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Taking Service Forward (TSF)

The Story

The need for a service management architecture has been recognized ever since the origin of service management as a discipline. Several attempts have been made over the years, especially within the IT service management domain, but a holistic architecture for service management and governance has never been created.

The work to create the Adaptive Service Model was initiated in June 2013 by Stuart Rance (Optimal Service Management, UK), Christian Nissen (CFN People, Denmark) and Peter Brooks (Phmb Consulting, South Africa). Earlier that year they had been involved in discussions about a “Manifesto for the creation of an open repository for service management knowledge” in the “ITSM Knowledge Repository” community on Google+(https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/100439059543851476398) and had recognized the need for a meta-structure to help organize the repository. This led to the idea of creating an architecture and ontology for service management. They believed that a crowd-sourced approach would be essential to ensure that the new architecture and ontology met the needs of the widest possible service management community, but understood that a starting platform was needed so that the community would have something to build on. From this came the idea of running a one week workshop with a remit to create an initial model that could form the basis for this crowd-sourcing.

The first step for the initiating group was to identify a team that represented a wide range of interests, geographies and capabilities as well as experience with structuring service knowledge. It was easy to find hundreds of matching candidates but they decided to limit the workshop to 10 - 15 people to maximize the effectiveness of the one week effort. Contributors were identified and asked if they were willing to volunteer for five days, if a sponsor for the travel and accommodation could be found.

The initiating group decided that the best sponsor for this work would be AXELOS (the joint venture company between the Cabinet Office and Capita which runs the Best Management Practice portfolio, including ITIL and PRINCE2). A proposal was put to AXELOS and they agreed to sponsor the initiative, and to publish the output under a license which would allow public contribution and free use similar to that for the existing ITIL glossary. The purpose of the workshop would be to create a generic service management architecture that could be used for many purposes, one of these purposes might be for AXELOS to derive an IT service management architecture that could be used in the future development of ITIL.

In addition to the eleven volunteers that had already agreed to contribute, two representatives from AXELOS joined the workshop, which took place in November 2013 in Birmingham, UK. Attendees included people who are heavily involved in COBIT, ITIL, ASL, BiSL, ISO/IEC 20000, TIPA, etc. to help ensure a holistic approach to a generic service management architecture:

  • Alain Renault, Public Research Centre Henri Tudor (Luxemburg)
  • Christian F. Nissen, CFN People (Denmark)
  • Colin Rudd, Items Ltd (UK)
  • Frances Scarff, AXELOS (UK)
  • Gary Hardy, IT Winners (South Africa)
  • Johann Botha, GetITRight (South Africa)
  • Katsushi Yaginuma, ITpreneurs (Japan)
  • Mark Smalley, ASL BiSL Foundation & APMG (The Netherlands)
  • Peter Brooks, Phmb Consulting (South Africa)
  • Philip Hearsum, AXELOS (UK)
  • Robert Falkowitz, Concentric Circle Consulting (Switzerland)
  • Sharon Taylor, Aspect Group (Canada)
  • Stuart Rance, Optimal Service Management (UK)

To make the workshop effective, the delegates completed a number of work packages before the workshop, including reading material, discussion papers, architecture principles, methods and tools. The aim of the workshop was to produce an initial draft of a service meta-model that could form the basis for the future development of an architecture and ontology. The purpose of the workshop was not to produce the final release but to put together an initial draft to help the service community contribute to the final model via crowd sourcing.

During the workshop, the workshop team decided to name the initiative “Taking Service Forward” and the architecture was titled the “Adaptive Service Model”. The team started with some basic principles to guide the work they would be doing during the week. These included: The bonsai: Allow ideas to grow but then prune them down to create something small, but well formed The ‘do’: Create an elegant way or path, like the ‘do’ of Judo or Taekwondo.

Both principles later made their way into the logo of the Taking Service Forward initiative.

By the end of the workshop an outline of the Adaptive Service Model had been created, this included the basic explanation of the architecture and its use as well as the rationales for choices made. Also at the workshop all of the team agreed to continue to contribute to the initiative and a small interim governance group consisting of Christian F. Nissen, Colin Rudd, Peter Brooks and Stuart Rance was appointed.

The team left the workshop with many assigned activities, to complete initial drafts of the Adaptive Service Model (ASM), supporting documentation and overall documentation. One of these activities was to agree copyright terms for the Adaptive Service Model (ASM). The copyright has now been assigned to the Taking Service Forward (TSF) initiative and the team agreed that the Adaptive Service Model will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

As can be seen, this is a true community invoked initiative. Many of us believe in the principles of emergence, free knowledge sharing, ingenuity, continual evolution of best practice, seamless interoperability etc. and we hope that those of you who agree with these principles will contribute to the development of the Adaptive Service Model, creating a solid architecture to enable these ideals to be realized.