Batman, SIAM and Mean Time Between Ass Kickings: SITS16 Recap

It’s the London Olympia baby! Last week was the 2016 Service Desk & IT Support Show or SITS for short. SITS is a annual, free event in central London dedicated to all things tech support and ITSM related.


DevOps Needs Leaders – Daniel Breston

The first session we attended was run by fellow Batman super fan and all round ITSM rockstar Daniel Breston.



Taking all of 5 seconds to get a Batman reference into his content, this was clearly destined to be my favorite session of the day. Daniel opened by talking about the iceberg of ignorance, in other words, the further away you get from service delivery, the few problems that you see. Daniel continued by discussing how one of the biggest challenges faced by managers is taking the time to improve.

Daniel introduced the ITIL, Agile and Lean triumvirate explaining how it’s not enough to have best practice, we must be responsive to the needs of the business and efficient in the way we deliver enterprise services.

The next part of Daniel’s presentation focused on how DevOps is a way to do better faster safer on a continual basis. Daniel talked about the need to focus on the entire value stream of better faster safer from strategy right through to operations.

Daniel went on to talk about measurements and advocated putting your business reports in a language your company understands for example from zero to we got this! He also introduced a brand new metric which I think our friends at AXELOS towers should be all over in terms of including it in the next ITIL refresh.

The final part of Daniel’s session focused on behavior. As Daniel put it “DevOps starts with management talking to people and finding out what their problem are.” Daniel talked about the 3 ways to manage effectively environment:

  • You built it, you run it
  • Project to product
  • Strangle the complexity – lose the nonsense

His final point? Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way, preferably with beer!

The Pros and Cons of Public and Private Cloud – Sarah Lahav, SysAid Technologies


Sarah opened her session by talking about the recent LinkedIn hack; asking her audience how many of them were able to understand if their personal data had been compromised from the e-mail response issues by LinkedIn – ie the importance of asking the right questions.

Sarah went on to talk about the public cloud and private cloud and the pros and cons of each approach. Public clouds are typically easy to use, flexible and operated by a third party but may be unreliable and less secure than an in house solution. Private clouds are organisation specific, customisable and more secure but can be more costly and require in house expertise.

The next part of the session looked at how a hybrid model can give organisations the best of both worlds without increasing risk. Sarah went on to talk about case studies of the SysAid product from General Cable. Fluortek and LAN Airlines who has the impressive statistic of being able to handle seven times the number of Incidents since using SysAid.

Sarah concluded by explaining with the evolution of SaaS and cloud, it takes new skills to manage your estate effectively, Sarah’s advice? Every organisation is different so in terms of cloud provision, capture the requirements of your organisation and then plan accordingly.


Transforming The Service Desk With SIAM & Lean – Joe Bicknell, ServiceNow

The final session we attended was Joe’s session on Service desk transformation. Joe opened with the frankly terrifying statistic of outside the workplace, 84% of requests are automated, inside the workplace only 33% of requests are automated. The upshot? The average employee spends around 15 hours of their working week faffing about trying to  battle the admin mountain.


Joe went on to explain the ServiceNow way of thinking “we believe everyone in your organisation requests something and everyone in your business is a service provider in some way.”


Joe used ServiceNow to demonstrate how ITSM can be applied to the entire organisation, streamlining processes and removing silos. His top three takeaways?


  • Own IT Service Management in your business; it’s the key link between the front and back office.
  • Change the way you work, don’t use technology to compliment what you do
  • Take the workshop to your organisation and start to take Service outside of IT


Did you go to #SITS16? Let us know in the comments!!


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Event Listing: BCS CMSG Conference 2016

The BCS Configuration Management Special Interest Group are holding their annual conference in London on the 7th of June.


The theme of the conference is transitioning the future and the event will have three streams:

  • DevOps
  • Change Configuration & Release Management
  • SAM  Licensing & Strategy

This is the 11th conference run by the BCS CMG. The main conference objectives are to share experiences in how Configuration Management supports and enables Change Management in software development and ITIL Service Management. Software Asset Management (SAM) and licensing are critical to today’s organizations and the conference will detail new approaches and strategies to aid today’s practitioners. Best practices in adopting an integrated approach, and communicating and selling this to the rest of the organisation are essential elements.

