Inspiring Rare Birds Guest Blog: How do you do it all?

For all guest blogs on Inspiring Rare Birds go here. #ifshecanican

Yesterday I was stopped in the elevator on my way down from the Brisbane Book launch by a lady who asked me “Do you have a child, and if so… how do you do it all?”

Wow – can you believe that this is something I never really thought about?

To answer her questions:

1) Yes – I have a 14 year old son Frank whom I adore. I just love watching him grow up and being a part of his life every step along the way. Being an entrepreneur supports me in being a mum. I can go to school recitals, performances etc. as I simply plan around them when I can. (doesn’t always work out that way though, especially with interstate and overseas client obligations).

2) How do I do it all? The honest answer is: I don’t.

I don’t do it all.. I have an amazing husband who is my partner in many ways. We are a great team in running our companies together and we are a great team at home. His role in the business has been designed in such a way that he can work from home, so he can pick up the kids from the bus in the afternoon. He loves to cook so that’s what he does as well. Grocery shopping is either done online with home delivery or Gerard does it when he’s doing a school run. I look after the animals and I love to bake. A lot of the other stuff we do together.

Frank has been making his school lunches independently since he was 8 and he is responsible for his own school bag, laptop etc. We don’t have time to run after him all the time to do his jobs for him and he know that. His morning ritual happens without us having to manage his time which makes life so much easier!

We outsource or automate as much as possible: our iRobot Roomba is a fabulous little vaccuum cleaner for the daily top up floor clean for example. We also have fantastic gardeners who look after our property, making sure it doesn’t turn into a jungle.

Underpinning all this is the fact that both Gerard and I have a very clear understanding of our priorities. For example: Our windows don’t get cleaned every day or every week, probably more likely once a year, and we’re OK with that.

The first 5 things I love about my blackberry Bold

My husband surprised me yesterday with a Blackberry Bold! I have been looking to buy one for months now as I am traveling a lot and really would like to be able to stay in touch with home and office… I couldn’t make up my mind though: was I going to buy the Bold or wait for the new Pearl flip that is coming out or wait even longer for the Storm (with touch screen)?

Now that I have the bold I can’t believe I have lived my life so long without it… I LOVE that phone! (I know I sound like a geek, but it is so true… )

OK – so what are the first 5 things I love about my brand-spanking new Blackberry Bold:

  1. The screen
    It is so clear and bright! Absolutely amazing colours and text is very easy to read
  2. The ease of use
    I have never ever used a smart phone in my life and I can’t believe how easy it is. The menus are very intuitive and after half a day I already felt as if I’ve owned and operated smart phones all my life.
  3. The ringtones
    Ok – this is going to sound weird but I don’t like the “song”-ring-tones. I want my phone to sound like a phone and I couldn’t find that setting on my old one. This one sounds exactly the way I want it!!! 
  4. emailing on the go
    Setting up my gmail account on the Blackberry was a breeze! I couldn’t believe how easy it was… and it worked after only 1 try! (if only exchange was the same… 🙁  but that’s another story)
  5. The sound quality
    My old phone was slowly dying after 4 or 5 years and I couldn’t always hear people so well. This phone is absolutely amazing. Very clear sound, not just for me but also for the receiver of my calls… A lot of people have already commented on it! 
I know these might be pretty basic but keep in mind I’ve only had this phone for 48 hours! I might come up for some other pros and cons in the next few weeks when I start traveling in Australia and overseas (and I will have received my first phone bill by then… that might change my view slightly! )

Originally posted 2008-10-26 04:06:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Starting from scratch in 2009 – new chances for ITIL, ITSM and Cloud Computing…

It is 7am on the 1st of January 2009 – always a special moment the start of a new year. We have a tradition that on the 31st of December we grab a little notebook that we hide during the year and look back at our goals and ambitions that we wrote down on the 31st of December of last year. It is great fun to look back at all the goals and targets we achieved (tick) and missed (crosses). Even our 7 year old joins in with his goals and targets for the next year…

And now 2009 is here…  we look at an empty calendar and consider all the things we want to do and achieve this year. 

