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.

ITIL Foundation course … waiting for the new syllabus to arrive in May.

We have to wait until May 2009 for the updated syllabus to come into effect… but the wait has been so long! The comment we get each and every time we run a 3-day Foundation course is that it is too much information in too short a time!

And to be honest: I can’t blame the students! How can you get your head around the 5 lifecycle phases AND the individual processes AND the functions AND the concept of IT Service Management with ITIL framework processes and the fact that processes and functions work together and need to be customer facing & customer focused!

It will all be better when the new syllabus comes into effect, but until that time it continues to feel like you’re running a marathon. 

This week I was teaching a group of very experienced IT specialised, but it was a very diverse group: application support, desktop support, Service Desk and teamleaders were all part of the group. How do you keep a group like that together, all lined up toward the common goal of wanting to pass the exam? A lot of people compare it to ‘herding cats’ and maybe they are correct, I don’t know.

What I do know is this: teaching ITIL Service Management Foundation classes has made me a better manager. Over the years it has sharpened my skills to identify what is happening in a group, to deal with variable levels of content knowledge and interest in a subject. When you can do this with a group of 15 – 25 students, managing an executive management team of 8 is a piece of cake!!! 

All these potentially negative comments haven’t influenced my believe in the framework though – it works and when it does work, it will make the life of an IT professional a lot easier and less frustrating. But we need to actively manage the road toward that point. And for many people that road starts with attending the ITIL Foundation course… 3 days of flooding; 3 days of information overload; 3 days of high speed learning. It is the start of an amazing adventure and we expect our students to hit the ground running!

Originally posted 2009-02-05 18:59:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Will ITIL V5 still have Capacity Management as a process? Or is it replaced by Cloud Management?

This was the discussion I had with Rob England (IT Skeptic) and Eric Lauzon (CIO – Asia for Nortel) during the networking cocktail party on Monday.

That morning Eric had explained how Nortel transitioned their IT strategy. This was needed partially due to the way the world is changing and turning towards hyperconnectivity. Examples of hyperconnectivity he gave are the 4-fold increase of Internet commerce transactions, the amount of new facebook registrations each day and the NIKE wifi shoes.  Eric also discussed how Nortel implemented a unified communications strategy where the desktop is completely integrated with telephony (voip) and other cool things.

In the afternoon there was a panel to discuss the balance between capacity, resource and cost.

Anyway – those were the triggers for the discussion. 

So with our rapidly changing industry and the fact that this change is not just the change in technology, but also the change in customer demands and expectations – are we really going to need Capacity Management in the future?
Clients want access to an IT service and they want it NOW – this is what they are used to in the consumer technology market… and with the options of Cloud Computing, SaaS, virtualization and other web-based services we can pretty much deliver everything our clients want…. within their expectations for timeframew… so why bother with capacity management?

Well – because you still need to have an idea of where the company is going; what are the corporate objectives, what is important to the bottom line of the company, what type of service are they going to need in the future? So you will probably always need to do Business Capacity Management (the future looking part of the process).

The nitty gritty part of the process – the routine activities of monitoring, measuring and analysing utilization and performance of individual components will probably not be as important anymore in the future. All that stuff is dealt with at the supplier side.  The ‘cloud’ … you don’t control those components so you don’t need to perfomance manage them.

The internal IT shop will need to manage the performance of the web-based services –> the outcomes of that service, that is! So a much closer link to Service Level Management than we currently have. And probably closely linked to supplier and vendor management as we currently know it in outsourcing situations.

So I don’t think the process will be eliminated or deleted from the framework, but the activities to be performed will change. You can’t stop the control activities but you can eliminate a lot of the operational activities.

Interesting times coming our way!

Originally posted 2008-10-17 14:29:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2 Most important things to stay in business while times are tough

This is a very short post as I promised only 2 things… so here is comes:


I love this one as it is soooo true! The more time we spend on reading the articles in the paper with all the ‘doom & gloom’ stories, the more we are going to believe it. You become the bunny trapped in the headlights of oncoming traffic.

Also – the more time you spend reading the papers; both physical papers and all the news channels you subscribe to online… the less time you have to work on the business. And these are times to have laser vision focus!


