When I named my blog Rolling Uphill, I initially had in mind the Deming Cycle figure in ITIL’s CSI publication; but Rolling Uphill has other meanings as well.

The Deming Cycle

‘is underpinned by a process-led approach to management where defined processes are in place, the activities are measured for compliance to expected values and outputs are audited to validate and improve the process.’

ITIL 3 Continual Service Improvement, page 29
ITIL CSI – Figure 3.1 – The Deming Cycle

The Savage Journey

“…an essay on what I have been calling a savage journey on the road to IT service management excellence; because anyone who’s tried ‘process improvement’ knows that this is an endless, uphill roll.”

Rolling Uphill, Lessons Learned on a Savage Journey to Service Management
Teamwork example with business people pushing stone to top

Rolling Uphill Mindsets

“Just bringing your values card to the meeting is not enough.”

Rolling Uphill, A Bunch of Fun Begins

An important and often overlooked aspect of Rolling Uphill is mindset, particularly from leadership. An example of this is blameless post mortems; before we hang someone we look in the mirror and make sure that everyone understands that I am Responsible for Quality.

This involves ensuring that expectations are understood, responsibilities are clearly defined and known by stakeholders, accountability is consistent and people involved have the required skills or training to accomplish tasks.

I am responsible for quality

Avoiding Gravity Hills

“The slope of gravity hills is an optical illusion. … The most important factor contributing to the illusion is a completely or mostly obstructed horizon.”


When we select a global dot on the horizon as part of an improvement cycle,

“…the dot on the horizon depends on the current situation and routines, but also on the change capacity of the organization.”

The Unified Service Management method

Carefully choosing improvement goals and refining them along the way are an important part of this. For example, during a USM deployment, the deliverables are continuously refined, an explicit dot on the horizon is established, and a USM deployment plan is drawn up. In each of the subsequent improvement sprints, the improvement goals are defined/re-defined in an additional and very concrete way.

This avoids the illusion of gravity hills.


The Rolling Uphill Blog is where I’ll be ranting about new thinking around service management, including the Unified Service Management Method.

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Published by myservicemonitor

I am an independent service management consultant with two decades of experience helping customers.

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