Too often we hear that leadership doesn’t get Service Management. They have heard about it, but are still wondering what to do with, what to expect from it, or how to go about it. Or what about leadership who claims to know all about it, but then when you look closely, they actually still have a lot to learn. Or leadership that is paying lip service, because rocking the boat is just the last thing that is needed?
It is a topic for another blog, but it makes you wonder why, after more than two decades of successes with millions of IT dollars less wasted and proven business performance improvements, there is still no wide adoption across the board? And doesn’t leadership know that Service Management is contributing profoundly to elevating our industry as a whole?
Either way, there is hope: ISO/IEC 20000; the international standard for Service Management. And, guess what, one of its quality principles is leadership. This means that it seeks leadership’s active involvement and commitment regarding improving the quality of services and as such the quality of its people, processes and tools and technology and as a result, the value IT delivers to the business. Sounds like a sales pitch? Well, then read this paragraph again and let it sink in. If it still sounds too good to be true, it is time to smell the roses.
I can imagine that when leadership reads this blog so far it may not feel enticed to jump on board with the direction that is suggested; trying ISO/IEC 20000. To lower the bar, let me share a few best practices the standard is looking for leadership is actually practicing.
ISO/IEC 20000 expects from leadership that it ensures:
1. There are goals and objectives, based on business goals and objectives that are frequently reviewed and adjusted as needed
2. There is a plan, i.e. a strategy it puts together to meet these goals and objectives and frequently reviews and adjusts those as needed
3. There are resources, human, technical, information and financial, and a policy to execute on this plan, as well as an approach to assess manage risks to services
4. There is an approach to communicate these goals and objectives and this plan so all involved are appropriately informed and it frequently reviews and adjusts the approach if needed
5. It appoints management representation and there is delegation of roles, responsibilities and authorities to enable the management and execution of the activities involved with meeting goals and objectives
Earth-shocking this list…? I hope not! If is it, you may be suffering from the Peter syndrome? No worries if that is the case. There good news is; there is a cure for that too. A CIO who led his organization towards ISO/IEC 20000 certification said it loud and clear: “ISO/IEC 20000 assured me that I was managing my organization end-to-end. With the help of the standard I was able to wrap my arms around what our customers expected from us, what I needed to do to lead my organization to meet our customers’ needs.” And by the way, he would be happy to talk to you directly about his experience. His organization is on a steady path of lowering operational expenses for more than four years.
Still interested learning more at this point? Well, the standard provides lots of details and implementation guidance regarding each of the aspects listed above. That’s the beauty of ISO/IEC 20000. It not only tells you what the minimum requirements are for effectively delivering your services, it also relates the requirements with management best practices drawn from a range of popular frameworks and to-the-point related standards.