Skip to main content

Process Ain't a Post-It

Some ITIL advocates insist that having a good process is separate from having a good tool. "If the process is right, you can do it on a post-it note. Putting it in the tool will speed things up, but it won't fundamentally change the nature of the process."

This is rubbish. It may be true for small scale processes, but technology automation can open up new process possibilities that just wouldn't be possible without a technology assist. I think that we should plan our processes with a tool in mind that can accomplish the task.

Think of a Service Catalog that gives an executive insight into the costs of the things he orders. He can dynamically scale up or down his order or services to meet his projected needs. He can tweak variables and make decisions because of the power of the tool. It gives him a visualization that simply wouldn't be available in a paper-based process.

The NewScale demonstration (a prominent Service Catalog provider) really drove this point home. I watched them show the services provided to the business (say "messaging") and then the ability to drill down on the supporting services and service levels that might support that service. I hope that we can put together a service catalog at BYU that will provide that much power to decision makers on campus. We're talking our first steps with a new tool right now and I think it is showing a lot of promise.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Beyond Scrum?

[Adapted from a post to our internal Slack team.]

My manager has been working to get an agile consultancy into our university's central IT department to help us progress in our journey toward being more agile. I hope that the training and coaching we receive will focus more on the root principles of value in agile processes rather than on a single process like Scrum.

Are there any root agile principles that you think we need to be better at embracing? Here are some that come to mind for me.
Develop functionality vertically instead of horizontally. You don't create the database layer all the way, and then the web services layer all the way, and finally--after 9 months--start to create the web user interface. Instead, you find a way to introduce a complete feature that touches all those technology layers so that you can get real feedback about the usage and value of the system or feature.Be willing to throw things away. If we're going to experiment, we have to be okay buildin…

Making People Feel Stupid: A Cardinal Sin in Design

People will go to great lengths and inconvenience to avoid appearing or feeling stupid. A great example of when design makes a user feel stupid comes from Alan Coopers 1999 book The Inmates are Running the Asylum on page 24. Cooper is talking about the keyless entry system on his car keys.
"The large button locks the car and simultaneously arms the alarm. Pressing the button a second time disarms the alarm and unlocks the car. There is also a second smaller button labeled 'Panic.' When you press it, the car emits a quiet warble for a few seconds. If you hold it down longer, the quiet warble is replaced by the full 100-decibel blasting of the car alarm, whooping, tweeting, yowling, and declaring to everyone within a half-mile that some dolt--me--has just done something execrably stupid. What's worse, after the alarm has been triggered, the little plastic device becomes functionally inert, and further pressing of either button does nothing. The only way to stop that hon…