The Conference will bring together managers and practitioners working across the service lifecycle (which incorporates the application lifecycle) together in an open forum.


Event Breakdown

What: The BCS CMSG Conference; Transitioning The Future

When: 7th June 2016 08:30 – 20:00

Where:  BCS, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA.

How To Book: Click Here


I’ll be one of the speakers at the conference (check out my session overview here) so if you’re attending the conference, come and say hi!

IT500 Conference: Introducing a CSI Sat Nav

Ahead of the IT500 Conference in June, I was lucky enough to speak to presenters Ian MacDonald and John Griffiths and discussed their workshop: “Introducing a CSI Sat Nav”.


Their session will explore why CSI is so critical to drive success and how to focus on the improvements that will make the most difference.

The workshop will look at how to get CSI going in an organisation, things people can do in the workplace to facilitate a CSI culture, scope setting and empowering people so that they can be advocates for improvement. The sat nav analogy will be used to explain the 6 step CSI model:

  • What is the vision?
  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How do we get there?
  • Did we get there?
  • How do we keep the momentum going?

You should attend this session if:

You would like advice on getting started, you’re interested in CSI or you’re looking for guidance and new ideas.

The official bit:

‘In this session we introduce the concept of the CSI sat nav and how it can be used to positively engage and motivate your team. With the competing demands of time and resource, we look at where we should actually target our improvements to actually deliver value to the business. Using the ITIL CSI model, we will show how to baseline current performance and measure ‘what good looks like’’.


Are you going to IT500? Let us know in the comments!


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Event Listing: IT500 Event; The IT Learning Conference – Everything IT Service Management & Operations

The ITSM Review are excited to be confirmed as official media partners for the latest IT500 event; The IT Learning Conference – Everything IT Service Management & Operations being held on 1st June 2016 in Edinburgh


Following on from the IT in the park event in November, IT500 surveyed their delegates to ask what else they would like to see in Scotland. The event will bring together 20 IT thought leaders and practitioners from across Europe to deliver a series of master classes and workshops designed to highlight obstacles, provoke creative thinking and provide answers to some of today’s IT challenges. How exciting is that?


Highlights include

  • IT4IT – how and where do you start?
  • 11 actions for SIAM success
  • DevOps – bring IT out of the shadows
  • Behave yourself – building IT relationships
  • Reignite your customer experience
  • Agile and DevOps in an ITSM world
  • Using ITIL practitioner skills to impress the CEO
  • ITSM in action – lessons from the real world
  • Introducing a CSI sat nav
  • Effective CSI in a SIAM eco system


Event Breakdown

WHAT: IT500 – The IT Learning Conference

WHERE: Edinburgh

WHEN: 1st June

WHO: IT500

HOW TO BOOK: Click Here.

We’re looking forward to attending and covering this event and hope to see you there!

BEYOND20 SIXTEEN – Beyond Practice: Exploring, Discovering, and Driving Business Value

Ahead of the BEYOND20 SIXTEEN conference next month I caught up with Chad Sheridan, CIO of the USDA Risk Management Agency to talk about his session  Beyond Practice: Exploring, Discovering, and Driving Business Value.


Chad’s session will explore the leadership and cultural changes needed to make Agile work, especially in a government environment. Chad will share his own experience of driving business value, enabling a culture change from command and control, top down leadership to a more organic model, trusting and empowering people to do their job. As Chad said “while it’s great to change from the top down as CIO partnering at the exec level, we need a whole team of change agents. It’s not a one person battle, it’s a multi threaded effort to win hearts and minds. Be ready for resistance – this is a fundamental change for the business to accept a value driven IT partnership.”

The session will look at how to drive effective organisational change to create a culture of safety and trust so that value and transformation can happen. Chad will take his audience on the journey from IT as an order taker to an enabler; moving from technical practitioners to curators of business value. Chad will also talk about how embracing Agile and DevOps means embracing uncertainty as a competitive advantage, using it to drive innovation.


You should attend this session if:

CIOs, leaders of Agile practices, DevOps practitioners and anyone that wants to drive change in their organisation.


