Review of Plus! The Standard+Case Approach

Rob England’s “Plus! The Standard+Case Approach” book is another way of looking at how we can better manage and deliver IT services to the organization. In general, I like the concepts and the principles presented in the book. Specifically,

  1. Rob did an admirable job explaining his Standard+Case model in detail: how the model works, when the model is appropriate to deploy, why we should care, etc.
  2. As someone with IT operations background, I believe Rob’s advice and recommendations are actionable. Theories and high-level frameworks are good to know, but the rubber will eventually need to meet the road. I am convinced that Rob’s approach can work for many IT organizations.
  3. If you have had exposure to Rob’s work via his blog, speaking sessions, or his books, you know Rob likes to call things as he sees them. This book is no exception.

After reading the book, I would like to bring up one observation. People reading this book should be aware that the “Standard+Case” model is not presenting anything new or revolutionary when compared to ITIL. Rather, it is another way of looking at how we can do things.

That said; I would encourage strongly giving Rob’s model a try if you are struggling to get organized in the service management area. When properly implemented with discipline and care, I believe Rob’s model can help an organization achieve that basic, professional level and be more effective at what they do.

Fresh Links Sundae – October 12, 2014 Edition Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Much of the current big data and artificial intelligence work have been focusing on using a data-driven approach to answering or solve business problems. Michael Schrage discusses how the work in automated hypothesis might increasingly inspire tomorrow’s breakthrough innovation. Let Data Ask Questions, Not Just Answer Them (Harvard Business Review)

Selecting the right features or attributes is one key step in strengthening the effectiveness of a predictive analytics model. Jason Brownlee explains what feature selection is and outlines a handy checklist for machine learning model building. An Introduction to Feature Selection (Machine Learning Mastery)

“Organisations are far too quick to blame their software tools for their woes,” said Rob England. He also points out that processes and tools are rarely the main causes of an organization’s problem. Don’t blame the tool: squeeze the asset, fix the behaviour (The IT Skeptic) Rob England

Organizations often shy away from the zero-based budgeting (ZBB) method because they believe it means “budgeting from zero.” Shaun Callaghan, Kyle Hawke, and Carey Mignerey dispel the myths behind ZBB and explain why it is a sustainable alternative to cost management appropriate for many. Five myths (and realities) about zero-based budgeting (McKinsey & Company)

Steve Schlarman believes that data classification is an absolute core tenet of information security. He explains how to leverage business context for building an information security strategy. The Data Classification Curve (RSA Archer GRC)

A number of people believe we should all be using the DevOps approach to managing our IT services. Stuart Rance briefly discusses what is behind the DevOps movement and some DevOps ideas that he thinks will work for every category of IT service. DevOps isn’t only for startups (Optimal Service Management)

Even with their inherent drawbacks, passwords remain one highly effective mean of securing information and access. Keith Palmgren explains that good passwords need not be hard to remember and difficult to use. How to Build Complex Passwords and Avoid Easy Breaches (SANS Institute)

Project management is one key competency area that is critical to an organization’s success. In a 6-part series, Tim McClintock discusses the pitfalls that project managers should work hard to avoid. (Global Knowledge Training Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 7, 2014 Edition

Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

The quality of the service catalog has a key, direct impact on IT’s ability to deliver value-add services to the organization. Stephen Mann discusses the barriers we need to overcome and the good practices we should implement for Service Catalog Management. 6 Barriers To Service Catalog Success & 13 Service Catalog Best Practices (ServiceNow)

A number of organizations have begun making use of predictive analytics techniques to interpret business results and make better decisions. Tom Davenport discusses the basics about predictive analytics that every manager should know for his/her organization. A Predictive Analytics Primer (Harvard Business Review)

There are many reasons why data governance projects fall short of expectations. In a three-part series, Bryan Finnegan shares his thoughts on achieving persistent data governance and recommendations for avoiding pitfalls in data governance projects. Achieving persistent data governance, pt.1: link your teams  Achieving persistent data governance, pt. 2: focus on trouble areas  Achieving persistent data governance, pt. 3: find a visionary (The Data Roundtable)

Stuart Rance believes it is a good idea to document improvements you want to make in the register and let it evolve as we discover new things we want to record. For those organizations that want to keep formal documentation on improvements, he gives a list of recommendations on how to make a register and populate the information. Managing a continual service improvement register (Optimal Service Management)

