How Can ITSM Practitioners Improve Themselves?

ITSM Practitioners

Let’s talk about the help ITSM practitioners need. To help IT service management (ITSM) practitioners, I asked 35 industry authorities for their thoughts on how ITSM practitioners should be improving themselves next year. The aim was to identify the key ways in which ITSM practitioners can make an even greater impact, especially because their personal development has probably taken a backseat over the last two years.

So what did our industry authorities say? You can read the detail below but here’s a recurring theme – there’s very little commonality across the 36 pieces of advice. I definitely didn’t expect this when I asked them the question.

If pushed, I’d call out the need for ITSM practitioners to widen their knowledge, skills, and experience (including non-ITSM capabilities), to listen more, and to get better at handling change. But there really is very little commonality across the advice offered below. So, there’s a lot of advice for the reader to pick from.

Here 35 industry authorities share their thoughts on how IT and #ITSM practitioners should be improving themselves next year. Share on X

How ITSM practitioners can improve themselves in 2022

Martijn Adams, Chief Customer Officer at 4Me

I think my number one piece of advice to ITSM practitioners would be to invest in widening your skills rather than deepening them — Becoming a T person instead of an I. Look at topics and skills close to your current comfort zone but that you don’t really understand well enough yet, and then invest time in mastering them. This broader knowledge and skill set will definitely pay off quickly.

Akshay Anand, Former Product Ambassador for ITIL

Humans are creative beings. We tell stories, we paint, we sing, and we express emotion in a hundred different ways. These creative channels are encouraged in all parts of the world … until people turn 18 (sometimes earlier, sometimes later, depending on social and economic context). Unless you work in a “creative industry,” people often find they can’t bring their authentic selves to work. But creativity also leads to diversity of thinking, which is something companies and professionals want to encourage. 

So here’s my challenge to ITSM practitioners – work with your HR team(s) and budgets to allow your teams to take courses in photography or drama or creative writing, and share how it’s helped them at work. Sure, this kind of training is not linked to their primary role or functional specialization, but it could make them better communicators and collaborators, or at the very least make them motivated members of staff.

Roy Atkinson, CEO and Principal Advisor at Clifton Butterfield LLC

Read outside the box: books on business culture, leadership, and other topics outside of IT and ITSM.

Take courses on LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, etc. on topics that interest you. Expand your sphere of thinking.

David Banghart, Senior Lead Analyst at Lumen Technologies

If there is one thing 2020 and 2021 has taught us it is to learn to improve our response to change, at a corporate level, and more importantly as an individual. A good article on this is

Mark Bradley, Senior Product Manager at Flexera

Continuously reinvent yourself…

Here @martijn_adams, @bloreboy, @RoyAtkinson, David Scott Banghart of Lumen Technologies, & Mark Bradley of @Flexera share their advice on where IT professionals should look to improve themselves in 2022 (with 31 other pieces of… Share on X

Daniel Breston, Board Member of itSMF UK

You need to stop focusing on the HOW before you understand the WHY it matters and WHAT it’ll really take to make it matter. You could learn from spending 18 minutes listening to Simon Sinek Golden Circles Simon Sinek – The Golden Circle – TedTalks 2009 – YouTube

Karen Brusch, Service Design Consultant at Nationwide Building Society

If you’ve been asked to pioneer new ways of working, don’t forget to engage related SMEs. While some existing processes and controls may not be efficient, neglecting those SMEs will likely result in you creating different inefficiencies, and without their involvement in the new design, you risk losing your most ardent champions

Take time to speak to people from a broad spectrum so that your approach will reflect that — never assume you know everything!

Erin Casteel, Managing Consultant at Veridity 

ITSM practitioners can improve themselves by asking “What contribution do I want to make in 2022?” What do you want to share with others, participate in, create, design, improve, or learn? It doesn’t have to be IT related by the way. Then make a plan about how you’re going to make that contribution. Then execute that plan. It can be anything, but it should be something you’re excited about, even if you’ve never done it before or don’t know much about it yet. Have a go! 

John Custy, ITSM Consultant at JPC Group

Listen more, talk less. Ask questions so you understand how your services enable the business. Don’t provide instant solutions, listen, evaluate what the customer is saying, not saying, identify the feelings in their expressions of how IT services enable (or disable) them to meet their goals. Shadow users so you understand their challenges. Use customer language, not IT terminology. Understand value from the customer perspective.

