Response Taiji is the definitive handbook of the Standard+Case approach to service response.

Here is an exciting new approach to categorising and resolving any sort of response “tickets”, such as requests or incidents on a service desk, problems, or changes.
I know there is so much to read these days, but if you have anything to do with service support or change management, read this. It will change your year.

If your customers see your group as bureaucratic and inflexible…
If your staff feel process bound…
If your process doesn’t adapt to a changing world…

S+C addresses criticisms of process-centric approaches to managing responses that they don’t allow customers and knowledge workers to be empowered.

And unlike some new-fangled theories, S+C does not seek to replace or change existing approaches: it expands and clarifies that theory to provide a more complete description of managing responses.

  • Improve performance: improve responsiveness, efficiency, and effectiveness of your service responses
  • Empower knowledge workers to use their creativity, expertise, and leadership
  • Improve morale amongst your service desk and other responders
  • Empower your customer to ask for what they need not what the rules say you provide

Standard+Case applies to anything that requires a human response: there’s either a standard response or there isn’t.


The book is out now!!

  • paperback
  • Kindle
  • Apple fans please use the Kindle app on your iPad/iPhone. Contact me if this is an issue for you.

Sorry the book will not be available in other formats.

What people are saying

I can only count a handful of works that profoundly shaped and influenced my thinking. One such book was Rob England’s “Standard + Case”. I’m absolutely delighted to now have a copy of the 2nd Edition of Standard + Case. I can’t wait to see what new approaches it teaches me and for the opportunities to apply them.

Akshay Anand

Kindle highlights from the first edition

Highlighted by readers:

Great people make shaky practices work well, and good practices deal with poor technology. But it doesn’t work in [the other direction]5 Highlighters

Certification is often essential: doctors handle cases, nurses handle Standard
4 Highlighters

For the adoption of Case Management, there needs to be a climate of empowerment, trust, professionalism, valuing knowledge, respect for expertise, user-focus, and drive for outcomes.
4 Highlighters

Mean time to resolve a number of responses (e.g. per month) is a useful measure for trending and improvement but it is hardly a fair measure of how well a case worker
4 Highlighters

Cases cannot be measured merely by the counting of anything. It is the quality of the work that matters, i.e. the
4 Highlighters

Antonio Valle: …and if you ask them why they do it, you will be walking their Gemba
“Spend time with them understanding what they do and how they do it.”

Feedback on the first edition

Even for those readers who are already doing some, much or all of this, it is still worth browsing the material as there are lots of checklists and bullet-pointed ideas. For those not doing any of this, this book should be essential reading.
8 out of 10

British Computer Society

This book documents Rob England’s view of how IT organizations should respond to incidents/problems/changes/requests/events or anything else that needs a managed response.
Rob argues that there are two distinct types of response, standard for predictable things that can be managed by following a process, and case for things that are complicated, complex or chaotic. He explains the different approaches very clearly and shows how using the combination of Standard+Case can lead to improved service.
Reading Plus! The Standard+Case Approach reminded me of when I first read the ITIL books nearly 20 years ago. Yes, I thought, of course, this is exactly what really good IT organizations do to manage things. We pretend that we follow processes, but in reality there are many exceptions and trying to force these to fit a process model leads to poor service and dissatisfied customers.
I will be using many of Rob’s ideas as I work with my customers to help them improve their approach to IT service management, and I recommend that you do the same.

Image A great new addition to best practice for IT service management
Stuart Rance (Author of ITIL Service Transition, 2011 edition)

This book is an eye-opener and a must-read. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to anyone involved in situation
response. It is an easy read and Rob provides a step-by-step approach for adoption. As Rob states in his first chapter, “The Standard+Case approach will improve your service response without a great deal of impact or investment in your current ITSM
practices and systems”. This is why everyone should consider S+C.
This is a game-changer and I think Rob’s best work yet.
Rating 5 stars out of 5

Karen Ferris, itSMF Fellow and author of Balanced Diversity (also a must-read)

I can only count a handful of works (outside ITIL) that profoundly shaped and influenced my thinking. One such book was Rob England’s “Standard + Case”. ITIL and other frameworks are great in laying down the foundations (hah!) on ITSM but there’s an extra bit of nuance about how to optimise it, and how to recognise complexity. Rob’s work really influenced my thinking going into the development of what would be #ITIL4 and he also graciously contributed to that body of knowledge (specifically the HVIT book). Even after leaving Axelos almost 2 years ago, Standard * Case continues to influence my day-to-day work at Atlassian

Akshay Anand

If you’re in the ITSM industry, or in any Service Management industry in general, you should do yourself a favor and buy this book. This is an important piece of work. Elegant in its simplicity and powerful in its message. Rob’s humble way of explaining things comes through brilliantly, flawlessly. It makes you slap your forehead and mutter ‘this makes a lot of sense’ while your significant other looks at you puzzled. You want to leap out of your chair to do this. It re-frames everything you do around the concept of Standard+Case. There’s either a standard response, or there isn’t. I read this twice in a period of 4-6 weeks. It’s that good. I’m glad that the Kindle edition stores my highlights and notes, because I fully expect to come back to them in the future. Give yourself a nice gift today and get this book. Get involved. Follow Rob on his Twitter account, and check out the presentations made for S+C in the global TFT12 and TFT13 conference (go to YouTube and search for them. Plenty of good content from other resources as well).
You’ll never look at responding to your clients in the same way again.

