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 Feature
9 June 2009 | Dr Jenny Dugmore Blog
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The plans shall at a minimum define the scope of the service provider's service management
This week Jenny looks at how to scope service management - Part 3 of the 20000 series has passed its final ballot...

  Dr Jenny Dugmore

I’m still working through the aftermath of the standards meeting – the down-side of a good meeting of a large and enthusiastic committee is that we do so much and it all has to have a paper trail.  I’d rather be faced with that than disinterest, but the paper trail, important though it is, is ‘quite large’.  I have by the way been told by an Australian that my way of describing such things is ‘British understatement’ – so maybe quite large doesn’t sound much? 

Each of the editors is now meticulously documenting the debates and responses to every comment made during a ballot and at the same time preparing the next draft for review and ballot, for the part they are working on.  I am preparing minutes of each session, including those when we hosted a wider group presentation, such as governance, business process outsourcing, market research and several others. 

In all this activity I’d almost forgotten just how pleased we all were to have Part 3, Scoping, applicability and conformity assessment, get through the last technical stage. Again, congratulations to Anita Myrberg of Sweden for an excellent job as project editor. 

So what was all the work for and why are we so pleased?  In BS 15000-1 we included a bullet point requiring the scope of service management to be defined, so of course this requirement is now in Clause 4.1 of ISO/IEC 20000-1.

This requirement means a service provider must define the scope, as a basic first step. Perfectly sensible (who would argue against the logic of defining the limits of your service management before you start work on it?). It’s only eight words, but those eight words have prompted more questions that any others in the whole of Part 1. I certainly have found this the most complex thing to explain, as have many organisations that have aimed for 20K, set up a certification scheme or done an audit against it.

In theory this should be simple – even though service management supply chains are very complex, with internal and external service providers, lead suppliers, sub-contracted suppliers, customers, users, different locations (even different continents), different technologies, different services and so on and so on.  So not so simple after all, especially where you have an organisation that in one place in a supply chain is a supplier, in another an internal service provider, at the same time an external service provider and in another place in the supply chain, is a customer. 

Reality confronts the “it should be simple” theory and reality wins every time.  So we faced reality and developed what is mainly a scenario based document that answers a whole series of “what ifs” over scoping, taking great care to interpret the spirit and intent of Part 1 accurately. We also recognised that the scope is used not just for planning but in what ISO calls “conformity assessment”, that I still think of as “an audit”.

So we got there and not only will it be a really useful document, it’s also forced us to consider what we should have in Part 1 for the second edition.   This last stage of technical review of Part 3 was almost all about the implications for the next edition of  Part 1 – not on Part 3, which explains scoping for the currently published edition of Part 1.  For example, what else on scoping should we include as requirements in edition two of Part 1?  This then becomes a challenge for the Part 1 editors, Lynda Cooper of the UK and Pierre Thory of France.  Should we go for “opt-in or opt-out “  type of requirements that could make scoping much simpler, but which could perhaps undermine the value of certification under Part 1? Or at the other extreme should we add detailed requirements on how to scope to Part 1, with several options between the two extremes.  Perhaps this is a reason for more market research?  Where should we be taking Part 1 scoping requirements in the next edition?

Along the way I’ve learned more about my own language and just how creative we (British) native English speakers are in how we use our language.  Many of us are casual in our use of basic words such as ‘may’ and ‘can’, which have very different meanings, especially for a standard.  I should have paid more attention at school, but numbers always seemed so much easier. For that matter they still do!

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!

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10th June 2009

Hi Jenny,

Probably you don’t remember me, but, on last March, I've had the pleasure of interchanging with you a few words regarding your excellent conference in the itSMF meeting at Barcelona - despite to my limited English.  :(  

I'm just writing you because I feel your blog being very interesting and I’d like to encourage you to going ahead on it !

Thank you very much for your time,

Albert Chic Gimenez
Netmind
IT Governance Manager

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