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10/11/2009
10:16 PM
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A Chat With ITPI About Demand Management

I had a great conversation last week with Kurt Milne of the IT Process Institute. ITPI is the source of the Visible Ops Handbook, unarguably one of the most usable and practical ITIL books out there, and I'm delighted that they've turned their focus to one of my pet IT peeves: demand management.

I had a great conversation last week with Kurt Milne of the IT Process Institute. ITPI is the source of the Visible Ops Handbook, unarguably one of the most usable and practical ITIL books out there, and I'm delighted that they've turned their focus to one of my pet IT peeves: demand management.Kurt's assumption is that "IT is capacity constrained." (Ya think?) ITPI is trying to figure out the best way for IT to balance supply (workers) with demand (work). I'm really looking forward to seeing the research when it's available.

Some of the points of the conversation:

  • There seems to (finally) be a consensus in the analyst community that total visibility into the work that IT does is necessary. That is, it's not just about projects; it's not just about your help desk. It's about everything that IT touches. Again, obvious, but I sure wish the marketplace would catch up to this reality...

  • I continue to be frustrated by what the marketplace offers in terms of low-cost-of-entry software that integrates project work capacity tracking with help desk work functions. The PPM space continues to operate like enterprise application vendors, or at least it was the last time that I went in earnest to buy something. Maybe this is a niche integration need that somebody can disconnect from the full-bore PPM tools...

  • Kurt asked me if the organizations that I work with tend to track planned vs. unplanned work. I told him that generally, I see and use the stock ITIL "incident vs. service request" type of tracking. One thing I didn't say to him was that unplanned non-emergency work is culturally unacceptable in the organizations that I work with nowadays. I wonder if that's true with most IT organizations or not. (Is it with yours?)
  • We talked a little bit about where and how IT gets its funding from the larger organization. ITPI has some interesting conclusions about service levels correlated with how and where IT gets their money. I'm not going to steal his thunder by telling you the specifics, but keep an eye on the web site, and I'm sure it will be posted soon. I'm interested in the details of this too! Finally, over the weekend, I tried to dig into my archives to find some items that I think might be helpful. In particular, there's an IT demand management process model that I developed and used in the past to try to guide IT and teams of executives to a balanced IT demand model. It's below; check it out and let me know whether it's helpful for you. If you think tweaks to the model need to be made, I'd love to hear that too!

    chart

    Jonathan Feldman is an InformationWeek Analytics contributor who works with IT governance in North Carolina. Comment here or write to him at jf@feldman.org or @_jfeldman on Twitter.

    Read more about IT governance at governance.informationweek.com

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