As the end of the year approaches, I have been thinking about some of the symbols that I see around me and what they signify in my working life. I find the concept of Santa Claus particularly interesting because it is not a religious idea, but it symbolizes something valuable from which I think we can all learn.
Of course we all know that Santa Claus is a myth. There isn’t really a man with a big beard and a red suit who flies through the sky on a sleigh pulled by reindeer to bring gifts to children (if I have just disillusioned you then you are probably too young to be reading this blog). Santa is a very powerful myth though. We use this magical idea to motivate children and to create a shared sense of wonder at this time of year.
So what has Santa got to do with IT service management, and why am I writing about him today?
I have seen a number of presentations and blog posts recently, with titles like “Unlearning ITIL”, that promote a message that ITIL is not the right way for organizations to implement service management. Typically these identify some specific point issues where the ITIL approach is not appropriate for some organizations, and then conclude that we should abandon ITIL. Sometimes they will suggest that we should adopt a different framework that has much less industry acceptance, but has some particular feature that makes it better than ITIL in their view.
The people who do this remind me of the adults who insist on telling small children that Santa isn’t real. They might be right about the detailed facts, but they are completely wrong about the psychology and about the power and meaning of myth. Of course you can’t implement ITIL exactly as specified in the books; it is a framework based on the concepts of adopt and adapt. The intent behind ITIL is that the books document practices that have worked for other organizations, and you should take up the ones that are appropriate for your organization (adopt) and then modify them to fit your particular circumstances (adapt).
Sophisticated organizations know that ITIL is just a set of ideas, but if we go around telling those who have yet to get started with formal ITSM that it is all a myth, then we are not doing them a favor; we are simply stopping them from setting out on the journey to improved IT services through adoption of good practice in ITSM.
So please think before you tell small children that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Are you doing this to help them, or simply to gratify your own ego?
Best wishes for the holiday season to all my readers, and I do hope that Santa brings you some wonderful gifts.
Learn more about HP Consulting Services and how HP can help you shift your focus from operation to innovation.
And, if you want ideas about how to start thinking strategically, then read some of my other blogs:
- IT strategy: 4 things you can learn from the U.S. government (yes, the U.S. government)
- IT Strategy: 3 more things you can learn from the U.S. Government
- 3 Steps an IT manager should take to earn their seat on the board
- Prioritizing time to get started on strategic planning
- Don’t mistake continual service improvement for a mature IT strategy
- 6 steps to plan and prioritize IT investments
- When is it good to talk about technology with the CEO?
- Service strategy survey shows that many organizations have a long way to go
- The Five Cs of Change Management
- 6 steps to get started with knowledge management
- 3 Things That Will Help You Become a Learning Organization
- Is SaaS going to replace on-site software?
For more info about me and what I can do for your organization, see my profile on our Technology Services Experts page.