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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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Tips for Getting Problem Management off the Ground



Growing up, there was an abundance of kids in the neighborhood who were riding skateboards. As would be expected there were some that were really good and others, like me, who were not. One summer the city brought in a half pipe and located it at the local rec center, likely to keep us skating in one place and out of trouble. For those who are not aware a half pipe is a large ‘U’ shaped ramp. The fact that this was in our area was a huge deal so everyone lined up nice and early on the first day it was open. The crowd was enormous; everyone was eagerly waiting to get up there to try it out. The first guy that got on this thing was a real pro, he was able to do things that not only looked good but he made it look effortless. The next 5 or 6 people were epic failures. The second to last guy had to be helped off the ramp by some friends. It was at this point that the line to try it out was getting smaller and smaller. People were realizing that this might not be as easy as it looked and the consequences of failure were somewhat painful.

Problem management can be viewed in a similar light. Some organizations make it look effortless, while others have a more painful experience with it and the rest of us stand there watching on the sidelines not wanting to try at all.

Here are some simple suggestions to get things going

The first piece of advice is that you don’t have to do this alone. You might need to get a subject matter expert to help you coordinate your efforts. This might involve short or longer term engagements but getting things off on the right foot is going to be critical to get you where you need to go. Getting some feedback from people in the IT community is also a good place to bounce ideas around.  

While I listed this tip second, it is equally as important. Keep it simple, we don’t need to boil the ocean, so take an agile approach and make iterative improvements. Having small objectives will simplify the ability to achieve your goals and in return allow you to demonstrate that you are making progress.

In the theme of keeping it simple we also want to ensure that this is cost effective. We don’t necessarily need to hire an army of problem managers or buy a new tool to get the job done in the beginning. While this could be something we look into later we will allow our results and organizational need determine that.  

Tip number 4 is to plan your progression in stages that work for your organization. Getting a cadence of activity will help will allow teams to schedule activities in advance and work on them on allotted time frames. Each organization will have a different appetite for what timing looks like so go with the flow in your organization

Lastly, this is not a ‘side of the desk’ activity so ensure that you allocate the appropriate time to complete activities. In the end it will always come back to helping the business to achieve their goals. The business is not concerned on what ‘problem management’ is, they care about results.

While my career as a professional skateboarder might have never taken off, following these steps will allow your team to get off the sidelines and make some progress to improve or implement problem management.


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


 
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Monday, 11 April 2016

Get Rolling on Feedback

There is always a desire to continually improve. A key component to this is the ability to collect and share feedback as it pertains to the area that you are looking to improve upon. From our first memories we are getting feedback on how we are performing. From our parents, coaches and teachers we have a history of getting some level of review from those around us on daily activities. So it should be second nature to solicit, receive and take action on professional feedback, right?



Well in some cases, despite our best intentions, we have not built in a strategy to account for particular levels of feedback for defined improvement initiatives.

So, how do we proceed?

First, target an area for improvement. The key word here is target; keep the scope simple to ensure you are able to make incremental improvements. Feedback works best when it relates to a specific goal. Outlining what we want to improve in the first place will better set us up for asking for the right information on feedback forms such as surveys.

Next, we need to plan how we will review and respond to,  feedback provided. People will be far more receptive to giving us information if they know that it is actually making a lasting difference in ways that matters to them. Plan to review and where appropriate respond on a schedule. This provides consistency for those receiving a response, but remember that keeping this simple will allow for you and your team to be able to consistently provide responses. It can be very easy to let this get out of control. Determining a timeline for the process of collection and review will depend on the improvement strategy which you are setting. For example some improvement initiative may revolve around workplace satisfaction which may be conducted annually as compared with a survey on speed of service for a particular customer interaction which may be more frequent

Once we have the feedback, translating it into something we can work with this the next step. In some cases the feedback on a personal interaction may need to be presented in a way which will reinforce the goal we are trying to accomplish in a ‘positive’ way, this is not say we should sugar-coat the feedback. However people may dwell more on a comment with a negative connotation rather than the issue it was meant to describe.

In the end collecting and responding to feedback will allow for your organization to improve not only the service which it provides but improving communication between you and your business as well.

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

 

 

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