SCENE 4, MIDMORNING, BACK FROM A QUICK BREAK, FADE IN:
IT is sitting on the couch, calm and a little tired. The session continues.
Doctor: When you called last night you seemed very concerned.
IT: Sure, last night I walked into the room and I could immediately tell that the business was mad. Afraid, I asked, “What’s wrong?”
Doctor: Why were you afraid to ask what the problem was?
IT: I was afraid it was something I did.
Doctor: Was it?
IT: Not at first, but it ended up being an issue with me by the end of the discussion.
Doctor: So what did you talk about?
IT: The business was very hurt and distraught. They had a very poor interaction with another group that did not go well. Apparently the interaction was very disturbing.
Doctor: So it wasn’t about you?
IT: Not yet. See I failed to communicate in a way that took the businesses feeling into consideration. That made the business feel like I didn’t care. To be honest, I really couldn’t relate.
Doctor: So the business walked away feeling like you didn’t support it.
IT: Pretty much.
Doctor: We all want to feel validated by others. Its human nature. It’s important to learn how to communicate with empathy and understanding.
IT: Good point. I need some new tools that can help me communicate with more compassion and understanding. Where do I start?
END OF SCENE 4
COMPASSION Vs. BREVITY
Today, more than ever, we have information, like golf balls, being thrown at us like we are sitting at the 250 yard line of a driving range. Many web pages, mobile applications, Facebook pages, etc. are all trying to get our attention with flashing banners or cat videos.
On the flip side, brevity can cause a lack of connection with others leading us to a place where we don’t feel connected with our peers.
Somewhere in between these two extremes is the communication sweet spot.
In a future blog I will address this issue more in depth, but for now I am going to focus on how the sweet spot of communication applies to the Change Advisory Board (CAB) and Change Management and how it allows you to move beyond the process of change.
EVOLVING THE CAB
Being the innovators and disruptors that we are, it is our responsibility to rethink the way that we communicate and interact with the Business. Recently, I was involved with an organization that had a routine CAB meeting twice a week with over 100 people in attendance. They had to rely on 7 different tools to gather information to make decisions. Most of the information was outdated or questionable and “tribal knowledge” trumped all repositories creating a dependency on key people.
The opportunity was to give both IT and the business enough information to make the best decisions without overwhelming the team. We focused on one simple risk metric that was derived by analyzing and weighting probability factors and multiplying them by risk factors. We also collected metrics about potential collisions and dependencies and represented all of them as easy to understand icons, available in one virtual interface. The results were unprecedented. Members of the CAB were able to look at all change requests in real time and vote for action on a RFC from any place or during any time that was convenient for them. This pre-CAB decision making enabled a streamlined CAB Meeting only requiring high risk or open changes to be discussed. The organization saw a 60% reduction in CAB-reviewed RFCs.
RETHINKING THE FORWARD SCHEDULE OF CHANGE
In many organizations the Forward Schedule of Change (FSC) is kept in a spreadsheet only available to a few people; our example organization was no different. ITIL v.2 defines an FSC as a document that lists all approved changes and their planned implementation dates. (Fun fact: ITIL v.3 renamed the FSC to the Change Schedule but very few organizations have adopted the term CS.) We found that the Excel based FSC was not kept up to date in many circumstances leaving the service desk “in the dark” when it came to planned changes.
For those of you going through a similar situation we recommend automating the FSC creation and maintenance. This automation leads to a reduction in FTEs maintaining the system and a Change Schedule with increased accuracy. Organizationally, the service desk also has a dashboard to be able to look at all in-flight changes to determine what changes are active, planned, and finished in near real time. It is a win-win for all involved.
360 VISION IMPACT – Beyond the Process of Change
No matter how you cut it, if you want to improve your uptime, customer satisfaction, IT/Business communication, or just become a better IT organization, moving beyond the process of change is an imperative. Over the past 3 blog posts I have talked about how using HP’s IT Change Management Suite with Release Control and Universal Discovery to augment any Service Desk can significantly improve your IT organizations change visibility, analysis, communication, and control. My next blog post will begin to focus on the CMDB and how business and ITs respective views of the CMS are radically different, why that is, and why we need to fix it.
Don’t get caught in the dark!
For more information on how to improve your change process, click here and watch a fun video.