Or at least start a program to stay fit! Your business needs you, more than ever. This week I spent 3 days at home with an amazing head-cold. I can’t remember the last time I was this sick and it involved every part of my body from the shoulders up. My brain didn’t function, my concentration was fuzzy at best, I couldn’t make decisions… it really affected my work.

So don’t give viruses and other germ a chance to grab hold of you: start a training program as if you’re preparing to run a marathon. You need stamina and a high level of overall fitness to run a business. When you’re tired and feeling run-down, that is when they will get to you. So start moving!


Good luck and have fun running a successful, focused business!

Originally posted 2008-11-15 07:54:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

ITIL Service Strategy: Demand Management, and the top 4 resistance you can expect during implementation

Every process that you implement into the organization, will initiate some form of resistance. A large component of your project planning should revolve around communication, education and awareness. It is through these activities that people in the IT organization AND in the business units start to understand what Demand Management is trying to achieve.

It may take anywhere between 6 months and 2 years before people start to actively believe and evangelize about the benefits of Demand Management, keep that in mind!

 Some potential reasons for resistance are listed below:

  • Difficulty to produce a service before the demand materializes.
    Developing products and keeping them in stock is easy: as long as you have a manufacturing process and the warehouse to store it. With services this might be more difficult. For services you not only need physical assets, but also the capabilities of Human assets. In order to prepare for the delivery of a service you need to train, up skill or employ people with the desired skillset. When the demand is not there yet, these people might feel frustrated because they can’t do the job that they were promised. 


  • Aligning Capacity Production cycles to PBA (Patterns of Business Activity).
    This is also a potential area for resistance as the Business processes might be fluctuating more than initially expected. With the help of Demand Management you spend a lot of effort in aligning the Production cycles to (what you think is) the PBA, but all of a sudden the business activities change. This also may lead to frustration of staff members and you will hear the catch phrase “I told you so… this new process doesn’t work!”
  • Customer resistance to Demand restrictions
    Potential resistance doesn’t only come from within the IT organization, but you can also expect some to come from the business side. Especially since most of the communication around demand and business activities has been between the Business Relationship Manager and the Customer…. Most end-users won’t necessarily have been involved in this process but they will be affected by the potential demand restrictions that are a result of these discussions. This form of resistance can be managed by strong communication messages to all stakeholders, including end-users.  
  • Loss of business growth due to too many restrictions
    One of the possible challenges that you may face is that the Demand Manager will be a bit ‘too enthusiastic’ about the way the process is implemented. The process and associated controls go from one extreme to the other (being from no formal demand restrictions at all to too many restrictions). The pendulum needs to swing to a happy medium where the business is supported in its growth strategies by appropriate demand restrictions and controls. This issue won’t happen as clearly when the Service Level Packages are clearly aligned with the desired business outcomes.

Originally posted 2009-01-25 08:00:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The secret to success? Consistency!

This morning I am flying to Canberra to meet a few clients and as so many times before, I had to go through the airport security. And you know what happened?? For the first time ever, my bag was taken from the security belt and had to be searched…. reason: an umbrella!!

Not an issue, I hear you think – this is just another security measure, one of many as this has become a normal part of airtravel. Well, but what about the fact that this umbrella has been in my bag for the last 12 months (at least!) and I have been flying with this bag/umbrella combination at least 10 times now. (last time was last week)

The security guy told me that there had been an issue a few months ago when somebody put a knife in an umrella and this wasn’t picked up and since this incident, the security measures were upgraded to the extend that ALL umbrellas now have to be checked.

That is fine, but why didn’t this happen at the other 9 occasions where I flew with my umbrella in my bag? Why today, and not last week?! I find it very hard to take all these security measures seriously, especially as they are not performed consistently.

So what can I learn from this? How can I use this experience to improve my business? Well, the most important thing that we are working on is building a personal relationship with our clients. People buy from people they trust… and you can’t trust a person who is inconsistent. I can’t expect clients to buy from us when we change the rules all the time. So the secret to success is consistency.

Consistency without being rigid, as our customer service ethos is very high! There is a LOT we do for our clients, to help them with their business, to improve the way we contact our clients and the experience we give them.