What will it bring for our ITIL Service Management certification programs? With the current economic situation, recession even in some countries,  organisations need this more than ever…
Service Management gives visibility of IT Services, gives better management controls on the IT group, it helps with making strategic decisions due to the improved quality (and quantity) of information available to support these decisions. BUT… will their leaders have the insight and the guts to continue to hire educational services? To educate and grow the knowledge kept within their IT groups about IT Service Management, IT governance and standards compliancy… Honestly, I don’t know…

And what about Cloud computing? Again… this is such a great opportunity for many organizations to continue to deliver the IT services to its clients with more storage and more processing power… for a fraction of the price! That must be good news to most CIO’s . But it is also a fairly new concept and I am questioning if CIO’s will dare to choose Cloud Computing as a viable option for their IT Service Delivery.

No matter how you look at it, 2009 is a clean slate; we start from scratch and there are many new chances and opportunities to help IT organizations (and therefore companies at large) in achieving their goals by utilizing ITIL, IT Service Management and Cloud Computing. 
I am very excited about this idea and can’t wait to get back to the office again to start talking to our clients again…

only 4 more sleeps!

Originally posted 2009-01-01 07:27:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

You give ITSM and ITIL a bad name!

My personal motto is “every day is a school day” and I always feel sad and disappointed when I meet people who clearly don’t want to learn anymore.

Last Wednesday I met one of those people again, and 3 days later I still think about the discussion we had. (or rather: didn’t have)

This is what happened:  I was introduced to this person who is the Service Catalog manager in his organization. I asked a few questions about this role as I am interested in his experiences.

We all know that in ITIL V3 the process of Service Catalog Management is now a separate process from Service Level Management as well as a sub-component of Service Portfolio Management. And I can’t help but wonder how this works in practice…  So I enjoy speaking with people who perform the role of Service Catalog Manager  to learn from their experiences. After all – as I don’t perform the role of Service Catalog Manager in an IT company, what better way to learn than to listen to somebody who has his hands dirty from his daily work in the bowels of this process??

But before we even started the conversation, I was cut off by a terse “yeah – I got your email with the invitation to your seminar about Service Catalog Management.”


I never even discussed this with him and it hadn’t come up in conversation, so my instinctive response was “fantastic! So are you coming?”

And you know what he said?:

“NO – why would I? I have been doing Service Catalog for a long time now so I can’t think of anything new you can tell me about this subject. And besides – I deal with Service Catalog stuff every day of the week, so why would I attend an event about it after work hours?!”


Which part of ‘ITSM is all about delivering value to the customer through a process of continual improvement’ did he NOT understand?

Has ITIL become just another job? Has ITIL Foundation become the one and only way to learn about ITIL – as some sort of end goal? I read on twitter today that there are 1,000,000 people worldwide with ITIL Foundation certification, but does that mean that the learning process stops after you’ve received this certificate? I always thought of the ITIL Foundation certificate as the starting point of a new avenue in one’s ITSM career.
You merely receive the overview, a language and get the distinct impression that there is so much more to learn before you fully comprehend the value ITSM and ITIL can offer you in your job, your career, but mostly to your customers and end users.

RT @glennodonnell: Over 1,000,ooo people worldwide hold #ITIL Foundations certification! @RobertEStroud at #IOFE10 <<< but how many really use it?

[note: I checked this number against APMG information from October 2008 and November 2009 and in that period there where  256,530 Foundation exams taken.  Average of 21,377 per month]

An attitude like this man has gives ITIL its bad name, and the perception that ITIL is just a paper tiger; just another boring framework that never adds any value to anybody (except maybe to consultants and training organisations).

I wanted to shake that person and tell him to wake up!  To open his eyes to what he is doing to his own job, but also to an industry as a whole.

So to you who reads this: formal certification is not the only way to learn… don’t give ITSM a bad name! Be a champion for the benefits the framework offers your company and customers. Learn each and every day by reading books, blogs, white papers, and articles and by talking to people in the industry either via twitter, Facebook or in person at seminars and conferences. How can you gain new insights when you only discuss your ideas and thoughts with yourself?

