I force the old body up for breakfast at 7:30 at the venue and after a dynamic opening from Stuart Knight, LaVerne Council enters the stage. And LaVerne delivers! With ease, confidence and humour she puts the audience in a trance. So many learning points and wise one-liners that I hardly have the time to jot them down.
- To talk without a Powerpoint means you know what you are talking about! Love that!
- Tell the executive assistant how important they are, and they will help you book your meeting with the executive – respect!
- As BRM, you are working with people!
- In chess, the Queen goes anywhere!
- An effective team starts with YOU
- Be your self
- Don’t do the blame game – certainly not with your own team. If you participates in the blame game you will become a part of the problem, not the solution and you don’t want that.
LaVerne gets standing ovations after her presentation and she is so worth it. Thanks for the inspiration LaVerne!
Frank Wander from People Productive leads us through the past, present and future of people and machines. Frank points out some key milestones in history to learn from and the essence of it is that we need to work more on our people skills in the future. Relationships will be an essential part of the future!
There is an enormous amount of research done in the people perspective and there are so many learnings for a BRM in this, shame that IT have missed to utilize all this knowledge before. We have gone from People => machines => People and now we need to step up. Some good learning points are:
- Asses your culture and start to build the culture you need
- Who owns the challenge of eliminating meeting waste in your organisation?
- All skills needed by 2020 are built on relationship
- To innovate and be disruptive we need good relationships. Innovations happens when different competencies and perspectives work together.
- Technical companies are driving innovation today. IT needs to be part of the business
- We are wired to like good behaviour – behave good and people (most) will like you and want to work with you
Next I chose to listen to Steve Plante and the importance of understanding the human experience in the digital era. Steve points out some good stuff:
- Most companies still struggle to move from “order taker” to
“service provider” – Why? Culture and a lack of skills to manage value! Audience agree!
- We need to create a flourishing culture through a constant cycle of Insight, cultivation and Pulse, through five key areas that build culture:
- Leadership (key)
- Have to google why so many models have five levels. Steve points this out as a comment but it sticks with me – need to find out why we are so fond of five levels…
- Drive Programs correct. Changing culture, introducing new behaviour involves people, organisation, processes etc and needs to be managed as programs to realize the final benefits of all the parts.
- Lead up the chain! This one immediately makes me think of “Extreme Ownership” where principle no:9 is “Manage up and down”. I recommend that you read the book “extreme Ownership” from Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. 12 great principles for being a great leader and create high performing teams. Read it. Now.
Before lunch we get a briefing from Vaughan Merlyn on the upcoming BRM Playbook. Some great stuff in there and it will be a great support for BRM’s to take the leap from tactical BRM to Strategic BRM. It will demand some rewriting of the BRMBoK. A bunch of tools and new guidance are added and looking forward to more details around them. When Vaughan says that there will not be any exam he gets some spontaneous cheering! Great decision – training on this level cannot be assessed thorough a simple checkbox exam. The Playbook will be available Q1 in 2018 and more information will show up on the forum soon. Aaron, who also has entered the scene now for some Q&A, promisers that ATO’s will get information, requirements and support on how to enable their organisations to work with the playbook in good time. Great!
Lunch is great. Tortillas, fresh salad, vegetables, fruit, beef and chicken and a great guacamole!
After lunch BRM awards starts. Awards for outstanding performances will be handed out. To my surprice my name turns up and I am invited to the stage to collect my “Arnie”. I’m not alone up there, we have a lot of great people in my category and I’m really grateful and surprised. My award is for involvement and impact on the global BRM community as a Regional Ambassador in Sweden. Several awards are handed out and the big one, #BRMlegend goes to Steven Plante! Well deserved, Gratulations Steve!
Stephanie Walsh facilitates a panel discussion with four leading BRM/CIO – all women. We hear some great stories from LaVerne Council, Stephan Walsh, Pernilla Webber, Jeannine McConnel and LeighAnn Thomas.
- Be the best you, you can be
- Stop treating women different – whoever holds a position has that position because they are competent for it – no matter gender or colour!
- Believe in your self – others often believe in you more than you believe in your self
- Mentorship is a really good concept – regardless of gender!
- Stop “mansplaining”! And I don’t think that this relates to men=> women only! I often experience that we talk more than we listen, and we only listen with our ears. We master each other with knowledge!! If we listen more with all senses, and listen more then we talk ,we create better relationships. Respect!
When looking at the audience I realize there are a lot more women at this conference that I normally see at for example an itSMF conference. Are we near 50/50 maybe? BRM institute – any figures on that?
Again – Vaughn Merlyn enters the stage, this time in a breakout session about Roadmap Capability. Vaughan walks us through the capability roadmap and gives us good examples on the steps in the Roadmap. Some learnings:
- The capability of asking the right questions is key to understand the business. Practice on questions!
- Look out for “arm waiving” when asking questions about strategy. Sometimes the business can’t answer your questions and when arms are starting to wave around you might have pushed the to far. Regroup and consider how you can help!
- When in trouble – ask questions ?
- Make sure your EA really is EA. It might be “database architecture” or “server architecture” masked as EA. Vaughan recommends the book “EA as strategy”. Google it!
Back in the same room again, now to listen to and what to consider when moving from Tactical BRM to strategic BRM. Again a lot of good points and the pattern of business understanding, language, change of behaviour, defining the role comes up here to. It’s again clear that we have some key capabilities that we need to focus on to move up the maturity ladder.
- Business language
- Define the role correct
- Make sure BRM is at the appropriate level in the organisation
- Take care of the 5 minutes you get with the executive – you need to pitch, sell and anchor BRM on those 5 minutes. Always be prepared for those 5 minutes.
- Value proposition for BRM is essential. Both when working with the provider and the business. Do your homework!
- Understand the new behaviour you need to adopt to become strategic. It’s in the behaviour the change lies.
- Don’t end up as a PM. Help in prioritizing in the portfolio but don’t act as a project manager.
The day is wrapped up with a C-suite panel. Joe Topinka, Joe Hayes, Darrel Popowich, LaVerne Council and Gerry Robinson enters the chairs with Gerry facilitating some questioning. My phone battery dies and my brain hurt so I get recite very much from this event – more than that there was some good questions and qood answers. After some questions from the audience the panel leaves the stage.
As a surprise we get two great short stories from two BRM’s. Sorry for not naming them but as I said above – my brain hurts from all great speeches and networking.
When talking to people at the conference I notice that there are a lot of old “ITSM:ers” that have converted to BRM! (including me) That is probably generally a good thing as we then have a genuine knowledge about the Provider Domain, but it can also pose a challenge! If the BRM role isn’t properly introduced, we can still be trapped at the tactical BRM level. Be aware and learn your business!
Another thing I notice is the unity about language and terminology. Everybody emphasise the importance of talking in business terms, outcomes and value. Love it!
I don’t think I have attended a conference with this kind of energy. Everybody is eager to network, share and exchange experiences. Even between consultants and ATO’s there is an attitude of sharing and caring around BRM. We must work on keeping this energy and attitude – in a true BRM manner! Maintain and nourish the good culture!
With a mild headache I walk to my room and meets Paul Wilkinson outside the Atrium, he had just arrived from Amsterdam and we grabbed a pint in the hotel sportsbar before calling a night. Looking forward to the Grab@pizza sessions tomorrow. I think there will be three dynamic CEO’s challenging the BRM’s…