The official bit:

The conference overview of Chad’s session is below:

DevOps, Agile, and ITSM implementations often focus on practices and tools, many times forgetting the primary purposes of these efforts—delivering business value. How do we deliver on the vision from The Phoenix Project, which proposes to end the “dysfunctional marriage” of IT and the business as separate entities?? Put on your explorer gear as this session walks you through the jungles, swamps, mountains, oceans and deserts of the digital world, searching for understanding and the means to move from IT practitioners to purveyors of business value.


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PINK16 Day 2 PM & Day 3 – Dead Cats, Football Legends & Batman

Multi-Speed IT Rob England, The IT Skeptic

Kicking off the afternoon on Day 2 was the legend that is Rob England aka The IT Skeptic

Rob opened his session by explaining that for IT to truly deliver value “we must accommodate multiple cadences; your IT cadence must be matched to the speed of your business”.

Rob went on to talk about how in order to stay relevant; we need to change our working culture: “Change Management need to move from Change control to Change facilitation”. The other example he used was avoiding “dead cat syndrome” aka as the Dev guys chucking something over the fence into production and expecting the Ops guys to make it work seamlessly. As a former colleague from Pink would say “that’s taking blind optimism at step too far”

Rob talked about how using the standard case model can add value; talking about having a standard lifecycle aligned to the bespoke requirements of your business. Looking to the future; Rob talked about how Change Managers will build the lifecycle so that Dev can manage production. He talked about the need for culture change stating “we will need a cultural change towards trust and empowerment. We need to stop people from gaming the system”.

On a practical level Rob talked about how faster doesn’t always = riskier explaining “you can automate controls within your pipeline”. Rob went on to talk about practical examples in Release Management “if you package everything into one massive release and chuck it into production, why are we surprised when everything breaks? If you’re releasing every day and something breaks, you know exactly what caused it so you can fix it straight away.”

Rob ended on this final message: “To deliver value, you need a spectrum of speeds that empower the business”. Go Rob”

Success Under Pressure: Gary Bailey, Former Manchester United Soccer Star & Speaker

The final session of the afternoon was with Manchester United legend Gary Bailey. In the interests of honesty, I was born on the United side of Manchester and then moved to Dublin when I was 6 months old. I’ve always been a massive Man Utd fan and always will be so excitement about this session from my side had reached almost Start Wars proportions.

Gary’s session was based on the premise that effective leadership under pressure is critical for achieving success. Gary shared the G.R.E.A.T principles of how to thrive under pressure and become even more successful in business.

Gratitude – or as Gary put it; look for the new in everything; be grateful for the good and for when you’ve avoided the bad stuff. Essentially;

Reframing: stop the inner criticism and reframe them. In other words; so what if that one person at work doesn’t’ like you. Lots of other people do.

Energy; aka exercising and STEPPING AWAY FROM THE SUGAR.

Advancement; keep improving or get left behind.

Teamwork: as Gary put it; say nice things to people as oxytocin is a natural cuddle drug.

Day 3

Morning Keynote – Four Conversations For Success – Stuart Knight

Stuart opened the morning with a session on creating powerful relationships. Stuart had been the MC and facilitator for the entire conference so a big high five to him for doing such a brilliant job.

Collective Genius: The Art & Practice Of Leading Innovation – Troy DuMoulin, VP, Research & Development, Pink Elephant

@troydumoulin ran a session on the principles of innovation, leaders of innovation, creating the environment & willingness for innovation and the 6 leadership paradoxes. As Troy put it; “innovation is a team sport. There is no guarantee that something will last forever, especially if we don’t focus on innovation”

Or, in other words: “get off the hamster wheel of death by organising for innovation”.

The second part of Troy’s session was the 6 paradoxes of collaboration:

Paradox 1; Affirm the individual and the group nn

Paradox 2: support & confrontation; allowing people to ask the hard questions within clear supportive rules

Paradox 3: Experimentation v performance; aka maintaining a sense of urgency

Paradox 4: Promote improvisation & structure ie more jazz ensembles over marching bands

Paradox 5: Show patience and urgency; ie create a leadership within peers

Paradox 6: Encourage initiative from the bottom up and intervene from the top down ie only get involved when people start throwing food at each other.

