Knowledge16 Presentation: Managing a CMDB More Effectively by Distributing Control

Last week I got to spend some time in Las Vegas at the Knowledge16 conference, which is ServiceNow’s annual conference. I was there to present on some of the experiences we’ve had at University of Michigan while shifting CMDB (Configuration Management Database) management from a centralized control model to one of more distributed control. I love the topic because it is just as much about how people interact as it is about technology.

Managing a CMDB More Effectively by Distributing Control

After attempting a typical top-down centralized control approach to managing the CMDB, the University of Michigan blew up that model and instead provided staff the context and tools within which they could manage their own configuration items.

In this session, they will discuss how this opened the door to an amazing experience of partnership and participation, while allowing them to collectively manage it without losing their minds. Along the way they will talk about how they used specific ServiceNow features like data certification to reach their goals.

Oh, look, Las Vegas


Obligatory session of gambling. Made some big bucks.


Up next….
My view from the podium before everyone arrived.

CIC CIO Tech Forum 2015: Creating a Collaborative Foundation for IT

Got to go to University of Iowa for the 2015 CIC CIO Tech Forum. My part of the presentation was on how we took qualitative research methods and paired them with agile development methods in order to make rapid and significant improvements to a service that serves about two dozen of the three dozen IT service providers on University of Michigan campuses.

The official abstract:
Creating a Collaborative Foundation for IT
The University of Michigan’s IT Strategic Plan envisions effective collaboration amongst the 35 IT service providers on campus. Campus IT asked for enterprise-calibre Service Management platform without enterprise-calibre complexity. We responded with the IT Service Provider Toolkit. This presentation will provide an overview of the approach used to define, build and deliver Service Management concepts in a straightforward and simple approach.

Our mantra from the very beginning has been, “keep it simple,” or as it is now known, “tickets without complexity.” We will describe our approach to rapid requirements-gathering and development that allowed us to deliver the initial “base package” within 120 days and supports onboarding new units in under 100 hours of effort. We will discuss the longer-term view of where this is headed, as well as how we think this supports upcoming changes in managing the IT landscape (such as BYOD).

Fostering a collaborative environment across the diverse culture and IT needs in a higher education atmosphere has its challenges. We will share some of what we learned and how creating the idea that each unit, school or college is an IT Service Provider among a community of peers opened new ways of thinking about old problems.

It’s no Wolverine, but… 🙂


Educause Connect San Antonio 2015

Spent some time in San Antonio for one of the Educause Connect conferences.

The room before it was filled.

Co-facilitated a great conversation with IT professionals in Higher Ed about how your relationship with technology changes everything. We explored how viewing technology from a deterministic or a constructivist perspective could change your outlook on how you’d approach common IT management issues. We also talked about how that might shape the ability to be a service provider rather than simply a technology provider.

View from one of the paths in San Antonio
 The famous Riverwalk in San Antonio


View from one of the paths farther out of downtown San Antonio

Free Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book Day!

6 May 2006 •6:00pm • Greenbrain Comics• Free!!! In support of Free Comic book day, verzerren and Bubblegone will reach in the vault and bring out and audio visual mix of Sci-fi films and some good’ole educational films from the past (do you know how to Duck and Cover?). Greenbrain Comics opens at 10am. Come on out for a whole days worth or free entertainment and comics!

Performance at Sync ’06

Performance at Sync ’06

10 March 2006 • 7pm-9pm • Duderstat Center, Ann Arbor, MI • Free
Verzerren and Bubblegone will be performing at this years sync festival. Also performing, Will Soderberg, and The Digital Music Ensemble. Sync ’06 Will Soderberg

dorkbot Detroit Signal Processing Chain


dorkbot Detroit Signal Processing Chain

3 March
2006 • 7:30pm • Dreamland Theater • Donation The Gaint Signal Processing Chain is coming to Ypsilanti! The idea of the signal processing chain is to have an audio source that will send an audio signal to a person with a device that can manipulate sound. That person’s signal would then be passed to the next person and so on. Can we control the audio beast? Will it be just noise? How many people can we get to take part? If you are interested in particapating please contact for
parcipation information. Dorkbot.detroit

Dirty Bros. and Friends

Dirty Bros. and Friends

Jan 15 2006 • 8:00pm • Dreamland Theater • Free
A group art show featuring the heartfelt and satirical paintings of San Francisco artist Jon Collis. Opening Jan. 15th w/ music including Amoeba Kids, Das Chritz, Verzerren vs. Bubblegone + comedy improve + more.