Thursday, February 21, 2013

Owner vs Provider

As we work towards a more comprehensive Learning Ecosystem vs. a single LMS, issues of roles crop up.

In my admittedly simplistic and incomplete understanding:

Owner
  • Business / Customer 
  • Identifies business needs
  • Makes sure the service / program meets customer requirements
  • Identifies opportunities for improvement
  • Point-of-contact for the service or program
  • In our environment - often outside of IT
Provider
  • Technical / IT
  • Makes the service / program happen
  • Makes sure the service / program keeps running
  • Often comprised of multiple roles / people
Seems pretty clear-cut.  One makes the decisions, the other does the work.
But how is this really going to work in practice with real humans vs. on paper?

As my pet LMS morphs into a Learning Ecosystem and the resulting exponential increase of complexity in the management of it, I am finding myself resisting the loss of control this entails.

Am I going to wind up with multiple bosses from my own and other departments telling me what to do?  Right now, I am staring at - a program owner (outside of my division), a program manager (not in my immediate management chain), and my current management chain.  On paper, this doesn't look like a big deal.  In practice - this could be a complete cluster as higher-up type people fight for my time and bandwidth.

I've been running this thing on my own for so long - will these people take the fun stuff (strategy, design) and leave me with the grunt work (user administration, troubleshooting, course conversion)?

Will my input be valued once I've worked my ass off to get this beast built?  Will I get pushed aside while others get all the glory if this bugger actually works?

What are the chances of this devolving into finger-pointing between departments if things don't work as expected?  When I get caught in the middle (because it will happen), how bad will it get?


Who actually does particular tasks which may fall in between the cracks - such as management of individual projects within the program? Determination of support strategy?

I'll admit I am feeling a little pessimistic about how this will all work in practice.
- I'm a pessimist by nature and love disasterizing
- I've been burned before.  More than once.

Could be the "control freak" gremlin rearing its ugly head again.

Could be the natural fear of change.

Could be me having only a partial understanding of what my upper management wants to do with my idea and where they think I fit into it.

Could just be me feeling really selfish and put upon right now. (To anyone who knows me in real life - it is not you).

There is one team that seems to have successfully gone through this transition - including the struggles.
May be time for a little bit of outreach.....

ITIL v3 Roles
About the ITIL Service Owner - The IT Skeptic
ITSM Roles - University of Chicago (pdf)
Program Management vs Project Management

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