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Why even the 'right thing to do', with many benefits and advantages is rejected.

It is easy to see what's wrong, with many things. Particularly if you approach them from the outside. Particularly if you're armed with the acquired wisdom of Best Practice.

One example is the old-fashioned idea of what a 'Change Advisory Board' (CAB) should be. That is a regular (daily, weekly, monthly) meeting, with lots of people, who look at a long list of changes, and discuss them, one by one, until they get through the list, or everybody in the room has lost the will to live.

It is a bad idea for many reasons - very good reasons. So we produce a list of benefits of a proper change management system, with standard changes taking the place of the trivial, repetitive, and similar ones that kept turning up at the old CAB, and do all the other good things.

Then, six months, or a year, later, we go back and find that the old CAB is back in all its horrible tediousness.

How can this happen?

Things are as they are for a reason - even if it is a bad one

I think, from the ABC, and human perspective, we need to understand one awkward truth.

Some people actually enjoy the long, repetitive, groundhog-day type meetings, sometimes, mistakenly, called 'CABs'.

Life is challenging, change is risky, we know 'IT Heroes' are a poor role model, but, perhaps, we ought to realise that there is something rational about the old-style 'CAB'. It is the tortoise, hermit crab, or ostrich solution.

If change, when ignored, disappeared, it would even work.

When things are dangerously out of control, a regular, very formal, authoritarian meeting can be like a night light in the nursery. 

It doesn't keep the monsters at bay, but it enables you to feel relaxed enough about them to sleep.

What can we do?

If we want to make a change to an organisation, it isn't enough to be rational. Just saying why it is a good idea, and listing a lot of benefits, often sounds, to the organisation as.. 'just saying'.

You need to find out why things are as they are. Who does the current 'CAB' satisfy? Who is the person who sleeps happier in the false belief that it is protection? How did it come about? You might find that the person who first organised it is now quite senior, and is pleased with the solution he put together many years ago - if you don't convince him, he's not going to be happy if you kill his 'baby'.

Good, sound, excellent, even, as your ideas are, you have to accept they have one very big flaw. They were 'Not Invented Here' (NIH). You may see that as an advantage, and, rationally, it might be, but, if you actually want things to change, rather than just the pleasure of being right (which is just the other side of NIH, if you think about it), then you need to overcome this barrier, so that the right people want to RIH --- Reinvent It Here. Then it might work

The moral of the story

First find out why things are as they are. Then you'll understand what will keep them that way. That way you'll know who to persuade and what you need to use to persuade.

If you don't do this first, then you'll keep being surprised that organisations reject the obviously sane, rational, more effective and, even, more efficient solution, in favour of how they do it.


Johann Botha's excellent talk on DevOps, Agile and Lean using ITIL® and COBIT

An Excellent Presentation - itSMFsa thanks Johann Botha and Engen

There was a large turnout for a cold evening in Cape Town. Since Engen had, very kindly, agreed to provide the premises, there were many Engen employees at the event - more than from anywhere else.

This helped direct the flow of events, so a lot more practical detail was covered than might otherwise be the case. Johann Botha's excellent and entertaining presentation was very well received and there were many questions, with an enthusiastic discussion afterwards. 

This really is an important and topical subject. Johann's message was clear and well presented, but it was not all comforting. There is a lot of work to be done to adopt the ideas he presented. Mostly the most difficult sort of work - organisation and people change work.

I, myself, enjoyed the event very much, and was able to capture some of the thoughts in twitter. These give a flavour of the talk:

Johan Botha - when you see a triangle you know it won't work. Always a compromise #DevOps @itSMFSA

Johann Botha rolling a barrel up a hill, you need a wedge, or you get flattened. Baselines are wedges @itSMFSA #Agile #DevOps

Automate - but there are some decisions you don't want a machine to make - Johann Botha @itSMFSA #DevOps

Banks & Internet companies are all very active with #DevOps @itSMFSA Johann Botha

In #ITIL Development is called Release & Deployment - #ITIL likes the use of models. @itSMFSA Johann Botha #DevOos

Experience is built into models. That is why try work so well @itSMFSA #surgery #DevOps #ITIL Johann Botha

High risk changes are like that the first time, when well understood and well defined, they become low risk. #ITIL @itSMFSA #DevOps

Where can you learn about #DevOps? In the #ITIL books… Johann Botha @itSMFSA

Johann Botha: DevOps = #ITIL Change -> Release -> Configuration + Consistence + Flow #DevOps @itSMFSA


 Johann Botha #DevOps is KaiZen - Continuous Improvement #ITIL @itSMFsa 改善

Johann Botha - @DevOps is not for Cowboys #ITIL @itSMFSA - what get measured gets done - Drucker

Performance must be measured differently @itSMFSA #ITIL #DecOps Johann Botha

Johann Botha's new venture #kaizen #ITIL @itSMFSA #DevOps 




For those interested in more, Johann's presentation is here: 


Johann Botha's Presentation as a .pdf


Engen kindly sponsored the event by providing their premises






Centaurs: Organisational Change Management & horse riding.

