CSI (Continual Service Improvement) is probably the Core capability required by IT organizations. Certainly when we consider the rapidly changing business and IT landscape and ever increasing demands for IT to deliver. Yet CSI is probably the last ITIL/ITSM capability to be adopted. Many ITSM improvement initiatives or ‘projects’ or ‘ implementations’ can be characterized by ‘ Crime Scene Investigation!’ – who used ITIL to kill the improvement initiative? What do I mean by that? Poorly adopted and deployed use of best practices to realize results. We have now conducted workshops with literally thousands of organizations into the reasons ITSM improvement initiatives fail. Common themes that come back year in and year out are ‘ Throwing solutions (ITIL/ITSM) over the wall and hoping people will follow them’ ,‘Plan, do, stop…no real continual improvement culture’, ‘the framework (ITIL/CoBIT/BiSL) is the goal! Not what the framework should achieve!’ and ‘Not my responsibility’.
In my opinion these types of initiatives should be positioned as CSI (Continual Service Improvement) initiatives – owned by the teams themselves. ‘Improving your work is your work’ should be the new mantra of IT organizations and teams. Teams should be empowered and encouraged to assess and improve their own ways of working. They should be ‘empowered’ to apply the improvements. These are reasons many organizations are moving away from traditional ’Certification’ only training programs to include ‘Learning-by-doing’ approaches such as Business Simulation games – to engage with and empower teams, and why many are moving away from more traditional improvement projects in which a bucket of consultants are wheeled in, to more ‘on the job’, ‘action based’ learning by the employees themselves, focusing on incremental improvements and implicitly CSI.
However many people still think ‘..a simulation game? That is just NICE to have not NEED to have? Just give me the ITIL certificate’. Customers who have effectively used simulations as interventions say ‘ a simulation was ‘NEED’ to have’ as it created buy-in, overcame resistance, empowered people, captured improvement actions and …..people started applying what was learnt back at the workplace’ – showing how theory was translated into practice and knowledge translated into results’.
One team learnt in the simulation how to get together and assess their own ways of working and to identify and agree 1 or 2 priority improvements to apply in the next simulation round. They had learnt to apply what we call ‘Pragmatic CSI’. This was then taken away and applied in the organization with the results that CSI registers were not only hanging everywhere but were being used to capture improvements from the shop floor. Improvements the teams wanted to apply. The management team would then facilitate and enable teams to carry out these changes.