Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What is confusing for some....

I read a short blog entry earlier today. The writer, who I now respect a little bit less than I did before, was clearing up something that they had been confused about.

The ITIL v3 certification scheme does not require you to earn all points at the middle layer (service capability and service lifecycle) from the one category of courses.

That is you can mix and match which courses you take from either of the two main areas. There will be some guidelines but essentially it is up to you on how you select which programs you follow.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Will ITIL exams at Prometric make a difference?

With the recent announcement of the ITIL v3 Foundation exam being available at Prometric and Vue Pearson test centres, it will be interesting to see if this becomes the catalyst for wide spread ITIL v3 adoption.

No one can argue that ITIL v3 has had anything more than a lukewarm reception from the global community. Perhaps the new framework, combined with an entirely new approach to the management of the certification scheme was too much to handle.

Now that exams are available on a global scale it is expected that more and more individuals will take up the v3 option. With a ground swell of consultants adding ITIL v3 to their resumes it is only a matter of time before it infiltrates into the wider community.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

ITIL v3 Foundation Exam at Prometric and VUE Pearson

Exin have come to the party and the world now has easy access to the ITIL v3 Foundation certificate, via Prometric and Vue Pearson testing centres.

The move to offer the exams via Prometric and Vue is a very good step for the take up of ITIL v3, as more and more people will now utilize self-study options to learn about ITIL v3 safe in the knowledge that the exam is easy to access.

To take the ITIL Foundation exam at Prometric, simply go to their website, find your location, select EXIN as the provider and choose ITIL v3 Foundation from the list of available exams.

Directions for Prometric

The cost is a very affordable US$150 and when combined with a Self Study package the new ITIL v3 Foundation becomes a very affordable qualification.

Labels: , ,

New ITIL v3 Foundation released

It was expected and it is now a reality.

The new (interim) ITIL v3 Foundation syllabus has been released by the APM Group (the official ITIL Accreditor).

The talk was that elements from both the Service Strategy and Continual Service Improvement stages were going to be removed. They have; but it is not what you would term radical change.

There are, to say the least, minor elements that have been removed (including discussions about "value to the business" and specific concepts like Service Provider, but I don't think it will be considered anything major.

The problem is that it even the minor changes represent quite a bit of work for Accredited Training Organzations (ATOs). The good ATOs have developed material that interweave the differnt parts of the Foundaiton syllabus. They spent many hours taking the original syllabus and breaking it down, before re-building it into a cohesive story.

Now, these same ATOs have to disengage elements of the course and advise all their trainers of changes. Remember, it isn't a case of changing a few slides. There is the course outlines, support notes, revision guides, etc. that have to be updated.

Provided that the people who put the syllabus together learn from the exercise, then it isn't really an issue. But with 10 more ITIL v3 courses coming in the next few months, this is not an exercise that needs to be repeated !!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Russians used a pencil !!

The story goes that at the height of the space race there were many operational issues that had to be dealt with regarding space travel and working in a gravity free world.

One such issue related to making notes and recordings on various readings, observations, etc.

The Americans spent countless hours and huge amounts of money to develop a "space pen" that would use specially designed "minature pumps" to force the ink towards the nib of the pen.

The Russians used pencils !!

Remember it's a story not the truth,; but as they say "why let the truth stand in the way of a good story?".

My point is that ITIL v3 seems to have been designed using complex concepts when perhaps simple ones would have been equally - if not more - effective. My most recent area of study in the Service Strategy text relates to the Service Portfolio Management activities of Define, Analyze, Approve and Charter.

The specific section in the book is not large, but it takes a long time to come to fully appreciate the point being made. You will eventually get it like I did and it is good stuff, but I wish the authors may have thought about a pencil, rather than a space age pen - I want my weekends back !

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Managing Across the Lifecycle syllabus

APMG, the official accreditor for all ITIL and Prince2 certifications have released the first draft syllabus for the "capstone" course - Managing Across the Lifecycle.

The course, is looking like it will be a 28 contact hour course, with 50% of the contact hours being devoted to practical exercises and assignments.

All the new ITIL v3 course syllabi & exams are based around a "Blooms Taxonomy" Level. Blooms Taxonomy is a system created to help educators plot a progressive path for education. The levels move from basic knowledge and comprehension (Blooms level 1 & 2) through application and analysis (Blooms 3 & 4) and on to synthesis and evaluation (Levels 5 & 6).

The Managing across the Lifecycle will most likely be pitched at Blooms Level 5 (although the current syllabus indicates Level 4).

