Factor in Coworkers' Personalities When Implementing ITIL/ITSM

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In her Personality Matters series, Leslie Sachs examines the personalities and people issues that are found in technology groups from cross-functional, high-performance teams to dysfunctional matrix organizations.

Summary:

There are many people who do not like structure. Application lifecycle management (ALM), and, even more so, IT infrastructure library (ITIL) as a framework, touch some people's buttons as being just too much structure. In this article, Leslie Sachs examines the personality factors that you need to be aware of when implementing ALM and ITIL/IT service management (ITSM).

There are many people who do not like structure. Application lifecycle management (ALM), and, even more so, IT infrastructure library (ITIL) as a framework, touch some people's buttons as being just too much structure. That can be a real problem when you need to implement a set of standards to support repeatable processes. What are the factors that help you achieve success, and what are the risk factors that you need to be aware of? In this article, we'll examine the personality factors that you need to be aware of when implementing ALM and ITIL/IT service management (ITSM).

OCD and CM
In Configuration Management Best Practices: Practical Methods that Work in the Real World (Addison-Wesley, 2010), I discuss that for those struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or Asperger's syndrome (a high functioning form of autism), the need to follow their own standards is difficult to subordinate to what may “feel” to them like arbitrary constraints [1]. There are other personality issues that may result in significant opposition to implementing best practices, including those who just don't deal well with accepting others' ideas [2]. These personality issues are more than just a nuisance as they threaten the success of your efforts to improve your own processes including implementing ALM and ITIL/ITSM.

Introducing Order Where there Is None
A variety of obstructive behaviors can impact introducing order where there is none. I always point out that the savvy manager will not fight this issue head on, but instead make the case to all stakeholders that things will run more smoothly with these improved processes. There are a lot of group dynamics that you need to consider in implementing any of these best practices. The first step is to realize what you are up against and come up with a strategy for addressing the tough personality issues that may threaten to undermine your attempts to implement ALM and ITIL/ITSM. How well you are communicating is important to consider.

Effective Consultation
Communication is fundamental and often is lacking in many organizations, which can be a very serious problem that needs addressing. The first step is always to recognize the root cause of poor communication and its impact on effective consultation. There may actually be a number of reasons why your team is struggling with effective communication. The corporate culture may have a history of communication issues that became part of the organizational psyche. Carl Jung discusses the collective unconscious shared by a group or society that is the result of experience [3].  Many organizations have a history of poor communication, which results in a defeatist attitude that is extremely difficult to overcome. You may need to start small, but you must put a strong focus on promoting effective consultation through effective communication. Frameworks, like ITIL and ALM, provide a structure for institutionalizing best practices.

About the author

Leslie  Sachs's picture Leslie Sachs

Leslie Sachs is a New York state certified school psychologist and the COO of Yellow Spider, Inc. (http://yellowspiderinc.com). Leslie is the coauthor of Configuration Management Best Practices: Practical Methods that Work in the Real World, Addison-Wesley Professional (http://cmbestpractices.com). Ms. Sachs has more than twenty years of experience in the psychology field and has worked in a variety of clinical and business settings where she has provided many effective interventions designed to improve the social and educational functioning of both individuals and groups. Ms. Sachs has an M.S. in School Psychology from Pace University and interned in Bellevue's Psychiatric Center in New York city. A firm believer in the uniqueness of every individual, she has recently done advanced training with Mel Levine's "All Kinds of Minds" Institute. She may be reached at LeslieASachs@gmail.com, or link with her http://www.linkedin.com/in/lesliesachs.

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