The ITSM Iron Triangle

The ITSM Iron Triangle: Incidents, changes and problems

DANIEL McLEAN
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hh5rd
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  • Book Info
    The ITSM Iron Triangle
    Book Description:

    This innovative work of fiction demonstrates how ITIL® best practice can ensure the success of your IT process implementation projects. It is based on real-life, up-to-date situations and offers vital strategies to implement the most important aspects of ITIL into your business and to tailor them to your organisation's particular needs.

    eISBN: 978-1-84928-318-2
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 2-4)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. 5-5)
  3. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    (pp. 6-6)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. 7-7)
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. 8-8)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 9-9)

    Incident, problem and change management are interrelated processes which are foundational to IT success. High-performing IT organizations design, implement and execute them well.

    Successful implementation of these processes requires being able to change people’s behaviors as effectively as you change technology. That’s where IT people struggle, and it’s an area with little specific, or practical, coverage in the best practice standards.

    Overcoming these issues is more critical to successfully implementing IT processes than memorizing process life cycle steps.

    This narrative story provides a collection of lessons from real-world experiences in changing people’s behavior, whilst building these foundational processes.

    You may...

  7. CHAPTER 1: CHANGE IN ASSIGNMENT
    (pp. 10-19)

    Each new job was always different. No two companies, or bosses, were ever exactly the same. The good news was that after three months onboard, I was still excited about this one, and wanted to keep it. The job market was terrible, and it had taken me a long time to find something. No way I wanted to go back into that job-hunting swamp anytime soon.

    Today I was a little worried. Ramesh, my boss, had just called. He told me to drop everything and immediately meet him in the CIO’s office. Even during the brief phone call, I could...

  8. CHAPTER 2: INTO THE FIRE
    (pp. 20-28)

    They call them War Rooms for a reason. Ours was a commandeered windowless conference room. An old wrinkled sheet of copy paper with the phrase “RESERVED FOR WAR ROOM,” was taped askew to the door. The word “WAR” circled by an ancient coffee stain. Inside were a long rectangular table, and an enormous whiteboard on the wall at the far end. The room was overfilled with people, and everyone seemed to be talking at once. On the table, two speakerphones were hosting different conversations while people clustered around them. Those not clustered around the phones were sitting around the table,...

  9. CHAPTER 3: TURNING UP THE HEAT
    (pp. 29-37)

    I stepped out of the War Room just as Ramesh came down the hall. He immediately pulled me aside. We stood three steps away from the door as people filed out.

    I was grinning when I said, “So what did you think of my performance running my first incident?”

    “I listened to the whole thing and I want you to know that was the worst example of leadership I have ever seen in my life,” he snapped back. “If Sean hadn’t been there, it would have been chaos. Nothing would have gotten done. I’m just glad I wasn’t in the...

  10. CHAPTER 4: SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT PLACE TO START
    (pp. 38-52)

    My meeting with Jessica, Ramesh and Jason had been a ritualized and highly structured beat-down, organized by organizational stature and the degree of suffering you felt you had endured.

    Jason yelled at Jessica. She then yelled at Ramesh. Ramesh yelled at me, and since there was no one else in the room that was lower in the organization, I just had to sit there and take it.

    Jason didn’t want to hear about plans, or efforts, or goals. All he wanted was an ironclad guarantee that it would never happen again. Fortunately, Jessica was smart enough not to give it...

  11. CHAPTER 5: INVESTIGATING THE WETWARE
    (pp. 53-71)

    My regular Monday morning 8 am one-on-one meeting with Ramesh, was where we went through what I was working on and where it stood. It also provided Ramesh the opportunity to give me his favourite management directive. “What keeps you from having this done already?”

    On my way to his office, I’d almost stopped by and asked Jessica’s admin to set up a meeting, so I could present my solution to her, and her direct reports, at the earliest opportunity. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or perhaps it was some cowardly caution on my part, but while waiting...

  12. CHAPTER 6: MANAGING SERVICE OUTAGES
    (pp. 72-81)

    Hiu was manager of the network team, and from the initial looks at the data I’d seen, a lot of the incidents had his team involved in some way to resolve them. It didn’t necessarily mean his team was responsible for them. It just meant he had great visibility of what restored the service.

    The references had been pretty clear. With only incident management, no matter how good we got at resolving outages, we could never reduce the number of incidents. That was where problem management made all the difference. I was convinced of that, it had to be part...

  13. CHAPTER 7: TIME TO REFOCUS
    (pp. 82-93)

    I couldn’t believe the numbers.

    I checked them three times, but it always came out the same. Over the last 90 days, the number of incidents had remained almost constant. There had been a few swings between teams, but the total wasn’t statistically different than it had been before I started.

    All that work; all the effort I had invested was for nothing. I had done my best to get the incident management team to gather enough data so they could identify how to prevent repeat disruptions to the service. There always seemed to be another incident that got in...

