IT Service Management Blog
Follow information regarding IT Service Management via this blog.

How Long Should a CMDB/CMS Take to Build? Part 2: Culture and Understanding

 


This is part two in a series of understanding  CMDB and CMS deployment times.  Last post, we talked about people.  Here, we'll discuss people in an interactive collective workplace context:  in other words, corporate culture, and why corporate culture can be easy, or very very difficult, to understand and change.


 


And before we get too far, you must realize I did not graduate from any School of Business Science.  So there's probably some theorum or corollary  that describes what I'm getting at here.  Something like the Blake-Mouton  grid but with cookies.


 


So I won't be solving all your cultural change problems in a blog.  I'm here about why understanding corporate and human culture, or not, matters so much for TCD (total cost of deployment).


 


Solution Architecture and Service Delivery often take the fall for being late or underdelivering.  Why?  Much of the actual TCD goes unaccounted for.  A scenario: consultant shows up, clock starts ticking.  Shortly a missing or broken process is revealed to impede the project.  Tech consultant is then pressed into the role of business process engineering consultant, then burns the rest of the time on one or two of these process problems.  Maybe,  obtaining approval to touch some piece of the infrastructure, or trying to fast track a three-week change request into three hours.   Project gets behind.  Customer gets unhappy, Vendor gets blamed.  Free stuff is demanded.  What happened?  The consultant told the customer to "prepare" so this wouldn't happen.  Wasn't the problem understood or properly prioritized?   Delivery is relied on when they arrive. They have "done this before" or "should" know how to fix these kinds of problems.   Big mistake.  Organizational issues in the mirror look smaller than they actually are.


 


Why do people and cultural change remain the biggest variables of the deployment, the most difficult to get right, and the hardest to estimate?  Pragmatically, it's difficult to measure.  Scientifically, it's poorly understood.  Rhetorically I suppose one could answer "lack of mutual understanding".  Especially that "mutual" part - you understanding them is not enough.  You must strive to not be merely heard but understood as well.   Understanding is not just the first step to effect cultural change - it's the thing.  Going from an informal to a formal process for say, change management, can be really earth-shaking culturally, especially if a profound understanding of the people and culture are ignored, misunderstood, or  underbudgeted - and if they don't understand where you are coming from.


 


This is serious stuff - we're messing with  people's ideologies here.  And not just who-moved-my-cheese ideologies.  Ideologies like associating personal self-worth with job performance,a very strong ideology among many - in part because people tend to become attached to eclectic parts of their job, ironically,  those parts that have no safety net, that depend on human talent, to get done properly.


 


I have seen trouble even in well-planned and executed projects, because the project carried before it an apparent air of distrust or an implication that humans were no longer doing a good enough job so "control" was needed.   And the project had none of those things, the people just weren't  in on what was happening.   Even good people who do a good job can take it personally or feel misjudged or that they've failed in some way if they go unassured for too long.  Ignored long enough, these good people's fears will develop into a fight and you won't understand why.  This is the kind of stuff that can tsunami project schedules.   People who feel in on things  tend to produce a lot more.


 


Address common, as well as valid, concerns:  "Alice, you do a great job, but even with 99.98% accuracy, that .0200 is worth about a million dollars a year.  That not only justifies the cost but demands that we implement this automation to stay competetive.  You didn't do anything wrong to 'cause' this project. "  If you can say this sincerely and without  patronization, you'll get very far.


 


Still, cultural change is an enigma in some organizations.  Culture?  What do you mean "culture"?  It is what it is.  (an actual response to me from a manager of long ago).  How does one change what one can't understand, let alone measure?  I'm sure most of you understand your organization well.  What you may want to get a fresh look at is, is corporate culture grown or constructed?  That mattters in your approach.  What parts of your organization and culture can and cannot change? 


