Friday, February 06, 2009


Enterprise Architecture: Is 2009 the year of anti-process? (Part Two)

Continuing previous blog post on how excessive focus on process is harmful to the enterprise...

Processes should be enablers and multipliers for sound IT work, not replacements. Processes and their value proposition should also be apparent to all those infected by it. Sadly, ITIL is starting to become an even worse practice and is surpassing the CMMI crowd by factors.

ITIL as a framework is to help align IT operations, yet many of its adopters have lost sight of the overall goal of doing quality work. It's difficult to say if, in the absence of an IT management framework, they would have made the same mistakes, more mistakes, or less. But it's hard to blame the process when the problem lies at layer 8.

The biggest debacle in most enterprises is the notion of change management where they put lots of controls around change but production has lower availability numbers than when the process didn't exist. In many implementations of change management, the burden of identifying and conducting appropriate coordinations fell on the subject matter expert submitting the change. When combined with the fact that the organization chart doesn't have anyone that has full visibility into the IT lifecycle, this becomes like mixing gasoline with a arsonist. Something is bound to blow up.

So, can we just give a middle finger to process? I don't care how well-written your processes are, IT professionals owe it to their employers and customers to do the best work they can, regardless of the presence or absence of process. Regardless of outsourcing, managers still need to evaluate the quality of work that IT professionals produce and the degree in which they are serving their customers.

Frameworks like ITIL are there to help the IT organization use their collective skill sets to better serve their customers. They are not however justification for IT professionals to abdicate the very assets that make them valuable technologists.

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