Friday, June 20, 2008

First Teaser

So everyone got their 'teaser' candy card yesterday. It seems to have had the effect we were hoping for. A lot of people are wondering what it is for and what it means. The message was way vague "Scan the Horizon". This is great!!! We want everyone curious and interested.

The first newsletter is printing as we speak and will come out either today or Monday. All of the articles from that newsletter are the first entries in this blog. We're really focusing on finding lots of good interactive ways for everyone to participate in this effort.

The first process we're working on, Process Innovation Management (PIM) is coming along really nicely and we plan to have something to start showing everyone at the end of June, first of July. We're getting pretty excited to pilot the first few processes through their formal PIM review in July.

Lots of good stuff happening!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

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Moving to a Mapped World

~From the Subliminal to the Obvious
~Getting Intuitive Process into the Institutional Memory
By Sorrel Jakins
Disclaimer: 2 Ne. 33:1
Rescued hikers talk about ordeal May 30th, 2008 @ 12:04pm (KSL News). Alan Humphrey and his wife, Iris Faraklas, are experienced hikers and wanted a challenge, so they planned a 45-mile backpacking trip through a rugged area of the canyon called Royal Arch; but in the end, the two had to rely on their survival skills until help arrived.
Humphrey said, “It’s a difficult place. You get down in these canyons and they are identical canyon to canyon. You get down there and it looks totally different than it does up here.” One wrong turn and their search for adventure started to feel more like an episode of survivor. “No matter how prepared you are and how experienced you are, you can make mistakes,” Humphrey said.
The mistake was a missed exit point on the trail. Once they realized they were lost, they decided to put together a survival strategy to ration food and water, a move that may have saved their lives since another five days would pass before searchers would find them.
Many times we follow an intuitive process map that is in our head, and sometimes we take a wrong turn. We rely on our experience to tell us when we are headed into a dead-end and we make adjustments to get back on track.
If the ranger had given the Humphrey’s a map, they might have not missed the turn. If they had a map, they did not follow its directions. Just because you understand your process doesn’t mean others do.
What the Process Navigation Team hopes to achieve is documenting and standardizing on process so that we achieve greater unity within OIT in our efforts and activities. In doing so we will improve consistency and reduce the bottleneck effect where we rely completely on a single person.

Introduction to ITIL

By Elaine Lauritzen
What the heck is ITIL? You may have heard the term bandied about and you may have even heard a definition of the acronym, but what is it really and why should you care?
We all know that managing what we do in OIT is complex and that our customers, the university community, really depend on what we offer. So it’s extremely important that we do it well and that we truly understand how our work impacts our customers. ITIL should help us with that.
ITIL is a framework of best practices, studied over the years, in organizations all over the world, and put together for groups like us to use as guidance to improve what we do, without reinventing everything all over again.
The acronym ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It was developed in the UK in the late 1980s to improve IT Service Management in the UK government. It was initially a literal library of about thirty books that were each written around specific management practices for specific areas of IT. In 2000, the individual books were combined and re-written into seven core books, two of which became the primary focus for organizations interested in focusing on ITIL-based IT Service Management, the Service Support book and the Service Delivery book. Processes addressed within the Service Delivery book include the following:
  • Availability – This process is responsible for ensuring that IT services meets or exceeds targets. Key focus is reliability, maintainability, and serviceability
  • Capacity – This process ensures that adequate IT capacity is available to meet business requirements. A capacity plan aligns with business strategy to ensure IT capacity availability
  • Service Level Management – This process improves the quality of delivery of IT services by negotiating, documenting, and gaining agreement of the expected availability and support targets of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Operating Level Agreements (OLAs), and supporting vendor contracts
  • Financial Management – This process provides the basis for running IT as a business and developing a cost conscious and cost effective organization
  • IT Service Continuity – This process produces plans for the recovery of systems which support core business functions in the event of a disaster or other significant impact to our services
Processes and functions addressed within the Service Support book include the following:
  • Service Desk – This function provides a single point of contact for users to report incidents or request services
  • Incident Management – This process focuses on the rapid restoral of service to our customers for incidents experienced in their use of our systems, and helps to minimize impact on overall business operations
  • Problem Management – This process has a goal of minimizing the impact of incidents and problems in our systems by proactively searching out trends and then initiating work to determine the root cause and get fixes implemented
  • Change Management – This process focuses on quickly and effectively handling changes in our production environment while minimizing risk or disruption to services
  • Release Management – This process works with Change Management to look at all changes in a holistic point of view and ensures that the changes are packaged and ready to be released into the production environment
  • Configuration Management – This process delivers core data about our environment including what devices and items we have, how we use them, and, most importantly, the relationship between those devices in delivering IT Services to our customers. This allows the other processes to use that data to assess risk, restore services, find root cause, etc.
Just recently, ITIL has been revised again into ITIL V3, which is a set of five books that address all of the previously documented processes plus more, and pulls them all together in a more cohesive manner. Additionally, it puts it all together in a continuous improvement cycle. Those books are:
  • Service Strategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continual Service Improvement
ITIL processes are a big part of what OIT Process Management Teams will be working with. Nearly everyone in OIT plays major roles in many of these processes. Look for more information to come about this work and the opportunities you will have to participate in.