So where would consistency be important:

  • Invoicing terms (when do we expect payment, and when do we start chasing?)
  • Inclusions in the courses (do students receive a certificate of attendance or not?)
  • Living up to our promises (we have a pass guarantee for our classroom Foundation course)
  • Processes and procedures (I always try to send an email within 12 hours after meeting a person to confirm the action items from the meeting)
People (clients) need to be able to know what they can expect when they deal with The art of Service, we need to be consistent… even when we don’t feel like it! Being inconsistent is NOT an option as it eats into our credibility.
Now, all I need to do is try not to forget…. 

Originally posted 2008-09-09 21:42:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Itil – the Big River

Oh – this is simply too funny! Today I read the itsmportal and it talked about the discovery of itil… Russian Archeologists have discovered the remains of the city of itil –  the former Capital of Khazaria (around the 8th century).

So of course I went to the Wikipedia to see what it has to say about itil and it says that itil literally means “Big River”… and this is so appropriate!

Having a Big river close to your village or town means trade and prosperity and this is exactly what ITIL- the IT Service Management Framework has been for a lot of organisations. The fact that they implemented the ITIL processes meant learning a new language that allowed them to communicate with the business to trade their goods and services. ITIL –  the IT Service Management Framework has been vital to the wealth and health of many IT organisations and internal IT groups, as well as the business that needs their support!

However, a Big River also means danger! You need to respect it and you need to know how to work with it. When you don’t understand the workings of the river, it can swallow you and potentially hurt or kill you. Again, the same is true for the ITIL framework. Many people and organisations have started the implementation of ITIL Service Management without really knowing what they were in for. By only focusing on the books and the processes they didn’t see the big picture and missed the opportunities for a safe crossing. A few months or years later they resurface: bruised, battered and egos broken.

People who understand how to work with the river are very important and these experts will be able to offer you advise and sound recommendations (“this is where you build a bridge. this is the type of boat you’ll need to travel on this river. Don’t try to cross the river when you haven’t passed the fitness test” ). Mind you – don’t get them to do the work for you as this will create a dependency that you probably can’t afford. Utilize the experts and learn from them. Practise what you’ve seen them do and create your own knowledge base on which you can build. Before you know it you will manage the river like a pro on your way to bigger and better things!

Oh, and don’t forget to keep an eye on external factors: the weather can change very quickly and will impact on how you deal with the big river.  You will need some wind to keep moving, but a massive storm will make it very difficult to navigate and manage the river.

Happy sailing!


Originally posted 2008-09-09 07:52:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

First impressions of ITIL 2011 – feedback from the team at The Art of Service

The issue at hand:

When the original ITIL® V3 books were released in 2007 there were lots of errors, mistakes, horribly overcomplicated and badly explained diagrams and concepts.  I remember looking through the list of known errors and criticisms on the IT Skeptic’s website  [Thank you Rob to compiling this list! You have greatly contributed to the global ITSM community by doing this.] and wondering where to begin in creating the course materials for students, who trusted that we would be educating them in the correct concepts etc, just as we trusted that the OGC would provide correct and consisten content in their books!

Where are we now?

The purpose of this review was to ‘update’ the framework and resolve these original issues and to generally improve the look and feel of the books to be more consistent and most importantly more user friendly.  This has definitely taken place. The books are a lot easier to ‘digest’ and the overall text flows a lot better. The addition of  new processes such as Strategy Management for IT services (SS) Design Coordination (SD), and the enlarging of processes Business Relationship Management (SS) and Change Evaluation (ST) suggests that ITIL is really trying to cover all basis and make the framework as explicit as possible, as well as blend with standards such as ISO/IEC 20000 and project management frameworks.  There is more talk of staff considerations, defined roles and role descriptions etc. that were unseen before, suggesting that the old ITIL that didn’t discuss people (other than in the category of resources), has now been replaced with ITIL 2011 which has more of a case of the warm and fuzzies :)

Other changes, we have noticed on the way (these are in general and not related to the foundation syllabus) :

  • even-though AMPG have been emphatic in saying this is a review and not a new edition, there is no more ITIL V3 there is only ITIL 2011.
  • stage not phase (as in Lifecycle stage)
  • minor changes to change management activities (more explicit)
  • changes to database names to make it consistent across the lifecycle – now mostly management information systems

And this is only from going through the materials in preparation of the ITIL 2011 Foundation course.

More will follow when we go through the materials again during the update of our ITIL Intermediate classes.

