(another) Mindful Monday: The enterprise service management mountain

An enterprise service management system drives continual improvement, and for many this mountaintop seems far away. But a standard management system for the enterprise can be established one rock at a time.

The Unified Service Management Method’s universal approach to defining ALL services — along with 5 processes and 8 workflows that apply to ALL service providers — create uniform building blocks that enable a simple, sustainable service management system to be achieved incrementally over time.

Today’s service delivery involves complex ecosystems that involve multiple services within a larger supply chain or network. Regardless of where they are within this chain or network, every service organization performs the same activities to manage their part of the service.

Whether the provider is delivering an integral (i.e., end-to-end) service or is part of a larger network of services, they each strive to convert customer needs into predictable performance using people, processes, and technology.

All providers will make changes, handle incidents, deal with customer wishes and manage risk. Who and how they accomplish these activities will vary, but these routines can be structured in a uniform way that simplifies their management.

This enables an organization the flexibility to use the USM method anywhere in the enterprise, and incrementally expand it over time. USM provides a level of standardization and interoperability that allows for changes to procedures and work instructions without re-work, so as your service ecosystem changes or your ecosystem providers add new practice frameworks you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

This provides a service management system that can be built and maintained — one rock at a time — using simple, standardized and sustainable service management building blocks.

Mindful Monday: Wisdom and the Nature of the Beast

The importance of establishing a service management system is old news; but it may be time to re-learn some old lessons: get your management system in order with a simple method.

It’s funny how wise words can seem boring; we’ve heard about establishing a service management system for years now. The nature of the improvement beast often comes from people who have been pushing the improvement ball uphill for a very long time.

The question is, have we been listening?

When I talk to people about the USM Method and say that it can help you establish a simple, sustainable service management system I can almost see the wheels in their heads spinning immediately to technology and ‘service management systems’.

And this completely misses the point.

Technology is only one of the organizational resources used in a management system:


Management system: the coherent set of organization resources that you organize and coordinate to realize your goals effectively and efficiently.


Applied to a service organization, a service management system defines the organizational structure, the roles, functions and profiles, the tasks, authorities, and responsibilities (TAR), the rules and guidelines, the culture, the means, and the routines: processes, procedures, and work instructions.

It is also well known that process comes before technology (remember that one?). Wise words indeed.

But are we listening?

Another common misconception about the USM Method is that it’s another practice framework. Even after repeatedly describing the differences between practice-based frameworks and a principle-based method (it’s even in the name!), I can tell that this has not always been fully understood.


Service management method: a fixed, well-thought-out course of action, based on principles, for the management of services.


A service management method is much more generic than a framework based on concrete practices. A service management method can produce all conceivable practices of a service organization and serves as a blueprint for practice-based frameworks. The method supports any organizational structure or technology.

With the emergence of enterprise service management and accelerating change, a simple and sustainable service management system is more important than ever.

It may not sound like ‘new thinking’, but the USM Method does take a look at service management from a perspective of wisdom.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Epictetus

Perhaps the USM Method is something worth listening to.

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Mindful Monday: Ask yourself…………. is The USM Method 4me?

Today’s enterprise portal encompasses all enterprise services and demands a simple, sustainable service management system at its heart. Attempting to adapt a single practice framework makes service management increasingly complex.

Today’s digital enterprise is leveraging multiple frameworks — ITIL, Scrum, COBIT, APQC, SCOR, IT4IT, NIST, ISO27001, and many others. The frameworks mentioned here are practice-oriented; they provide guidance on ways of performing tasks in actual situations. IT leverages ITIL, finance may use COBIT, and other business units may want to adapt APQC, Scrum or other ‘best practices’ based on their individual needs.

In 2015 I ran an IT Portal Boot Camp Series of webinars and talked about a one-stop IT shop which leveraged an IT portal and the ITIL framework. But attempting to ‘adapt’ a practice framework that was originally engineered for a specific business unit (such as ITIL for IT services) does not provide structural coherence with other practices within the organization.

A portal is a framework for integrating people and process across organizational boundaries, and this demands a unified service management system for the entire enterprise. USM provides a method for achieving this.

USM enables the enterprise to get in control of its service delivery, with a management system of 5 processes and 8 workflows.

