Jenny Dugmore and Shirley Lacy
Peter Wheatcroft CEng FIET FBCS CITP FCMI
7 out of 10
The 6th edition of the Manager’s Guide to Service Management by Jenny Dugmore and Shirley Lacy has recently been published by the BSI in order to bring their guidance on service management up to date, referencing the latest edition of ISO 20000 and ITILv3.
It is written by the same authors and so is similar to other BSI publications in explaining the ISO standard and the role that best practice processes play in achieving compliance with it. However, as this is a guide to the whole topic of service management rather than just a description of ISO 20000, there are detailed explanations of the key processes and some useful cross references to other relevant standards such as ISO 38500 and CobiT.
It was good to see there is a chapter about adapting ITIL (and other practices) to suit the needs of your organisation rather than blindly adopting them. There is universal acceptance that ITIL is the best documented and most widely implemented set of process definitions - certainly in the UK - but there has to be recognition that they are generic and the guidance given is to adopt a practical approach to implementation.
Similarly, there is a useful section on benchmarking albeit that it is not clear whether the figures used in the examples are real or made up for the purpose of illustration. There is neither an overall nor any specific guidance provided on the attainment levels that will constitute a good IT service.
A generic concern about all the publications in this series remains, however - they focus very heavily on standards and methods, which make up between a third and half of all that is service management, and so cannot represent a single source of advice on what is required.
IT services cannot be defined solely by a delivery team and delivered with as little recourse to the customer as implied by these publications - only two out of the 13 chapters reference customer relationships and the people issues of running an SMS and these are much shorter than the explanations of PDCA and other methodologies.
The authors clearly state that although the book can be used as a stand-alone publication, readers are advised to also look at other publications - but their bibliography only references the standards summarised within it. Hence there is an inherent danger of the service management discipline becoming rather insulated from what it needs to be, namely how to satisfy demanding customers and not its own process model.
In conclusion, this book summarises the approach to establishing good SM practices and so should be treated as an initial read to understand the scope of service management and to set the scene before going on to look at the human factors and technical ways in which that service can then be delivered.
Further information: BSI