Guest Blog from PINK16: Paul Wilkinson of GamingWorks


Following the awesomeness of #PINK16 last week, we were lucky to bump into @gamingpaul! Paul very kindly agreed to write a guest blog for us on his session, so here it is in all it’s glory!




‘Why is this content at the end of the conference? This should be a Keynote topic!’ – CEO

In this blog I want to give my very brief impression of the Pink Elephant Conference and explain the comment above from a CEO that attended my workshop session, which I think should give us all room for thought.

First of all my impression. For me one of the key themes than ran through this year’s conference was ‘Culture’. Not explicitly, but it surfaced in all of the presentations I attended. There was also less focus on the traditional ITIL content and more presentations and workshops around DEVOPS, LEAN, and AGILE showing how these approaches are complementary to ITIL.

I was also pleased to see more sessions including the word ‘Value’ in the title. However as you will see later we still have a way to go far as this is concerned.

I attended some of the DEVOPS and LEAN sessions as I was eager to learn more myself. They all stressed ‘People’ as the most important aspect:  ‘attitude’, ‘mindset shift’, ‘culture change’, ‘new ways of behaving’, ‘engagement’, ‘involvement’, ‘team working’, ‘collaboration’ ….In short ‘Attitude, Behavior, Culture’. As Rob England pointed out in one of his thought provoking sessions ‘Messing with your head: How Devops changes everything’, he summarized that what is happening in our Industry represents a significant transformation, a major change to the way we collaborate and behave. Fortunately there was a whole stream devoted to Organizational Change Management to help organizations deal with this transformation.

In all my years of attending ITSM conferences I have never seen Troy DuMoulin, one of the Pink Elephant – if not the ITSM Industry – experts so passionate about LEAN IT and what it means, and I have never seen Rob England so in awe of what DEVOPS means to the future of ITSM, stating that it took him a few years to fully realize its significance.

This conference saw the launch of the ITIL Practitioner, which also stresses in its Guiding principles the need to ‘Focus on value’, the need for end-to-end ‘Collaboration’ and has a whole section devoted to ‘Organizational Change management’. It would appear that the practitioner ‘Guidance’ is a timely development in the ITIL portfolio.


The comment from the CEO and the results and takeaways from my session.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to run a workshop at the end of the conference using the ‘Attitude, Behavior, ABCCulture’ (ABC) cards. (ABC is included in the ITIL Practitioner, Organizational Change Management Toolkit). With all this ‘Transformation’ about to descend upon us I used the ABC cards to ‘Surface resistance’, which both ITIL and the OCM body of knowledge stress as an important aspect of change. In the workshop I also wanted to show how the ITIL practitioner guidance can help us prevent, or effectively deal with this resistance.

I am sure we all recognize that the adoption and adaption of frameworks such as ITIL, DEVOPS and LEAN meets with resistance, certainly everybody that attended our stand confirmed this.  Resistance is a perfectly normal part of change, however the idea is not to let the resistance derail the ‘Value’ the change is trying to create, after all that is what we are trying to achieve with all these frameworks…..right?! I presented our global findings that reveal that the majority of organizations still do not get the HOPED for Value.

At the start of my workshop I asked if anybody could explain the definition of a service according to ITIL. Nobody knew the answer (I have now asked this question to more than 15.000 ‘ITILites’ world-wide. Less than 5% know the answer….let alone what it means for their organization).

The CEO in my session said: ‘I don’t get it. What am I missing? If they come back from ITIL training – like the people in this room, and people in my organization – how come they don’t know Value, Outcomes, Costs and Risks and what it means to their organization?….otherwise what is the point of the certification!’

That is exactly one of the reasons for the ITIL Practitioner I explained.

The delegates used the ABC of ICT cards to identify resistance they see, or expect to see when adopting ITIL (or any other framework for that matter). The top 5 cards chosen were:

  • Never mind about following procedures…..just do what we usually do
  • Everything has the highest priority according to the users
  • IT has too little understanding of business impact and priority
  • Process managers without any authority
  • Plan, Do, Stop….no real Continual Improvement Culture

The CEO and her direct report chose the card below …explaining that this is what the CIO (No longer with the company) and an external Consulting organization had promised her! Yet she sees little return on the investment (Which could be explained by the fact that so few ‘ITILites’ seem to know the definition of a service)!!!!!


GW 1

I explained that the cards chosen in this session are the top chosen cards world-wide in workshops, and have been so for the last 15 years!!!!…………..!!!! I think this deserves a number of exclamation marks. Certainly the CEO in the room gave a large ‘!?’ which prompted her to ask ‘Why wasn’t this session a keynote session’?

The delegates were now asked to choose a top card, based upon the following: ‘Which card may be a cause for other cards, or which card causes the most negative impact on VOCR?

They were also asked to describe ‘Which ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principle(s) underpin this top card and needs to be addressed? And which stakeholders now need to display what behavior to address this’?  (Because of the short duration of the workshop we focused on 3 stakeholders:  The CIO, the process manager, the line manager)

Before the exercise began, I used this slide to explain the Guiding principles to the delegates, and how they fit together in the context of the ABC issues they recognized. I suggested they all take it away, pin it up on the wall and use it as a sanity check for their own ITIL initiative.