How can #ITSM practitioners improve themselves in 2022? @DanielBreston, @Karen_Brusch, @ITSMNinja, & @Veridity share their thoughts. Share on X

Maarten de Bruin, Service Delivery Management Team Lead at Operator Groep Delft

Deploying an improvement tomorrow that improves the way things are today usually trump’s spending a month taking stock of the entire state of things and coming up with a comprehensive plan.

Rob England, Co Managing Director at Teal Unicorn

Learn to understand the profound effect of complexity thinking on our daily lives and work. Once we understand the implications of the world being VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) – as compared to simple, modellable (I don’t think that’s a word, but I’m going to use it anyway), and predictable – it changes how we see life and work. How we act, how we react, how we plan.

James Finister, Practice Partner at Tata Consultancy Services

  1. Look outside your bubble
  2. Recognize when you need to leverage skills you and your team don’t have. Don’t try and do everything yourselves when others can tell you how to do it correctly
  3. Remember the difference between consultants and contractors. Both are human, but use them in the right way, don’t abuse them.

James Gander, Managing Director at Gander Service Management

Learn how to stop and listen before jumping in.

Rajesh Ganesan, Vice President at ManageEngine

Going into 2022, ITSM practitioners should prepare themselves for transformational improvement, as opposed to incremental improvement that could’ve helped till a couple of years ago. Embracing personal transformation in terms of skills, outlook, and culture is critical to effecting team and organizational level transformation which will be expected of ITSM practitioners. A case in point is the adoption of the zero trust access model, which calls for outlook and cultural transformation as much as technology and IT is expected to lead that transformation.

Check out this advice from Maarten de Bruin, @Rob_England, @jimbofin, @GanderSM, & @rajesh05 on how #ITSM pros should look to develop themselves in 2022. Share on X

Richard Horton, Service Delivery Manager at University of Leeds

Identify areas (within your sphere of influence) where people are assuming that old technology/ways of doing things should be used, when actually better ways of doing things may now be possible that weren’t when their/your current patterns were set. 

Simone Jo Moore, Senior Consultant at SJM

Widen your sphere of knowledge and experience in other subjects. Even if it seems unrelated to your work, once you start exploring, you’ll be surprised to see how it comes to life in a new context. Lifelong learning allows the ‘craft master’ to again become a student.

Roger Labelle, Director of Product Management and Support at Provance

Set clear and measurable goals for their teams. If you can’t measure it, figure out how-to first. Keep it simple and set them one at a time. Make sure to describe any rules or boundaries that help make the goal achievable – success is a state of mind – successfully reaching goals encourages more success. 

Lokesh Kumar Narayana, Scrivener at LokeshLKN

1. Take continual breaks

2. Give yourself some time daily – mental health and some individual time is important

3. Help one individual daily. This gives you a purpose for each day no matter how bad your life is that day.

Richard Horton, @simonejomoore, Roger Labelle of @Provance, & @LokeshKumarNar5 share their thoughts on how #ITSM pros should look to improve themselves in 2022. Share on X

Ivor Macfarlane, Retired ITSM Professional

Trust yourself more.

Michelle Major-Goldsmith, Manager – Service Management Capability at Kinetic IT

Be ready to give it a go! As employers look to fill skills gaps, having staff willing to re-skill not only fills the gap for them it also enhances the marketability of those with the courage and willingness to learn new skills. 

Vawns Murphy, Lead IT Partner – Service Delivery at Silva Homes

For me it’s about looking for small things we can do to boost resilience. Lots of little things, tweaking our back ups, shifting to cloud storage rather than physical servers, introducing multi-factor identification (MFA) – are making things better and safer for our people.

Paul Leenards, Strategic Advisor Digital Workplace at City of Amsterdam

Articulate the business value, as in writing it down and presenting it to the other side (actually, the business should be on your side) to check if you understood it well and it fits the business perspective of your own value.

Here @Ivormacf, @vawnsmurpy, @MMG9898, @pllnrds, & 31 other #ITSM industry authorities identify what they believe the key ways in which practitioners can make an even greater impact in 2022. Share on X

David Moskowitz, IT Service Management Consultant at Creative Disruptions LLC

Take the advice of Thomas Edison: “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this — you haven’t.”

