My view is that companies in 2017 really started discovering that one IT service management (ITSM) solution doesn’t fit all and they need a broader perspective, with different tools for different challenges.
This means not only getting more frameworks and models to sit together, but also having greater business knowledge and understanding.
I have noticed a growing awareness around each of the relevant frameworks and approaches across project management, including Business Relationship Management and DevOps, for example; this all shows a new level of maturity in how companies look at handling ITSM and value creation.
And while DevOps has gone off like a rocket this year in particular, ITIL® is still seen as essential within ITSM. In fact, I believe DevOps and ITIL fit well together and one doesn’t replace the other.
Awareness and understanding of project management as a professional skill has also matured along with the realization that it’s key to successful projects – how strange that now might sound. Understanding of project management as a profession is on the agenda and agility in projects is an essential principle. Businesses are also recognizing that technical skills aren’t enough in project managers, they need skills and capabilities to manage people to a higher degree that before.
So what will be important for organizations in 2018?
Everyone working in IT – project managers, technicians, IT managers, service managers – needs to be more business-focused. That means listening to the business, understanding what it values and aligning IT. This will for example involve asking the right questions so projects get the right input.
Project managers need to be relationship builders and excellent communicators for the organization both internally and externally; technicians who have a crash course in project management and are then thrown in to run projects from a technical point of view will enjoy less success and projects will potentially fail; the ability to create relationships and connect to people will be critical skills in 2018.
There is also a need to look at project management with fresh eyes: yes, we have PRINCE2® and PMP® but – again – one size doesn’t fit all. Practitioners need complementary knowledge and a way to integrate IT service management throughout projects. That involves understanding of for example DevOps, Cobit, Lean, Scrum, VeriSM and other frameworks and models to create as much value as possible.
Digital transformation and business understanding
Business Relationship Management will also be a key tool in developing business understanding and alignment for successful digital transformation.
Transformation itself doesn’t happen when we automate something; it happens when people change their behaviour. This is where companies are creating real innovation and changing their ways of thinking and demands something on the level of programme management to support organizational change.
Despite all the new demands placed on organizations and their ITSM/project management practitioners, it’s a good time to be working in ITSM: the understanding, awareness and general maturity in ITSM and the use of ITIL indicates that people are really adopting and adapting and recognizing the ways you should use the framework! And though we’ve been talking about service management beyond IT for a long time, companies should be able to identify many ITIL and ITSM approaches applicable to other business functions.
Business Relationship Management, leadership and communication: it’s in these developing areas where people will find the opportunity to enable organizational cooperation and understand the principles needed to achieve successful change and digital transformation.
Read Leif Andersson's previous blog post for AXELOS, ITIL® and DevOps – better together.