The exam for the Managing Across the Lifecycle is set to follow the Service Lifecycle and Service Capability programs with a "gradient style scoring system" for complex multiple choice questions. The exam looks set to have a duration of 90 minutes and will most likely have 20 questions.

Like all exams the final test is supervised and will be closed book. The prerequiste for the Managing Across the Lifecycle course will be a ITIL v3 Foundation level certificate (either straight v3 or the v2 + the v2 to v3 upgrade) and 15 credit points earned at the Service Lifecycle/Service Capability layer.

It is too early to discuss the actual contents of the syllabus as it is subject to change. Current opinion is that the program will be a fitting test of competency for those that want to fully appreciate the intricacies of ITIL v3 including risk management, managing strategic change and the associated organizational challenges.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

ITIL v3 Foundation Syllabus to change

APMG have listened and will make changes to the course syllabus that describes the learning requirements for the ITIL v3 Foundation course.

All along they could have been told that heavy emphasis on Service Strategy was not a clever move and it is incredible that the examination panel responsible for the development couldn't see that.

Perhaps it was an ego boost for the exam panel to create a complex syllabus that they understood; but they failed the test of understanding the audience of interest for the course.

The word is that the new syllabus will have far less material on Service Strategy and Continual Service Improvement and more on the core processes. It is anticipated that the new syllabus will be available to ATOs by the end of calendar year 2007.

At least they listened, but let's hope that we don't face a similar situation again.

Labels: , , , , ,

The first 6 months of ITIL v3

Well it's been over 6 months since the release of ITIL v3 (officially launched on 5th June 2007) and it seems like the framework is here to stay.

There was initial outcry at the complexity and definite rumblings from the training vendors who knew that the Foundation level study was too complex (rumblings which APMG have listened to).

However, those that predicted the fall of ITIL will perhaps have to wait for ITIL v4 to try again. It is true that there has not been a flood of interest or uptake in ITIL 3, but it's enough to show that it remains a viable methodology for infrastructure management.

Certainly in Asia the interest is exploding; perhaps even faster than in the West. However, all the global signs are positive that, while many organizations will stick with v2, enough companies are investigating how to incorporate the language and processes of v3.

My only one fear is that the behemoth that is HP decides to wade in and create/buy the market and link everything to their own service management tool offering - but that is the subject of another blog.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Service Strategy Fire Triangle

Credit is given to Accenture in the ITIL v3 Service Strategy volume for defining the three factors that distinguish high performance service providers.

Accenture - and let's face it, as an organization these guys know a thing or two - correctly postulated that most vendors battle for supremacy on a single point of differentiation.

They (Accenture) claim that this is a flawed approach and that to fight the good fight required a balanced approach. They maintain that the three elements required to achieve competitive advantage is via:

1. Market focus and position
Understanding the market space that you are interested in and the subsequent outcomes that customers in that space are seeking.

2. Performance anatomy
A dissection of the service provider to ensure that their cultural beliefs and internal value systems match what they are trying to portray to the outside world.

3. Distinctive capabilities
Quite often a simple approach that is unique is the best solution, although many vendors aim for complex solutions in the hope that this will impress customers or potential customers.

The points that Accenture raise, reminded me of a time in shcool when we learnt about the fire triangle. Take away any element of the triangle (fuel, heat, oxygen) and you will extinguish the fire. The three elements listed above can be thought of in the same way.

Failure to consider all three elements will result in wasted efforts and ultimately poor sales.

Labels: , , ,

Does the UKAS suspension of APMG really matter?

At the time there was a sharp intake of breath. APMG have their own accreditation suspended for failing to comply to audit request by UKAS.

I am certain that there were as many people pleased to see this happen as there were those that were shocked. However, it is prudent to remind ourselves that the suspension covered just a portion of the APMG business (namely Prince2, M_o_R and MSP) and we should remember that they are very likely to get it back.

UKAS (the United Kingdom Accreditation Service), as an entity has been around since 1995 and has over 130 certification bodies accredited. At the time of writing APMG is the only one of those that seems to be facing any major non-compliance issues.

Will this suspension hurt APMG? I seriously doubt it. APMG has some smart people at the helm as the recent presentation of GBP 100,000 to the itSMF as part of an ongoing arrangement demonstrates. The massive amount of cash is clear evidence that APMG know how to make and keep friends; and in a world that is driven by revenues and profits that is more important than the logo that appears on the certificate.

Labels: , ,