Mark O’Loughlin, Owner and Managing Director at Red Circle Strategies

Use and apply the ARIAC model:

  • Analyze what is going on around you, in your sector, in your profession, and in your area of expertise
  • Recognize that change is constantly happening at a very fast pace
  • Identify how you need to change to stay ahead
  • Adapt and learn something new. Try something new. Suggest something. Do something new
  • Change if you’re feeling comfortable in your role today, things may become uncomfortable sometime soon into the future, and may not be controllable by you … unless you change something.

Stijn Oomen, Senior Consultant at Solvera Solutions

Be curious and demonstrate empathy. Curiosity is the fuel for discovery, inquiry and learning.

Elina Pirjanti, Principal Success Architect at ServiceNow

Focus on humans. What do they need? Whether it’s making customers successful with superb service, or simplifying and making delightful solutions. Of course there’s viability and feasibility aspects on this, on the business and technical side, but humans must come first!

In this article 35 #ITSM industry authorities, including @DavidM2, @RedCircleMark Stijn Oomen of @SolveraCanada, & @elt5u share their views on how IT pros should be improving themselves in the year ahead. Share on X

Jef Pitts, IT Service Desk Coach at Johnsonville

Make sure the whole team engages in a switch to ITIL4; and focus on the entire customer experience, not just a great survey result when your CI has already failed.

Barclay Rae, Consultant, Author, and Business Owner at Barclay Rae Consulting

Learn a couple of business skills – e.g. marketing, risk, finance, sales, corporate governance… and be liminal.

Ian Robinson, First Line Service Manager at UK Government

Learn what frustrates and delights your customers. Learn to say yes. Learn to say no. Learn to adapt to a changing world.

Vicki Rogers, Senior IT Manager at Georgia Institute of Technology

Read more. Don’t be so married to a framework that you can’t learn and use other ideas. 

Reading, learning, & engaging… check out these top tips for personal development from Jef Pitts, @barclayrae, @mralutto, & Vicki Rogers #ITSM Share on X

Stephen Thair, Chief Technology Officer at DevOpsGroup

(1) Learn Git

(2) Learn AWS or Azure Cloud Fundamentals

(3) Read “The Phoenix Project”

(4) Read “Make Work Visible” and start a Kanban board, even if it’s only just for your own work

(5) Read our AdaptiveIT whitepaper series –

Rod Weir, Owner at PRD Software

Be aware of and learn what XSS is all about.

Paul Wilkinson, Business Development Director at GamingWorks

Learn to really listen and foster true collaborative behaviors. Explore with end to end stakeholders ‘What does effective collaboration REALLY mean? What behaviors do we REALLY want to see and commit to?’!….then ignore them like we usually do (oops that last bit was #GROMIT input).

@TheOpsMgr, @gamingpaul & @Rod_Weir share their views on what IT pros should be doing to improve themselves in 2022 in this article. #ITSM Share on X

Kathleen Wilson, Program Manager at Microsoft 

Focus on outcomes, what does the business need? Ensure that all process improvements are tightly integrated into toolsets to enhance, support, and provide the guardrails for capability. Stuff on paper gets ignored… ensure that all policies and procedures can be enforced with technology controls.

“Ruthless standardization and automation enables innovation” – Kathleen Wilson 2012

Lana Yakimoff, Senior SIAM Specialist at Kinetic IT

Focus on services and people, also customer experience and employee experience/engagement. Plus, think outside of your ITSM bubble: develop skills, i.e. business analysis skills, human skills, business intelligence (BI) analytics… move towards the exciting future.

How Can ITSM Practitio Does what @mkathleenwilson & Lana Yakimoff have to say about personal development for IT pros in 2022 resonate with you? What about what the other 33 #ITSM pros has to say? Share on X

There’s definitely a lot for ITSM practitioners to take in and digest here. However, I know which elements I’ll be taking away from all this advice. But what resonates most with you? Please let me know in the comments.

Sophie Danby
Marketing Consultant at

Sophie is a freelance ITSM marketing consultant, helping ITSM solution vendors to develop and implement effective marketing strategies.

She covers both traditional areas of marketing (such as advertising, trade shows, and events) and digital marketing (such as video, social media, and email marketing). She is also a trained editor. Y

Want ITSM best practice and advice delivered directly to your inbox? Why not sign up for our newsletter? This way you won't miss any of the latest ITSM tips and tricks.

nl subscribe strip imgage

More Topics to Explore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *