Monday, 16 January 2017

My Take on New Year's Strategy


New Year’s resolutions are an almost required part of transitioning into a new year. It’s a time when we let ourselves start fresh, but why do we feel compelled to do so? The tradition itself can be traced back to the early Babylonians. It was a chance for their people to take the opportunity to look back on the past year and resolve to make some measure of improvements to the world around them.


Much like personal goals, businesses also focus on this time of the year to focus on strategy and set goals to make some improvements in their circle of influence.

In fact, if you hadn’t noticed already, the volume of New Year’s resolution type blogs and articles is countless so I am glad you took the time to check out this post because here’s what I propose. What if before we get to the end of the year we start to focus on the improvements we need to make? Instead of waiting to review after the year is completed we strike while the iron is hot and take an honest look before the year ends to make some assessments for future goal setting and strategy for the upcoming year.

Let’s face it, by the time we get to October whatever trajectory the organization is on it will likely continue until some adjustments are made. So what if we started to build out the strategy in October so that we can look to implementing the building blocks before the end of the year. This way when we discuss our new year’s resolutions in January we are already making some progress to moving in that direction. After all, starting out in many cases can be the toughest part. Once we get some momentum we can start to leverage communication and continual service improvement initiatives to build on any success, and in some cases challenges, we are experiencing.

If I was to put this into an IT support example I might suggest that a goal would be to reduce incident durations from 4 to 3 hours. In this example we might also already know that the reason that we understand the constraints of doing this in the past since we have been faced with this challenge for the last 9 months. With this information in hand we could make an informed assessment on what might work better and begin to implement this from October until December so that in January we would begin to realize the results and have a solid start on the new year. This would give us a real look at an improvement strategy for the new calendar year rather that only seeing something which seems to start in March or April.

The road to improvement in the business will be just as difficult as making these sorts of changes in your personal life. The trick to keeping on track will be to ensure that the goals we are working on are SMART, that we manage them effectively through communication, and that they align to our business objectives.



You can connect with me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie or on LinkedIn

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Another Example of why Being Reasonable Rules

A few months back as I was poking around on social media I saw that a colleague of mine received a promotion at the organization she was at from a service delivery lead to the manager of change management. While I knew that the role was a new one for her, I understood that there were many consistencies between working relationships and team members. The big difference was that she was now the manager of a small team and the owner of the change management process. But I knew that she was always up for challenges and she would be getting her game face on.

Recently I bumped into her and asked how things were shaking out and she indicated that she actually liked the old job better. After asking why, she explained that initially things seemed to be going good but then her director indicated that she was too nice and that she should ‘drop the hammer’ on people more often.
I was surprised since having worked with her she always seemed fair but firm. She continued to explain that while people were following the process the leadership was worried that people might start to go off course if they weren’t reeled in. In some cases she thought that they were ok with her being a bit tough on some people and maybe not so much on others.

I asked her what her plan was.

She said that to start with everyone knows what is expected of them from the time a change was submitted until it was closed, and that wasn’t about to change. In fact she went on to say that since she took over people started to indicate that they felt more comfortable asking her questions than her predecessor (who apparently was released due his ‘good nature’)

My suggestion was to look at the big picture and relay that you can ‘drop the hammer’ but there will be consequences in doing so. The thing I told her to remember there is a big difference in challenging people on some questionable details in a change, as compared with rejecting a change because people were missing some fields or details that could be easily attained. A mentor of mine once said that you need to pick your battles and if the outcome has an adverse effect which is worse than getting someone to fill in the form then you need to make some decisions. This isn’t to say that you can’t coach, teach and steer people in the right direction, on the contrary. You just need to figure out the weight at which you apply the force. After all we are already facing a PR challenge with the business when we can’t be nimble enough to manage changes at the rate the business may be looking for.

Further to this I explained that she should have a frank discussion with the leaders who are seeing an issue. Managing change management after all is a juggling act of technical understanding, governance and people skills.

She agreed, and decided that not only discussing with the leadership team but also showing that there was a measurable improvement in the adoption of changes since she took over the new role was also worth discussing.

You can connect with me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie or on LinkedIn


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Make the most of a conference experience without one

Another service management conference is underway (Fusion16) and unfortunately some of us are not able to attend for one reason or another. Fortunately there are several conferences which exist to meet your needs which means you may be able to attend another one down the road. 

In general, whether you are not able to attend a conference as a result of time availability, corporate financial constraints, or geography (personally I am always dying to speak in Europe) how can you get value today without attending while still building a case for attending the next conference.


