Tipu principles

Tipu is based on these principles:

  1. Improvement We use the word "improvement" instead of "change". All change - incremental or radical - is improvement, otherwise why do it?
  2. Normal Improvement is normal behaviour for professionals: to devote a certain percentage of our time to improving the systems we work with. We should all expect that things will be better next year; that we will make a difference and leave systems better than we found them. Improvement is business as usual.
  3. Culture Most improvement comes down to cultural improvement: improving behaviour of people. A cultural improvement function is an essential subset of any Continual Service Improvement (CSI) programme.
  4. Accountability People respond when they have ownership/accountability and when they are measured on it.
  5. Empowerment The people who use the practices know best how to improve them. Empower staff to design and implement their own solutions.
  6. Humanity Technology may be changing at a blinding pace but people and practices don't. Real organisational improvement must be incremental and at human pace.
  7. Start Improvement starts now, not after extensive preparatory work. CSI isn't some afterthought to follow up on the end of a service management project: it is the driver of all improvement activities.
  8. Measure Measurement starts now, to get people moving. Even bad metrics create an incentive to improve measurement and hence improve definition and management.
  9. Programme CSI requires a programme, a permanent formal function to drive and manage improvements:
    • coordinate improvements according to a master architecture;
    • plan them as a portfolio;
    • allocate resources;
    • track progress.

    N.B. This does not mean a central group or single project doing the improvements.

  10. Granularity Improving a whole broad practice, such as all of "incident management", "change management" or "service strategy" doesn't have any direct business relevance - doesn't address an actual need or problem - and it creates projects of unnecessary and often unmanageable complexity. Break practices up into meaningful units of work and assemble them to address the requirement. "We are focused on incident management" or "next we will do problem" have no meaning in terms of useful outcomes - they indicate misdirected effort and failure to align with the business.
  11. Benefits Process-management maturity and capability maturity are not an end in themselves. Value, risk and return are of far more importance for planning CSI. All planning should derive from organisational needs, problems and risks - and the benefits of addressing them.
  12. Scale Executive support, funding, and a big SM project are all useful to have when improving, but they are not essential. You can still get a lot done without them - it is just harder and slower. Tipu scales from guerrilla grass-roots improvement up to a monolithic business re-engineering project.
  13. Agile Agile development concepts can be usefully applied to development of practices (more usefully than applied to software).
  14. Relaxed In many situations "best" is overspending: "good enough" will do ("copper not gold"). And for many - perhaps most - organisations, it is all very well for the experts to go on about "have to" and "must" but there is only so much resource available and we work within the bounds we have imposed on us. The ideal gives us something to aim for but we should accept when we cannot achieve it. We do what we can. And we manage only as much as we need to.