 


It's how you think about it.  And this doesn't merely depend on the nature of the force applied and the malleability of the material being worked.   Complex dances like the Change Management Tango or the Incident Cha-cha cannot be beaten into being; they are not rough structures forged in a foundry and bolted together!  They must be grown, nurtured, filed at at odd angles, sanded a lot, to produce the right result.  Think of your project as constructing a precision instrument, not raising a barn .  These are the nuances of cultural change, not the blunt strokes of an .mpp file.  Approached improperly, the vicious old theory X minimal effort/maximal clarity cycle rears its ugly head.  Zombified IT, there's a good ITIL replacement:  Obey…obey…


 


And you can't buy this cultural change off with a few all-hands meetings or a prop- uh, I mean an advertising campaign .  Pep rallies thinly disguised as running interference for a no-choice change might just deserve the derision and sabotage that come their way.  Which could be a lot. 


 


To effect real cultural change, your people must not just hear but believe.  You can make people do the former but not the latter.  DO bother to show them the numbers,  your assumptions, your heart - why you believe this is good for IT and the business because your people are a part of both.  Even if they look bored.  Don't assume they read all your memos or that memos will change corporate culture.  If you can't do these things, your project probably has a higher risk of failure.  And, while a business is not a democracy (unless you're an elected  government),  there are some things it behooves one to be democratic about.  And I'm not talking about voting.  I'm talking about involvement and communication!


 


These are the types of obstacles you face.  Any history you care to read teaches us that the best intentions of human engineering have often run aground on the unpredictable shoals of human behavior.  Don't skimp on the research or buy someone else's.  Configuration Management Systems are in today's time still hand-made.  But the parts are getting much better.


 


Next time we'll look at process engineering, an almost-as-mysterious and as difficult-to-estimate as cultural change.  Whether you're planning, implementing, or operational, I hope I've given you some small insight as to how important and unwrangly TCD really is and what success really means organizationally.  Can you relate?  Do you agree?  Maybe what your TCD numbers were?  Please reply and let us know how you feel.  Thanks.

How Long Should a CMDB / CMS Take To Build? Part 1: People

For some time I've been exploring the value of a CMDB and CMS.  A big part of the TCO value equation is the  TCD, Total Cost of Deployment.  TCD is often underestimated - note how little Google has on the subject.  Why?


 



  • Not everything that matters gets estimated

  • TCD tends to be estimated optimistically or "carved" to fit  budgets

  • The number and complexity of problems are often underestimated

  • The straightforwardness of fulfilling the first few use cases are often overestimated


 


And isn't all this "estimating" really a euphemism for "we don't know"?  If we knew we wouldn't have to estimate.  Estimation has an inherent connotation of uncertainty that we don't like.  We all want complex things to be simpler, more transactional, more commodotized, than they really are:


 


C: "Nice CMDB.  I'll take it."


V: "That'll be one million dollars.  Where do you want it delivered?"


C: "Dock 2."


V: "Ok.  What color?"


V: "Fast."


 


No really, what should you expect your CMDB deployment to be like?   What should we be focusing on estimating?


 


What we like to use to estimate CMDB deployment aren't  the biggest or most important variables.  We like to focus on things like, how long do other deployments take.  How long will it take to install the software.  How long until the hardware arrives.  When can we get everyone "trained".  All good and proper project management, can't do without it.  A deployment project is focused on consulting time and cost, hardware schedules, definable things.  


 


But the two most important factors are also the two most difficult to measure and change are people and processes.  And these are also the biggest variables in estimating time to full implementation of a CMDB or CMS.  In this series, this post will start with the most biggest variable, people.


 


Implementing a CMS is much more than getting the solution deployed, or getting some discovery done, or even getting some providers and consumers onboarded.  It's about changing the way IT works. To that end you absolutely must start with what IT is - not a data center or even a collection of infrastructure and apps - IT's an organization, and organizations are built around people, process and culture.


 


Deploying a CMS will touch almost everyone in the IT organization, because the CMDB almost always follows the implementation of some other initiative such as change or release management or other IT-wide scope.  As ITSM initiatives go,  so goes the CMDB.


 


The Kicker:  The ITSM ecosystem of applications, plus the CMDB to facilitate exchange of configuration data and the common view of IT services, forms the CMS.  Now this should sound like a much harder project than implementing a CMDB.  It is, that's my point.   Without thinking of your CMDB this way, you are likely to do some of that dangerous underestimating of the effort of getting ROI out of your CMS after your consultants have left the building.


