Improvements 2016 – Not a Broken Record

 Every year I say that I am not going to have a post on the coming year, but I find myself starting to think about what 2016 will look like and here I am writing a post about it. If you were to look back year after year at posts of this type many of the same process-centric activities keep popping up, much like dieting or quitting smoking. It sounds like a broken record. While those are still important, you might notice that the subjects I will be focusing on this year are more general.

Focus on Business

Do you know what your business does and what they are trying to achieve? In some cases we make assumptions that we know, or that we have a general idea of what they do. This level of assumption will not be enough in the year(s) going forward. We need to better understand the five W’s of the business. We also need to let the business know that we are interested in understanding their needs. Have we made a visible effort in building a relationship with them aside from the fact that we work at the same company.

Knowing what your business needs will better allow you and your team to target the delivery of service that they get. This should be an activity that you, as a provider, look at in the big picture sense of the word. In many cases you might find that these efforts seem segregated from the rest of the organization. This relationship should not be a secret; if it is it will limit its effectiveness. Be inclusive, and have people from various teams involved. Have the group open and not by ‘invite only’. Make sure that this is also marketed in a way that all teams are aware of this initiative; again make sure that this is not a secret. People should be excited about this.


Continual service improvement

Since the New Year is filled with initiatives to improve, it would seem like a ‘no brainer’ to have a continual service improvement initiative in this list. The trick to getting this started is to keep your improvement initiatives simple. Have a larger picture in mind, and build momentum off a few small wins in the beginning. While you might want to naturally have a large improvement which is more visible to people, you will be better served by having several small successes which lead up to something bigger. Each quarter review what you have achieved and don’t forget to celebrate the successes. This is important to building momentum.

Broaden your framework horizons

As more and more people are getting their heads around ITIL, we are starting to appreciate that there are other approaches that can complement and add value to daily activities. While we may use a particular framework as the, well framework for service delivery within IT, we should recognize that there are many other methods available that can add value. For me I will be looking at BRM, DevOps and COBIT, and integrating them into service improvement initiatives.


Whether it is online or in person, get to know the people in your community. This doesn’t always mean you have to go to a conference, although it might. Connect on social media platforms and get engaged in on-line learning and webinars where they are available, most of the information you can collect is free, and you can bounce ideas off one another to improve understanding. I spoke earlier about getting to know the business better but we can also leverage our colleagues in our communities to ask questions and see what they did in particular situations. Find yourself a ‘mentor like’ figure to give you some insight that you might not otherwise have. In turn you should also considering mentoring others as a way to further develop your community. You will find that this type of interaction will pay dividends on your understanding of how to better serve your own business.

1 thought on “Improvements 2016 – Not a Broken Record”

  1. Why limit yourself to one framework (ITIL/COBIT) that is still learning how to help its followers and certificate holders think and act customer first, or outside-in?

    Focus on a customer, a situation, one thing they need to do, and look at how you help them do that. Respect the four core questions of outside-in that guarantee customer centric culture and practices…

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