itSMF members review their first title: ‘Balanced Diversity’

Review by Roger Williams, itSMF USA member.

Karen Ferris has written THE book on driving change. Balanced Diversity: A Portfolio Approach to Organizational Change applies ITSM thinking to implementing change. This is an area that all of us struggle with at times. The result of her research is a full treatment of practices that can help anyone leading change initiatives.

Balanced Diversity: A Portfolio Approach to Organizational Change Balanced Diversity: A Portfolio Approach to Organizational Change

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The source of the approach comes from research on how to embed sustainability practices in businesses. Ms. Ferris has done a superb job applying the model to the ITSM realm. She explains the concepts simply, not simplistically. For instance, she classifies all change practices into four areas:

  • Fostering Commitment
  • Clarifying Expectations
  • Instilling Capacity for Change
  • Building Momentum for Change

Most of the book is devoted to the 59 practices that fall within these areas. The book describes practices as diverse as the Kotter model, gamification, standards, communication plans, RACI, and backcasting. The book provides an overview of each practice, its alignment to ITSM, citations and links to other resources.

One memorable example is the treatment of “trigger” under Building Momentum for Change. As described by Kotter in The Heart of Change, a mid-level executive showed the impact of a disjointed procurement process by piling 424 different kinds of work gloves on a boardroom table! Ms. Ferris then introduces ITSM simulations as a way to build awareness of the need for change.

The final part of the book describes some examples of how to apply the framework. The first case looks at an existing Problem Management practice. The second details the launch of a new Service Catalog. While the examples are brief, the author describes how to realign practices in use and select activities to increase the chances of success.

Balanced Diversity fills a critical need in the market for an organizational change model. It succeeds as both an introduction to the topic and as a reference. I wholeheartedly recommend this book as “best practice” in this space.

‘Balanced Diversity: A Portfolio Approach to Organizational Change’ is available to buy from our IT Governance UK, Europe and USA websites. If you are an itSMF USA member you can buy the book with special priviliges here.