Introduction to Process

By Valinda Rose
What is process? In the simplest sense, process is the way we get work done. Each of us participates in multiple processes every day, from simple processes we do on our own, like getting ready for work or ordering fast food, to more complex processes like providing technical solutions to meet customers’ business needs, in which we each do our part.
Making a sandwich is an example of a simple process. Most of us probably learned how to make a sandwich by watching mom spread peanut butter on “marshmallow” bread, followed by a dollop of fresh jam or honey, spread all the way to the edges in long, full strokes. Or maybe your crust was dry because the sandwich filling didn’t get all the way to the edge. Regardless, there is a series of steps, which, if followed, provide a tasty lunch. While there may be some flexibility of order, even with this simple process there are a few rules that one must follow in order to avoid extra work and undesirable results.
Here are a few examples:
  • Start with the bread or you’ll have one gooey mess to clean up off the counter
  • Decide up front what you want on your sandwich or you may end up making several trips to the fridge or cupboard
  • Heaven forbid you put mayonnaise and pickles on your bread and then decide what you really want is peanut butter and jelly
How I make my sandwich probably doesn’t affect too many people, although there may be a few exceptions:
  • Sheri gets peanut butter on her homework because I left a mess on the counter
  • Dave gets get dry bread because I left the package open
  • Lisa can’t eat any of the jam now because I used the peanut butter knife to dip the jam. Who knew she was allergic to peanut butter? Oops!
Businesses and non-profit organizations rely on formal processes to get their work done and to deliver value to their customers. OIT is no exception. In OIT, we have a tremendous pool of talent. We also have many processes and procedures in place. We have employees who execute their processes with great skill. But there is also much confusion. Improvements can be made. Roles and responsibilities within processes, connections between processes, and expected process results need to be clearly defined. Well-defined processes are documented, trained, implemented, communicated, and integrated with other organizational processes. The needs of all pertinent stakeholders are taken into account and measurements are established and tracked to demonstrate process capability.
Consider the possibility of the following scenarios occurring in our organization:
  • Employees don’t understand how their process fits in with someone else’s process. Therefore, they provide a “round peg” to a process that has a “square hole.” Confusion, frustration, and rework ensue, along with high costs and upset customers
  • Everyone wants to be involved and play every role to the point that no one really knows who plays which role or even who makes the definitive decision
  • Only the employees directly involved in performing a particular process understand how that process works, yet those who depend on the outcome wonder why it doesn’t meet their needs
These scenarios can be avoided with proper definition and integration of processes.
Processes that cross functional boundaries are known as “cross-functional” processes and require attention that may not be necessary with more localized processes. For example, the service catalog and the order fulfillment process involve virtually every part of our organization and therefore require coordination in order to make sure things don’t fall between the cracks and things run smoothly. Efforts in achieving clarity in cross-functional processes can reap great rewards for individuals and for OIT. In addition, some local processes may require a high level of definition due to high visibility or high risk.
Process isn’t new to our organization, but under the direction of the OIT Leadership Council we are headed to a new level of process clarity. Step by step, your support and team effort will make a great difference in helping OIT to achieve the vision our leaders have established. One small step by you… one giant leap for OIT.

