Tallinn was mild and drizzly when I arrived as a first-time visitor to the annual itSMF Estonia conference, which is now in its eleventh year. Estonia has a thriving IT Service Management (ITSM) community, and the weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the 150 attendees, who came in from eight countries for the two-day conference.
With ten speaker sessions, the ten-hour schedule on day one was packed with content. I took advantage of the coffee (strong and plentiful!) and settled in to see what themes would emerge.
Kaimar Karu, president of itSMF Estonia, opened the conference with an overview of ITIL® Practitioner. He discussed Practitioner’s three core competencies and nine guiding principles, and explained where Practitioner sits within the ITIL® product suite. This was a useful introduction for delegates who were new to ITIL Practitioner, and it set the scene for the rest of the day.
At the heart of ITIL Practitioner is the Continual Service Improvement (CSI) approach, and it's good to be reminded that no matter how mature our CSI practices become, some 'old favourite' problems will always need our attention. Helping users to help themselves is one of those recurring themes, as we heard from Paula Määttänen from Symfoni ESM.
The parallels between the guiding principles of ITIL and the ethos of the DevOps movement were made explicit in Stuart Rance's talk ITIL Practitioner and the Three Ways of DevOps. He showed that each of the nine principles maps directly onto one of the Three Ways.
|Nine Guiding Principles of ITIL:
- Focus on value
- Design for experience
- Start where you are
- Work holistically
- Progress iteratively
- Observe directly
- Be transparent
- Keep it simple
In fact, the principles and competencies explored in ITIL Practitioner are so deeply embedded into good practice, it was difficult to find a talk that didn't reference them in some way. Topics included communication and measurement (two of the core competencies), SIAM and ESM (work holistically), and self-service (design for experience). It's no coincidence that just about every success story we heard included references to focusing on value, starting where you are, progressing iteratively, observing directly, being transparent, collaborating and keeping things simple.
Dave Snowden from Cognitive Edge gave us a fascinating overview of the Cynefin framework for decision making. He shared the seven principles of Knowledge in Action (example: we only know what we know when we need to know it) and spoke about the differences in making decisions in four types of context: obvious, complicated, complex or chaotic. The talk was chock-a-block with insight and left many of us wanting to explore the Cynefin framework in more depth.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to interactive masterclasses. There were half-day workshops on Managing Major Problems (Stuart Rance, Optimal Service Management), using CMDB without an ITSM tool (Piia Karvonen, Symfoni ESM), and a chance to try out Lego Serious Play business game for developing transformation strategies and communicating organizational change (Christian Tijsmans, Connect the Dotz).
I was signed up for the full-day business simulation game, which was hosted by Maarten Versteegh from Simagine. In this session, the eleven participants took on the task of building and running an imaginary theme park, to explore the collaboration, communication and integration at the heart of both ITIL Practitioner and DevOps. We worked iteratively against the clock, so the session was fun and exciting. It was amazing to see how quickly, given a real problem to solve, complete strangers organized ourselves and learnt the strengths and communication styles of the others in the group. And echoing Dave Snowden's talk from the day before, we all agreed that running a theme park or an IT service is complicated - there is no simple formula that works for everyone.
In conclusion, itSMF Estonia delivered a varied and relevant programme spanning the two days of their conference. The ITSM community is engaging enthusiastically with ITIL Practitioner, and we see again and again that, the guiding principles and competencies sit at the heart of many successful CSI and transformation projects.
To see what others said about the conference, search the event hashtag: #ITSMFest.
See our ITIL Practitioner and ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principles sections for more information.