The ITIL® V3 Service Transition book provides a perspective on how Strategy, Design, & Transition need to work together to successfully provide IT Services. This book points out that there are numerous interfaces between Project Management, Service Management, and other Best Practice processes, unfortunately it doesn't provide the guidance on how to best exploit them.
The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®), since inception, has always provided a wealth of valuable guidance but, it doesn't have all of the answers.
Firstly - The 5 ITIL® books provide a lot of sound guidance on Why this integration/collaboration should be present within the V3 Lifecycle. However, the guidance on the "Where, When, What, How and Who" of these interfaces is sadly lacking.
Secondly - The ITIL® V3 books are primarily focussed on addressing the integration of core ITIL® processes and functions i.e. Strategy, Design, Operation, Transition and Continuous Service Improvement (CSI) throughout the lifecycle of a Service. Thoroughly commendable, however, the Service Introduction Process (or modification of a service is normally carried out via a Project or Programme of Work. It is the project team who will invariably have to take all of these factors/requirements into account. The involvement, requirements, and interactions with project management during Transition are vastly understated, and in many cases throughout the V3 books, are very unqualified.
Thirdly - When introducing Services, etc. into Live environments there often needs to be consideration given to some potential service-affecting factors not currently covered by ITIL® V3 such as Globalisation, Facilities Management, Governance, PMO, Testing & Quality, Implementation, Service Readiness, Education/HR, Business Services, Post Implementation. Often referred to as the Non-Functional requirements.
Many aspects of Service Transition are specifically Project-related. In order for the transitioning of new Services, Infrastructure or Software, into Live environments to be successful, we must facilitate the integration of Project & Service Management and promote the cross-fertilisation of skill-sets between the two frameworks. This need for mutual-awareness and collaboration also extends to Developers, Suppliers, Architecture, Operation, Support & Maintenance teams.
The ITIL® Service Transition book talks a lot about Planning & Risk Management (usually the domain of the Project Manager). The fact is - how many Project Managers are fully conversant with all of the combined Service Management disciplines, processes, requirements, and interactions that need to be addressed as part of these Planning & Risk Management activities Perhaps even more significant, how many PM's are aware of exactly when these factors need to be considered and how & where they need to be incorporated into the whole project lifecycle for successful service introduction.
Project Managers need to be highly skilled in project management methodologies, techniques and tools, as well as having tenacity, diplomacy, and tactfulness. It is a tall order to expect them to be experts in Service Management and ITIL®; as well. However, if the ITIL® Service Management awareness is not present and the Service Management requirements are not addressed by the project in a timely manner, the transitioning of Services into Live environments will always be inefficient, error-prone, costly and unpredictable.
Service Management and project management need to be tightly-coupled in a symbiotic relationship. The old saying "The value of the Whole is greater than the sum of the Parts" was never more appropriate than when used in the context of the integration of these Frameworks and Methodologies and especially so in a service introduction process.
All too often, the project's focus is on developing and deploying the "solution". Scant regard is paid to the Service Management & Operational Support requirements until just before the project is ready to deploy into the Production environment - Too Little - Too Late - the penalties and cost of this approach can be very significant indeed.
In order to address the challenges to be faced when building the integration between Service Management & Project Management, consideration needs to be given to the following:
1. Helping Project Teams to understand the Service Management requirements and obligations that have to be incorporated into project plans and project schedules. to ensure a smooth transition throughout the full project lifecycle.
2. Identifying - When, How & Why engagements with Service Management Teams, Systems Management teams & Suppliers/Partners need to occur throughout the project lifecycle.
3. Identifying and capturing the Service Management-related & Supplier-related activities that need to be performed.
4. Defining the Operational, Warranty, Utility & Quality Acceptance Criteria that must be satisfied at all lifecycle stages.
5. Building accurate Business Cases that reflect the overheads associated with Service Management requirements - Crucial for assessing project viability against ROI.