GW 2


These were their findings:

Top card chosen:  Not understanding business impact and priority.

Impact: Wasted costs, potential lost value, risk to the business.

Guiding principles underpinning this: Focus on value (understand the business processes and help with the right investment mechanisms), Design for experience (understand user impact, priority, urgency & design priority and escalation mechanisms accordingly), Observe directly (If the business doesn’t know, then watch, observe, advise).

What needs to be done to solve this? Which Stakeholders need to display which behavior?



  • Set up effective communications and get buy-in (communications also means ‘walk-the-talk’, ‘lead by example’).
  • Setting expectations – the what and the why (creating a sense of urgency and creating a vision).
  • Establishing value (high level VOCR and ensuring this is translated into the 4 P’s – People, Process, Product, Partner capabilities (ensuring a holistic approach).

Process Manager:

  • Selling Value (communicating the value to be achieved and how the ITIL initiative will realize this).
  • Training (with a focus on VOCR to be achieved using ITIL, not just theoretical ITIL training but practical AND contextual – what does it mean for us as an organization and for you as a team/individual).
  • Establishing metrics/KPIs (collaboratively – internal and external).
  • Managing day to day effects (with Line manager) –Is this fit-for-use, fit-for-purpose.
  • Accepting Line manager feedback (from teams – in terms of CSI requirements).
  • End-to-end collaboration in design (4 P’s).

Line Manager:

  • In day to day operations supporting the process manager.
  • ‘walk-the-talk’ (empower the process manager).
  • Policing: (rewarding desirable behavior, where necessary confronting undesirable behavior).
  • Identify with teams pain points that are barriers to value. or suggestions for improvement – give feedback to process manager (Use CSI registers).
  • One to one interaction with employees (make agreements on desired behaviors, focused on process related activities in relation to VOCR).

To close down the workshop I asked ‘What are you now going to go and do differently as a result of THIS session, something you hadn’t discovered in other sessions’?

The answers were:

  • Go back and identify the ‘Value’ we THINK we’re trying to achieve and make sure we all understand this.
  • CEO: Find out where are we now, what did we get from our investment so far? We spent money on ITIL but I don’t recognize demonstrated VOCR? Find out where we are and start from there.
  • We are very busy – pick a small problem that is worth working on and make sure we get value (internal and external) from the effort.
  • Ensure teams know the ‘WHY’, why are we doing ITIL? Get teams involved as early as possible in communication and in collaborating to improve
  • Calling STOP on our corporate ITIL initiative! I am QA. This has really helped me see that we are doing it wrong? Wasting time, effort and we are at risk of failing! Then I want to re-engage and agree a shared direction forward.
  • Go back and train people. Communicate impact, priority and urgency and explain what we are doing in line with this.
  • Do this exercise with the leadership team! Or at least with the Team Leads and champions who need to lead the improvements.
  • Reach out to end users, discover their needs, if they can’t state them, then observe directly so we can advise, and design improvements aligned to this.
  • Be more transparent in choices, move more slowly with things that have impact, demonstrate this and then make the next choices.
  • As a supplier ‘facilitate pain relief’ – help avoid these pitfalls and common mistakes and waste

Was the ‘Practitioner’ materials and the exercise useful and necessary? 100% agreed. All wanted a copy of the Guiding Principle slide.

CEO: Why has this taken so long?! This one sheet explains it all, and is simple to use, we have seen so much focus on the theoretical certificates. This is what is needed, a pragmatic and practical approach.


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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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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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ITSM Review Confirmed as Official Media Partner for PINK16

The ITSM Review are excited to be confirmed as official media partners for PINK16 – Pink Elephant’s 20th annual international IT Service Management conference and exhibition in Las Vegas from 14th – 17th February 2016.

Pink Elephant trademark


Now in it’s 20th year, Pink Elephant’s Annual IT Service Management Conference & Exhibition being held in Las Vegas from 14th – 17th February 2016 offers delegates a packed itinerary.

This year’s conference focus is IT @ The Speed Of Change and the event includes 12 tracks and 160+ sessions, covering a vast array of subjects from all across the IT Service Management (ITSM) spectrum: ITSM, ITIL®, ISO, Lean IT, Six Sigma, PRINCE2®, PMBOK®, COBIT®.

Bellagio, Las Vegas
Bellagio, Las Vegas


With a vast array of speakers, including a keynote from Emmy & Tony Award Winning Actor Martin Short, delegates will enjoy a comprehensive and entertaining few days.


WHEN: 14th – 17th February 2016

WHERE: Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

WHO: C-Level, including CIOs/CTOs/CSOs, IT Directors, VPs, IT Service and Support Managers, Service Desk Managers, IT Infrastructure Managers, Process Owners, Senior Support Analysts, Quality Managers, Service Level Manager, Project/Program Directors and Managers, IT Auditors, IT Consultants, IT Suppliers/Vendors, Anyone seeking to understand why and how to implement best practices according to ITSM, ITIL , ISO, Lean IT, Six Sigma, PRINCE2, PMBOK, COBIT, anyone who is interested in building and managing a truly business focused IT organization

HOW TO BOOK: Click here


The ITSM Review is looking forward to attending and covering this event. See you there!


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