Many IT managers understand the importance of the Knowledge Management process but are unsure of how to get started. Simon Morris talks about the key elements of the knowledge management process and ways to use KM to strengthen your incident management practice. The Avocado of Knowledge Management (The ITSM Review)

People have different opinions about shadow IT efforts and how best to deal with them. Rob England gives his recommendations on working with Shadow IT within your organization. How to deal with Shadow IT (The IT Skeptic)

Overwhelming evidence points to a tendency toward cost and effort overruns due to poor estimation for many software projects. Magne Jorgensen summarizes some of the knowledge he believes we have learned about effort estimation over the years. What We Do and Don’t Know about Software Development Effort Estimation (InfoQ)

Bob Lewis believes that you can draw strong parallels between conducting covert operations and managing typical corporate projects. He outlines a list of the factors without which projects are bound to fail. Spycraft, project-craft … what’s the difference? (IS Survivor Publishing)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 3, 2014 Edition

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

The subject of data science receives much attention these days. Some people have used data management terms, such as business intelligence and predictive analytics, interchangeably even though they represent different disciplines. Dean Abbott talks about what similarities the two disciplines share and how they differ. Similarities and Differences Between Predictive Analytics and Business Intelligence (Data Mining and Predictive Analytics)

Neural network is a machine learning approach that is widely used in many data analytics efforts. Pete Warden offers step-by-step instructions on training your neural network. How to build and run your first deep learning network (O’Reilly Radar)

Big data and the Hadoop ecosystem are getting attention from many organizations these days. Rich Morrow outlines some of the most common surprises and challenges that new users of Hadoop run into in their early implementation period. Lessons Learned Deploying Hadoop (Global Knowledge Training Blog)

When you ask which service desk tool is the best for a particular IT organization, you will get a diverse set of opinions. Rob England outlines the essential criteria to consider when evaluating a service desk tool. What is the best ITIL service desk tool? (The IT Skeptic)

Rob Stroud and Rob England got into a discussion on the cloud-based ITSM solution. Mr. England and Mr. Stroud are two authorities I respect in the ITSM space. I thought the discussion was both interesting and educational. Is ITSM SaaS overrated? – Highlight and Is ITSM SaaS overrated? Round two – Highlight (CA Technologies)

When being asked about the tools and techniques used in their knowledge management programs, many IT organizations often just describe tools for managing and sharing documents. Stuart Rance thinks that is very limiting and offers additional ideas for enriching your knowledge management effort. Knowledge Management Is Not Just About Document Repositories (SysAid Blog)

Maturity assessment is a necessary part of ITSM improvement effort, but many organizations do not know how to conduct an effective assessment. Karen Ferris explains the challenges and pitfalls of conducting maturity assessment. ITSM Process Maturity Assessments – Handle with Care (Macanta)

A well-designed RACI chart is an effective tool for creating clarity in roles and responsibilities. Greg Sanker explains how a RACI chart can help in your ITSM effort. What’s a RACI Chart, and how to I use it? (ITSM Transition)

Fresh Links Sundae – July 6, 2014 Edition Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Vaughan Merlyn is running a five-part series on business relationship management on his blog. He discusses the common failure modes he comes across and what the IT organizations can do to implement an effective BRM practice. Common Failure Modes in Business Relationship Management – Part 1  Common Failure Modes in Business Relationship Management – Part 2  Common Failure Modes in Business Relationship Management – Part 3  Common Failure Modes in Business Relationship Management – Part 4 & Key IT Roles for Driving Business Value (IT Organization Circa 2017)

Although IT and business ultimately have the same goal in serving the enterprise, they often do not communicate effectively with one another in many organizations. Establishing a business relationship management function can improve the IT-business interactions. Ryan Ogilvie discusses that IT can do to get started. Translating IT and Business Speak (Service Management Journey)

IT organizations continue to face aggressive cost saving mandates, and IT service management practice could be leveraged to contribute positive results. Reginald Lo presents his perspectives on how does Service Management directly save costs and how do we reduce the cost of Service Management. Streamlining Service Management to Achieve Cost Savings Targets (VMware Accelerate)

A number of organizations have implemented IT practices around the DevOps concept with varying degree levels of success. Mike Loukides discusses what the DevOps trend is today and what organizations need to do in order to be effective. Revisiting What is DevOps (O’Reilly Radar)

