This Is The IT Help Desk

This was a funny true story that happened recently. 


Someone found a roach walking around their desk in the office. 


Not knowing who to call…they call the (IT) Help Desk.

Hello. What is the asset number on the device you are calling about?

Asset Number! You don’t need my asset number.

Well, what is the nature of your problem?

I’ll tell you what my problem is. The problem is that I have a cockroach walking around on my desk!”

Ah, do you know that you are calling the IT!!! Help Desk?

Ah, yes I do. Can you give me the number for who to call about this roach?

Ah, you are calling the wrong number. Why don’t you try finding out who your facilities person is?

Facilities person! But you guys are the Help Desk! Can’t you tell me how to get help to get rid of this roach? And by the way–where there is one, there are definitely more.

Ah, We don’t typically handle roach problems, but thank you for calling the Help Desk. {{click}}


I know many organizations are moving to Enterprise Service Desks where you can call and get help for all sorts of issues at work. 


Even then, I wonder if the employees answering the line will be trained in who to call to get a Roach Motel or some Raid. 


Perhaps this is the next evolution of support.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Kanban Visual Task Boards

Just wanted to share this best practice for Kanban or Visual Task Boards


This is a way to layout work/workflow and track and communicate progress. 


Previously, many professionals use colored sticky notes on a wall or whiteboard.


Today, tools like ServiceNow have the capability built right in. 


This was an example that I created in just a few minutes. 


Visualize your team’s work and focus on what needs to get done, who the tasks are assigned to, the status, and keep driving continuous improvement in the workflow and project. 


Color coding can be used for different tasks and you can see the legend at the top.  

Tasks can be easily dragged and dropped from one column (status) to another. 


Create transparency and collaboration on your projects–try Kanban Visual Task Boards. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

What Type Of IT Error Is That?

Smart Idiot
So true story…



One of my collegues was giving me a status on an IT problem in the office. 



With a very straight face, he goes, “Yeah, it was an I.D. 10 T error!”



I’m just looking at him with a sort of blank face (I must have been emanating something like, “What are you talking about Willis?”)



And he repeats, “An I.D. 10 T error…uh?”



Ok, one more time, I haven’t had my coffee yet.



So he goes dotting his head, “What you haven’t heard about an I.D. 10 T error?”



“All right, you got me…What is an I.D. 10 T error.”



And as I’m saying it out loud and visioning it on paper, his little joke is out of the box.



Hey cut me some slack, I’m a Jewish kid from the Bronx and so I innocently say, “An IDIOT Error?”



Now he’s nodding his head up and down in excitement, “An end user–IDIOT–error!”



And he starts laughing his head off. 



Ok boys and girls in IT…rule #16 of office etiquette, please don’t call the end-users, idiots.



Back to customer service (and sensitivity) training for some of the jokesters on the team… 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>ITIL Version 3 – Serving Customers Like A Fine Restaurant

>

This is not a framework or vendor endorsement, but I liked this simple video explaining ITIL version 3.

It explains the five key IT service cycles by comparing them to business services in a restaurant, as follows:

1) Strategy to headquarters creating restaurant theming
2) Design to chefs developing the restaurant menu (to meet customer needs)
3) Transitions to cooks running the restaurant kitchen (reliably)
4) Operations to waiters/waitresses delivering services (and owning customer satisfaction)
5) Service Improvement to the maitre d’ ensuring quality standards

The video is a little quirky in the way it cycles back and forth between ITIL and the restaurant, but overall I think the analogy works!

>Federal Computer Week – Discussion of ITIL and EA

>Services listed under ITIL and enterprise architecture models are
different in nature, said Andy Blumenthal, chief technology officer at
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who did not
speak on behalf of the agency.

“When we talk about services in an EA context, we refer to those that
are used for mission and business purposes,” he said. “In contrast,
ITIL-type services are underlying support functions to the customer,
such as problem identification and resolution. An example of an EA
service versus an ITIL service would be a document management solution
versus a help desk or network management function.”

“Traditionally, architecture efforts have been notorious for being an
ivory-tower effort that results in shelfware,” Blumenthal said. ITIL
proponents also tend to be squirreled away in data centers and not
inclined to consult with architects.

A cultural shift is necessary, Blumenthal said. Enterprise architects
in particular must become more user-oriented if they’re going to stay
relevant in a changing technology environment, he added.

To read the entire article go to:
http://fcw.com/articles/2009/12/07/comparing-ea-and-itil.aspx

>Improving Project Management and The Total CIO

>IT projects are notorious for coming in late, over cost, and not meeting the customer’s needs.

