Fresh Links Sundae – August 25, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

When it comes to providing IT services, Barclay Rae believes that we do need to be consistent, accountable, reliable and able to deliver and demonstrate value. He outlines 7 simple, positive, and practical tips on how to be successful with IT service management. Start from the beginning: Introduction, Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 4, Step 5, Step 6, ITSM Goodness Step 7: Change and Sell the Pitch (HDIConnect)

There are people who advocate that, while IT is essential, IT is also commodity like utilities. Robert Plant believes that company leaders should create stronger, progressive IT positions. He also suggests three areas where companies can take actions. IT Doesn’t Matter (to CEOs) (Harvard Business Review)

Many IT organizations have the tendency to rip-and-replace and constantly use new solutions to look for quick wins. Recalling a lesson he learned from his father 20 years ago, Jarod Greene thinks we should pay more attention to what we already have and not overlook any obvious value that is already there. You Can Read the Magic Quadrant, After You Finish Cleaning Your Room (Gartner)

With the large number of business blogs out on the Internet, the mediocre blogs probably outnumber the successful ones by a huge margin. Patsi Krakoff outlines what a successful business blog should have and what you can do to make yours better. Is Your Business Blog “Just Okay?” Here’s How to Change It (Writing On The Web)

When we extend deadlines, research suggests that we have difficulty using the newly-found time wisely. Heidi Grant Halvorson explains why do we squander the extra time and what can we do about it. Here’s What Happens When You Extend Deadlines (Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson)

Often we are trained to focus on the end goal and not letting things detract us from the ultimate objective, but that focus along is not sufficient. Kathy Simmons recommends what successful executive should do. Are You a Results Oriented Executive? (The Executive Update)

Hiring the right people is probably the most valuable contribution a manager can make for his/her organization. Rob England recommends how we can do a better job hiring for our organizations. How to Hire (The IT Skeptic)

Taking a chapter from Professor Rita Gunther McGrath’s most recent book, The End of Competitive Advantage: How To Keep Your Strategy Moving As Fast As Your Business; Theodore Kinni points out how the effect that transience on corporate strategy may have on our careers. Can Your Career Survive Transient Competitive Advantage? (Strategy+Business)

While we all claim to hate suck-ups, we seem to surround ourselves with them. Marshall Goldsmith shows how we unknowingly encourage sucking up and what we can do to change our behavior.  All of Us Are Stuck on Suck-Ups (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Rachel Martin believes there is a list of living intentional type things we should do with our child. She suggests what her list looks like. 20 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kid. (finding joy)

Book Review: An Integrated Requirements Process by Peter Brooks

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-tablet-pc-computer-book-image23624210Summary: Compelling recommendations for instituting an integrated requirement management process in any enterprise

After managing IT projects and practicing IT service management for a number of years, the idea of having an integrated requirement process (IRP) for an enterprise intrigues me. I am certified in ITIL and have studied IIBA’s BABOK and ISACA’ COBIT frameworks. I was particularly interested in reading Peter’s recommendations for managing enterprise requirements.

The author proposed IRP based on the premises that:

  • Requirements are corporate assets and should be methodically captured, tracked, managed, and re-used for the benefit of the enterprise.
  • Many frameworks describe the needs of capturing and managing requirements but do not go into more details on how requirements should be properly captured and managed
  • An unified view of the requirement is necessary and can be leveraged by other IT frameworks and activities

Why would you want to read this book and examine the proposed process? I think the book is relevant if you are looking for:

  • A starting point into a more organized and formalized requirement management process for your organization
  • Ways to capture requirements from discrete projects into a centralized enterprise repository and to leverage their re-use
  • Recommendations for integrating requirement management more seamlessly with other IT activities/lifecycles such as application development, business analysis (BABOK), ITSM (ITIL), and IT governance/audit (COBIT).

How would this book help you? After reading the book, I think you will be able to:

  • Define or design a requirement management process for your organization. For example process flow, roles and responsibilities, recommended CSFs and KPIs
  • Define or design categories and statuses to enable a requirement managing workflow for logging, tracking, and re-use of the requirements
  • Define or design the necessary measurements for evaluating the IRP’s effectiveness
  • Understand or identify the necessary controls for governing and sustaining IRP
  • Understand or identify the integration points between IRP, BABOK, ITIL, and COBIT
  • Understand or identify supporting tool requirements

In summary, Peter has provided some compelling reasons and recommendations for instituting an integrated requirement management process in any enterprise. The book has defined all the necessary elements for designing, implementing, and governing the IRP. Peter also has taken a great deal of care by adding plenty of worked examples to help explain the process. I believe his recommendations provide an excellent starting point for those who are ready to manage requirements as corporate assets, rather than just one-time project occurrences.

Book Review: Plus! The Standard+Case Approach by Rob England

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-tablet-pc-computer-book-image23624210Summary: The model is well explained and the recommendations are actionable

Rob’s “Plus! The Standard+Case Approach” book is another way of looking at how we can better manage and deliver IT services to the organization. In general, I like the concepts and the principles presented in the book. Specifically,

  1. Rob did an admirable job explaining his Standard+Case model in detail: how the model works, when the model is appropriate to deploy, why we should care, etc.
  2. As someone with IT operations background, I believe Rob’s advice and recommendations are actionable. Theories and high-level frameworks are good to know, but the rubber will eventually need to meet the road. I am convinced that Rob’s approach can work for many IT organizations.
  3. If you have had exposure to Rob’s work via his blog, speaking sessions, or his books, you know Rob likes to call things as he sees them. This book is no exception.

