The Casualties of Frameworks Going to War
In principle, the primary goal of an IT service management (ITSM) framework is to provide a published body of knowledge (BoK) so professionals can improve their ability to deliver value to the larger community they serve. However, most IT organisations struggle with a silo mentality regarding culture, processes, and tools.
This cultural dynamic has unfortunately influenced the way the industry tends to write, use, and sometimes misuse the assets and resources it’s been given. This has also been fueled by the fact that various IT communities have developed their BoKs, management frameworks, and automation strategies around a principle of specialization versus integration. The outcome of this approach creates a culture of silo-based values, beliefs, and behaviours.
As a result, various areas of specialisation hold onto a passionate and stubborn desire to be separate, independent, and distinct rather than acknowledging all IT management capabilities are part of an integrated value system. This desire for independence will, at times, translate into a situation where tools are used as weapons to threaten others and damage the very goals espoused.
Seeking and even demanding to be separate and distinct from all that has gone before, slogans are written on blogs, rhetoric is preached through webinars, and frameworks are weaponised by turning useful knowledge into war banners. How many times have you heard the phrase: “Framework X is here – framework Y is dead!”? In this context of extreme independence, organizations struggle to even gain consensus that agreements and shared practices are necessary between internal IT groups, let alone different suppliers. As organisations attempt to develop synergy and shared practices through the creation of enterprise capabilities such as the emergence of a project management office, enterprise architecture, or a shared service management office they are greeted with the response “You’re not the boss of me!”
Over the years, I have come to understand that the primary constraint to beneficial transformation is not a knowledge gap or a gap in tools but rather a lack of organisational will – a culture of silo thinking as well as leadership that fails to create a sense of shared values, beliefs, and practices.
The good news is that various communities of practice are finally understanding the only way to gain the organisational velocity required for success in the digital age is to put down our gauntlets, abandon the chip on our shoulder, and get down to doing the hard and right thing by working together. The new question is: How do we find a way to integrate our management approaches for the common good of the organisations we serve?
Written by Troy Dumoulin, VP Research & Development at Pink Elephant Canada
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