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And the winner is…

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kindleWe recently gave all you lovely people the opportunity to win a Kindle Fire in return for writing a review on

Rob England’s (a.k.a ‘The IT Skeptic’) latest book “Plus! The Standard+Case Approach: See service response in a new light”, and today is the exciting day when we announce the winner!

With all of the reviews in, Martin Thompson took his place at the judging table and began reading through the submissions. I had to tell him twice to remove his grey wig and remind him he was judging book reviews not auditioning to replace Judge Judy, but we got there eventually…

A massive congratulations to…

The winner of our competition and proud new owner of a Kindle Fire – Karen Ferris!

Karen’s review was chosen because it gave the most succinct description of the Standard+Case concept, a summary of the book and a reason for reading it.

The Review

I must admit to being sceptical (no pun intended @theITSkeptic) when Rob started to talk about the Standard + Case approach, and the use of ‘Case’ when faced with incidents, requests, changes etc. that we do not have a ‘standard’ model for dealing with.

I couldn’t see that handling these situations, as a ’case’ was different to how most of us manage this today. However, having read Rob’s book, the penny certainly dropped! This book is an eye-opener and a must-read.

Rob is not proposing that Standard + Case (or S+C) is a new practice but is an approach for formalizing what happens today when there is no formalized approach available.

This book describes the rigour required when dealing with response situations so that all instances of service response are managed, reported and improved – not just the standard ones. We often have models or procedures to deal with the things we have seen before and know how to deal with. We have categories, workflows, checklists and templates etc. We have the guidance provided by ITIL. But what happens when we are faced with a situation that is unfamiliar? As Rob says, what happens when we fall into that fuzzy cloud that says ‘resolve it’? ITIL gives some guidance for these situations within Problem Management but goes little past root-cause analysis. This book fills the gap.

What is also exciting about this concept is the use of gamification to offer challenges to service desk personnel and the ability of S+C to provide a career path for service desk personnel within the service desk. This has been a challenge for most, if not all, service desk managers who see staff come and go as the service desk is just seen as the doorway into the rest of IT.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone involved in situation response. It is an easy read and Rob provides a step-by-step approach for adoption of S+C as well as a S+C Tale, which we can all relate to, and brings S+C to life.

As Rob states in his first chapter, “The Standard+Case approach will improve your service response without a great deal of impact or investment in your current ITSM practices and systems”. This is why everyone should consider S+C.

This is a game-changer and I think Rob’s best work yet.

Thank-you Karen for your review both from us at ITSM Review and from Rob, we hope that you are your new Kindle Fire will be very happy together.

And to all the others…

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone else who participated and got into the community spirit with this competition (ok so maybe you was all doing it for the Kindle Fire but we’ll pretend otherwise…).

A thank-you also from Rob, not just for writing the reviews, but but for taking the time out to read his book in the first place and for recommending it to colleagues and peers. By helping to share his ideas hopefully more will implement them within their businesses and ultimately improve their approach to IT Service Management.

And finally…

If you haven’t read Rob’s book yet then not only did you miss out on the opportunity to win a new, shiny technology gadget but you’re also missing out on some great insight and advice.

Don’t just take it from me either, I’ll leave you with some other quotes:

“If you are quite new to ITSM or have not yet been fully converted into an ITIL ideologue this book can be nice introduction to an alternative, the author may say complementary, method to ‘process’ management.” – Stephen Alexander

“While not specific to IT, if you are an IT manager, CIO, Service Desk manager etc. etc. read this book and look to embed a Standard + Case approach into your IT organization.” – Mark O’Loughlin

“After you have read this book you will have a good ground and recommendations for how to manage Standard+Case covering pointers for how to think considering tools, policies, classifications, strategies etc. it’s a must for anybody that wants to take the next step in support evolution.” – Mika Salo

Plus! The Standard + Case Approach: see service response in a new light is a fast, complete and clean read introducing Standard + Case approach by Rob England.” – Rui Soares

“The important thing that Rob teaches us in this book is not about the existence of Standard and Case… we knew this since a long time ago in ITSM. The important concept is that we need structure, policies and resources properly balanced to manage both kind of responses, instead of keep trying to use a single set of policies, procedures and tools for everything.” – Antonio Valle

“It’s a good read and recommended to anyone involved in IT support and perhaps those involved in non-IT support. Are you prepared to become more effective?” – Stephen Mann 

“I would encourage strongly giving Rob’s model a try if you are struggling to get organized in the service response area.” – David Lowe

“I will be using many of Rob’s ideas as I work with my customers, and I recommend that you do the same.” – Stuart Rance

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