“…Simplifying internal processes and structures will have positive impacts on the entire value creation capability of a company”

Deloitte

The Unified Service Management Method provides a standardized, unified link for sustainable supply chains in service ecosystems. The process model and standardized workflows are used by any organizational topology, leveraging any combination of practice frameworks for all internal and/or external service providers.

This step-by-step approach includes re-usable, standardized templates that easily apply to the entire enterprise and can be deployed incrementally. It improves interoperability between service teams by providing a level of standardization that does not limit localization of organizational structures or tooling.

“Managing complexity well can create … higher returnslower costsimproved employee satisfaction…”

McKinsey

If you are re-evaluating your current ITSM tool, struggling with ITIL or other practice frameworks or are looking to achieve a customer-driven level of maturity it’s clear to me that a simple, sustainable management architecture (not a technology architecture!) is what should be defined first.

4me, The USM Method fits this bill perfectly.

To see if The USM Method is 4you too, contact me today!

Will tomorrow always be another day away?

Starting my mindful Monday listening to Beaming Ortelius may have been a bad idea. Half-awake and listening to a podcast about CDEvents and a Keptn Deep Dive got me wondering if tomorrow’s always a day away…

Just because I’m not a developer doesn’t mean I’m not interested in development, and it doesn’t mean that lessons from the past can’t significantly benefit development either. Not everything good is open source, or even code related.

Open-source initiatives like Ortelius and Keptn are changing the game for developers, and we should encourage acceleration of efforts like these. But there are other things that matter as well, and that can directly impact both today’s value delivery as well as accelerate tomorrow’s.

The Unified Service Management Method (USM) is one of those things. As Jan van Bon stated in ITSM tools, using a methodical approach to establish an enterprise-wide management system for value delivery (i.e., services) that can accommodate different practices, toolsets and organizational designs can help today and tomorrow.

The use of 5 non-redundant processes and 8 standard workflows that can apply to any service and any service provider creates a simple and sustainable service management system that can be leveraged by the entire enterprise.

And the USM Method is not a day away; you can start today.

Is IT4IT for you?

I recently took a look at IT4IT’s version 3, and while there’s a wealth of information in there, I’m not sure it’s for me. Frameworks and standards such as ITIL and IT4IT provide huge bodies of knowledge, but today’s complex digital services demand a simplified and sustainable management system.

As the name suggests, IT4IT is limited to digital services. In fact, the IT4IT standard not only changed IT service to digital product it ‘changes this focus to address technology or code as the main actor in the delivery of an outcome of a service, removing those services performed by human labor[1].’

People are still actors in the delivery of outcomes. USM provides a sustainable management system for any enterprise service, not just IT services, so it applies to everyone in the enterprise. This also makes it far easier to consume than the IT4IT standard.

Again, as the name suggests, IT4IT is inside-out. The seven value streams described in the standard are designed to ‘combine all of the necessary capabilities to deliver value and support to the dependent parts of the Digital Product lifecycle’.

USM describes customer-driven service delivery. Four of the five processes and five of the eight workflows are customer-facing; USM is very much outside-in!

IT4IT provides a very detailed reference architecture that is designed to manage the business of IT. It ‘prescribes the value streams and capabilities required to manage the Digital Product lifecycle’. Similar to ITIL, IT4IT is practice-oriented; it provides ways to perform tasks in actual situations.

Whether IT4IT is for you depends on who you are and what you’re looking for. Jan van Bon posted about this years ago. I think large enterprises in particular will find plenty of good information in the IT4IT standard, and it should find a place in the enterprise reference library.

But what all enterprises need today is a dose of simplicity, and the Unified Service Management Method delivers that very well, as outlined in a single book.

USM is a method that provides the architecture and the management system to deploy any combination of practices in one integrated system, for any combination of teams or organizations, in any line of business.

Get a simple, sustainable management system in place with the USM Method; then pick and choose what other parts of your reference library apply to you.


[1] The Open Group IT4IT Standard, Version 3.0

Inside-Out Value Streams

Stuck in the Muda Again…

If we agree that all value originates outside the enterprise (i.e., Drucker), then the most important value stream is the customer journey value stream. And as that leads us to dive deep into the process river searching for ‘no-value-added activities’ we should be mindful about getting stuck in the ‘Muda ’ all over again.

Stuck in the Muda again…

Muda is a Japanese word meaning “futility; uselessness; wastefulness”, and is a key concept in lean process thinking

Wikipedia

While the focus on experience level agreements and value streams gets us aligned with external customers, and a wealth of guidance from practice frameworks help us pinpoint potential improvements, these are sometimes worlds apart.

