ISO20000 and CMMI-SVC – There is no choice to make.

I have been slow to join my colleagues in blogging, F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say”.

Well I’ve got something I want to say – actually to shout, at customers, colleagues, and everyone else out there engaged in often heated debates about whether they should adopt ISO20000 or CMMI-SVC.

Can’t we all just get along? There is no choice no make; they are complimentary and not mutually exclusive. I like ice -cream, I like Bananas, and I may have one or both in any given day (dependant on where I am and what I’m doing of course).

However, show me a desert trolley with a Banana Split on it and you have a customer for life : )

ISO/IEC 20000 is an international, independent standard, which specifies the quality requirements an organization must meet in IT Service Management. Organizations can get certified for ISO/IEC 20000 to prove to clients they deliver high-quality IT Services.

The ISO/IEC 20000 is in two parts. Part 1 is the Specification and, essentially, defines the requirements for a service provider to deliver managed services of an acceptable quality for its customers.

Part 2 is a code of practice, and basically describes the best practices for service management within the scope of Part 1 of the standard set.

Both the Standard and the Code of Practice are ‘framework-neutral’; ( a bit like me ! ), they don’t establish which other standards, best practices and frameworks you could use in order to achieve the required quality level.
This is the first area that CMMI-SVC comes into its own. CMMI is about improving management processes associated with developing and delivering technical products and services.  CMMI is not about the technical processes needed to actually do the developing and delivering.  The CMMI “process areas” are the important elements that contribute to a systematic ability to affect process improvement in and among (the management of) those technical process and practices that actually develop and deliver the products and services.

In essence, CMMI process areas are the things needed for process improvement of technical activities, not the activities themselves, and as CMM-SVC areas align really well to ISO20K, this helps you ensure that the processes themselves are fit for purpose and at a maturity level aligned to your business.

Operating the CMMI-SVC framework to design and establish the processes required to comply with ISO20K gives you a leading edge in customer delivery.

The second advantage is that ISO20K is solely focused on the delivery of the IT Service. It really doesn’t care how the service was developed. So if your company develops it Services then you still have the breakdown that occurs when things are “chucked over the fence” from Development into the customer offering arena.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but as much as companies claim that they have “broken down the silos” this area is still a gaping chasm that isn’t always jumped first time. Making a seamless transition will eliminate the bottleneck between Development and Service Offering.

As CMMI-SVC re-uses about 80% of the current CMMI-DEV model, it allows users to leverage their investments in development-based process training, improvements,and infrastructure to service-based offerings.

It builds understanding between development and service staff, making processes and practices more collaborative, which in turn helps seamless transition. Lets face it, both parties both speak the same language, they just have different regional dialects !

If any of my colleagues are reading this they will wonder what has happened to me – International Standards are my first love, for me they are clear, unambiguous, and internationally recognised.

I have, and continue to work with many frameworks and methods, and always blend techniques to suit the business I am working for and working with. So I remain as framework neutral as I can (sorry Boss!).

However, since obtaining my ISO 20K Consultant Certification, and thinking about how best to serve any customers wanting to ready themselves for ISO20K certification, I am already looking at how CMMI-SVC practices can form part of the process engineering suggestions.

Let’s not have a situation that I once faced, when I was running a process design workshop and a participant arrived late, with 3 different processes for Change Management in his area, saying “Sorry, I couldn’t remember which hat I had on today – CMMI, ISO, or Sarbox, so I brought all three of our processes” : yes, in desperation, this department had three variations for the same process so that they could meet the requirements of whichever body turned up to audit them !

Process can be overdone and there isn’t a fixed link with service capability. It needs to be done with restraint, but equally, good service requires good process at appropriate maturity levels and investment levels.

ISO will certify you so that your Customers know you have a process for  Incident  Management (for example) that meets the mimimum  required standard, CMMI will let them know the maturity of this process and show your commitment to continually improving it.

Right, rant over, I will leave you with this thought from Henry Ford

 “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

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