Tuesday, 30 May 2017

To BCP or not


I recently shared an article written by +Mike Elgan about the fact that, in the US at least, laptops will not be allowed in cabin of aeroplanes and of the demand, whether current or future, for access to smartphones by border patrols.





While this is worrying for many people, businesses need to plan for this. Those organisations that have staff members travelling to and fro from the USA, and many other countries soon, need to be prepared.

The equipment mentioned is, for those travelling for work, likely to be owned by the organisation.  So what happens for that business traveller when the laptop is irreparably damaged in the checked-in luggage, or stolen? What happens to the data stored on it? What happens if border patrol demands access to the smart phone?  This isn't a case of "Call IT and get it replaced". This has a huge business impact.

Business Continuity Plans are (supposed to be) written by business units to document how to handle and recover from threats to an organisation or business unit. They are generally written as a response to major disasters, or issues that stop staff from attending offices (flood, fire, disease, etc). Most won't consider this as a large enough impact. They should.
 
Business continuity planning (or business continuity and resiliency planning) is the process of creating systems of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company.  Any event that could negatively impact operations is included in the plan........

Businesses cannot, nor should they, expect IT to be handling this for them alone. IT will be able to respond with an IT Service Continuity Plan, based on the Business Continuity Plan, but not second guess the impact to the wider business.

If you are a senior manager in an organisation where anybody travels overseas for business, you need to consider the impact, what your staff will do if they lose the laptop or smartphone, and what you will do if the data stored therein is compromised.

Should staff have company data on the laptop or phone?  If so, is IT aware of this and have you asked them to come up with a way of protecting that data?

This is no different to staff having laptops stolen out of cars, but it now needs to be front of your mind.  Don't expect IT to know what you want. IT are a part of the business and you need to work together to ensure that you have considered the impact, understood the risks and planned for it.

Prepare your plan and provide all travellers with a towel. Then, you can, as Douglas Adams advised in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Image result for don't panic towel

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Training, training or training?

Last year I wrote a blog discussing whether you should go for on-line or classroom training.  Since then, I have become a Registered Education Partner for the DevOps Institute & PeopleCert, offering on-site classroom training in DevOps Foundation, Certified Agile Service Manager and Certified Agile Process Owner.  I have also become a certified trainer and delivery partner of GamingWorks for The Phoenix Project.

So, which type of training should you go for?

Well the blog from last year still stands. On-line suits some people and classroom suits others. However the new kid on the block (from my point of view) is the business simulation game. As I mention here, there is a lot more to it than formal training and to get a good overview of DevOps, how it will work for you and how you can use the principles in your day to day job, the Phoenix Project business simulation game is worth considering.

Check out the different offerings we have, here, and get in touch to see how we can help you, your teams and your organisation.


Why attend The Phoenix Project business simulation game?


knowledge.pngPeople are often sent on training courses to gain knowledge of particular subjects.  Usually, people are given the theory in traditional classroom courses or e-learning modules and are then left to gain the experience in a real life, often mission critical, environment, without guidance or support; then people complain that the best practice is no good, whereas a lot of the problems are associated with our inability to translate the theory into practice, and not understanding how to apply it.


A business simulation game is a form of experiential learning, or learning-by-doing. People learn, in a number of game rounds, to translate theory into practice. They learn how to use the theory to achieve measurable results.  

Does this mean that they need to have attended a training course first? No, not at all.  By attending a business simulation with no preconceptions of the theory of “how to do it”, people learn as much as those who have attended training.  Sometimes more.

Are business simulation games only for IT? Again, no. Business simulation workshops like The Phoenix Project, allow those from the wider business to experience what IT experiences and learn how to build a closer working relationship with IT in a “safe” environment where everyone can try and fail, or try and succeed, without a business impact.

To find out more about The Phoenix Project business simulation workshop visit www.gander.co.nz/services


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Why do I need to think about DevOps when I don’t do Dev?

Some days it feels like everyone is talking about Devops. If you read industry blogs, follow groups such as Back2ITSM on Facebook, or talk to people in our industry, someone will start to mention DevOps fairly quickly. That’s fine if you work in an organisation that does software development, but surely it doesn’t matter to you if you don’t. Or does it?

A year or so ago, I was talking with Rob England about Devops and I couldn’t see how it would affect the types of organisations that I generally consult to; small, “traditional” IT shops with off the shelf software being used, with no development. We had a great discussion about it as part of an ITSM Crowd recording.

I now feel that I understand DevOps better, although there is still plenty more to know as DevOps evolves and more people get involved in it, but my understanding is still very much on the Ops side of DevOps.

So, if, like me, you have your heart in Operations, what does DevOps mean, why should you care and can it help you?


What does it mean?

According to DevOps.com:
"The first sentence on Wikipedia defines DevOps as “a software development method that stresses communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and information technology (IT) professionals.” Well, that’s a fairly dense definition, yet still pretty vague. I think DevOps can be explained simply as operations working together with engineers to get things done faster in an automated and repeatable way."


DevOps, at it’s core is all about bringing together Dev & Ops and the wider business and ensuring that the cadence of development delivery can be matched and managed at the same pace by Operations. DevOps also encourages the use of the goals of CALMS; Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement and Sharing.

