The Service Catalog

A service catalog (or catalogue), as defined in Information Technology Infrastructure Library Service Design, is a list of services that an organization provides, often to its employees or customers. Each service within the catalog typically includes:

  • A description of the service
  • Timeframes or service level agreement for fulfilling the service
  • Who is entitled to request/view the service
  • Costs (if any)
  • How to fulfill the service

Source : Wikipedia

A service catalog is a great way to identify the services which are served by an IT department. It’s a detailled listing where you define the scope of a service. Personally I found the following Service Catalog Example (Source : RSteinberg) a very good start to work from! With the skeleton you can easily start creating your own.

Yet be aware! To be effective, the Service Catalog must be understood and used by the business. Yet all too often, IT departments invest countless hours to create Service Catalog documentation that few customers will ever read or use. Ultimately, the majority of these static Service Catalogs are rarely seen or read by either end users or business decision-makers – and thus have little to no impact. So if you’re planning to do this, be sure to read the following article too, which will guide you through the process a bit : How To Produce An Actionable IT Service Catalog (Rodrigo Fernando Flores)

Projectmanagement for dummies

Nah, we won’t be doing a book review here… instead this’ll be a small post describing the essentials of project management. Here are the … elements which embody project management :

  • Definition : You should have a complete list of items you should deliver and which you should NOT deliver! Look at it as a contract, where both parties agree upon a delivered item.
  • Changes : Try to keep changes to a minimum. Yet when they are presented, make sure to document & agree upon them between Project Manager (responsible) & Sponsor (customer).
  • TODO : Make sure you have all deliverables noted down, so you can tick those who have been done in order to know which still have to be done.
  • Time & Money : The aspects time & money need to be stated & respected as well.
  • Stakeholders : Make sure you do not forget anyone (really, anyone!) who is related to the changes you’re creating. Next up, make sure you handle (communication!) them well.

Now the above can be done in any methodology; Prince, PMBOK, … it doesn’t matter. It’s up to you to know how much “protocol” is needed to do the task. Some firms require a lot of stagegates where some rather like the informal approach. See what works best for you, and good luck!

There’s nothing more permanent than a temporary fix.

Check ./ ‘s “IT Infrastructure As a House of Cards“… An interesting readup on what probably many smb’s (of sme’s with the same mentality) are facing.

Where it comes down to in the comments :

  • Documentation : Basically the foe of almost all IT-ers. Personally I don’t understand why as it makes your own job easier, but then again, it might not be “cool” or “tech savie” enough for most.
  • ITIL : It’s told as “unable to handle change”, yet where it boils down to is understanding (and implementing) the aspects of ITIL. (Hmm, documentation belongs here too…)
  • New Tech : All newly graduates want to be the next cool dev, where nobody thinks on the long term and wants to maintain stuff. Yet this should actually be the biggest part of an IT job… maintenance. We’ve got a big enough problem as it is, trying to pace up with all new techs. Remember “ruby on rails”, and how it was the next best thing? Seen it around on enterprise level? No, simply, because big companies try to stick with what works and focus their energy on keeping things running. New things should become a strategic advantage!
  • Trust : My gut feeling says many IT shops ruined their reputation within their own company or never got any trust what so ever. This will cause the budgets to decrease, and turn them into McGyver (ducktape & chewing gum).

What drives motivation?

Source : What Drives Motivation in the Modern Workplace?

Some excerpts :

psychologist, Swarthmore College: Money isn’t a natural part of anything we do. It’s not a part of practicing medicine. You know, the natural thing to practicing medicine is healing people. Getting paid for it is unnatural, similarly with law and with any profession, teaching. So, maybe what happens is that what money does is, it disconnects people from the real point and purpose of their activity.

It created in people who ran these companies unbelievable short term-ism, because all that mattered was making the company look good for the next quarter or the next year, so that they would get a huge bonus in the form of stock options, which they would then cash in. And what the consequence was for the company five years down the road was of no concern to them — a disaster.