 


In my next post I'll explore and  ask you why cultural change is the most important part of the deployment and the most difficult to get right and the hardest to estimate. 


 


Questions, comments, complaints, please reply and let us know how you feel.  Thanks.


 

Search
About the Author(s)
  • HP IT Service Management Product Marketing team manager. I am also responsible for our end-to-end Change, Configuration, and Release Management (CCRM) solution. My background is engineering and computer science in the networking and telecom worlds. As they used to say in Telcom, "the network is the business" (hence huge focus on service management). I always enjoyed working with customers and on the business side of things, so here I am in ITSM marketing.
  • David has led a career in Enterprise Software for over 20 years and has brought to market numerous successful IT management products and innovations.
  • Gil Tzadikevitch HP Software R&D Service Anywhere
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • Jacques Conand is the Director of ITSM Product Line, having responsibility for the product roadmap of several products such as HP Service Manager, HP Asset Manager, HP Universal CMDB, HP Universal Discovery and the new HP Service Anywhere product. Jacques is also chairman of the ITSM Customer Advisory Board, ensuring the close linkage with HP's largest customers.
  • Jody Roberts is a researcher, author, and customer advocate in the Product Foundation Services (PFS) group in HP Software. Jody has worked with the UCMDB product line since 2004, and currently takes care of the top 100 HP Software customers, the CMS Best Practices library, and has hosted a weekly CMDB Practitioner's Forum since 2006.
  • Software technical product manager for HP Strategic Analytics--Executive Scorecard (XS) and Financial Planning & Analysis (FPA). Generate technologically sophisticated IT Performance Analytics use cases in collaboration with fellow HP product managers and design partners. Liaison for XS & FPA product managers, customers, and development team. Draw upon experience and industry pulse to influence the definition of product strategy and roadmap. Primary implementer of POCs for key elements of the company's offering including executive scorecard, financial planning and analysis, and process analytics..
  • Mary is a member of HP’s ITSM product marketing team and is responsible for HP Service Anywhere. She has 20+ years of product marketing, product management, and channel/alliances experience. Mary joined HP in 2010 from an early-stage SaaS company providing hosted messaging and mobility services. She also has product management experience in the ITSM industry. Mary has a BS in Computer Science and a MBA in Marketing. Follow: @MaryR_Colorado
  • Michael Pott is a Product Marketing Manager for HP ITSM Solutions. Responsibilities include out-bound marketing and sales enablement. Michael joined HP in 1989 and has held various positions in HP Software since 1996. In product marketing and product management Michael worked on different areas of the IT management software market, such as market analysis, sales content development and business planning for a broad range of products such as HP Operations Manager and HP Universal CMDB.
  • Ming is Product Manager for HP ITSM Solutions
  • Oded is the Chief Functional Architect for the HP Service and Portfolio Management products, which include Service Manager, Service Anywhere, Universal CMDB & Discovery, Asset Manager, Project and Portfolio Manager.
  • Olivier is Product Line Manager for the HP Configuration Management System (CMS) which is comprised of UCMDB, UCMDB Configuration Manager, the UCMDB Browser, and Universal Discovery.
  • I am Senior Product Manager for Service Manager. I have been manning the post for 10 years and working in various technical roles with the product since 1996. I love SM, our ecosystem, and our customers and I am committed to do my best to keep you appraised of what is going on. I will even try to keep you entertained as I do so. Oh and BTW... I not only express my creativity in writing but I am a fairly accomplished oil painter.
  • WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for HP ITPS VP of Apps & HP Load Runner
  • Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marketing. At HP she is responsible for go to market and enablement of the HP IT Performance Suite products.
  • A 25+ year veteran of HP, Yvonne is currently a Senior Product Manager of HP ITSM software including HP Service Anywhere and HP Service Manager. Over the years, Yvonne has had factory and field roles in several different HP businesses, including HP Software, HP Enterprise Services, HP Support, and HP Imaging and Printing Group. Yvonne has been masters certified in ITIL for over 10 years and was co-author of the original HP IT Service Management (ITSM) Reference Model and Primers.
Follow Us
Twitter Stream


HP Blog

HP Software Solutions Blog

Labels
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation