[3] Context of a Service Management Method

The Dutch Experience - part 3 in the series on SMMs – read part 1 and part 2

A Service Management Method (an SMM) is – indeed – a method. A method is defined as a reproducible, systematic approach towards a specific goal, which can be learned and applied. It is characterized by a way of thinking, a way of modeling, a way of applying, a way of managing, and a way of supporting the required system elements. It is generic by definition, and it can be applied to a wide variety of situations, because the situation-specific characteristics are not part of the method.

Most of the popular frameworks (COBIT, ITIL, FITS, etc.) are reference models, covering only part of what a method should be. These models are made up of practices and they are not intended to be implemented. Their undeniable value is in delivering references, to be used as inspiration, but not as implementation models.

This implies that everyone using best practice guidance from these frameworks should create their own management system to be used for achieving the goals documented in these best practices. This is not an easy task, especially because these frameworks do not provide guidance on how to create the required management system. For that reason, architecture and standardization are basic requirements for a successful approach. And that is exactly what we're missing so dearly.

The entire IT industry is focused at technology, practices and products, delivering anything that is possible with IT, mostly because it's possible. After decades we're still trying to align IT services to business requirements. SLA's en Service Catalogs still do not reflect business requirements. The best explanation I can come up with for this rather shocking conclusion is bad commissioning. Customers simply can't stand up to the sales power of IT providers, or perhaps they are too horny for the fantastic technology that is offered. Or perhaps it's simply a matter of incompetence or underestimation. Whatever the reason...

Organizations get the IT they deserve...

If we want to consistently improve the value that is delivered by IT services, we'll have to use a different perspective. A generic and standardized Service Management Method for successfully applying the best practices that are documented in the popular frameworks would be a basic requirement. Unfortunately, most providers do not make their money from quickly delivering low-cost solutions that work, but from delivering hours and products for as long as they can. So we'll need a different kind of organization to get to such a solution.

Let's see what 2016 brings us. I'm confident that we'll see some new initiatives that tackle this, from a methodical point of view.

Part 4 of this series will deal the fundamental elements of a method.

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