Image Should be in your library yesterday
Joel Pomales

Plus! does at least two things for the reader: it allows them to see the need for something more than the standard approach to incident management; along with providing much-needed practical advice on how to change the status quo.
It’s a good read and recommended to anyone involved in IT support and perhaps those involved in non-IT support. Are you prepared to become more effective?

Image 5 stars for making you think … Stephen Mann

it’s a must for anybody that wants to take the next step in support evolution.
Image Mika Salo

Rob’s “Plus! The Standard+Case Approach” book is another way of looking at how we can better manage and deliver IT services to the organization. In general, I like the concepts and the principles presented in the book. Specifically,
1. Rob did an admirable job explaining his Standard+Case model in detail: how the model works, when the model is appropriate to deploy, why we should care, etc.
2. As someone with IT operations background, I believe Rob’s advice and recommendations are actionable. Theories and high-level frameworks are good to know, but the rubber will eventually need to meet the road. I am convinced that Rob’s approach can work for many IT organizations.
3. If you have had exposure to Rob’s work via his blog, speaking sessions, or his books, you know Rob likes to call things as he sees them. This book is no exception.
Image The model is well explained and the recommendations are actionable
David Lowe

This is a good book. It can be read easily and I know. I read it during an eight hour flight to the US and got it in one. Truly insightful and informative.
 Mark O’Loughlin

Love how @theitskeptic puts Taylorism in perspective (Standard+Case book): “Knowledge workers find process-centric approaches de-humanising”
@daveherpen, Dave van Herpen, Sogeti

By tying together the mature practices of ITSM and Case Management in his book “Standard+Case” Rob has strengthened and filled in gaps of both frameworks. I have personally gleaned important concepts and terms from this book that I will use in my IT Management Career from this point forward. A must read for ITSM professionals!
Troy DuMoulin, VP Professional Services, Pink Elephant

Rob England’s (in)famous skepticism – tempered with observations over time – has produced “Plus! Standard+Case” a remarkably valuable, short, and concise book that has proved Rob more wise than he has ever been skeptical.
The simple structure of the prose and logic make it a pleasure to read and an excellent reference for those for whom Standardization – while is a vast improvement over chaos – is becoming a constraint.
Case Management controls and improves all the responses that Standardization cannot address. Case Management is the countermeasure for the conundrum; “Nothing can be made fool proof because fools are so ingenious.”
“Plus! Standard+Case” explains the whys and hows of using Case methods to satisfy requests that cannot be satisfied with a standard response. Keep this book on a handy (virtual) shelf in “case” standard methods are no longer enough.

Martin Erb, Pink Elephant

Just finished Standard+Case by @theitskeptic. A must read for any response team. Great work
@karenferris, Karen Ferris, Macanta, co-host ITSM Antipodean Podcast

The introduction of case management to ITSM is long overdue and after reading this book (and some other sources) it seems almost criminal it has taken this long for ITSM to make some use of this practice. Rob England richly deserves praise for throwing a spotlight on this neglected (by ITSM) corner of process management. The book does a decent job of explaining the theory – or at least, this authors theory of how one could use (and implement) case management.
The concept of Standard + Case is fantastic, one of the more illuminating ideas about service management I have ever stumbled across, but this book seems to be out a bit before the idea has been fully marinated or tested.

Stephen Alexander

This is a great addition to the ITSM body of knowledge and ITSM professionals should definitely be looking into adopting Standard + Case principles into their processes.
Lee Marshall

Great reading and concept. Now I want to build it.
@mattberan, Matt Beran, ITSM consultant, co-host ITSM Weekly Podcast

I like the small, though quite readable, introductions to topics one usually can’t easily reference in the context of service management books, like the art of making and using checklists and organizational change management.
The book format (size and paper bound) is perfect for having near by on top of your desk

ImageRui Soares

Liberate yourself from the shackles of rigid process-based response management and improve customer satisfaction by applying Standard+Case
Mark Smalley, IT Paradigmologist, ASL BiSL Foundation

Ich kann dieses Buch allen wärmstens ans Herz legen, welche bei der Umsetzung oder bei der Steuerung von Service-Organisationen beteiligt sind. Wenn man Rob kennt, so weiss man um seinen pragmatischen und praxisorientierten IT Hintergrund. Das Buch ist so konzipiert, dass es eine direkt umsetzbare Methode enthält und dies nicht nur für Service Management sondern auch im Projektumfeld direkt anwenden kann.
Martin Andenmatten

Desde el momento en que Rob comenzó a hablar de esto supe que tendría éxito. No está diciendo nada que no supiéramos anteriormente con respecto a procesos estructurados o no estructurados, pero lo que sí que es importante y tiene que cambiar cómo nos enfrentamos a la realidad del día a día de la Gestión de Servicios es que, siendo conscientes de que existen estos dos mundos, debemos aplicar diferentes métodos para su gestión… Lo esencial que nos cuenta este libro es que debemos tener una serie de patrones que nos ayuden a movernos en los dos entornos.
Antonio Valle Salas