Service Management Truths #SMTruths

Recently i started a hashtag on Twitter #SMTruths to track reflections on the profound fundamentals of service management, the enduring truths that underly all the more complex ideas we lay on top.
I want the thread to be thoughtful, lateral, insightful, startling, and amusing. You tell me how close it comes to that aspiration. And of course: its a hashtag thread, so join in.

These are things I've learned in thirty years in IT, ten of them philosophising. Not all of them are meant to be taken literally: some are ironic, cynical, or sarcastic, and some are downright zen. But hopefully all are fun and useful.

Since I don't trust Twitter to keep anything forever, and the twitter timeline widget is horrible, I'll try to log all of them here:

  • Food never looks like the photo on the menu
  • Someone is paying for it
  • Snowflakes are all the same
  • It takes as long as it takes to put the fire out
  • Watch the ball not your hands
  • Rank has its privileges
  • If the horse is dead, dismount.
  • Never play your best card first.
  • Remember the Golden Rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules.
  • A problem gone is a problem solved.
  • Something changed.
  • @GanderSM: had nothing to do with that release
  • The customer is always right even when they are wrong.
  • The world refuses to be defined, repeatable, managed and measured.
  • How long does it take to solve a murder?
  • A small fire can wait. [This was meant to be sarcastic]
  • In a dynamically changing world, no process or technology is as flexible as humans.
  • You're only as good as your last service restoration.
  • Customers pay, users consume.
  • On its own, process maturity means nothing.
  • @elt5u: Scratch where it itches
  • Securing the perimeter is futile. They're in.
  • They'll love you more if you fix it quickly than if it never breaks
  • IT is 1% innovation.
  • Better to improve over time than lead with your best.
  • No recovery is ever truly tested until the real world tests it.
  • There's User's Priority and there's Actual Priority.
  • No one walks in the customer's shoes.
  • All complex systems are permanently broken. No operator can prevent them failing forever.
  • My request being late to fulfil is an incident. [I mangled the wording of that one. Some of these are written pretty late at night]
  • Good enough is near enough but near enough is not good enough.
  • Why do we quibble over ITIL definitions? Everyone uses their own anyway.
  • Serve the customer not the user.
  • @vagrasala: or serve user, but satisfy customer?
  • treat the user as the customer is paying you to do.
  • Email is not communication
    And it is certainly not education
    But it is a damn good journal.
  • Copper not gold. [This one didn't resonate, judging by re-tweets, which is a shame as I think it is one of the most important. I spent a year full-time thinking about Core Practice, or CoPr for short - a pun, get it?]
  • Sure you can manage what you can't measure. People do it every day, since humanity began.
  • Every metric distorts that which it measures.
  • Actually talking to someone almost never makes it worse and almost always makes it better.
  • Long running responses can indicate incompetence, negligence, or complexity. Only one is the owner's fault.
  • If you are up to your arse in alligators, shoot alligators.
  • @DMonTech: "Service" you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • Emails fall like snow on service desk analysts. Quit pretending they will read and assimilate them.
  • Good people fix bad process. Good process identifies improvements in bad technology. It doesn't work the other way.
    Fix the people
  • It doesn't matter what you would do. it's not your money.
  • Technology, tools, things solve nothing. They only assist efficiency and effectiveness of people.
  • There is no root cause. It takes multiple causes to break.
  • Single Point of Contact good. Single Channel of Contact bad.
  • Ignorance costs you more than the training does.
  • Why invest so much in building it and so little in ensuring it returns on the investment?
  • Your not here to delight users, you're here to meet their business needs.
    Delight your lover.
  • You better tell the Service Desk all about your shadow IT system. Your users expect it to be supported.
  • Dark IT (unmanaged, unauthorised) is not IT's fault: it is dereliction of duty by the governors of the organisation.
  • Funny how Operations are just an obstacle to deployment but they get called when it fails.
  • ITIL is a means not an end.
  • Continual improvement is not the last process you put in place, it's the first one, to manage improving all others.
  • Technical debt will cost you your job.
  • There's no problem so bad that you can't make it worse
  • The business owns the delivery of every business service. IT only owns delivery of information systems (as services, usually).
  • What process to improve first? Don't improve a process. Start where the pain is, and remove it.
  • ETF, Excessive Technical Fastidiousness.
    Perfect is the enemy of good
    (especially in people and practices)
  • Software must be exactly right. Humans are vastly more flexible: self-correcting, adapting, jumping gaps, sidestepping obstacles
  • CSI is not the wedge to retain improvements, it is the engine to drive them.
  • If you do it properly they'll take you for granted, or even forget you entirely.
  • A service is not an object or technology.
    It is an action, activity, people.
    Use verbs to describe services
  • A project manager's KPIs are on time and on budget, not value delivered, ROI achieved, happy users, or TCO minimised.
  • You never miss the water until your well runs dry.
  • Write operationally ready code, not just functionally ready.
  • Some of your work will always be unfamiliar due to change, or unpredictable due to complexity.
  • You can only industrialise that which you can standardise, i.e. make known: described, predictable, and repeatable.
  • There's either a standard response or there isn't. Two different worlds.
  • there are absolute limits on how fast IT can go, regardless of how fast the organisation may want it to go.
  • You can change hardware in seconds, software in days, processes in weeks. But people and cultures change at a human rate of change
  • We are mentally stuck on this separation of incident from everything else because within IT it looks different
  • IT can function as a low-cost Sourcer or a high-value Innovator
    - Charles Araujo
  • all business analogies drawn from consumer experience should be punished. Business is business
  • Is "ITIL consultant" even a thing any more?
  • The laws of economic gravity are not suspended by new technology
  • BYOD is not a basic human right
  • you can whip the horse all you want but it has a top speed
  • If Apple, Netflix, or Amazon get cited one more time as a model for how the rest of us should conduct business I'm gonna throw up
  • Cloud does not erase the need for governance, management, or assurance
  • Individuals change in months or years. Organisations change in years. Communities change in decades, if not generations
  • IT exists to protect and serve
  • Increased safety isn't a reason for Formula One drivers to drive faster - it is a reason for less of them to die - @aalem
  • You can tell a customer what device to bring. You can tell them jacket-only, no-dogs, any condition you want.
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