  14. CHAPTER 8: THE FIVE QUESTIONS
    (pp. 94-105)

    I slid the chair closer to Mia’s desk and sat down. She was a peer to my manager, Ramesh. Neither of us spoke for a moment. No sweat. I’d learned a long time ago that putting a moment of silence before beginning an important conversation tended to focus everyone on the issue at hand.

    Mia was the leader of the DBAs. She’d had this role for the last three years. In that time, she’d successfully turned a chaotic, fractious and generally dysfunctional group of individuals into a highly productive and well-run team. At the same time, her employee survey results...

  15. CHAPTER 9: WHAT IS THAT LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?
    (pp. 106-115)

    I chugged the energy drink, tossing the empty into the trash and grabbing another in one continuous motion. I held the fresh can’s cold surface against my forehead, letting the cool drops of condensation trickle down my face, as I yawned. It felt good. But I was still foggy from the lack of sleep. I’d been working all day, and most of the night, for the last two weeks, and it was catching up with me. Nothing seemed to work to keep me awake anymore.

    I was in my spare bedroom; the place I euphemistically called my home office. At...

  16. CHAPTER 10: NOT EVERYONE LIKES ANSWERS
    (pp. 116-125)

    I flipped to the last slide and the words, “The End,” filled the screen. I waited a moment and then asked, “Are there any questions?”

    Jessica and her staff sat silently around the table, still staring at the screen. The only exception was Ramesh. He was watching Jessica, looking for some hint of her reaction.

    I was confident the message from my presentation had been overwhelming. Even Ramesh had been stunned into silence when I showed it to him yesterday. After seeing it, he was more excited about any of my work than I had seen him in a long...

  17. CHAPTER 11: WHY SERVICE OUTAGES ARE LIKE DANDELIONS
    (pp. 126-135)

    The War Room was jammed and noisy. The air was stale, and smelled of carpets and furniture that hadn’t been cleaned in a long time. Several large bags of empty Chinese take-out containers were overflowing the trash can. And someone was already making the fourth pot of coffee.

    The good news was, we were just starting to get some traction on the first SEV1 service outage of the evening, when the second one cascaded in. But nobody got flustered like in the old days. The incident response team passed the work out, and assigned people to the second one without...

  18. CHAPTER 12: WHEN NO ONE IS AROUND
    (pp. 136-145)

    I chugged the energy drink, then tossed the empty into the trash, and grabbed another from the break room fridge in one continuous motion. I held the fresh can’s cold surface against my forehead, letting the cool drops of condensation trickle down my face as I yawned. My eyes hurt, and I was having trouble focusing on the laptop screen. I knew you weren’t supposed to rub your eyes, but I did anyway. They were so dry, it felt like I was grinding sand into them.

    It was nearly 2 am. I knew my laptop would be waiting for me...

  19. CHAPTER 13: THE RIGHT THING THE WRONG WAY
    (pp. 146-157)

    “Who do you think you are?” snapped Brad, the data centre director, as he paced in front of Ramesh’s desk, just as he had done since arriving 10 minutes ago. His face was red, like bad sunburn. Eyes wide, his speech was jerky and punctuated with sharp jabbing arm gestures. With greying hair looking a little like smoke, he acted like glowing coals about to flashover into a full blown firestorm.

    He ignored me, and vented his anger on my manager, Ramesh, seemingly unwilling to waste the energy on me because of a confidence my chastisement would come at the...

  20. CHAPTER 14: GOING THROUGH THEM CHANGES
    (pp. 158-171)

    “Any questions?” I asked.

    Ramesh sat speechless, staring at the slide projected on the wall of Jessica’s office. The whir of the fan on the projector was the only sound. Jason had barely looked up during the entire presentation. He’d kept his nose buried in his tablet the whole time. Of course, Chester, the change manager, had dutifully followed along, but I didn’t expect him to speak, unless asked a direct question. It just wasn’t his style.

    Jessica broke the silence. “Are you trying to tell me that 66% of all the incidents we have are due to activities approved...

  21. CHAPTER 15: SOME FINGERS POINT AND SOME HANDS CLAP
    (pp. 172-179)

    The change management meeting had gone well, right up to the point where the fourth of six business change requests had been denied. Meredith played her part as the aggrieved party quite well, despite the fact that the business had tried to push them out into production as emergency changes two days earlier. The rationale for the emergency was the potential loss of revenue if the latest fix to Mountain Top was not enabled in time. But the reality had been that they hadn’t even considered working through the change management process until Brad’s team refused to cooperate.

    The developers...

  22. CHAPTER 16: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME TODAY?
    (pp. 180-185)

    Sully’s resonant baritone voice filled the room from the speakerphone. “Jessica, all I want is a simple answer to a simple question. Will you meet the delivery timeline Mountain Top phase II?”

    Jessica shook her head silently, and then said, “Sorry Sully. No, we can’t. There just aren’t enough resources in IT to get it done.”

    Sully cut her off and finished her sentence. “Jessica, stop. No excuses or explanations. We’re talking about almost 120 days from now. And you’re telling me you can’t divert enough resources to meet this critical business need? This can’t go on. I want the...

  23. ITG RESOURCES
    (pp. 186-188)