Every day is a school-day, but you don’t have to be in class to learn!

Originally posted 2010-03-13 13:33:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

SLAs come with a process attached, says ITIL Service Management

When you start looking at the reason why many SLAs fail to deliver upon their expectations, you often see that the Service Level Management process hasn’t been implemented at the same time…

This week I have been teaching a workshop on Service Level Agreements in Indonesia. An amazing experience, as it is always fantastic to see the journey that people go through during these two days. Initially the focus is purely on the document; the Service Level Agreement. But by the end of day 1 people start to realize that you need to go through the whole PLAN – DO – CHECK – ACT cycle to have a complete picture.

In the past few days we answered the following questions:

  • Q – How can you create SLAs when you don’t have the services written down in a Service Catalogue?
    A – You can’t really as you have no idea what the service looks like, and what it is that you can offer, at what levels.
  • Q – Why should we concern our-self with a  Service Level Management process?
    A- Because this process will safeguard the accuracy of Service Descriptions, map them against business Service Level Requirements and identify OLAs and UCs that are required to support the agreed Service Levels
  • Q – where do you start? At the SLA or with the OLA?
    A – This depends where you are at the moment! When you currently have SLAs in place, but they don’t work properly – investigate where the gaps are and improve those part of the process. When you don’t have anything at the moment, start with the Service Catalogue and the OLA levels that aggregate up to SLA levels.

It was lovely to see so many excitement for Service Level Management, especially as it gives them tools to set the expectations with the clients, give service guarantees that can be met and tools to measure and monitor what is going on.

It doesn’t stop here though! Each student created an action plan with tangible action items that they will be accountable for in the next 3 months.. Can’t wait to follow up with them in 2.5 months to see what the achievements are!

We’ve done the planning phase… time for some DO-ing!

Originally posted 2009-02-24 21:02:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Cloud Computing is here to stay, time for IT Service Management to grow up!

Yesterday I returned from the FUSION11 conference in Washington D.C. And my head is still spinning from an overload of information around Cloud Computing, ITIL and IT Service Management. (granted that could also be due to lack of sleep and jetlag, but I’d like to think it is because of the learning from the conference).

My biggest surprise was the difference in ‘vibe’ at the conference in relation to Cloud Computing. I remember last year sitting in on a presentation about Cloud Computing and the audience being openly hostile and defensive. I remember thinking how unnecessary this was as IT Service Management will be more relevant than ever before BECAUSE of the use of cloud computing.

This year it seems that cloud computing is a lot more accepted by the general public. I’m not saying that it has been completely embraced (after all, there are still a lot of technical support people working in the IT industry who will find it extremely difficult to remain relevant in a world where cloud computing is the normal way of IT service distribution) but there seems to be a sense of acknowledgement that Cloud Computing IS the new ‘normal’ and that the IT industry has to adapt to this delivery mechanism.

Sometimes it even seems that the pendulum swung completely to the opposite side, especially when you see the odd vendor talking the talk of cloud computing and using all the ‘buzzwords’ but hidden behind all the slick sales words they are really pushing traditional software. It almost looks like a case of “the emperor’s clothes”… as long as everybody uses words like Cloud, and acronyms that finish with aaS it all sounds very modern and technically advanced, and nobody is game enough to tell the sales rep that they are completely off base.

For me it is all very simple – and it has not changed in the past 12 months: IT Services need to be designed, developed, delivered and maintained. It is not up to us to determine how we do this… it’s up to the business to determine how IT supports their business processes. Cloud Computing is a perfect delivery mechanism that enables businesses on demand IT services that fit within the financial structures.

IT Service Management Professionals need to grow up very quickly and realise that they can’t get away with murder anymore and that they need to focus on agility and service quality in order to be allowed to continue to deliver the services to the business. Now more than ever before it is required that IT provides structure and discipline to get the most benefits from Cloud Computing. Well designed technology is your ticket to the game, IT Service Management helps you to be a player.