IT Governance Vs. Compliance : Taking Back The Strategy High Ground – Peter Hubbard, Principal Consultant, Head of Product Portfolio Development – UK, Pink Elephant

The final session we attended starred Pete Hubbard from @pinkelephantuk

Pete’s an ex colleague so there was no way I was going to miss a chance to heckle support him. Pete’s opening note was around governance and red tape explaining to his audience: “if people are complaining about red tape then you’re doing governance and compliance wrong.”

Pet went on to explain how COBIT can be used to support strategy by providing enhanced levels of governance and control.

Pete talked about process overkill asking the audience “put your hands up if you’ve seen an organisation with all 20 odd ITIL processes in place. Keep it up if it’s been a success.” You can imagine the response; as Pete said – it’s magical unicorn time.


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Pete explained how to use COBIT to ensure your ITSM processes map directly back to senior management objectives:

To recap: COBIT is an awesome way to map IT processes to business goals. Just remember; it’s there to enhance strategy alignment not replace it!

His final piece of advice on governance? “I don’t care if you use ITIL, COBIT, DevOps or a ouija board as long as your processes are effective, efficient and transparent.


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Nice work Mr Hubbard –  ex colleague high five!

With that, it was time to find the airport to make the long journey home. Thank you so much to @20yearspinky for having us. It’s been an amazing conference, and we’re already planning a return trip next year.

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Two Speed Transition – Agile vs. Traditional

The service transition SIG presented an interactive session at the itSMF conference in November to discuss modern innovative and traditional approaches to Service Transition.

The conference session covered Release Management, Service Catalogue and Early Life Support and arguments were made for both traditional and more modern innovative approaches in quick fire 5 minutes presentations.

After each round, the audience discussed and voted which approach they preferred.

Presenters were as follows:

Release Management

  • Agile – Matt Hoey
  • Traditional – Sue Cater

Service Catalogue

  •  Agile – Patrick Bolger
  • Traditional – Vawns Murphy

Early Life Support

  • Agile – Jon Morley
  • Traditional – Peter Mills

The final scores were as follows:

Two speed transition

As you can see in the table above, the audience favoured Matt’s approach to release management but were on the fence for both Service Catalogue and Early Life Support.

My key takeaway from the session was that most folks were keen to explore new innovative approaches as long as the key benefits were adopted from traditional methods.

Two Speed Transition – 5 minute Video Summary

For further information on the Service Transition SIG please visit

PINK16 Day 2 – Ship Wrecks, Innovation & Sacrificial Firings

IT Excellence Awards

Day 2 opened on a real high with the Pink Elephant ITSM Excellence awards. The winners were:

Best Innovation: Utopic

Practitioner of the year award: Robert Nessler of the state of Colorado

Project of the year award: Assurant

A huge congratulations to all the award winners and nominees – you’re all rock stars! The full list of nominees and winners can be found here.

Chairman & Founder, Delphi Group Tom Koulopoulos

@TKspeaks was the morning speaker for day 2. Tom opened by explaining why connectivity is everything:

Tom explained that innovation is key: “Only through disruption does innovation occur. The challenge is, we don’t like disruption, we love the pattern. We’re moving from an era of digitisation to an era of datafication. Ignoring disruption and innovation is no longer an option”. As uncertainty increases, so does opportunity”. Tom went on to outline the four types of innovation:

  1. The device – we can’t have iTunes without the iPod.
  2. The data – we add in  iTunes so that people can listen to music.
  3. Personalise the experience – genius playlist
  4. Tell customers what they need based on our behaviour – Amazon suggestions

This leads to a fifth step; Is when innovation is automated to be systemic within the process.

The second part of Tom’s session focussed on the Datification process. Tom explained that for effective datification “deliver experience first, mobile enable, add personalisation, reduce friction, and create an ecosystem.”