A recent Forrester study found that many organizations experience low first change success rate for and long lead time on changes for IT infrastructure and applications. Matthew Selheimer discusses the problems he sees as the impediments to organization changes and how to improve the first change success rate. The secret to change success – understanding multiple perspectives (The ITSM Review)

Companies often assign leaders to affect changes (culture, behaviors, or climate) within the organization. People have different opinions on whether a leader should change a culture and, if so, how to change a culture. Rob England helps us answer the question of “Should you try to change culture?” and what a leader should do to promote changes. Don’t try to change culture (The IT Skeptic)

Putting out fires can be a common problem for the Program Management Office while struggling to manage a portfolio. Glen Alleman outlines five recommendations we should keep in mind, so we do not lose sight of the big-picture view of the project management process. Don’t be an Accidental Project Manager (Herding Cats)

In his new e-book Workforce of the Future: Building Change Adaptability, 2nd Edition, James Taggart discusses four major forces that are exerting major impacts in our lives. He outlines ten leadership lessons each one of us should leverage to adapt to the on-going change. 10 Leadership Lessons to Succeed During Turbulent Change (ChangingWinds)

Fresh Links Sundae – March 9, 2014 Edition Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Many think of operational checklists as the script or work instructions, but they actually are not. Rob England explains how checklist should be leveraged to increase the effectiveness of any IT organization. The one top tip for IT operations and support: Checklists (The IT Skeptic)

While IT continues to be recognized as the expert for applying technologies to support business processes, a trend is becoming clear that many non-IT groups or individuals are also becoming proficient at leveraging technologies to improve their own productivity. Jon Hall believes that the trend should be leveraged to better connect with its user end and to improve its own effectiveness. The myth of trust: why consumer feedback is making us rethink IT (ServiceDesk360)

IT is well positioned to make positive contributions to many aspects of the business operations. Michael Hugos suggests how a CIO can collaborate effective with the CFO in the organization through risk management. The CIO Relationship With the CFO Is Based on Managing Risk (Enterprise Efficiency) Michael Hugos

Many organizations are evaluating how the DevOps practice can be integrated its own IT departments. Gene Kim describes the concepts behind the DevOps thinking and how the DevOps and ITSM practices are decidedly complementary to each other. Trust me: The DevOps Movement fits perfectly with ITSM (The ITSM Review)

Most business leaders still perceive IT as an operational, tactical role. Pearl Zhu suggests approaches that IT leaders can leverage to turn around the reputation and to transform into a strategic partner. CIO as Respected Business Leader (Future of CIO)

Many organizations spend training dollars to build individual knowledge and performance. Julie Montgomery and Gordon Brown recommend ways to spending training resources not just add individual knowledge but also to improve organizational capability. Quit Spending Money on ITIL Training (Plexent Blog)

After attending the recent annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Michael Schrage shares his thinking and observations on why leaders need to pay attention to how we identify and blend individual talents to perform measurably greater than simply the sum of their individual results. Team Chemistry Is the New Holy Grail of Performance Analytics (Harvard Business Review)

Many organizations use internal audits to assess potential deficiencies and improvement areas. Laszlo Gonc outlines six ways for internal audits to improve organizational effectiveness and to deliver value. 6 Success Factors for Better Internal Audits (Intreis)

Many of us have dreams of becoming someone who is much more of whom we are today. While all opportunities involves risks, Marshall Goldsmith recommends that making a decision to do something will be a much better option than simply wasting time debating contemplating about a future that will never come. Who Are You Arguing With? (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Based on the findings of their own and other reputable researchers, Bob Sutton talks about what is considered the appropriate team size for most tasks and explains the dynamics of a team. Why Big Teams Suck: Seven (Plus or Minus Two) Is the Magical Number Once Again (Work Matters)

Fresh Links Sundae – February 9, 2014 Edition

dreamstime_xs_17786066 (240x224)Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Successful problem management process requires KPIs and targets that can be leveraged to improve the effectiveness of the IT services. Rob England gives a list of suggested KPIs that can be incorporated into your problem management effort. Measuring problem management (The IT Skeptic)

Many IT organizations have no formalized way of communicating with the business. Thom Salo explains how instituting a Business Relationship Management (BRM) process can help to strengthen the working relationship between IT and business. ITIL’s BRM: How Business Relationship Management Shows the Love (Plexent Blog)