Centaurs: Organisational Change Management & horse riding.

Part of the problem with organisational change is perception. People see it as something you do, like driving a car, or riding a bicycle. It isn't, though, like that, it's more like riding a horse.

If the horse wants to make a dash for home, or throw you into the ditch, that's what it'll do.

You have to help the horse see things your way, and agree to go where you want it to go, and you have to be aware that horses get tired, and need feeding, because, if you don't feed them, rest them, and give them time to play, they become sullen, resentful, uncooperative and, eventually, die.

It's also best not to walk behind a horse - with organisations it isn't alway obvious where the behind is. [though you might guess]

If you wish to be good at organisational change, you need the equivalent of riding lessons - and, if you've learned to ride a horse, you'll know that riding lessons involve lots, and lots of practice.

You also learn that you can't ride a horse on autopilot. You have to be one the horse and aware of it's every twitch and mood. You have to be fully engaged with the horse - with top riders, the horse and the rider seem to be one creature, with one mind.

Some believe that that is where the myth of the centaur came from - seeing horses ridden so that they looked like one creature, part horse, and part man.

That's the aim. To be like that, when you work to change an organisation.






Searching for Case Studies: Invitation to participate in a PhD study

Hi Everyone

I am a student studying towards a Doctorate in Information Systems at the University of Cape Town and I am inviting companies to participate in my research study. The topic of my study is: Towards Understanding Information Technology Service Management Framework Adoption.

The researcher guarantees anonymity of the names of the participants and the name of organisation which will strictly be used for the sole purpose of the aforementioned research report. The first part of the study will be a survey to be distributed to the whole IT Department. The survey is approximately 4 - 10 minutes long.  The second stage of data collection will involve interviews with the few selected people that are conversant with the ITIL framework adoption. The interview process will take about 35 minutes.

If your company/organisation is willing to help, please contact me through any of the following

e-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Yours faithfully

 Carrington M. Mukwasi


Wikipedia project

Appeal for help

It's not a good time to start, I know, but the new year is, and it's not far away. I also shouldn't be thinking of new projects when my plate is already too full.
Still, I think this needs to be done. If anybody is interesting in helping me, so it's a team effort, I think it would be done as a much better job, and it'd be less work for everybody.

What's the problem?

Wikipedia. Well, there's nothing wrong with wikipedia itself, but the articles on wikipedia that cover the sort of things we discuss here are a mess. I think this is a pity.
I'd like to put together a team, to start work tidying up all the relevant articles on wikipedia.
The aim is not to abuse any copyrighted information, nor to replace, or compete with, any published guidance.
It would be good, though, to be able to include information from other initiatives, such as IT4IT and the ASM to the mix - as well as having good articles on recent areas of interest, such as SIAM.

How would we do it?

Once we have a team, we'd, together, agree priorities. We'd then produce a short-term, medium-term, and long-term plan of what needs to be done.

The short-term aim would be to remove out-of-date material, improve current citations, and provide some coherent linkage through categories.

The medium term aim would be to have a good set of articles that would help introduce somebody to the field, but, also, be a reliable source of information for a practitioner to look up details.


This is not an advertising initiative. Wikipedia is not there as an advertising medium. It's there to inform. So articles need to be objective, and independent, as far as possible.

Are you interested in helping?

If so, wonderful! Even if you haven't much time, just a few minutes a day, of well-directed work, can make a bit difference.


Please contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


itSMFsa Notice of AGM


Notice is hereby given for the

IT Service Management Forum of South Africa

2015 Annual General Meeting


Wednesday 9 December 2015
17H30 FOR 18H00

EY (Ernst & Young)

102 Rivonia Road, Sandton,

Attendance is open to all interested parties, however voting is restricted to fully paid-up members only.

To confirm your attendance, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, company and contact telephone number.