The final part of Tom’s presentation focused on collaboration. As Tom explained it “collaboration will help us solve the big audacious problems from climate change to world hunger. Problems won’t be solved by individuals; they will be solved by groups and teams”. Tom’s final piece of advice was this:

Turning A Vicious Cycle Into A Value Cycle – Gary Case, Principal Consultant, Pink Elephant

Next up was Gary Case from Pink Elephant. Gary’s session was a back to basics session on how Incident Problem & Change Management rule the world. Think about it; without them your Service Desk gets overrun because there’s no root cause analysis getting done. Things start getting missed and balls are dropped. To add insult to injury; Changes are deployed into the live environment that may fix one thing but break everything else. As Gary explained it “we need to have defined processes in order to be effective. We need to be great at communication to keep the business informed.

Gary went on to explain about the importance of Service Targets stating “We need to have Service Targets as well as SLAs in place otherwise how will we know what to aim for?” When asked how to stop people from bypassing the process; Gary’s take was for us to lead by example; or as he put it “IT people! Stop bypassing the Service Desk and follow your own cotton picking processes!”

Gary’s passion for Problem Management was plain to see. When he was explaining it to the audience he said this “if you want to improve availability, performance and customer satisfaction then do Problem Management.” He also suggested that for such an important process, Problem Management does have a name that will make people panic. Let’s face it in the real world, how many business professional will happily admit to having oodles of Problems? I’m with Gary that it’s time for a name change to something like Opportunity Management. Hey AXELOS – maybe one for ITIL 4?

Gary then moved on to talk about Change Management. He referenced the Gartner analysis that between 70 and 80% of Incidents were caused by Change and how we need to do better. When asked how he would deal with people by passing the process, Gary replied “for blatant process refusers, if you implement a Change without following the process, consider yourself gone”. Or as @knappst3r  put it:

Gary finished with this: “value proposition goes beyond SLAs. It’s all about the business.”

Enterprise Service Management: It’s Time To Share ITSM Best Practices Outside Of IT – Alan Berkson, Director Of Community Outreach, Freshdesk

The final session of the morning was @berkson0’s take on Enterprise Service Management. Alan started his session by explaining what it was like working in IT supporting traders at an investment bank “you haven’t lived until you’ve had a trader screaming at you because a trade floor app isn’t working”. As someone who did a 4 year stint in London working for an investment bank I feel your pain Alan.

Alan continued by explaining that Enterprise Service Management was common sense “by applying ITSM principles outside IT we can set expectations and measure how well we met them”. Alan talked about the drivers for Enterprise ITSM; consumerism, business function demand, better ITSM solutions and increased vendor marketing.

The next part of Alan’s presentation focused on the benefits of Enterprise Service Management:

  • Better service
  • Increased governance and control
  • Better customer experience
  • Improved efficiencies and operational costs
  • Better ROI
  • Improved visibility into operational performance
  • Standardisation

The final part of the session was a practical guide to introducing Enterprise Service Successfully. the golden rule according to Alan is this “don’t treat Enterprise Service Management as an IT project” I completely agree with this. If you speak techie language to the business, they won’t understand you never mind buying in leading to an Elliot from Scrubs situation:

Allow for differences and don’t try to help other corporate service providers before helping yourself (or as Elliot would say “get your own fricking house in order first”).

That’s all for today, come back soon for the rest of day 2 as well as the final day of the conference!

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Pink16 – Movie Stars, Huskies & A Zombie Apocalypse!

It’s Vegas baby! As media partners, we’ll be attending the event, tweeting, live blogging and carrying out interviews with all the movers and shakers of the ITSM world so without further ado, here’s our review of Day 1 of Pink16.

Pink16 Opening Keynote – Martin Short

The conference was opened by Emmy & Tony Award Winning Actor, Comedian, Writer, Singer & Producer and all round legend, Martin Short. The conference room was packed and the sense of excitement was palpable. Martin shared his life story of loss and how he came out the other side stronger, refusing to be a victim. Here he is in action:

Martin’s session was a funny, inspiring and insightful story of loss and empowerment. He also shared some very important life lessons:

The Best Of The Best; Blending AGILE, DevOps, LEAN UX & ITIL – Andrew Humphrey, Head of Service Management, Auto Trader

The first practitioner session of the day was @4ndyHumphreys take on all things ITIL, Agile, Lean and DevOps.