Firstly look at the agenda for the conference which you can’t make. Take note of the presenters or vendors that want to see and think what specifically would be the benefit for attending their presentation. It may be possible that the material is being presented in another venue which might address the constraints for your inability to attend this conference.


In addition the presenter may already have the content already uploaded on Brighttalk, SlideShare or on their own site. While you may not get the same context as seeing this line you may be able to view the content and then connect with the presenter in a form of social media to ask any questions you might have.


Unfortunately one of the things that many conferences have which may be more difficult to reproduce is a workshop. However it is possible that there are others in your community which are also unable to attend this conference and there may be interest in the same workshop material. Check your local training organizations or consultants; they may have similar workshops available. Alternatively if you’re not already a member you should consider joining an organization like itSMF, Business Relationship Management Institute or ISACA to name a few and connect with people in your area and organize regional activities.


The other component of a conference which may be hard to reproduce is the networking. While it is not the same as face to face, connecting with social media will allow you to broaden your horizons and get valuable insights into global service management challenges rather than local ones. It will also give you the ability to connect with pundits who have had vast amounts of experience in culturally diverse situations. 


 Not all conferences are put together the same. So really look at what content they are presenting and how you and your organization will benefit from you (and possible your team) from attending. In my experience trying to get management to sign off on you going to Las Vegas for example can be a battle in itself. So you really need to market this to them in a way which leaves them saying “who else should we send?”


Link up the reasons for attending to address challenges for your business. You could phrase it like “one of our top challenges at “Our Co” is that we don’t have a good sense of understanding our business, there are two presentations and a half day workshop which might help us to improve this.” This type of preparation will get you farther than just blindly asking to attend. Also the materials you see in the conference are generally attainable and you could share them with your team upon your return. Marketing is important.


In summary, despite the fact if you can attend a conference or not, there are vast quantities of information out there for you to leverage. Poke around, ask questions and get involved.


You can connect with me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie or on LinkedIn

Make the most of a conference experience without one

Another service management conference is underway (Fusion16) and unfortunately some of us are not able to attend for one reason or another. Fortunately there are several conferences which exist to meet your needs which means you may be able to attend another one down the road. 

In general, whether you are not able to attend a conference as a result of time availability, corporate financial constraints, or geography (personally I am always dying to speak in Europe) how can you get value today without attending while still building a case for attending the next conference.


Firstly look at the agenda for the conference which you can’t make. Take note of the presenters or vendors that want to see and think what specifically would be the benefit for attending their presentation. It may be possible that the material is being presented in another venue which might address the constraints for your inability to attend this conference.


In addition the presenter may already have the content already uploaded on Brighttalk, SlideShare or on their own site. While you may not get the same context as seeing this line you may be able to view the content and then connect with the presenter in a form of social media to ask any questions you might have.


Unfortunately one of the things that many conferences have which may be more difficult to reproduce is a workshop. However it is possible that there are others in your community which are also unable to attend this conference and there may be interest in the same workshop material. Check your local training organizations or consultants; they may have similar workshops available. Alternatively if you’re not already a member you should consider joining an organization like itSMF, Business Relationship Management Institute or ISACA to name a few and connect with people in your area and organize regional activities.


The other component of a conference which may be hard to reproduce is the networking. While it is not the same as face to face, connecting with social media will allow you to broaden your horizons and get valuable insights into global service management challenges rather than local ones. It will also give you the ability to connect with pundits who have had vast amounts of experience in culturally diverse situations. 


 Not all conferences are put together the same. So really look at what content they are presenting and how you and your organization will benefit from you (and possible your team) from attending. In my experience trying to get management to sign off on you going to Las Vegas for example can be a battle in itself. So you really need to market this to them in a way which leaves them saying “who else should we send?”


Link up the reasons for attending to address challenges for your business. You could phrase it like “one of our top challenges at “Our Co” is that we don’t have a good sense of understanding our business, there are two presentations and a half day workshop which might help us to improve this.” This type of preparation will get you farther than just blindly asking to attend. Also the materials you see in the conference are generally attainable and you could share them with your team upon your return. Marketing is important.


In summary, despite the fact if you can attend a conference or not, there are vast quantities of information out there for you to leverage. Poke around, ask questions and get involved.


You can connect with me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie or on LinkedIn

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Membership – Should I Stay or Should I Go

Oddly enough hot on the heels of the brexit vote I received an email reminder for renewal for a professional membership. If membership has its privileges what is the value point that tips the scales to renew.