This Means You

By Jared Harward
So, what’s in it for me? How does this affect me? Why should I care? I’m just the little guy. These are some of the questions that I would like to address. Within the Office of IT, we are a team and this affects all of us. Exciting changes are taking place that will help all of us come into unity.
Believe it or not, those to whom we provide services can tell when we are unified and when we are not. When we are all using the same processes, things work naturally and seamlessly. In my opinion, that is exactly what we want and what our customers want as well. By having a process that we all follow, we eliminate questions like: “How is this supposed to happen?”, “Who is responsible for the final decision?”, or “Why isn’t there any communication of what is happening?”.
Often we talk to someone in a different group, and they don’t understand what we are talking about, and we don’t understand what they are talking about. Come to find out, we were talking about the exact same thing, but using different terminology. This could be resolved by having a set process, following the same pattern, and using the same terminology,
thus eliminating confusion and conflict. That would be awesome!
When we become a process-oriented organization, we see that our meetings move along faster, they are more organized, and decisions are made quicker because we don’t need to worry about the processes since decisions have already been made. Efficiency!!! How cool is that? By having processes in place, we start feeling and acting as if we were a team. That is exactly what we are! We have a natural tendency to look out for each other and not try to pin the blame on anyone when problems occur. We start looking for what happened in the process instead of looking for a scapegoat. When we have well-defined processes and a problem does arise, we can track it and find the root cause faster and easier, making us more proficient in what we do.
Becoming of one mind, one heart, and one understanding helps us come together. Remember that unification is the key to helping us succeed. When all is said and done, we are coming together and fulfilling a need as a team. We need each other to do this well. Everyone is important! Our processes will show that through teamwork we can accomplish anything.

A Process Oriented Office of IT

By the OIT Leadership Council
You may remember our last OIT all-hands meeting and the primary topic for the meeting—process. Kelly McDonald clearly stated that becoming a process-oriented organization is a key priority and Kelly Flanagan gave a good example of how this effort is similar to us living the standards and commandments we have been given. He noted that doing so is seen as constrictive by some who don’t understand, but in reality it turns out that doing so blesses our lives and frees us from the negative consequences when guidelines aren’t followed. In alignment with this effort, the OIT Leadership Council has directed that an OIT Process Management team be formed to facilitate this work.

The OIT Process Management team is chartered to develop and implement a process management methodology for the Office of IT, including standards, templates, approval and communication channels, and making all processes available to all employees. This is especially focused on processes that have cross-functional team or enterprise level impact. This team is also charged with preparing and managing the process road map for OIT. The team will work with other focused process teams throughout OIT to facilitate and assist them in doing process work.
The first process this team is addressing is Process Innovation Management. The goal of Process Innovation Management is to enhance alignment between business and IT by providing standardized means of achieving process control and maturity.
Expected benefits:
  • Efficiency
  • Visibility and Clarity
  • Accountability
  • Predictable results
  • Common terminology
  • Consistent IT Service quality
  • Improved customer satisfaction
The team members have been asked to represent all areas of OIT, not just the area in which they work. Team members are:
  • Elaine Lauritzen 422-1232
  • Jared Harward 422-8852
  • Valinda Rose 422-1494
  • Sorrel Jakins 422-7128
Nearly everyone in OIT will be called to help at various times in this effort. Please give your support and input in this effort.
Look for more information and updates from the team as the work progresses!