The speed of business change is accelerating, but IT still needs to continue its effort to transform from a cost center to value creator. Pearl Zhu examines the forces behind the changes and suggests how IT can transform itself. How to Run IT as a ‘Digital Horse’? (Future of CIO)

A majority of Software Asset Management (SAM) managers today spend the bulk of their time on inventory-related activities that should have been automated. Sean Robinson believes that is not the best use of SAM manager’s time and advocates other proactive approaches that SAM managers should consider. How do SAM managers spend their time? (The ITAM Review)

When you try to improve your IT services, regular review of certain activities are critical. Ryan Ogilvie recommends some practical examples which we should be reviewing with some regularity. What Happened? Performing Service Management Reviews (Service Management Journey)

Sometimes, there is a significant difference whether your boss is a micromanager, or is micromanaging you. Bob Lewis explains the difference and suggests approaches that can be taken to deal with the situation. Dealing with a micromanaging boss (IS Survivor Publishing)

When designing your organizational processes around agile, a number of structure-related considerations have to be taken into account. Mike Cottmeyer explains what those structural considerations are and shares his experience. How to Structure Your Agile Enterprise (LeadingAgile)

When use cases are not clear, business stakeholders, developers, and testers cannot do an effective job. Laura Brandenburg outlines the most common use case mistakes that can lead to ambiguity. 7 Use Case Mistakes That Confuse Your Stakeholders (Bridging the Gap)

Marshall Goldsmith believes an incorrect assumption of almost all leadership development programs is “if they understand, they will do.” He explains why that assumption is not valid in leadership development and offers recommendations on what changes a leader should consider making. If They Understand, They Will Do (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Many of us set noble goals but often find it difficult to reach them. Jeff Haden suggests that you need to pay more attention to the systems you deploy than simply focusing on the goals themselves. An Almost Foolproof Way to Achieve Every Goal You Set (

Fresh Links Sundae – October 27, 2013 Edition Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

With the on-going difficulties experienced at the national healthcare website, some people have attributed the difficulties to technology missteps. Michael Schrage believes that successful IT systems demand serious IT governance, and effective governance is not in place at this time. Don’t Blame IT for Obamacare’s Tech Troubles (Harvard Business Review)

With the cloud, BYOD, and other recent trends, some believe internal IT is no longer a necessity.  Bob Lewis suggests that, instead of fighting the trends, IT should lead the effort in shaping how the new trends can be leveraged for the organization’s advantage. Time to decommission IT? Lead the charge. (IS Survivor Publishing)

Many software asset management (SAM) systems have been designed to serve the singular nature of software inventory control function. Peter Bjorkman believes that is an outdated design. A multi-stakeholder approach is needed, and it will be beneficial for SAM. Shaking off SAM’s ‘solitary’ stereotype (The ITAM Review)

In response to a call for tips on building a service catalogue, Rob England explains the difference between service catalogue and request catalogue and how they should be apply in your environment. #SMFlashbook My top tip for building a service catalogue (The IT Skeptic)

For years, IT executives have had to deal with stealth technology or shadow IT set-up that could put their company’s security — and maybe their authority — at risk. Today, Tom Kaneshige suggests that IT executives see the world differently and are quick to explain that they should be ambassadors between tech vendors and business users. CIOs Want to Be Allies, Not Adversaries, With Business Users (

Technical debt can be defined as having unfinished tasks in an IT project. Technical debt is also a significant problem for many organizations and can contribute to considerable development issues. Russ Miller talks about the best ways to deal with technical debt. Technical Debt – Q&A With Russ Miller, CTO, SunView Software (ITSM Lens)

As work moves through the organization, it can reach a point where the whole process slows down or halts. When that happens, Sasha Dichter believes those choke points provide excellent learning opportunities. Choke points (Sasha Dichter’s Blog)

Global competition has changed the employment game. A gap has been created within the employee-employer relationship and driven largely by fear. Ted Rubin suggests that employers should start thinking of employees as an investment, instead of treating them like a commodity. Empower Your Employees… and They Will Power Your Brand! (Ted Rubin)

Marshall Goldsmith suggests that we can all increase our own interpersonal effectiveness by better understanding the powerful concept of referent groups. He explains what the concept is and how it can be a useful tool for understanding differences in organizations. Referent Groups and Diversity (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Tom Asacker believes that complicated, time-consuming, and costly processes can kill value. Organizing simple, powerful creative undertakings can do the opposite. Kill the matrix. (Tom Asacker)