Focus on changes in your business needs

Even if you would like to do so: you can’t change the world in a day. And we cannot do that for you either, nor can we make any promise on that. And besides that: it isn’t necessary. When you just target on the changes really needed, you’ll have enough work as it is, and so will we. After all, why should you change things that are going well and develop or buy things that you already have? It gives a great feeling and peace of mind when you don’t feel forced to change.

Your existing information systems are a valuable asset

Any change, any improvement starts with the actual existing situation. In our opinion, the ‘ green meadow ‘ is very rare. The organization, the staff, the information system, the data content: they all already exist. This we keep in mind and from here-off we start. What already exists, we consider a valuable asset, being a result of investments made in the past, and of many years of experience and efforts. You don’t just throw those results away! Any IT development therefore starts with the knowledge and appreciation of the existing situation.

Primary bottom up but also top down

A change often starts at the bottom. Employees in the operational processes, often have a good vision on the necessary changes and on the possibilities for improvements. Based on those needs and possibilities you can formulate your policy and accomplish your dreams for your organization. The Lifecycle Company strives to coordinate changes from the base, by managing, encouraging and facilitating, bottom up, as well as top down. Let a thousand flowers bloom but sprinkle them in time!

BiSL, theory and practice

Once and awhile I hear some puffing and moaning about the BiSL framework book. For many people the framework book is pretty dry stuff. It contains many bullet lists and difficult schedules and it doesn’t actually tell you what to do and where to start.

My general reaction is: that makes sense and is ok, because the framework tells you what to do but not how to do that. As stated in the book, the ‘how’ is very situational: it depends on the organization, on the internal process and distribution of tasks, responsibilities and authority. The ‘how’ of IT in a small town is different than in a large city and again there it is unlike with a bank or an insurer. Now there are publications that help you to the ‘how’: they describe some practices. We have some of those on our website. And the ‘how’ can be derived from examples of other organization: the best practices, of whichthe ASL BiSL Foundation has some on their website.

But otherwise you will have to determine the ‘how’ of your organization yourself, by translating the ‘what’ to your own situation. On top of that, some questions play a role in the ‘how’: how well are we doing and how well we do it? This brings us to the topic ‘quality’. Roughly speaking, there are three options to determine the current and desired quality for your situation: an extensive research, a quick scan and a self-assessment. It will be clear that The Lifecycle Company can help you with all three approaches.

For the self-assessment see our Factsheet_Selfassessments_The_Lifecycle_Company

Improvement proposal for Prince2

Fairly often I’m consulted to help organizations improve the transfer of project results to the service and maintenance teams. These requests always come from the service and maintenance teams and mostly from business information management / information management, because they experience time and time again that projects perform very poorly at this point. But also for many project managers the transfer to and  acceptance by IT service management is a troublesome issue. Project managers don’t know what they should deliver, and it is hard to find someone that can formally accept the project results. Therefore, for a project manager it is tempting to say: I involve an operational service manager in the project, in order to produce the necessary IT service management products and thus the acceptance is managed. But this would be a huge misconception. As soon as an IT service manager is a project member, he or she is part of the supply organization and no longer of the accepting organization. The products he or she produces will still have to be accepted by the receiving IT service management teams.

But what about Prince2? Shouldn’t give Prince2 give a simple answer to this problem? Or is it, again a matter of good old Pino: Prince2-in-name-only?


At first glance one would say: this has to be managed in the Business Case and in the PID. After all: failing projects always fail on day one (there has been no good preparation and/or the deliverables and scope have not been defined well enough). Prince2 addresses this issue, but very high level. Not strange, as  requirements will vary, depending on the situation: the subject, the matter, the organization etc.

And after the kick-off one would expect that everything is organized and regulated. Surely there is a project board in which all parties are represented? Yes, Prince2 tells us about the BUS:

  • The Business, the Executive: the representative of the organization to which the value of the project is delivered. This is the sponsor, the client.
  • The Users or Senior User: the person who represents the users.
  • The Supplier: the supplier carries out the project and realizes the product or results.


But where are the representatives of the IT service management organizations: IT infrastructure management, application management and business information management? Is this a flaw in Prince2? Yes and no. Prince2 says: the users are the people who are going to use the result of the project, operate, maintain or facilitate or have to do with the results. Thus the Senior User represents the IT service management parties. And the Senior User must therefore ensure that the IT service management parties indicate which products they expect, what the requirements are to those products and that review and acceptance take place.

From this I can conclude that Prince2 recognizes this interest, but that the relevant projects where this goes wrong suffer from Pino. But most important: I conclude that the Senior User should be a business information manager. Somebody that represents both the user organization and the IT service management parties! Too bad this role isn’t mentioned in Prince2. The BUS should be a BBS. With the B of Business information manager. So: a flaw!

Obviously The Lifecycle Company, as a specialist in the field of ASL and BiSL, has helped many IT service managers with the definition of acceptance criteria and implementation of acceptance activities, because most IT service managers can use some help with this. But it’s not just that: it is also in the organization of the project: a ride in the BUS isn’t automatically a joyride.


It has been a while since Professor Maarten Looijen came up with the tripartite division of technical management, application management, and functional management. Since that we have modified the terms a bit and we speak of IT infrastructure management (IT-IM), application management (AM) and business information management (BIM). While not everyone agrees, many also say: ITIL is the service management framework for IT-IM. After ITIL, ASL has been developed as model for AM and BiSL for BIM. But every now and then I have the feeling that we are still missing something. It is time for CSL?

Not very long ago files and databases were one-to-one associated with an application. Therefore, the management and maintenance of the data structures are also logically part of AM (and so ASL). In addition, IT-IM includes building and storing the files and within BiSL we can find processes for data requirements and content management. So far so good! But nowadays one can see that files and data exist separate from a single application. A database is no longer one to one associated with an application. In ITIL and ASL data and files come second place. But the importance of data grows.

The reason for the development of ASL in addition to ITIL, was because the subject “management and maintenance of software” not well defined in ITIL. The maintenance of software is a different game than managing the technical production infrastructure. But the same actually applies to data. Employees of organisations bring their own Apps and devices and use the data in their own environment. Developments like Cloud, Smart devices, Apps and Big Data are not clearly addressed in the three IT service management domains by Van Looijen.

My feeling: it is time for CSL (Content Services Library). If you say A (SL) and B (iSL), you must also say C (SL).

Do you have any ideas or views: please come forward.