Dad, what do you do? – The Service Management Café


When I was a kid I was easily able to articulate what my father did for a living. He drove the bus, this meant he picked up passengers, dropped them off and drove in a route to repeat this activity. If you were to ask my wife what I do she might have some idea but may not be able to explain it in terms other people may understand. Her common response is “he is an IT geek”. This may offer its own stereotypes but most people have a notion of what that equates to.

There becomes a time where when the business units you deal with may not “get” what you do but they may have a preconceived notion of what IT represents. It is time to change that mentality by becoming partners with the business.

I am pretty sure that most people have eaten in a restaurant at one time or another and in some cases even worked I one (I can fondly remember working at the Edinburgh Rock Café many years ago ). This is why I tend to use this as the example in my explanation

Here are the roles as they pertain to this particular example:

Information Technology
Incident Management
Sous Chef
Application Support and Delivery
Head Chef
Change, Release and SACM
Operations Team
Line Cooks
Operations Team
Operations Team
Bar Staff
Operations Team
IT Operations Manager
Doorman / Bouncer
IT Security
Service Desk

Note depending on geographical location terms for these positions may vary

Breaking this down into a scenario would sound a little like this.

The customer heads to the ITSM restaurant at lunchtime for soup, sandwich and a pint. When they arrive they give a nod to the doorman, (IT Security) who ensures they have reservations and that they are not part of a large tour group. The customers are seated next to the window and given a menu (service catalog). The customer is impressed with the cleanliness of the restaurant and frankly the cutlery, since some experiences recently have not been as positive. “They must have a good staff (Operations Team) to keep things this clean”, they mention among each other. After a moment to review the menu and decide the customers tells the servers (Service Desk) that they want the soup and sandwich lunch special. The server places the order and the customer eagerly waits for their beer. While nothing has been formally discussed there is an unsaid agreement that since this is lunch hour that the service will be quick (Service Level Objective)

As a function of the order (Service Request) the pint of Guinness has been pulled, allowed to settle, and delivered to the customer. (This is my scenario and in it a pint of black is the way to go)

In the Kitchen the expediter (Incident Manager) sees the order come up and calls it out (escalates) to the kitchen staff (our operations team) to assemble. During preparation process it is determined that the soup de jour has run out. Because the Chef did not have the correct ingredients in the kitchen (Configuration Management) they were unable to make the chicken noodle soup as requested by the customer.

It is at this point that the Sous Chef discuses with the Head Chef the alternative solutions (problem management workarounds). Making a garden salad as a substitute is the plan. This information is relayed through the wait staff to the customer. While the customer had their heart set on the broth, they agree to the salad option. As the order is assembled it is checked for quality before it is… deployed.

The customer receives the salad and sandwich combo and enjoys it thoroughly. This may not always be the case. In other examples this same customer may bring up a complaint with the manager (IT Operations Manager) or the owner (CIO) if they are aware of whom they are.

This example is simple, and while it is subject to interpretations and variations the point is this. When discussing how service management helps the business, no matter how apparent it is to you speaking of it in terms that the business understands (not processes) s paramount to helping to become partners with them.


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