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5 New Year’s Resolutions for ITSM Practitioners

By | December 29, 2015 in Service Desk

New Year's Resolutions for ITSM Practitioners

New Year’s resolutions are traditional at this time of year. So I’ve been thinking about what would be great resolutions for people who work in IT service management (ITSM). Here are my top five suggestions for you to consider.

Measure and Report What’s Important

Do you create lots of reports, full of numbers, charts and tables? When did you last talk to your stakeholders about what’s really important to them, so that you could make sure that your reports are relevant and focused?

A short report that has the information your customers really need is much more valuable than a long report full of numbers that they don’t care about. The beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect on what you’re reporting and consider whether you could create more value by reporting less. So why not take the time to review what you’re doing, and make changes if they’re needed?

Remember to talk to your customers before you make any changes, to ensure that you really are improving their experience.

Stop Doing Things that Don’t Create Value

Whenever I carry out ITSM process reviews, I always discover things that people do just because they’ve always worked that way. Eliminating activities that don’t create any value is a great way to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and speed up ITSM processes; and it’s surprisingly easy to do.

Create a process diagram on a piece of paper and list all the activities you do. Even better, make the time to do this as a team and create the process diagram on a whiteboard so everyone can take part. Then review each process activity and ask yourself a series of simple questions:

  • Is this activity really necessary?
  • Does this activity add real value for our customers?
  • Could we make this activity more efficient?
  • Could we stop doing it altogether?

At the end of this review you will know how to streamline your process so that it works much better for you, and for your customers.

Make 2016 the Year of Continual Improvement

IT organizations that embed continual service improvement (CSI) into their culture have a huge advantage over those that simply carry on working the way they always have. CSI doesn’t need to be big and cumbersome.  All you need to make CSI work is a belief that you can improve, and a willingness to foster the attitudes and behaviors that go with this.

So how do you get started with CSI?  It’s simple.  Write down all the ideas you already have for making improvements in a CSI register. A CSI register is just a list of improvement ideas with columns for things like what the improvement idea is, who suggested it, how you have prioritized it. Don’t make it too big and complex, just sufficient to make sure you manage and track your improvement ideas.

Some of the improvement ideas you come up with will be outside your control, and you just have to pass those on to whoever can implement them. Some will be things that your team can do, and you should share these with the team, prioritize them, and start working on the ones with the highest priority. Some improvement ideas will be personal for you, and these you can prioritize and implement all by yourself.

Once the top items on your list have owners, and dates for reviewing progress, you’re in business. You can find more suggestions for getting started with CSI here.

Think About How You Manage Availability

Do you have a process for doing availability management? Lots of organizations tell me that they don’t do availability management, but when I ask for details about how they manage services, I often discover that they have:

  • Countermeasures such as RAID, Clustering, and dual network connections to ensure that routine hardware failures don’t cause catastrophic service failures.
  • Data replication and backups, to ensure they can recover from loss of data, or data corruption.
  • Reporting of server and application availability, and sometimes even reporting of end-to-end service availability as experienced by the users.

These things form a great basis for a more formal availability management process, which can really help to ensure you meet your customers’ expectations. Often, the only things that are missing are some checklists and assignment of responsibilities to ensure that you have thought about all the likely risks, and taken appropriate measures.

So how about implementing a formal availability management process this year? A small amount of effort may help you to avoid costly and embarrassing downtime.

Update Your Certifications

One thing you could do for your own personal improvement is to update your knowledge and certifications. I would recommend these:

ITIL Practitioner

If you have taken an ITIL® Foundation exam then you will already be familiar with many different ITSM terms and processes, but this isn’t really enough to help you make a difference to your organization or your customers. There is a new ITIL certification, called ITIL Practitioner, which will be available from February 2016 and which will help you to take that crucial next step.

ITIL Practitioner is based on using continual improvement and includes a number of guiding principles and competencies that will help you to create real value. You can read more about it here.

RESILIA Best Practice for Cyber Resilience

Another new certification that may be relevant to ITSM practitioners is RESILIA™. This Cyber Resilience best practice is aligned with ITIL, and can help you to understand how the things you do in ITSM impact the cyber resilience of your organization.


So there you have my five suggestions for New Year’s resolutions. I’d love to hear what you’re going to change to make 2016 a great year. Please do post your resolutions below or let me know on Twitter. And I’d love it if you remembered to come back at the end of 2016 to share what you’ve achieved!

Image credit

Stuart Rance

About Stuart Rance

Stuart is an ITSM and security consultant, working with clients all round the world. He is one of the authors of ITIL 4, as well as an author of ITIL Practitioner, ITIL Service Transition, and Resilia: Cyber Resilience Best Practice. He is also a trainer, teaching standard and custom courses in ITSM and information security management, and an examiner helping to create ITIL and other exams. Now that his children have all left home, he has plenty of time on his hands for contributing to our blog - lucky us!

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