Very (and I mean very) simply, they mean:

Culture; The culture of collaboration is one of the key ones and guides the bringing together of Dev& Ops and the wider business. It’s not about them and us, but about us all working together to get things done better, quicker and cheaper. It doesn’t happen overnight though.
Automation; Wherever possible, automate tasks. Automate testing, deployment, integration, incident resolution, everything that can be.
Lean; Reduce waste. If it doesn’t need to be done, don’t do it. Move quickly and continuously learn and improve. If you try something and it fails, never mind, try something else quickly. You are allowed to fail in DevOps.
Measurement; Measure what you need to to ensure that you know that you are improving.
Sharing; Share responsibility & knowledge between Dev & Ops. It’s what it’s all about.

Why should you care? Well, the world is changing. While there are still many organisations out there who “only” do traditional IT and use the ITIL framework as the loose guide to handling calls and changes, we need to acknowledge that there are different and often better ways to do the job. So you need to be aware of what is happening and be open to changing the way you work. Do you want to be that person who says “We’ve always done it that way!” or “ That’s not how we do it here”?

Can DevOps help you? Yes. It can make you work together and remove some, if not all silos in IT. It can also help you work closer with the wider business so that everyone understands the drivers and priorities for the work that IT does. It can help you to trust each other more and move away from the blame culture that still persists in some organisations. It can allow you understand that it’s ok to try something and fail. It can make you think about automating stuff through scripts or pre-approved changes. It can encourage sharing.

There is a lot of good stuff in DevOps which can and should be adopted by those with no Dev.

So how do you start the thinking? 

There is training in DevOps, which provides you with an understanding of the principles and the language used, DevOps Foundation, which I can provide through on-line training or on-site classroom training.

There is also the Phoenix Project business simulation workshop which is based on the book by Gene Kim et al and takes you through the usual issues experienced by IT and guides you through applying DevOps principles.

Get in touch and see how we can help.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

SIAM - what's it all about


SIAM, what is it?

According to Scopism: Service integration and management (SIAM®) is a management methodology that can be applied in an environment that includes services sourced from a number of service providers. SIAM has a different level of focus to traditional multi-sourced ecosystems with one customer and multiple suppliers. It provides governance, management, integration, assurance, and coordination to ensure that the customer organization gets maximum value from its service providers.


The SIAM ecosystem includes the following layers:
  • Customer organization
  • Service integrator
  • Service providers, which can be internal or external


What does that mean?

Scopism, in the published body of knowledge, states that SIAM is an evolution of how to apply a framework for integrated service management across multiple service providers. It has developed as organizations have moved away from outsourced contracts with a single supplier to an environment with multiple service providers. SIAM has evolved from the challenges associated with these more complex operating models and supports cross-functional, cross-process, and cross-provider integration.

It creates an environment where all parties:

  • Know their role, responsibilities and context in the ecosystem 
  • Are empowered to deliver 
  • Are held accountable for the outcomes they are required to deliver. 

SIAM introduces the concept of a service integrator, which is a single, logical entity held accountable for the end to end delivery of services and the business value that the customer receives.

As Kevin Holland says in An Example ITIL®-based Model for Effective Service Integration and Management Whitepaper,


Effective SIAM seeks to combine the benefits of best-of-breed based
multi-sourcing of services with the simplicity of single sourcing, minimising
the risks inherent in multi-sourced approaches and masking the supply
chain complexity from the consumers of the services. SIAM is therefore
appropriate for businesses that are moving to or already have a multi-
sourced environment. The benefits of a well-designed, planned and
executed SIAM model can be realized by businesses that use multiple
external suppliers, a mix of internal and external suppliers, or several
internal suppliers. SIAM is therefore appropriate for most of today’s
businesses. 
Copyright © AXELOS 2015. All rights reserved


So if you work in an environment where you use multiple service providers, or are a service provider, having a good understanding of SIAM will put you at the fore of your industry.

Currently the SIAM Foundation course and exam are only available as on-line training and we are the only reseller in New Zealand. 

For more information, check out the course details on our website or contact us by email or phone

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

It is OK to reach out.



Reaching out to others to ask for help is not a sign of weakness.  The need to consider this can be for various reasons, including:
Family violence / abuse
Depression
Workplace abuse
Personal Development
Image result for reach outBusiness improvement

Family violence and abuse is addressed through the wonderful It's Not OK campaign.
Depression is addressed through Depression.org.nz
Workplace abuse is addressed in NZ through www.worksafe.govt.nz

Personal Development and Business Improvement are harder issues to tackle.

Personal Development can be handled through training (formal and on-the-job) and mentoring.
Business Improvement is often left to consultants to come in and drive change. However, that doesn't mean that the people in the jobs, don't know what they are doing. Quite often, they know best, but are either not listened to, or, more likely, don't have time.  That's where consultants can add value.  A good consultant should listen, understand where the pain points are, listen to those on the ground and then work with or lead the teams to plan and implement those improvements.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please contact me for Personal Development and Business Improvement via www.gander.co.nz

If you are experiencing abuse or depression please contact one of the groups above, who are there for you.