Andy talked about the importance of effective Service Transition:

Bonus points to Andy for using a picture of cute huskies to demonstrate that very point:

Andy explained that by having smaller releases, the process becomes faster and safer. As the success rate grows, you can look to reduce the time spent on Change freezes or at least reduce their duration. Andy shared some practical advice on streamlining processes explaining “we used to have a two hour CAB attended by every department. Now we have a ten minute stand up meeting over a Trello board”. He also shared the pizza team model:

The result? A total shift in working culture; instead of rigid project cycles or contractor armies, both operational and technical issues were highly valued and operational responsibility within each squad was greatly improved.

Zap The Zombies & So Much More – Michelle Kerby, Sr. Director For ITSM, BMC Software

Next up was @michellekerby of BMC on the impending zombie server apocalypse. A recent study by BMC found that over ten million zombie servers globally wasted more energy than eight large power stations; a worrying thought, as well as the environmental implications, there are also risk and compliance issues to address as well. Michelle demonstrated how BMC Asset Management can effectively identify and reduce zombie servers:

In the event of any zombie apocalypse – this is my plan:

Pink16 News – ITIL Practitioner Course Announcement – Pink Elephant AXELOS & PeopleCert

After a quick lunch, I caught up with the guys from Pink Elephant ,AXELOS & PeopleCert to talk all things practitioner related. Troy DuMoulin from Pink explained the reason for the course stating that it will bridge the gap between the theory of the Foundation and Intermediate courses by giving delegates a solid business skills overview around CSI, Organisational Change Management, Communications and Measurements and Metrics. I for one can’t wait to do the course when it becomes available as I think anything that gives course attendees more practical skills can only be a good thing.

How To Be A People Magnet – It’s Easy Peasy! – Allan Pease, Author & Motivational Speaker

The final session of the day was run by motivational rock star @allanpease.

Allan gave us an insight into how important body language, emotional intelligence and non verbal cues are when dealing with people.

His advice?

Well that and not getting locked out of your hotel room in the middle of the night when you’ve forgotten to pack your pyjamas but that’s a story for another time!

That’s all for now, come back soon for our coverage of day 2!

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Using Lean Sigma In The Real World

Ahead of Pink 16 I caught up with Troy DuMoulin, VP for Research & Development at Pink Elephant about Lean Sigma. We’ve already chatted about Change Management but I couldn’t resist asking Troy about his planned sessions on Lean as well.

Lean Sigma

For those of you who are going “Lean what?” Lean Sigma is a methodology that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing errors and service waste. Lean Sigma combines lean manufacturing/lean enterprise and Six Sigma to eliminate the eight kinds of waste: Time, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Over processing, Defects, and Skills (usually shortened to ‘TIMWOODS’).

Lean Sigma uses the DMAIC improvement cycle for improving, optimizing and stabilizing business processes and designs. DMAIC stands for:

  • Define: clearly articulate the business problem, goal, potential resources, project scope and high-level project timeline
  • Measure; objectively establish current baselines as the basis for improvement
  • Analyse; identify, validate and select root cause for elimination
  • Improve;  identify, test and implement a solution to the problem
  • Control;  monitor the improvements to ensure continued and sustainable success, or in the words of Walt Disney, to “keep moving forwards


Troy’s session will look at how to use Lean in a real life, fast paced IT environment to reduce errors and optimise service.

Official Overview

What IT Managers Need To Know About Lean Management; Troy DuMoulin, VP, Research & Development, Pink Elephant

In this overview, Troy will explain Lean’s origins and major guiding principles. You’ll walk away with an understanding of what Lean Management is, and an awareness of its business and IT value.

Simply put, Lean is focused on getting the right things to the right place at the right time in the right quantity to achieve perfect work flow, while minimizing waste and being flexible and able to change. To accomplish this, Lean thinking changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets, and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers. Eliminating waste along entire value streams, instead of at isolated points, creates processes that need less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services at far less costs and with much fewer defects, compared with traditional business systems. Organizations are able to respond to changing customer desires with high variety, high quality, low cost, and with very fast throughput times. Also, information management becomes much simpler and more accurate.

Will you be going to Pink 16? Let us know in the comments – bonus points for anyone that gets the T Rex reference!

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