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People are IT’s Most Crucial Assets

An argument that ITIL version 4 does IT a service by focusing on the human component of this working system.

Having a Service Management passion for many years, I have to thank the authors in the most recent ITIL version 4 framework. They have done their homework and looked and listened to organizations worldwide.

By that, I specifically mean they have spelled out the importance of the human component. Whilst it is certainly worth noting that processes and business/IT alignment is imperative, none of these are of any use if your employees are not invested in your organization or its improvements, or if they don’t feel like they have pride that their contributions are recognized and appreciated.

One of ITIL V4 modules where this stands out is “Direct, Plan and Improve”. It speaks to aligning a team’s objectives to the organizational strategy, guidance on organizational change and culture, governance, risk and compliance, innovation, and, of course, continual improvement, which is embedded in the entire ITIL framework.

I don’t believe any framework is perfect, but frameworks are best practices/guidelines that can be adopted by any organization and fine-tuned to make the perfect recipe for any area that may require improvement.

The key parts that “Direct, Plan and Improve” module covers are:

SCOPE OF CONTROL

“A person’s scope of control is the extent of the area(s) or activities over which the person has authority to direct the actions of others or define the required outcomes”.

Every employee has, at a minimum, a scope of control restricted to themselves and the activities that pertain to their job role and responsibilities. You are the master of your own domain.

Decision-making can be structured at various levels of your organization. It certainly makes more sense to consult and engage the “boots on the ground” employee with technical expertise on applications and systems, rather than an outright decision being made at the highest levels At the highest levels, they may not have the in-depth knowledge or risks associated with making a selection, and may rather choose what they like or what the latest craze is at the time.

Look closely at how your organization can involve everyone in decision-making. This gives your employees higher morale, greater productivity and a willingness to accept new responsibilities.

GOVERNANCE, RISK AND COMPLIANCE

Governance sets the direction and is an input into your organization’s improvements. Controls put in place must be effective where employees can easily follow, without allowing room for circumvention, an area that is typically overlooked when implementing these controls. Controls equals desired results.

Small wins along your journey will ensure you will ultimately meet your goals and the outcomes you set out to achieve. When looking at risk management, every organization should have short-, medium-, and long-term goals clearly outlined.

Short-term goals (operational): Addressed at the operational level. These goals ensure continued and ongoing service and support. Risks at this level must support medium- and long-term goals.

Medium-term goals (tactical): Addresses project portfolios that can bring change to the organization where there are timeline and financial responsibilities.

Long-term goals (strategic): Addressed via strategic decisions which should be evaluated and reviewed regularly to tackle or mitigate potential risks. Portfolio Management is an input into decision-making for the entire Service Value System and all its value streams from demand right though to value (end-to-end).

ITIL’s approach to Risk Management is the value of assets, threats, vulnerabilities, and counter measures.

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT (OCM)

OCM is about the people that help you build and keep your business running and improving. Any change or improvement in an organization will affect people’s behavior, their roles, or both. OCM is used from the very beginning of a change or improvement to ensure its success.

Make full use of skills and experience. Remember the RACI model? The two most neglected areas are Consulted and Informed. More communication is better than none. You are recognizing your employee’s intellectual and emotional needs. By consulting and informing, you are being efficient, effective, responsive, professional and kind. Encourage feedback through various mediums. Establish their concerns so it can be baked into the communication support.

OCM is a major component in Direct, Plan and Improve:

Direct: How can you change people’s behavior? Use OCM principles and methods to tap into ways of overcoming resistance.

Plan: Bring people in from the beginning of the change or improvement. Basically, gather all the ingredients from the get-go to ensure a successfully executed recipe.

Improve: You need participation and commitment from people. Methods of engaging each different stakeholder group should be defined.

Serving for Success means connecting, collaborating and engaging with the most important assets in your organization – your people.