Please Note

  • Although Corporate members are entitled to a maximum of 1 effective vote, any number of their employees may attend the Annual General Meeting providing that their presence does not hinder proceedings.
  • A member is defined as a fully paid up member for 2015.
  • Should a fully paid up member wish to receive a copy of the Annual Financial Statements for the 12 months ended 31 December 2014, kindly contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a copy.
  • For a nomination to be valid, the completed and signed nomination form together with all the required information must be received by itSMFsa via email, by close of business on 30 November 2015. Please note that Nominations will only be considered as received once confirmation has been sent to the originator.
  • Nominations will not be accepted if the nominee is of the same organisation as any current board member; however if a current board member has resigned, then nominations from the same company will be accepted.
  • A fully paid-up member unable to attend the meeting may appoint a proxy to attend and vote on their behalf. A Proxy Form may be downloaded from PLEASE NOTE: PROXY FORMS WILL ONLY BE AVAILABLE ON THE WEBSITE FROM 1 December 2015 ONCE ALL NOMINATIONS FOR NEW DIRECTORS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED.
  • For a proxy to be valid, the completed Proxy Form must be received by itSMFsa via email, no less than two days before the time appointed for the holding of the Annual General Meeting i.e. 7 December 2015. Please note that Proxies will only be considered received, once confirmation has been sent to the originator.
  • To renew your membership for 2016, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SMEXA '15 Speakers & Presentations


Being the largest IT Service Management Exhibition in Africa, SMEXA15 assumes a different format this year, being a compact, one-day event. SMEXA15 promises an exciting line-up of Service Governance presentations.
The Conference and Expo is brought to you with the support of EY and the following sponsors:
Platinum Sponsor: HP
Gold Sponsors: APMG
Silver Sponsors: Marval Africa and Thinking Dimensions

SMEXA '15 Speakers & Presentations


Welcoming address (Pieter Roos - itSMFsa chair)


1.   The impact of digital on service governance (Manti Grobler – EY)


Business is becoming increasingly digital, responding to the capibilities of smart machines, the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing and social media.  

At the same time, organisations are embracing the digital workplace with flexibility around how employees work.  IT organisations are required to rethink the way they have operated for some time in order to exploit the opportunities and respond to the challenges of the new world we are facing.


2.   The new style of IT and how it shapes business (Kevin Leslie – HP) | The #BigData Service Desk.   Speakers – (Kevin Leslie HP and Charl Joubert University of Pretoria)


Kevin Leslie brings a unique perspective to the ITSM business .  It  should be seen as a  business  not an academic exercise.  Up to 2008 Kevin had leadership roles in HR, ERP, CRM, Marketing Automation,  PPM and eBusiness platform vendors such as Oracle , SAP, Aprimo and Mercury.  Since 2008 Kevin has had various  EMEA leadership roles at HP Software that has always included ITSM.  He has worked with the largest customers such as Russian Railways (1 million employees) to SMB customers with 5 user help desks.   He has consistently brought a business focus to ITSM, allied to a customer dedication, and a passion for innovation.


The #BigData Service Desk is delivering business metrics unheard of with legacy service desk tools .   

Charl Joubert has been at the forefront of applying innovation at the University of Pretoria.  

This session will share: 

·        The OOTB use cases that have transformed both on-premise and Cloud based service desks.

·        The  business impact

·        The best practice  adoption


3.   Professional services – are we professional enough? (Nigel Mercer – APMG)


In a world where professional service providers are increasingly required to assist their clients in navigating the changing technology landscape, skills need to keep up if we are going to meet such demands.  

Relying on qualifications that were relevant a few years ago to keep us going, is not longer good enough.


Morning tea


4.   Introduction to service governance (Peter Brooks – itSMFsa board member)


Peter recently published his latest book, titled 'Adopting Service Governance'.  

Peter will demystify the term and introduce practical suggestions on how service governance practices could best be established


5.   Roles, responsibilities and competencies for major incident management (Adriaan du Plessis – Thinking Dimensions)


Successful major incident management can often be described as chaos countered by wisdom.  

Organisations that fail to prepare for major incidents could end up having to deal with uncontrolled chaos.  

You will realise the value of preparation when next your roles, responsibilities and competencies are tested and stand up to the challenge.




6.  The cost of poor service governance (Marina le Roux - Pink Elephant)


Failing to invest in service governance could result in some unforeseen negative business impact.  

This session focuses on the challenges, tools and techniques to proactively establish and maintain effective service governance practices.


7.   Integration is key in Service Governance (Ed Carbutt - Marval)


Will the efforts to succeed in Service Governance result in the same challenges as those experienced over the years with many ITIL adoptions and COBIT implementations?  

This session focuses on the importance of integrating people, processes and technology, and how these contribute to increased business value and effective governance.


8.   Too much or too little (Johann Botha – Get-IT-Right)


As valuable as service governance might be, undue bureaucracy stifles service delivery and raises costs.  

Finding the balance between regulatory compliance and sound governance on the one hand, and the cost of governance, is becoming a fine art.


After noon tea


Panel discussion - chaired by Peter Brooks


Closing address - Peter Brooks


Drinks and post-conference networking



DATE: 23 September 2015

VENUE: EY, 102 Rivonia Road, situated conveniently across the Gauteng station
RSVPClick here to register


Directions to SMEXA'15