BUSINESS WISDOM

The Clown

Jeffrey L. Bromberger, Senior Pontificator

01 August 2021

NB: A version of this article appeared several years ago on a previous employer’s web site.  It has been updated and re-posted, saved for posterity.

It seems that, lately, I have been reliving (or re-imagining) feelings that I last had as a kid. Maybe this is a normal part of growing older – a way to see life’s more complex situations through simpler, unjaded eyes. Let me share a story with you (flashback scene begins)

My friends know that, while growing up, my family was far from rich. We lived in a NYC Housing Authority project apartment from the very late 1960’s into the early 80’s. In those older buildings, garbage was
routinely tossed down this magical “goodbye” chute to be incinerated. Sunday night, the porter would blaze it up, and spend most of Monday morning shoveling the remains (metal containers, melted broken glass, etc) into large “ash” cans. The cans would then be hoisted up from the basement to street level and left for the
garbage men to collect on their scheduled Tuesday run.

Something odd always seemed to happen to the cans, though. By Tuesday morning, there was almost always a plushie toy on top of the garbage. It was as if the owner (more likely, the owner’s parents) knew the toy had to go for any number of reasons, but couldn’t bear (pardon the pun) to think about pushing it down the chute to meet up with the other garbage that would inevitably be consumed by flame. So, it was snuck out of the apartment as Dad (or sometimes Mom) went out to work early, before the kids had school.

When the sanitation trucks came around, there were two distinct outcomes for the once beloved toy. If Teddy was ratty looking, or if it was raining out, or if the guys just had been in a foul mood, into the maw of the truck it went, together with the incinerated remnants, gone forever. Sometimes, though, if the guys were feeling
fun, the doll was rescued and attached to the front of the garbage truck as a mascot of sorts, where it would ride forever, at least until it fell apart. Pixar fans can remember that scene towards the end of Toy Story 3 for a visual reminder.

Jail Bars

Talk about being tied up at the job…

Photograph swiped from the PIXAR Wiki

It’s time to bring us back to today and the topic of IT Service Management.

Like children grow up, so do our corporations. And even though each September more or less marks the start of another year of development for our kids, our organizations move on their own time schedules. Upgrades to software, like upgrades to fashion, happen over time. Maturation of taste represents our growth in thought process. And while it may be nice to reminisce about the past, today’s organizations and people cannot afford to be held back with yesterday’s ideas and tropes. When changing your IT Service Management software, there are other things that need to happen:

  • Find and review all of your process documents. Choose which to update and which to discard.  Determine if there are some that are missing and need to be added.  Leave no stone unturned.  Trust me on this one.
  • Bring other eyes into the process. This is a good time to consider adding additional (or different) people into the support role. It will reduce staff burnout and bring in a fresh new viewpoint.  Here’s the time to get Audit, Development, Project Management and possibly HR into the same room to discuss where you need to spruce things up and go forward.
  • With these new policies and new hands, craft your incoming Service Management tool to operate the way you’d like it to, not just “it’s always been this way around here.”  There’s nothing worse than getting a new car (or video game) and finding out that it has nothing more than the same features as last year’s model.

Don’t carry the past along like that teddy bear strapped to the truck grille. Mr Fuzzy Pants will always live on in your memory – he doesn’t need a second life in your core business processes.

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