Originally posted 2011-10-01 08:39:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

In times of economic crisis… don’t stick your head in the sand but HEAD FOR THE CLOUD!

It has become apparent to me that Australia is still very much the lucky country. Yes we like to complain about the economic situation and the fact that the interest rates are around the 8% at the moment but overall I think we’re still going strong!

Why am I saying this? Well, I have spent the last 4 days in Hawaii and have experienced firsthand that the situation in the US is much worse than what is happening in Australia. And it is not getting better either… it will get much worse!

The resorts on the Big Island are at approx. 15% capacity, where 60% is needed to break even; many restaurants, bars and resorts have already shut their doors and the big story on the news this week is that most of the commercial rents will double – if not triple- in the next few months. This will have a major impact on the overall economy of the state, after all: it’s main source of income is tourism…

Australia is fairly sheltered, we have a lot of resources in the ground and there is always somebody who finds it… last week in the BRW young rich list the number 1 person is 32 years of age, came from nowhere and has now accumulated approx. 440 million dollars in personal wealth in the last 12-18 months. How? By finding coal (I think it was coal, but really – it could have been anything) and selling it to China… nice little ‘backyard operation’ which will result in a nice income tax bill no doubt… which means more money in the government account to support the country etc.


So, what does this have to do with Cloud Computing? Well, not a lot at first glance and everything when you think about it.

I run my  business with my husband and this morning over breakfast  (CEO council 🙂 ) we were discussing how to prepare the company for things to come; the importance of cash in the bank at the moment and the ability to change gears and directions very quickly. It also brought to light the importance of a ‘lean’ business model: outsourcing your non-core activities and avoid purchasing assets that don’t actively create revenue (example: IT systems and solutions). When we focus on the IT solutions: we still want it to be scalable and have the ability to support the company’s business processes – no matter where the business will take us!

This led us to discuss cloud computing and Software as a Service solutions. When offered professionally, SaaS solutions are probably the way to go in the near future. They offer IT products on a ‘pay per use’ basis without the upfront expenditure (and depreciation) of purchasing expensive software and IT assets.

However, before doing this you will need understand WHY you need the IT solution in the first place and you need answers to the following questions:

1.     What is it supposed to do?

2.     Which business process is it supposed to support?

3.     How many people use this system and is the subscription per user or per concurrent user?

4.     What is the maximum number of users they support?

5.     What IT infrastructure is expected to be present in your offices to make the SaaS solution work best?

6.     What IT knowledge is expected to be available in your office.

7.     What type of support does the provider offer?

8.     What happens if the software doesn’t work, or doesn’t do what you expect it to do?

All in all, I don’t think these are difficult questions to answer and it sure beats having a lot of your cash tied up in purchasing the software licenses upfront! You’re much better off spending that type of money at the things that you’re really good at: development of your products and services and making money with them!


Originally posted 2008-10-02 03:59:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The secret to running effective CAB meetings

I just finished reading this book, and while reading I couldn’t help but think about all the people that I’ve spoken with in the past 15 years struggling with running effective CAB meetings. The book is only 80 pages so you’ll finish it in 20 minutes but it gives you a lot of stuff to think about. The book basically deals with the way you can use meetings to your advantage by improving the rate of decisions and the amount of time you can spend on innovation and ‘getting the work done’.

What are the lessons you can learn from this book in relation to your Change meetings?

Some of the questions you need to be able to answer as the Change Manager:

  • How often to you call for a CAB meeting?
  • What is the purpose of the CAB meeting?
  • When do I need a CAB meeting, and when can I make the decision by myself and simply send a memo to the other teams about the outcome of my decision?
  • Who attends the CAB meeting?
  • How long do the CAB meetings go for?

In my mind, a CAB meeting is a decision making meeting which means a lot of discipline for both the Change Manager who chairs the meeting and the attendees who are invited to play a part in this meeting.