6. Defining robust Project Gateways that incorporate Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for Service Management & Supplier/Partner activities - Crucial for assessing project viability and next-stage approvals.
7. Defining stringent Readiness-Review criteria that must be satisfied before a Go-Live (deployment) decision can be made. This review should have representation from all engaged Teams / Disciplines & Suppliers.
8. Defining Operational Acceptance Criteria that govern and direct a "Stay-Live" or "Back-Out" decision.
9. Involving all project engagees (internal & external) in a guided Post Implementation Review.
10. Define, monitor and complete the activities identified in the Post Implementation Review. Activities identified throughout this process are significant contributors to the organisations Continual Service Improvement Plans (CSIPs).
So...Service Transition (the ITIL® v3 book) doesn't have all of the answers. How do we ensure that the real Service Transition (Service Introduction) requirements AND the other identified requirements are adequately addressed consistently by Projects that are delivering Services, Infrastructure or Software into Live environments?
I would suggest that a specific Service Introduction Process is the answer.
Any Service Introduction Process should create a robust wrapper around the whole lifecycle of any Service-Introducing project or programme of work. Providing a wrapper that can be followed consistently and repeatedly by any Project Manager, irrespective of their Service Management qualifications or awareness. A wrapper that integrates project management & Service Management Frameworks and Best Practices so that all of the aforementioned interfaces and interactions are identified and addressed in an appropriate manner, at the right time, for the right reasons, by the right people.
How do you know when you are not getting Service Introduction / Service Transition right?
Typical symptoms of a poor (or non-existent) Service Introduction process include:
- Project failures, over-runs, over-spends, scope creep, diminished or negative ROI
- Service impacts, outages, SLA breaches, Service instability once the service finally goes live
- Support & Operations teams spending more time on fire-fighting than on BAU and Project work
- Excessive time, effort and money being spent on Emergency Changes, Emergency Releases, Back-Outs, redevelopment, retesting, and rescheduled implementations
- Post-Implementation costs to address Operability, Supportability & Maintainability factors that were not addressed by the project before Go-Live
- Loss of Business, Customer & User confidence in IT's ability to deliver projects (New or amended Services) successfully
These are just the tip of the iceberg in respect of the costs and impacts associated with poor Service Introduction /Service Transition. Many more supportive arguments and justifications can be found in the free whitepapers available from www.SMART-SIP.com.
For too long now organisations have invested in expensive project resources, project managers, subject matter experts, suppliers and consultants, only to reinvent the wheel every time a new project gets off the ground. There needs to be a consistent repeatable process that can be followed by every new project that is initiated.
To this end, SMART-SIP Ltd. have developed a software tool that's specifically designed to address ALL of the requirements of a Service Introduction Process. The SMART-SIP product provides functional support to an end-to-end process for managing all of the Service Management & project management aspects of your Service Introduction / Service Transition project.
SMART-SIP ensures the necessary consistency of delivery by providing:
- Detailed guidance and instruction on Who needs to be involved as well as How, Why, When, & What they need to do
- An intuitive step-by-step progression through all the lifecycle stages from inception to closure
- The means to identify, capture, and plan all necessary activities, and to incorporate all of these activities into accurate project plans and realistic business cases.
- Clearly defined Acceptance Criteria, Gateways, Readiness & Implementation Reviews, Stay-Live Criteria, Post Implementation Reviews and CSIP planning
- A single point of reference for all Status recording, Progress tracking, Project Artefacts, Discipline Guidance and Project Summaries.
- Online, on-demand Reports - available to any interested party at any time
SMART-SIP can be installed in one day, training delivered in one day, and can be in-use and delivering immediate benefits the next day.
All of this is available now for less than £5 per project per working day in year 1. This cost reduces to mere pence per project per day in subsequent years.
How much Consultancy or specialised support could you hire for £5 per day?
For more information on Service Transition/Service Introduction or to find further information on the SMART-SIP product please visit our website at WWW.SMART-SIP.COM