Originally posted 2011-09-04 23:51:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Capacity Management – the Sao Paulo way

Sao Paulo is a city with approx. 20 Million people and this amount of people together in a relatively small area creates some problems:

  1. There is a higher than average crime rate. The police are working very hard on this issue and the city is now a lot safer than it was 5 years ago. I had a major from the Military police in one of my classes last week and he mentioned that in the entire country of Brazil (with approx. 150 Million citizens) there are 400,000 people in jail. Fifty percent of these 400,000 people are in jail in Sao Paulo!
  2. Many people drive to work in their car. Even if you calculate that only10% of the population drives a car, that is still 2 million cars on the road! Driving in Sao Paulo is NOT funny – the traffic is horrendous and most of the time it takes forever to go to the office, to meetings, pretty much everywhere. Walking is not a viable option for many people (see point 1)
  3. Because everybody drives their cars, the air pollution is very bad. Air quality is not good and there is often a thick blanket of smog hanging over the city.

So what have they done to ensure that this problem doesn’t escalate even further -(and to stop the air pollution)?

They have implemented a financial capacity restriction measure. I am not 100% sure how it works but on some of the roads, if not all of them, there is a restriction on the cars that can drive on a particular day.

There is a rule that you are not allowed to drive your car 1 day per week. Each day there is a group of cars (depending on the last digit of the license plate) that are not allowed to use the roads on that day. There are people and systems monitoring what cars are using the road and misuse is heavily fined.

This is a very similar system to our Capacity monitoring systems that we talk about in ITIL Service Management. You can shape the utilization of bandwith for example by blocking certain IP addresses from using the service on certain days or at certain times.

It takes a while to get used to but for the people from São Paulo (and Mexico City, and Bogota) it has become a fact of life…

Originally posted 2008-12-06 07:49:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The secret of ITIL (hint: it's a virtue)


Google was a very good search engine for two years before you started using it.

I got my ITIL Managers Certification almost 20 years ago. Many IT Managers and Professionals tried similar routes but it didn’t work right away. So they gave up. Blackberry is the most popular “phone” in the world because they never gave up.

The irony of ITIL is that the tactics work really quickly. You write a call script for a Help Desk and within a day resolution times are shortened. Bang.

But the strategy still takes forever. The strategy is the hard part, not the tactics.

I discovered a lucky secret the hard way about 25 years ago: you can outlast the other guys if you try. If you stick at stuff that bores them, it accrues. Drip, drip, drip you win.

We’ve all heard about the runaway success of ideas that seem to spread almost overnight, but those events are rare. In reality, success comes more like it did for 90s pop band Pulp, which lead singer Jarvis Cocker once described as “an overnight success that took 16 years”.

It still takes at least ten years to become a success, whatever you do. The frustrating part is that you see your tactics fail right away. The good news is that over time, (no not days, weeks or months but years) you get the satisfaction of watching those tactics succeed right away.
The trap: Show up at a itSMF Meeting, invest two hours, be really aggressive with people, make some noise and then leave in disgust.
The trap: Use all your money to strengthen your personal network and leave no money or patience for ITIL Expert Certification you’ll need to do.
The trap: Read the blogs and fall in love with the quick wins and loose focus on the long-term investments that deliver real value.
The trap: Jump from framework to framework, without achieving anything for the long term.
People want overnight successes. It’s natural. Ignore them; ignore that voice in your head. Listen instead to your real customers, to your vision, and invest in your ITIL v3 Certification for the long haul. Because that’s how long it’s going to take.

Every time, you pick up your ITIL Book and log into eLearning in your hotel room, and work on IT Service Management Skills for an hour instead of zoning out watching Idols, is another right decision, another small step towards excellence, and success.

Patience is really just making the decision not to quit over and over and over again.

ITIL V3 Operational Support and Analysis (OSA) Full Certification

ITIL V3 Release, Control and Validation (RCV) Full Certification

ITIL v3 Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA)

ITIL V3 Planning, Protection and Optimization (PPO) Full Certification

ITIL V3 Intermediate Lifecycle program: Service Strategy SS

ITIL V3 MALC – Managing Across the Lifecycle Full Certification

ITIL v3 Service Operation (SO) Certification

ITIL v3 Service Transition (ST) Certification

ITIL v3 Intermediate:Continual Service Improvement Lifecycle Program

ITIL v3 Intermediate Lifecycle program: Service Design SD

Originally posted 2009-08-25 05:54:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter