to any other IT employee if they wish to attend.

    Internally sponsored by: The manager in charge of these 3 groups.

    Provided by: Pink elephant, or local companies.

    Content: That was for sure a better call than the Introduction to ITIL custom made sessions. ITIL foundation training not only helps setup a common language, but also gives a real flavor of the Service Management disciplines.

    Result: Mixed. It surely helped setup the common language. It clarified the concepts for the ones who were interested in the first place. But that's not enough. Were we were hoping that managers would magically start initiatives to improve their processes on their own?Did we think they would start to act closer to the best practices because they had heard the good word of ITIL?

    Tentative explanation: To get the most of an ITIL foundation course, you should have a project setup in the first place. Only the project will allow a transition from theory to practice. The project makes it happen. The course is just one of the tools used by the project. Also, people know why they are attending these courses then!

So what?

Even if I sound very sceptical about all our efforts, in the end, it still helped us grow. Least you can do is send to the ITIL foundation course all the managers who are interested in the first place - skip the others if there is no project or strong sponsorship. Then, the ITIL fans will be in a much better position to spread the word...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I got the first signature for our Incident Management project!