No question about it, the need to accelerate flow is business-critical — accelerated ‘concept-to-product’ in the digital world is important. Movements like DevOps and CI/CD are happening for good reasons; every business wants to accelerate the time between “Ah-Ha!” and “Ka-Ching!”.

However, the rush to accelerate flow and spew out hundreds of new features is not necessarily what your customers may want. Often their basic desires are much simpler, and in fact our frantic desire to find ‘Muda’ often leads us back to inside-out thinking. The ITIL 4 guidance and things like experience level agreements are doing good things to help us avoid that.

Indeed, ITIL v4’s approach is to leverage the 4 dimensions (organizations & people, information & technology, partners & suppliers) along with value streams and processes to get a holistic view of service delivery.

While we can quickly adopt industry best practice frameworks, adapting them to ever-changing internal and external customer requirements is not so simple. This is partly because the who (people) and how (tools) are often tightly woven into a practice, which are ways of performing tasks in actual situations.

In addition, weaving partners and suppliers into the mix quickly gets even more complicated as we expand service ecosystems across internal and external service providers.

What happens is an endless game of chasing redundancy and waste (Muda). As our internal and external providers seek to improve — and change who and how they work— it forces change at higher levels of ‘process’ precisely because the who and the how are tightly woven into practice (the what).

Establishing a unified service management method can compliment your existing investments in practice frameworks by de-coupling the who (people) and how (work instructions/tooling) from what must be done as well as by providing a unified definition of a service for any internal or external provider.

In fact, it’s simple, cost-effective, as well as easy to learn and use by all stakeholders in the enterprise. By establishing 5 processes and 8 workflows for any service, providers can tailor procedures (who) and work instructions (how) without having to change the heart of the process (what).

The USM Method can be used for assessing the management system of a service provider, improving the management system of a service provider (i.e., an organization or team), determining outsourcing of tasks, and/or testing against external requirements/standards (i.e., audit).

Don’t stay stuck in the Muda.

Defining Digital Services

In the latest USM video Defining Digital Services, I review how the USM Method can become a uniform link in complex service ecosystems. One of the ways USM accomplishes this is through a simple, generic definition of any service.

Let’s try this again…

A common misconception of USM’s simple, standardized approach to service management may be that it is in some ways counter to today’s digital world which is VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous — see S&T Happens: Surviving and Thriving in a VUCA World), or that it is yet another framework.

But that could not be further from the truth!

USM is a method that allows the enterprise to easily establish a management system for any service. USM’s view that we live in a fragmented, connected, and dependent society contributes to the VUCA phenomenon and offers two approaches for dealing with this complexity.

One is focused on the human elements of attitude, behavior, and culture of the people involved in the delivery of services. Companies such as Teal Unicorn and BeingFirst’s Conscious Change Leadership can help with these people challenges.

The other includes an integral and integrated management approach that restores and optimizes the control over each contribution to the system, and consequently restores and optimizes the control over the whole system.

This is the USM approach, which applies systems thinking to the management of services. Customers need a way to continue to leverage existing and emerging best practice frameworks, but they must also simplify service management to meet the needs of the digital future.

Leveraging the non-profit SURVUZ Foundation’s Unified Service Management Method (USM Method), while continuing to use industry best practices, service providers can establish a service management system with five processes and eight workflows for any service organization.

USM is a simple, low cost and easy to implement method for establishing a service management system that addresses ALL services, is complimentary to existing and emerging practice frameworks and is flexible enough to work with any organizational or team structure.

I have always agreed that the people challenge around service management may be our biggest challenge, but it’s not the only thing we need to do; and we shouldn’t ignore a simple solution that you can read in a single book.

Check out the USM Method today!

A Mindful Monday repost…

Gonna go for a walk this morning, so today’s mindful Monday is a repost from Medium yesterday…. just started reading The agile Manager by Rob England and Cherry Vu….perhaps I’ll post some thoughts once I finish it….

https://medium.com/@john_2773/nature-of-the-beast-wisdom-is-free-but-knowledge-can-cost-you-a-fortune-aka-bring-a-method-to-19db9fc638d9
https://medium.com/@john_2773/nature-of-the-beast-wisdom-is-free-but-knowledge-can-cost-you-a-fortune-aka-bring-a-method-to-19db9fc638d9

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