Using Best Practices in IT – Interview with Xavier van Lindt

Date: 20/04/2021| Category: Tips and interviews| Tags: ,

What is your background, your current position and your mission?

I studied electrical engineering and after my graduation I followed a job opportunity to work as a computer maintenance technician. This is when I entered the IT branch.

I have worked 43 years in the IT sector and am currently a consultant and trainer in Western Europe and Africa

What are the recurring issues that you see in IT services?

Communication in the broad sense of the term is still the Achilles heel of various departments. Professionals do not communicate enough, they communicate badly or not with the right people. Generally speaking, communication takes place in a reactive rather than a proactive form.

There is of course a communication problem between IT management and business management, but the communication problem is unfortunately a global problem, which exists at all levels.

Communication in ITIL

If we analyze the ITIL V3 decision-making level scheme, companies are organized like pyramids. The communication problem I am talking about is a global problem for the company, it is present at each level and between each level. This lack of effective communication leads to many misunderstandings and shortcomings but above all a lack of trust between the stakeholders. This is a big issue because trust, found in the concepts of ITIL and DevOps, is the key to the success of IT-based businesses.

In an ITIL environment, communication is more than ever at the center of the challenges. ITIL 4 offers a framework focused on process automation, optimization of collaboration and communication across the enterprise, as well as the integration and development of service management beyond IT ( such as HR, finance or customer support). Why such an emphasis on collaboration? Simply because collaborating means working together for a common goal. Collaboration is only possible if you communicate effectively.

At the strategic level, effective communication between corporate management and IT leadership is critical to ensure that the IT department is and will be well aligned with corporate strategy. IT needs to deliver value to its customers, which is one of the 7 ITIL guiding principles: Put value first. This principle is accompanied by a set of components and activities described in the Service Value System (SVS) and implemented by the organisation to enable value creation. This system exists and works only if communication is effective. The practice of relationship management allows the IT department to understand what value means for its interlocutor and its satisfaction criteria with respect to the IT deliverable.

The modules of the ITIL 4 Strategic Leader course, namely DITS and DPI, provide a link between the management of the company and the IT management. It is through communication at the governance level that an organisation will be able to align IT governance with corporate governance. Communication allows you to know the business rules to apply in computer programs to be aligned. It is the company that communicates whether the deliverable must be compatible with such or such software, the rules to comply with GxP, the Basel II / III agreements and the national rules to be observed.

At the tactical level, communication helps identify customer needs and requirements to establish SLAs. Circumstantial communication is needed at all levels, whether strategic, tactical or operational, with different circumstances and different stakeholders.

At the operational level, it will be necessary for the employees of the service center, who are in contact with the users, to communicate correctly and effectively to know who is the interlocutor, what is the reason for his call and what are his expectations in terms of value. . The ITIL 4 Foundation and CDS modules allow the operational level to better understand aspects of communication between stakeholders.

Communication in a DevOps environment

In a DevOps environment, we find communication in two (culture and sharing) of the 5 perspectives and values ​​of DevOps, based on the “CALMS” model:

  • Culture
  • Automation
  • Lean
  • Measurement
  • Sharing

Communication in Scrum

In a Scrum environment, there are the different meetings that build internal trust in the development team:

  • Daily Stand up meeting: optimizes team collaboration and performance. This meeting also facilitates alignment with customer needs.
  • Sprint planning: creation of a plan collaboratively by all members of the Scrum team. This meeting also facilitates alignment with the PO and customer needs.
  • Sprint review: this meeting is held at the end of the Sprint to inspect the increment achieved and adapt the Product Backlog if necessary. During the Sprint review, the Scrum team and stakeholders discuss what has been done during the Sprint.

To conclude, each best practice has its own way of addressing the issue, but communication is omnipresent and at all levels, whether in an ITIL, DevOps or Agile / Scrum context.

What are some concepts that you think are relevant to study in the near future to develop as a professional?

Lean, Agile, DevOps and ITIL 4 are the essential foundations. What would be interesting would be to create very in-depth and practical training modules that take the best of the 4 Best Practices, but based on profiles / professions. For example a module for user support, one for transition, one concerning relations between internal customers (SLA) and external customers (contracts) and a last on the management of operations.

The professionals who follow a module like that could learn the best of the 4 methods and benefit from the experience of the trainer to deepen the practical side. I think it would be better not to train in ‘silo mode’ but rather to follow a transversal training where professionals can find examples of their daily life, sometimes agile, sometimes a little less.

These trainings would allow, in addition to being motivating for the participants, to really train the staff and to respond to another big issue in IT services, namely the search for talent.

Also read: Communication in virtual projects

Xavier van Lindt

Xavier van Lindt

Xavier is Senior Consultant and accredited trainer ITIL 4 Foundation & Intermediate, ITIL v3 Foundation, Practitioner & Intermediate, ITIL MALC, ITIL Expert, DevOps Foundation, ISO20000 Foundation, Lean IT Foundation, Lean, Kaizen, Scrum Master, DevOps Leader, DevOps SRE, DevOps continuous delivery, Integrated Service Management (ISM).

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