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Contract managers are boringly average
Mark Smalley |
November 2, 2023 |

 12,989 total views

Contract managers are boringly average

Earlier this week I spoke about IT service and its impact on people and their business. Nothing new about this. I must have done it fifty times in the past five years. Usually for IT service managers, business analysts and project managers. But this time it was at a conference for contract managers (the Dutch National Contract Management Conference organized by my good friends at CM Partners NL | Contractmanagement).

Translation: IT service management: suffering and salvation


These presentations often involve a poll to discover people’s highest priorities for improvement in the area of IT services. I use a poll based on the five objectives that I formulated for the ITIL 4 module High-velocity IT, extended with “efficient IT solutions”.

The options are:

  1. Valuable investments – effective functionality
  2. Fast development – developing and delivering quickly
  3. Resilient operations – undisrupted business processes
  4. Co-created value – getting the business outcomes
  5. Assured conformance – to GRC requirements
  6. Efficient IT solutions – cost and effort

The most consistent high scorer is co-created value, followed by fast development, and valuable investments and resilent operations competing for third place. Co-created value is the essence of ‘service’, that I usually define as “economic exchange through the application of resources by service provider and recipient”. It is that intricate and unpredictable dance between people and people, and people and technology.

I was particularly interested whether contract managers would have different priorities and possibly break the “co-created” trend. This was not the case. In fact, their score for co-created value (38%) was exactly the same as the average of all the previous scores. So it seems that contract managers’s priorities are well-aligned those of the IT service managers, business analysts, project managers and others who have invited me to talk about IT service. Boringly average. And there is a lot to be said for boredom. It is underrated.

The slide deck is available for the conference delegates but for others, the bottom line was:

  • People desire emotional well-being and this affected by IT service
  • IT service often falls short on human experience and business impact
  • The IT industry has much to answer for, and people deserve better
  • IT service professionals feel morally obliged to act
  • XLA can improve IT service and its outcome

For more about XLA (experience level management), take a look at Marco Gianotten‘s XLA Pocketbook or my Reflections on XLA. Free samples of both books are available and I have written about my book here.


Author: Mark Smalley

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