The Practical Service Manager

Real World Experience Shared

Vendor Lock In

What is Vendor Lock In

Vendor lock in occurs when an organization has sourced products or services from a vendor and finds itself unable to move away from them. The reasons for the lock-in can be down to the cost of transfer, loss of knowledge, IPR lock-in or complexity and time challenges to re-engineer dependent processes.

Experience Level Agreements


For years, Service Managers have agonised over the definition and development of Service Level Agreements, Operational Level Agreements and Key Performance Indicators as ways of measuring the quality of the IT service delivered to end users. Outsourcing put more on measurement as a part of supplier performance management.

Pillars of a Great Service Desk

The 4 Pillars of Great Service

As the Service Desk continues to evolve and extend its reach across the enterprise, I thought it was a good time – as the year comes to a close – to think about what makes a great service. I am thankful to the Service Desk Institute for the inspiration behind the four pillars of Speed, Accessibility, Accuracy and Usability.

Test Strategy

Why We Need a Test Strategy

So today I was asked, by a major project, to review their test plan and test cases. I asked ‘can I see the test strategy’. There were lots of blank faces around the virtual room and, after a long pause, the Project manager suggested that a strategy was not needed.

ITIL Glossary

The Service Management Lexicon

Today I am thinking about the ITIL glossary as I am promiscuously flirting with IS Security again. I have been asked to assist with an MCAS implementation delivering CASB and DLP. My joke about a loving a good TLA fell short of course as both MCAS and CASB are 4 letter acronyms.

Quality Management System

Why Quality Matters

Humans make mistakes and a quality management system is there to capture these mistakes and ensure consistent quality. Even though I am an experienced Service Manager, I am still human. I recently tweeted about my new book Outsourcing: A Practical Service Manager Guide to IT Outsourcing and included a link to a well-known bookstore that returned a 503 error. I updated the link and thought nothing of it until I received this …


Why Innovation Fails in Outsourcing

Innovation can be described as development or creation of a product, process, or service, to improve efficiency, effectiveness, or competitive advantage. In most IT operations, incremental improvements, increasing the value of a process or function in small steps, is driven through an implementation of the ITIL process for continual service improvement. I often write an innovation schedule in my outsourcing agreements, so why doesn’t it work?

Non Functional Requirements (NFR)

NFR vs FR What’s the Difference

So this morning I was asked to review a whole bunch of non functional requirements for a project delivering a brand new system. As an experienced Service Manager I was specifically asked to review the NFRs that related to Operations Architecture and I was struck by how many of these non functional requirements or NFR were actually functional requirements.

The Service Manager Role

The Changing Service Manager Role

The Service Manager role was far simpler when I first joined IT, many years ago. The SM sat as an interface between technical IT people and users in the business community with the primary role of translating and managing communications. As users became more tech savvy the role changed.

Defect & The Service Desk

Defect Management

A software defect that makes it into the production environment can be a real pain for the Service Desk. Imagine the scenario where your user rings and advises that software is not performing as expected. They want to raise an incident and for you to resolve that with the same speed and rigour that you would an infrastructure failure. You log it and route the incident to the application support team who tell you that it is a code bug and will require development effort to fix.

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