  1. What is the decision that needs to be made at this meeting?
  2. Is there a conflict as a result of this decision?
  3. What information do the attendees need PRIOR to the meeting in order to make a quality attribution to the CAB meeting?

The Modern Meeting (that also applies to the CAB meeting) is based on the following 7 points: (see for more information)

1. The Modern Meeting supports a decision that has already been made.

If a decision maker needs advisement pre-decision, he should get it from others via one-on-one conversations. Only after a preliminary decision is made can a meeting be convened. A meeting might be necessary for either of two reasons:

Conflict: The relevant stakeholders can debate the decision, propose alternatives, suggest modifications, or have concerns addressed.  The decision is ultimately resolved.

Coordination: If a decision demands complex collaboration from different people, teams or departments, stakeholders can convene to coordinate an action plan.

2. The Modern Meeting starts on time, moves fast, and ends on schedule.

The Modern Meeting enforces firm meeting end times to ensure that the resolution and implementation of decisions aren’t delayed needlessly. The meeting ends, a decision is resolved and participants get back to work. If you are late, we will start without you. And we won’t invite you next time.

3. The Modern Meeting limits the number of attendees.

Only people who are critical to the outcome are invited to a Modern Meeting. Small numbers allow decisions to be resolved quickly and plans to be coordinated smoothly. If invited attendees recognize that they don’t need to be there, it’s their obligation to decline.

4. The Modern Meeting rejects the unprepared.

An agenda is distributed well in advance of a Modern Meeting, and it establishes the decision being debated or the action being coordinated. The Modern Meeting demands you think carefully through all the different scenarios presented by the decision and come up with thoughtful responses. We will call on you. If you are not prepared, do not attend.

5. The Modern Meeting produces committed action plans.

What actions are we committing to? Who is responsible for each action? When will those actions be completed? The Modern Meeting ensures that these questions are answered, and distributes the resulting action plan soon after the meeting ends. It’s the meeting leader’s responsibility to follow up and hold participants accountable for their commitments.If no action plan is necessary, neither is a meeting.

6. The Modern Meeting refuses to be informational. Reading memos is mandatory.

In order to keep modern meetings strictly in support of decisions, informational meetings are cancelled. For this to be possible, managers will write memos instead, but everyone must commit to reading them. In a culture of reading, informational meetings are no longer necessary.

7. The Modern Meeting works only alongside a culture of brainstorming.

The Modern Meeting is about decision, the narrowing of options. Brainstorming is the necessary complement, as it results in the mass generation of options. Brainstorming has to be done correctly, though. It’s an anti-meeting, so the regular rules of the Modern Meeting don’t apply.


How can you incorporate this into your CAB meetings and through this modern meeting standard improve the amount of change you can make happen in your organisation? I’m sure you’d be positively surprised by the results!

Originally posted 2011-08-21 05:05:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

7 tips to achieve successful ITIL implementation

According to the members survey performed by the itSMF Asia (and administered by ITsmF International), and the presentations during the ITsmF Asia summit, the following are guaranteed success-factors for your ITIL implementation:

  1. Everything you do in IT MUST fit in with the company’s goals and objectives, and having the C-level board members involved in the decision saves a lot of time trying to convince managers and team leaders at the shop-floor that this is a good thing to do.
  2. Everything you do MUST fit in with the IT strategy
  3. The reason for ITIL implementation has to be YOUR reason – don’t look at other organisations as you might be comparing apples to oranges.
  4. Cost saving is NOT a result/benefit/outcome of your ITSM implementation.
  5. Use external help – according to the ITsmF Asia you will have a much better change of being successful at your attempt.
  6. Benchmark your ITIL/ITSM project against external standards – don’t turn into blind followers of the ‘ITIL-cult’. ISO/IEC 20000 is very good for this purpose!
  7. Only use tools that are appropriate for your level of maturity. If you use Excel spreadsheets and it works for you… DON’T change it because the vendor said so.

I know they are mother statements but very valid. Something to ponder over at least… 

enjoy the weekend!

Originally posted 2008-10-18 02:55:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter