New Courses at ITSM Academy – Scrum and DevOps

itsmacademy_smallWe have been working (tirelessly!) on our newest Line of Training – Agile Service Management®, and are continuing to add new courses to our portfolio.  We are thrilled to announce the following courses:

  • DevOps Overview – 4 hour virtual class, introducing concepts of DevOps. February 28 (with many more options to come), virtual classroom.
  • DevOps Fundamentals – 2 day certification course, provides attendees the ability to formulate a high-level strategy and action plan for adopting DevOps in their organization.  April 7-10, virtual classroom.
  • Certified ScrumMaster – 2 day certification course, which we are delivering in partnership with a leading Rep of the Scrum Alliance.  March 17-18 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Agile Service Management: Applying Scrum to Process Design – 5 hour virtual class. Coming soon.

For more information on these courses, or to register, please visit our website.

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Learning!


Go Outside and Play

As I sit here typing this on the “computer that lives in my purse” I think again, “I’m so glad I live in the future”.  I consider myself a pretty Early Adopter of technology (and social media) and I really appreciate how much it has enriched my job.  And how so many other tech advancements have enriched my personal life.

But, when I look at my friend’s 3.5-year old daughter, who has had her own Kindle since last Christmas (13 months!) it makes me thankful that I am of the “last outside generation”.

We HAD to go outside to play, there was nothing else to do.  We only had 3 channels on the TV!  I grew up with parents who placed value in saving for college over buying us fancy toys.  So, while there was access to gaming in my teenage years, that wasn’t an option in my family.

mybikeMy childhood was filled with dare-devil stunts on our bikes (look ma’ no helmets), pick-up ball games in the empty lot across the street from the house, jumping on Kelly’s trampoline, swimming in the pool until we were prunes, and laying out in the backyard with Crisco for my “suntan lotion” and lemons washed into my hair.  On rainy days, it was cards, Monopoly, treasure hunts and books.

Those “non-tech” activities taught me skills that I’m not sure how many kids are learning today.  Including, but certainly not limited to;

  • Fear nothing
  • Use your imagination, you can create any world you want
  • Read books, you can escape to any world you want
  • Organize games – if you are enthusiastic, your friends will follow you anywhere
  • etc. etc.

I can’t even begin to speculate how the hours, and hours (and hours!) of Monopoly and strategy games assist me in running our business….

Alright, I acknowledge that this somewhat sentimental ranting is possibly a by-product of getting older…but I know this, I am so very thankful that “go outside and play” was one of my Mom’s top mantras. (Followed very closely by, “did you put your toys away?” and the perennial, “have you made your bed?”)

And I’m glad that it’s stayed with me.  That I still really enjoy swimming in the ocean, walking on the beach, a pick-up game, riding my bike (and scooter), playing cards, reading books, etc. etc.

So if you are feeling stagnant, unimaginative, or just tired / old, here is my advice: “Go Outside and Play”!

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Playing


Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) Round Table

CSM Round Table

Join us for a complimentary webinar: Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) Round Table on Thursday, February 20th at 11am (Eastern) – Register

Everyone is talking about Agile and Scrum. But how does Agile apply to service management and DevOps?

Spend some time with two of our ITSM Academy Certified ScrumMasters, Donna Knapp and Jayne Groll, as they share their insights and advice on how Agile can improve IT’s velocity and Time to Value.

Have questions you want included? Post them on Twitter; #askITSMscrum @ITSMAcademy.

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Learning!

2013 The Year of Innovation

At the end of 2012, we declared that 2013 would be “The Year of Innovation” here at ITSM Academy. And I’m proud to say it was!

This year, we’ve concentrated on 2 large projects.
1. – our Learner Portal
2. GAME ON! An Interactive Learning Experience

fill_the_seat.jpgAs I wrote about a few weeks back, part of the reason we were able to accomplish standing up both of these in a single years was by attaining our Certified ScrumMaster certs along the way. We have morphed from a standard Waterfall project methodology, using Agile instead. That wasn’t an easy transition.

Focusing on Shippable Products and running in 2 week sprints has been great. This has really helped us with prioritization. In an organization our size, self organizing teams makes sense, but appointing 3 individuals to be Scrum Master, Product Owner and then Team Members, isn’t always realistic. So we’ve taken the best of what we learned from Scrum, and have adapted to fit our needs.

An exciting by-product of this, is that it really helped us focus on our next Line Of Training – Agile ITSM.  We have 4 new classes which we are adding early 2014:

  • DevOps Overview – 4 hour virtual class, introducing concepts of DevOps. January 24 and February 28 (with many more options to come), virtual classroom.
  • DevOps Fundamentals – 2 day certification course, this course provides attendees the ability to formulate a high-level strategy and action plan for adopting DevOps in their organization.  April 7-10, virtual classroom.
  • Certified ScrumMaster – 2 day certification course, which we are delivering in partnership with a leading Rep of the Scrum Alliance.  March 17-18 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Agile Service Management: Applying Scrum to Process Design – 5 hour virtual class. Coming soon.

So, with our 10th anniversary behind us (how is THAT possible?  Oh, Jayne Groll wrote a great blog about our first ten years…) we continue to grow, morph and change.  Which I’ll be honest, is something we are proud of 😉

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Innovating!



Hey, There is Something to this ‘Agile’ Thing

A few months ago, several of the ITSM Academy team (including yours truly), earned our Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) Certificates.  While Scrum – and Agile – are typically utilized for software development projects, we quickly realized a lot of the knowledge and tools that can be applied to any project type.

Here at the Academy, we’ve undertaken one of the biggest projects we’ve ever tackled. We are standing up a Learner Portal,  This portal will touch every line of business, and is a huge value-add for our learners.  To learner more about it, please click here.

When we came home from our Scrum training we were, “hot and happy and ready to go”. We were planning on applying our new skills to the Learner Portal project.  But then the real world reared its head and we didn’t immediately, or correctly, begin applying the knowledge.

I’ve said, since we started the company, that we will never use that terrible expression about the Cobbler not being able to fix his own kids shoes.  Based on this, and our desire to recoup our return on investment, we knew we had to buckle down and built a plan.  So that’s what we did.

We didn’t start fully, we probably didn’t even start “right”… but we started.

We identified our first Sprint – and have been running ever since! With each Sprint retrospective, we take the time to improve the way we are using Agile and our Sprints.

The result has been that we are getting more “ship-able products” to market.  These include (but are not limited to 🙂

So, in a nutshell, Agile is keeping the Academy rolling at a brand new speed!  We are excited to introduce the courses above, which will help our clients and alumni start Sprinting too 😉

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Sprinting!


What is DevOps?

Join ITSM Academy on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11am (Eastern) for our webinar; What is DevOps?Register


This webinar introduces  attendees to DevOps, the cultural and professional phenomenon that is rocking the IT world.  By encouraging better collaboration, communication and integration between development and operational teams, DevOps is enabling organizations to build, deploy and operate quality software faster

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Learning!

Why I Love My Team

Apparently a theme for my blog will be, “Great advice I heard or read many (many) years ago, and I can’t give credit because I don’t actually remember where I heard or read it, yet it’s become an important part of my leadership style.” Because once again, I want to talk about a sentence that has had a powerful impact on me….

“When you die your job will replace you in a month or two. Your family never will.”

I think most (normal ;-)) folks would translate to, “Don’t prioritize work over family,” and there is a lot of that in there for me….But, as a leader, I also use it as a reminder that we spend a lot of time at work  – did anyone see the Jellybean Video on Youtube?

As a business owner I believe we have a responsibility to create the healthiest work environment we can. We encourage our team members to prioritize their family events. We provide them with all the flexibility we can to attend kid events, spouse events, etc. We believe in mental health days. As the manager I know, when I give the best of me to my employees, they give the best of themselves back…funny how that works, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s not the smartest business decision Jayne and I have made, because there is a high level of risk in this. But we hire people who become our work family.

Our very first Full Time Employee (and for any other small business owner’s out there you know why I capitalized those letters!) just celebrated her 9th anniversary. By March, well over 1/2 of our staff will have been with us for 5 or more years. I’m proud to say that most have been hired for new positions as we grew the company.

Yes, over the 9+ years the Academy has been in business, we’ve had a few folks leave the team to pursue other opportunities. We still miss them, tell stories about them, show pictures of the fun we had together and the things we accomplished. But there have been very few who have left.

How cool is that? #ILoveMyJob

We wrote this our first week in business. Our Company Philosophy starts with…

We believe people are our greatest resource – and count on each member of our team to be a superstar who, collectively, creates a high performance team. We treat our people with respect and learners as guests in our home.

Read the rest of the ITSM Academy Philosophy.

plaqueSeveral years ago, one of my team gave me a plaque for Christmas that says, “We all believe in each other, and THAT’s what makes us family.” That plaque is on a coffee table right outside our flagship training room in Ft. Lauderdale. It serves as a reminder to me that each and every individual who works here at ITSM Academy are my second family.

Without them, I could not function. Without their intelligence, love, support, generosity, ideas and courage, we would not be what we are.

Many times, learners have commented about the sign. Usually, it’s along the lines of thanking us for the culture we’ve built. Our wish is that our Alumni feel they now are part of our extended family, because that’s how we feel about them.

So here’s my advice.
If you going to spend such a huge percentage of your life at work, do things you love, with people you love. And if that’s not what your work life is like, then have courage to make a change. Either go find something else, or fall in love with your job again. Spend some time figuring out what it is about your job that no longer makes you happy, and take steps to get back to your “happy place”.

As a leader of an incredible team, nothing makes me happier then when someone comes to me with ideas and suggestions of changes they would like to see take place. Without that kind of dialog, team member can become disgruntled and negativity can spread like the plague!

So my thanks and love to my business partner, our rocking teams and Alumni. You guys make my life so rewarding.

Until your next trip into LisaLand…#LoveYourTeam!

fill_the_seat.jpg – Learner Portal

Over the last several weeks, ITSM Academy has begun introducing / beta testing our new learner portal; The portal extends the classroom experience by providing access to online content and tools to further educate and inspire learners.

Using my.itsmacademy.commyitsmacademy

  • Increases preparedness
  • Enhances retention
  • Supports exam preparations (where applicable)
  • Provides value-add resources
  • Expands access to our community of experts and peers

The goal of is to provide the most efficient and effective learning experience. Whether a learner is participating in a traditional classroom, or joining us in one of our virtual classrooms, they have access to their learning portal.

By including an online component to our education strategy, our learners can actively participate in class preparation, attendance, and have post class access. This blended strategy increases the long-term sustainability of their ITSM education.  Attributes include:

Accelerated Learning

  • Increase retention and enable exploration through the use of guided online supplemental instruction (learning labs); labs can be completed at a time convenient for the learner
  • Traditional Classroom: Extend the learning experience by providing access both pre-and-post class
  • Virtual Classroom: Improve the impact and flexibility of virtual instruction; enabling learners to balance their workload and class requirements

Multi-media Learning

  • Maximize learner engagement by addressing varying learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
  • Increase learners’ ability to learn anywhere and at any time through the use of mobile devices

Data-driven Decisions

  • Gauge and increase learner retention by using embedded assessments and ITSM Academy’s Game On! An Interactive Learning Experience
  • Enable self-directed learning by providing learners unlimited access to supplemental online resources

Critical, Action-oriented Thinking

  • Supplement classroom lecture with online tools that include hands-on assessments and exercises
  • Learning labs support Bloom’s foundational levels of understanding and remembering
  • Peer group collaboration projects further promote critical thinking
  • Personal Action Plans inspire learners to identify improvement opportunities based on what they are learning throughout the class

We are so excitedFreeStuff to roll out the new Learner Portal, that we’ve pre-loaded it with tons of Free Stuff.  

Feel free to go visit today, and start your exploration of the cool stuff we’ve already loaded – with tons more to come!  

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Exploring!

The Fish Stinks from the Head Down

3014736-inline-boss-vs-leader-1Boy, that’s an expression that can put the fear into any leader. Sometimes it can be exhausting to try and keep a positive mental attitude at all times. And yes, I let the negativity creep in, and Hurricane Lisa can hit LisaLand and do some serious devastation.

But then I remember, “The fish stinks from the head down”…. and if I want my corporate culture to be positive, energizing and happy, then I need to lead by example.

In a leadership training class, I learned that my leadership style is that of a Servant Leader.

Now please forgive me for quoting from Wikipedia, but the current definition available is a concise and informative;

Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

If this topic is of interest to you, Forbes has a great article titled,  Why Isn’t Servant Leadership More Prevalent?

In it, they site the example of, “Max De Pree’s leadership at Herman Miller, as expressed in his book, Leadership is an Art, that emphasizes the importance of love, elegance, caring, and inclusivity as central elements of management”.

Now, I’m not claiming to be anywhere near the leader that Mr. De Pree is, but I like the man’s style!

For you leaders out there – and everyone, everywhere, is a leader in my book – remember, the fish stinks from the head down. If you are being a stinky brat, you are infecting everyone around you. So just stop, take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, and remember all the things (and people) you are grateful for, and who look to you for leadership.

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Thoughts!