While I do not have anything negative to say about the book, I would like to bring up one observation. People reading this book should be aware that the “Standard+Case” model is not presenting anything new or revolutionary when compared to ITIL. Rather, it is another way of looking at how we can do things. If you already have implemented ITSM leveraging ITIL with satisfactory results, I am not sure Rob’s model is going to bring you an even more spectacular result.

That said; I would encourage strongly giving Rob’s model a try if you are struggling to get organized in the service response area. Respectable frameworks such as ITIL and PMBOK call out what the minimum, basic professional standards ought to look like. When properly implemented with discipline and care, I believe Rob’s model can help an organization achieve that basic, professional level and be more effective at what they do.

Fresh Links Sundae – August 18, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image9076544Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

As the business continues to demand agility and delivery of changes and innovation, focusing on the existing processes alone probably won’t suffice.  Robert Stroud recommends that service managers must also focus on automation and proactivity in order to fulfill a critical part of their service delivery to the business. Delivering Innovation—And Doing it Quickly (CA Technologies)

When working with an effective team, the chances are that the team members are also happy working with each other. Wendii Lord tells us what seems to make her team tick at Manager Tools. 3 Secrets of a Happy Team (Manager Tools)

Computer applications are not built to last forever due to the changes in business processes or environment. Ryan Ogilvie gives us an example where application changes are rarely isolated, and the changes usually involve considerations that can impact the tools, processes, architecture, and organizational knowledge. Workarounds and Implementations – Like Ripping off a Bandage (Service Management Journey)

As IT tools become more sophisticated and complex, controversy arises on how much IT should get involved in employee training and development. Andrew Horne believes that this is a problem the c-suite as a whole has to solve and that the solution must include the IT organization’s involvement.  How CIOs Can Avoid the Other IT Skills Crunch (CEB’s IT Blog)

In IT, we provide measurements, but some of those measurements often do not connect with the business goals and metrics. Julie Montgomery suggests several IT related measurements that just might be useful to your organization’s senior leaders. 3 IT Metrics Your CEO May Actually Care About (Plexent Blog)

As more business activities become digitized, a number of organizations are looking to be more “data-driven” in their decision-making processes. Thomas Redman summarizes six harmful habits that can stymie managers and companies from taking full advantage of their data. Become More Data-Driven by Breaking These Bad Habits (Harvard Business Review)

If you are interested in managing your software asset more effectively, David Foxen has some suggestions on what the next generation of SAM professionals should be proficient at doing. Tips for the next generation of SAM professionals (The ITAM Review)

The ability to perform multiple activities at once has been regarded by many as an asset, but Patrick Gray explains why that belief can be counter-productive. He also suggests a few ways of managing multiple tasks and using the human mind to its most effective capacity. The lie of multitasking (TechRepublic)

Reflecting from reading Dennis Perkins’ book, Into the Storm, Jim Taggart explains what useful insights organizations can draw to adapt to a relentlessly changing world. Into the Storm: A Real-World Lesson on Leadership and Teamwork (ChangingWinds)

Seth Godin believes that what we’re looking for in a leader is formidability. He also explains what two critical elements make a leader formidable. Choosing to be formidable (Seth’s Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 11, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT Professionals be more successful. With these ideas, I hope they can help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass! I hope you will find them thought-provoking or something of value.

After completing a recent web application project, Bob Lewis shares with us the lessons he learned and how those best practices can also be applicable when it comes managing data and application architecture projects. Lessons learned from code diving (IS Survivor Publishing)

Together with CSI, Paul Wilkinson believes that problem management is one of the core capabilities that IT organizations needs to develop. He explains why problem management is also an excellent risk management capability. Problem management: Especially Now! (ITSM Portal)

As the workplace becomes more collaborative and knowledge-intensive, Andrew Horne believes that IT should interact more directly with individual employees to identify their needs and to generate innovations. He outlines five questions to ask in order to determine whether your IT organization is on the right track. Do You Have A C-Suite Problem? (CEB’s IT Blog)

Based on a recently published report from HDI and Robert Half Technology, many technology leaders believe that user demand for anytime, anywhere IT service/support is one of three major trends driving how IT provides services. Stephen Mann adds his observation that how IT services are perceived and consumed by business users/consumers/customers is just as essential as how IT delivers the services. The Future of the IT Service Desk…or whatever it becomes (HDIConnect)

When it comes to the concept of DevOps, there are a number of definitions of what DevOps is or should be. Phil Whelan interviewed John Arundel for his thoughts on DevOps, and I thought John’s candid perspective was very educational. John Arundel on DevOps (ActiveBlog)

Leveraging the findings from the recently published 2013 State of DevOps survey, Aliza Earnshaw gives us five measurements to consider if you are just starting to implement DevOps. 5 KPIs that Make the Case for DevOps (DevOps Blog)

While there are foundational characteristics that every mentor possesses, Len Lagestee recalls four outstanding traits from the mentors who have made a difference in his life. Four Characteristics of Memorable Mentors (Illustrated Agile)

Inspired by George Saunders’ recent graduation remarks to a group of students at Syracuse University, Mitch Joel believes that, in business, we can still be kind. Random Acts Of Business Kindness (Six Pixels of Separation)

While good bosses care about getting important things done, Jeff Haden also believes that exceptional bosses care about their people. 10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees (Inc.com)

How do great leaders encourage leadership development within his/her own team? Marshall Goldsmith recommends that the best ways top executives can get their leaders to improve is to work on improving themselves. To Help Others Develop, Start With Yourself (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

A bonus download…

Len Lagestee has combined 9 blog posts walking through an Agile Leadership Engagement Model by making them available in one convenient document. Enjoy the reading. Introducing the Agile Leadership Engagement Model E-Book (Illustrated Agile)