An ITIL project in the real world

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Feedback of the sponsors on our first Incident Management recommendations.

Now all 3 sponsors heard the recommendations from the task force, on how to address some of our support issues with Incident Management. In a few words: they like it :D

Overall, they like that it will help us become more professional and deliver a more consistent level of service. They also like the improved transparency it will provide. And yes, they will push the message down. Actually, before it goes down, we will present it to the CIO, as although the recommendations do not imply that we hire additional resources immediately, in the long term, the new way to manage Incidents will highlight the weaknesses in our support, and we will need to address them.

A few other comments that they made on the presentation:
  1. the project will contribute to improve our efficiency, we should highlight this more.
  2. we'll also need to highlight for the teams what they will gain out of it.
  3. they like that it will make it clear for all groups that they also have a support role.
  4. we need to highlight that when the service is restored with a workaround, support still needs to take actions to address the root cause of the problem.
  5. yes, Incident resolution has priority over projects, but impact on the project must still be taken into consideration.
  6. when we are in problem mode, the problem manager is empowered to get other team members to work on the problem - we used the words "the problem manager has authority to action other team" which they thought was too strong.
  7. the objectives we proposed will improve focus on Incident Management, but we will need to make sure it is in balance with Project Management activities.

So we can carry on with our recommendations. I need to organize a presentation to the CIO, have the necessary changes built in the tool, prepare communication & training, and make sure the sponsors drill down the message through the hierarchy. We've got two months left only!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Preparing the presentation to our sponsors about "Incident Management Basics"

OK. The workshops we did to find out how we could improve our situation with Incident Management were fruitful. But now I had to prepare the "*รง%## presentation of these basics to our sponsors. The participants said we could just throw the whole project away if the sponsors did not stand for the approach, and push themselves the message to their direct reports. Talking of a challenge!

So I went on, prepared some kind of summary of the workshop, and thought that would be good enough. Nope. I presented that to couple of colleagues, and consultants who were walking around. "Too many details" they said. "What's the point? What do you expect from the sponsors with this? What is the impact on the organization? What's the plan?" Duh!

Here's how I fixed it (thanks to the help of one of these Cambridge Technology Partners consultant):

- trimmed some leaves, and keep them as backup slides (that was the easy part)

- tried to have logic like: facts => findings => recommendations => effort estimates => conclusions. Actually that was quite effective! The hardest part was to recover the facts, findings and benefits, while I had only laid down the recommendations at first, and while trying to keep the spirit of the workshop participants, so they still back me up at the presentation!

- finally understood the concept of have a Title, then a summary, then the rest of the slide. I thought that I was doing a great job with this summary:

I am a fan of ITIL
The reasons why I like ITIL
- ITIL is cool
- ITIL is hot
- ITIL is fun
- Cool people like ITIL

While a more useful summary would rather be:

I am a fan of ITIL
I like it because it is cool, hot and fun, and I'm cool too
- ITIL is cool
- ITIL is hot
- ITIL is fun
- Cool people like ITIL

The great thing with the correct summary, is that people can stick with just reading the title and the summary sentence. You can go on with details below the summary, but you have to make your point in a few words right at the beginning of the slide. Highly efficient! Guess I'll have to do that in my blog now!

Now I'm checking out that the presentation is still reflecting the participants intentions. First echoes on the reviewed presentation are excellent... On Tuesday, we'll be presenting it to two of our sponsors...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Outcome of the 3 half day workshops on the basics Incident Management.

Last week was a great week :D The 3 workshops we had with representatives from each IS support groups were very fruitful. We agreed on the basics (same as detailed 2 weeks ago), with very few variations, and on how to make the change happen. Everyone was really excited about the topic - they sounded like "true? we're gonna get this?" We also agreed on how to prioritize Incidents, and on how Incidents that are now resolved in time would be escalated.

The best part of the workshops happened while we were trying to find out how to successfully roll out these "Incident Management basics"... We knew it would require strong management support (sounds like a no brainer)... but... how could we get the sponsors to actually support the change? Here's what the team came up with: the sponsors or the IT Vice President himself should present the Incident Management basics to the managers. That way, it won't be the project or the project manager trying to get the change through. It will be the top management telling their team what they want them to do. This is different. I complained to the team: while I was feeling comfortable instructing all IS employees on what habits they would need to change, convincing the sponsors that they would need to present it themselves sounded like another challenge. The whole team quickly replied they would stand by me to present the basic principles to the sponsors (and the VP if possible), and ask them to proceed that way! The afternoon after the 3rd workshop, I've immediately setup a meeting with the whole team and one of the two sponsors in two weeks (he wasn't extremely interested, but accepted the meeting anyway). I'll try to organize the same with the VP and the other sponsor if I can...

Now I need to pack the workshop recommendations together into something that can be easely presented to the sponsors (and the VP?), massage it with the team and some managers, and jump to the next step!

In parallel, we also need to progress on the other intiatives...