CIO.com has an excellent article on ways to improve project management in an article entitled, “When Failure is Not an Option,” by Meredith Levinson (3 July 2008).

For organizations, good project management is a critical success factor!

“Project management is the number-one success factor for getting anything done in the organization. A firm’s ability to execute its strategy lies with its ability to manage projects,” according to Sam Lawler, the director of GlassHouse Technologies’ project management practice.

Yet, for years, organizations have faulted CIOs and IT departments with failed IT projects. As recently as 2004, a study by The Standish Group found that only 29% of IT projects “were completed on time, on budget, and with all features and functions originally specified.”

Project management methodologies work when business and IT work together as a team.

There are various methodologies being employed to try to improve project’s success, such as PMBOK and ITIL. However, IT projects’ success depends on IT and business people working together to achieve results; if this partnership and collaboration doesn’t happen, then no PM framework will bring us the project success we desire. Our organization’s business people are critical to ensuring project success—they develop the business case, identify requirements/functional specifications, realign and improve business processes, and test technical solutions to ensure they meet mission and business needs.

No longer is it about tossing the proverbial hot potato to IT and then pointing fingers and assigning blame when something doesn’t work right. Instead, the business and IT people are on the same team, sharing accountability, and working toward the success of the project and the enterprise.

Performance measurement is a must:

Improved project management needs to be accompanied by measurement of project success and reporting on these to executive management. We can’t manage what we don’t measure. And we need transparency to senior management to ensure that everyone—business and IT—have “skin in the game.”

Further, there are trade-offs in project management between cost, schedule, and scope/performance. Changing one affects the others, so we need to manage projects harmoniously in this triad. If for example, a project is delayed or costs more, but delivers on added functionality requested by the business, then the project can still be a success. At the end of the project, success is defined by the business!

>IT Governance and Enterprise Architecture

>I came across an interesting IT Governance Global Status Report 2008 from the IT Governance Institute.

The study and report was conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was the third one of its kind—the first two conducted in 2003 and 2005. In this latest study for 2007, interviews were conducted with 749 CIOs and CEOs in 23 countries.

Here are some interesting findings from the study on how enterprises are fairing on IT governance and my thoughts on these:

Championed by—in most cases CIOs champion IT governance (40%), followed by CEOs (25%), and then by CFOs (9%).

Since CIOs are predominantly responsible for IT governance, they need to step up and elevate governance as well as its complementary function, enterprise architecture, and resource it as a priority for effectively managing IT investments.

Business management engagement—68% of respondents said that business management participates (42%), leads (14%), or is fully accountable (12%) for IT governance.

From my experience, often business managers are more engaged in IT governance than IT managers; we need to work with the all the SMEs (IT and business) to understand the importance of IT governance and encourage and engage them for their active participation.

Positive view of IT—“Non-IT people…have a much more positive view of IT” than do IT people. 72% of general management agree strongly on the value creation of IT investment versus only 46% of CIOs.

We need to explore why IT professionals have a more negative view of IT than our customers on the business side of the house have and to reconcile this. Is it just that we are professionally self-critical or that know more about our dirty laundry?

Importance of IT to overall corporate strategy—“93 percent of respondents answered that IT is ‘somewhat’ to ‘very important’ to the strategy.”

IT is important to the business achieving its strategic goals. We need to ensure sufficient time, attention, and resources are allocated to developing an IT strategy and enterprise architecture that aligns to and support the business strategy.

IT governance implementation—Only 52% are ‘in the process of’ (34%) or ‘have already implemented’ (18%) IT governance; however, another 24% are considering implementing.

We need to pick up the pace of IT governance implementation. IT governance is critical establishing and enforcing the IT Strategic Plan and enterprise architecture, to vetting IT investment decisions and sharing risks with project shakeholders, and providing oversight and due diligence to ensure successfully project delivery.

Current IT governance practices—Some of these include: “IT resource requirements are identified based on business priorities” (80%), “boards review IT budgets and plans on a regular basis” (72%), “IT processes are regularly audited for effectiveness and efficiency” (67%), “Central oversight exists of overall IT architecture (IT Architecture Board or Committee)” (63%), “IT project portfolio is managed by business departments supported by the IT department” (59%), “Some form of overall IT Strategy Committee exists” (58%), Standard procedures exists for investment selection (IT Investment Committee)” (55%).

IT governance best practices are well established through frameworks such as COBIT, ITIL, and ISO20K. We need to leverage use of these frameworks to develop our organization’s IT governance solutions and ensure this vital enterprise architecture enforcement mechanism!