Leadership: Try ISO/IEC 20000!

Mart RoversToo often we hear that leadership doesn’t get Service Management. They have heard about it, but are still wondering what to do with, what to expect from it, or how to go about it. Or what about leadership who claims to know all about it, but then when you look closely, they actually still have a lot to learn. Or leadership that is rolling along with it, because some direct-reports are happily adopting Service Management best practices so why causing any unnecessary turbulence?

It is a topic for another blog, but it makes you wonder why, after more than two decades of successes with millions of IT dollars less wasted and business performance improvements, this is still going on? And don’t they know that Service Management is contributing to elevating our industry as a whole?

Either way, there is hope: ISO/IEC 20000. One of its quality principles is leadership. This means that is seeks leadership’s active involvement and commitment regarding improving the quality of services and as such the quality of its people, processes and tools and technology and as a results the value IT delivers to the business.

I can imagine that when leadership reads this blog so far it may not feel enticed to jump on board with the direction that is suggested; trying ISO/IEC 20000. To lower the bar, let me share a few best practices the standard is looking for leadership is actually practicing.

ISO/IEC 20000 expects from leadership that is ensures:

  1. There are goals and objectives, based on business goals and objectives that are frequently reviewed and adjusted as needed
  2. There is a plan, i.e. strategy it puts together to meet these goals and objectives and frequently reviews and adjusts those as needed
  3. There are resources, human, technical, information and financial, and a policy to execute on this plan, as well as an approach to assess manage risks to services
  4. There is an approach to communicate these goals and objectives and this plan so all involved are appropriately informed and frequently reviews and adjusts the approach
  5. It appoints management representation and there is delegation of roles and responsibilities

Earth-shocking this list…? I hope not! If is it, you are suffering from the Peter syndrome. Good news: there is a cure for that too.

Still interested learning more at this point? Well, the standard provides more details and implementation guidance regarding each of the aspects listed above.

Ask-the-Experts of the Arizona ITSM Professionals for more information.


Mart Rovers has over 30 years of experience in IT and has been consulting and training in IT Service Management and Information Security Management since 1992. He currently serves as the President of InterProm USA, ITSM Manager and of the ISO/IEC 20000 Special Interest Group. Mart is a certified ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO/IEC 27001 Internal Auditor and ISO/IEC 20000 Executive Consultant/Manager (Master). He holds the ITIL® v3 Expert certification is a prISM Fellow. He has led dozens of organizations towards becoming ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO/IEC 27001 certified and is an accredited instructor for ISO/IEC 20000, ISO/IEC 27001, COBIT and ITIL certification training courses. Mart received his MBA degree in Information Analysis and holds BS degrees in Mathematics and in Marketing. He authored and co-authored more than a dozens of IT Service Management and IT Management books.

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