The email I received outlined the usual benefits. Networking, content, discounts to events. However as of late I have been more value focused and began to scrutinize the cost benefit for renewal. From what I could tell most of the ‘benefits’, at least in this organization, were not that defendant on membership.

Here’s how I broke it down….

Networking

I would be able to connect with people in the same manner that I would without membership via things like social media. This particular organization did not have an online community that I could access so getting connected with like-minded professionals was pretty well left to me in the first place.

Content

Almost all professional organizations have content that is only permitted to members, which is one of the draws of initial membership. However once you have been to the shop a few times you can see that the way that they are managing their knowledge is not luring you to come back for more. The white papers, slide decks and templates become dated and lowers the value for a return consumer.

Discount to Events

At some events I found that some people even did the math on membership discounts over the year to see if they would come out ahead. While this organization may have great events the ability to enjoy them or participate was not improved with a membership.


Even looking at it from overall not all chapters in these organizations are managed equally. Some countries have a larger resource pool for people volunteering and as a result can be managed in a way that allows for increased value as compared to others.

So what do you do? For me finding a collaborative space within social media allows for a broad networking space while still attending events in a non-member capacity allows me to keep my local connections up to date. A professional organization which from my perspective is a great model is the Business Relationship Management Institute. As a member I find that they have a blend of all things I need at price that right with regularly curated materials including a body of knowledge, blogs and webinars.

So again I pose the question to you, what is a key driver in not only becoming a member but staying a member year after year. Reach out and let me know what you think.



Feel free to connect with me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie and/or on LinkedIn



Thursday, 9 June 2016

My PINKNorth16 Experience


This past week I had the opportunity to speak at a PINKNorth16 in Toronto. While I have attended a few Pink events in the past, this was my first time presenting there. The event itself is what you would come to expect from Pink Elephant; well organized, fast paced and full of diverse content for connoisseurs of all things service management.

While my presentation was on “7 Top Tips to Start and Sustain Problem Management” there was a wide variety of topics including IT Asset Management, Business Relationship Management and Organizational Change Management to name a few.

Aside from absorbing all the content you could possible handle in 2 days there was an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded professions from all levels. In my opinion, networking coupled with content enables you to get a balance of information at an event of this nature.

The key to get yourself at one of these events is to make a case to whoever pulls the purse strings at your organization. You will need to frame it in a way that will outline the return on investment for attending the conference. Take a look at the sessions and tracks and apply them to your current organizational hurdles. For the most part the session will only be the beginning of the discussion as many presenters like me are available to discuss and answer questions that might apply to your organization.

If given the opportunity to speak at a Pink event again I would jump at the chance.

Until then feel free to reach out and connect with me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie and/or on LinkedIn if you have any comments or questions


Monday, 16 May 2016

How to Work on the Right Problems

In some cases the problems with problems are that we isolate the process from the rest of the world. This is a process that should not be a secret and should be working with all aspects of service delivery. So it should come as no surprise that a key to the success of problem management is a strong link with incident management. This needs to be managed at a root level which relies largely on communication and collaboration within all service management processes.

In my opinion one of the challenges is that as incidents are pouring in, we assume (dangerous word) that problem picks them up and works on them. The trouble is that without some solid communications and collaborative work between incident and problem we will not effectively be able to manage the problems we work on.

Here’s why,
Depending on how problem management prioritizes the influx of work, without some solid understanding of things like business impact, we may be working on the ‘wrong things’ from the start.

To fix that ...
Start by ensuring that all stakeholders impacted by the problem management process are communicating with one another right from the beginning. This should include (but not limit) a representative from the service desk, change managers and incident managers. Whether we have people whose role is a problem manager, or it is a role carried out by others, allowing for a touch point to review as a group will allow the problem review to ensure that we are looking at the right incidents in the first place.

When we start to get people with varying perspective on how incidents are impacting the business together we get a better ‘big picture’ sense of what is important to the business. The best way to validate this is to actually ask the business. This is where your business relationship manager might play a role in your review of the incidents.

While in some cases we in IT might see that the more incidents we have the more there is impact but having a representative from the business will provide that validation that we are looking at the right things. In some cases the biggest issues are the ones that are no longer getting escalated because the business has lost hope that we will even look at it, never mind fixing it.

Have these reviews regularly and review what has happened since the last meeting and ground you have covered or need to unblock. This will strengthen not only the ability to create, prioritize and work on problems but also to build out abilities in its related processes like knowledge and change management.
 

Feel free to connect with me on Twitter @ryanrogilvie and/or on LinkedIn
 
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