Friday, 22 May 2009

Prioritisation 2

So what goes wrong with prioritisation in most organisations? Everything really.

Most people don't understand what is really important, either now or for the future. So often we see a new project  as number one priority when it's actual contribution to ROI is minuscule.

Then there is the resource issue.

Now I might be a bit slow because it has taken me quite a few years to work this one out, but forget Critical Path Analysis with the emphasis on skey tasks.

The biggest reason I know why things are delivered late is because of the dependence on scarce resources. We have one Ruby On Rails expert, how do we most efficiently spread them across tasks? That is the type of issur prioritisation should address,  ensuring an even flow of work to that scarce resource.

And then we come to timing. There must be an equation for this, but I'm fed up with a high priority/big resource issue constantly taking precedence other a medium priority/low resoucre issue.

Get the easy to do tasks out of the queue ASAP. Password reset? Low urgency, relatively high impact, low severity, do it now.

Resource now free to do something else. PASS

Major change going in but it fails pre prod testing? Let it re-enter the change cycle a month later PASS.

Major change going in but it fails pre-prod so you throw every available resouce at it to fix it in a  day? FAIL.

 Take up next weekend's change slot and demote everything else that was meant to happen at the following weekend FAIL Repeat for the next six weeks? FAIL.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


When I ran ITIL course I was sometimes surprised by the concepts that found people difficult.

Prioritisation is a good example, which is a shame because I believe that understanding how prioritisation should really work is one of the keys to unlocking the power of ITIL.

In a later post I want to look at prioritisation as part of my approach to reacting to the recession ( See an earlier entry) but for now I want to focus on the basics.

To me prioritisation is about:

  • Deciding what is important in the big picture
  • Allocating the right resources
  • Ensuring the activities are completed at the right time.
In contrast many people seem to see it in terms of:

  • Doing what is most important right now this minute
  • Throwing everything we've got at it
  • Doing it now
There is quite a difference between these worldviews, and anyone familiar with Goldratt's Theory of Constraints will be able to see what is wrong with the second view.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

ITIL tool certification

The launch of an official ITIL tool certification scheme has raised hackles, and it is worth thinking why.

There are a number of issues to consider.

There are those who question whether a framework like ITIL actually lends itself to conversion to a compliance criteria for a tool, especially some of the more esoteric aspects that v3 has introduced.

But then PinkVerify has been around for a long time, and most of us use it to produce a long list for tool selection. We, that is ITSM consultancies, also have our own proprietary approaches to tool assessment.

The Pinkverify criteria are in the public domain, those for the new scheme won't be. You can argue that the availability of the Pink criteria makes it easier for vendors to distort features of their tool to fit the criteria, but I like the transparency.

There will, I'm sure, be a market for the new scheme amongst tool vendors, and seeing a tool badged as officially compliant will I'm sure appeal to some buyers, though they would be unwise to place too much relience on it because we all know that a tool that works well in one organisation might not be the best fit for another.

I think my personal concern is to do with checks and balances. To be credible the scheme has to be seen to be transparent and independent.

If anybody knows how the decision to award the contract for running the scheme was awarded I would like to know more about it than I do. I am presuming it was the result of an open competitive tender?

I would also like to know what safeguards are in place to ensure the assessments are free of any perceived bias.

My final thought is I wonder if the new scheme has been launched at the wrong time. In a recession tool buying is driven by different thought processes than in the good times.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Fractal Forms

Perzi is now back up and running after its outage, so go to

to see what I've been working on.

Please bear in mind both the medium and the message are experimental!