If IT ain’t broke don’t fix it.
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Perhaps the saddest sight in the ITIL world is organisations that adopt ITIL processes when the old ones were working OK. Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen.
IT operations is a domain that tends to attract perfectionists. Damn good thing too when sites are aiming for three-, four- or five-nines [99.999% availability]. The unfortunate aspect of perfectionists is that they can’t leave well enough alone, especially when a fad like ITIL sweeps through, or they get indoctrinated into a cult like ITIL.
Others make changes because change is power. As that genius business commentator of the late 20th century, Scott Adams, said in the Dilbert Principle: “change is good for the people who are causing the change. They understand the new information that is being added to the universe. They grow smarter in comparison to the rest of us”.
Then we have that phenomenon The New CIO. You know the one: brought in to make some changes. Or because they are new they feel the need to make some changes. Good managers find what works and leave it alone, but good managers are rare in IT. And of course they are rare, because there are no professional qualifications or accreditations for IT people: not real qualifications and accreditations like, say, for engineers or doctors. IT gives anyone a go. And some companies give anyone who can speak geek a go at CIO.
I have watched with fascination one guy who bluffed his way into a small company X as CIO, stayed long enough to look OK on the CV but not so long as to blow his cover, then used that experience to get a job at a much bigger organisation Y where he bluffed and bullied for a couple of years until he couldn’t get away with it any longer, then quickly left. For quite a while he was appearing in the press and at conferences as the CIO of Y and then the ex-CIO of Y until that got tired, then he scored a job as country manager for a vendor (vendors respect a master of B.S.). So many CEOs and Boards are IT-ignorant that it is easy for these guys to pull it off. The sooner we have a proper professional body the better…
OK a quick nip of Wild Turkey and a walk round the garden and I have calmed down again. There are a few things other than ITIL I’d also like to take pot-shots at one day. As I was saying, plenty of CIOs and Ops Managers change things because they need to be seen to, or they feel they want to, or it isn’t perfect, or they like change, or they really have no idea what they are doing.
I worked for a software vendor, a big one. I was present when our CIO was interviewed by a journalist for the IT press, who asked if we used ITIL ourselves in-house. Now you need to know this is a big shop: mainframes, huge storage farm, worldwide network, tens of thousands of users. And they sell a service desk. A PinkVerified one, so there. My breathing stopped as I waited to hear his answer because I knew we didn’t, and I had often whinged about the fact (to colleagues who like me didn’t matter): how could we sell an ITIL tool and services when we didn’t even use ITIL ourselves? (though we used the tool and very well). He replied no we didn’t, because our processes were very good and delivered effective service to the business (all true). When they needed fixing he would look at the business case for ITIL.
Those guys I worked for cop a lot of flak but they run a tight business: the political pressure on him to be a showcase ITIL shop must have been immense, but his job was to run IT on a budget and he wasn’t going to blow it on the fad du jour. I told that story with pride when challenged.
If IT ain’t broke don’t fix it.