Saturday, May 24, 2008

Back to the Future: Flexibility slowly degrading

For those in the know the rules established by Exin and ISEB regarding the numbers of students that could sit in on a classroom course where in the vincinity of 16 for a Foundation and 12 for a Managers.

I will grant you that while all ATOs had access to the same creed, they were more like "guidelines" (my Pirates of the Caribbean reference).

APMG came along and those rules/guidelines disappeared. I personally spoke out against the move, as I felt having the guidelines in place ensured candidates wouldn't end up learning ITIL in a lecture theatre of 200 people.

However, it appeared that APMG didn't really take that into account. Until now.

In a 180 degree the ITIL Qualifications Board has reintroduced the studnet to teacher ratio. The ratio applies to courses at the Intermediate level (Lifecycle, Capability and Managing Across the Lifecycle) - and the magic ratio is 12:1.

12 students requires 1 teacher.
13 students requires 2 teachers... !!!!

This is where I get perplexed at the lack of common sense.
You add an entire additional resource for one student??.. not only is that NOT good teaching practice, it isn't good business practice.

Where my children went to school there wasn't a full time resource to help out with the class. There were staggered support arrangements based on the class size and any special requirements of the children.

Why not adopt some guidelines that I suggested several years ago that adds teaching resource, following a similar patter, in a sliding scale.

For example, 13 students requires, 1 full time on site resource and 10 hours of a remote resource. 14 students requires 1 full time on site resource and 15 hours of remote support. And so on and so on until for example 18 students requires two full time on site resources.

Perhaps that was too hard to work out !! Has anyone at the Board looked at their childrens schooling system and thought that the concept is essentially the same - just different content.

The 12:1 ratio does come with a small dose of "flexibility". If an ATO wants to run a course with more than 12 students (at the Intermediate level) you need to seek express permission from the Examination Institute that certified the ATO.

On the flip side of this minor oversight the wording in the release clearly states "An additional trainer will be required for classes over 12 students". My point here is APMG are now doing what I felt they should have done all along. Make some decisions and put some rules in place.

There is way too much "open for interpreation" in this entire industry and it only serves to frustrate and confuse.

For those who are keen of mind, I can see your next question already... "How will the APMG and the Exam Institutes police this 12:1 ratio?".

Easy answer - I would say that eventually they will move back towards the model that Exin and ISEB had working successfully, and start to have signed assessment forms or perhaps targetted interviews to those who take the exams, regarding the numbers of studnets and teachers.

The APMG also need to advise the general public about the ratio. The Public then need to see proof that an ATO has got the appropriate permissions if a course has more than 12 students and only one instructor.

Another telling factor is that many ATOs have taken advantage of the defined affiliate program. The margins in play with affiliates are tight and now all of a sudden you throw in a second resource for +12 courses and the margins disappear altogether.

Then less reputable companies start to pick up the slack, as they flaunt the regulation. Perhaps to comply they will "qualify" inadequate instructors who will literally sit in a corner during a +12 course and add no value, not even be introduced as an instructor.

Then we need to see the Exam Institutes making more and more frequent visits to the field to conduct course audits - but who tells the EIs when they are running their courses. Noone, so then APMG may decree that all courses have to be registered...

Oh - can't you just see the tangled web starting to get more and more constrictive as we slowly disappear beneath a growing pile of regulations and "guidelines".

Let's put our faith in the hands of the learned Examination Board who will also spot the risks and potential risks and adopt some of the OGCs M_o_R to manage the situation.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

ITIL Intermediate and ITIL v3 Exam Dates

Finally some news from APMG about the new naming and timing of programs for ITIL v3.

In summary, the Service Lifecycle, Service Capability and Managing Across the Lifecycle are now collectively the ITIL Intermediate programs. The qualification earned for 22 credits is to stay as the ITIL Expert, but the new Advanced level program will be known as the ITIL Masters.

Confusing - perhaps to start with - but please let's not change it again !!

Now the timing.

Training organizations will again get early access, but for the general public here are some key dates when exams will be available.

October 1, 2008

Service Lifecycle Modules
Service Transition
Service Operation

Service Capability Modules:
Service Offerings & Agreements
Operational Support & Analysis
Release, Control & Validation

January 1, 2009

Service Lifecycle Modules:
Service Strategy
Service Design
Continual Service Improvement
Managing Across the Lifecycle

Service Capability Modules:
Planning, Protection & Optimization

So there you have it. October then January. It would appear that while the wait continues at least there is some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Notional Charging Question

One of my past students asks..

My company is going to implement the SLA for our internal customer and I'm assigned to be the project leader. I planned to value our IT services by "Charging", not actually to charge the customer but this is a good way (from my point of view) to let customer know the "VALUE" of the IT services. I try to find the "COST" of the service and use the cost as my charge base. However, in my company (maybe for most companies), a lot of components are not dedicate for one service, for example; Several services run on the same server, several services run on the same networking...etc.

I want to ask for your help on the following;
1. Am I doing right? Using the cost as the charging base. Because I
thought the cost might be the easiest way letting customer understand
the VALUE (what we have paid) for the services.
2. Do you have any practice for the cost model for the service? or do
you have any practice for the charging?
3. Any suggestion/comment/practice for the cost? charging? SLA?

Any advice out there ?

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What is taking so long? v3 next level

We are expecting a news release today regarding ITIL v3 and the next levels of certifcation - Service Lifecycle and Service Capability.

The Examination Board need to have a look at their own overall processes as the current levels of communication and action are leaving many major organizations dis-illusioned about the value of the entire certification scheme.

It has been almost 12 months since the publication of ITIL v3 and we are still officially only have ITIL v3 Foundation and two Bridging courses. People are waiting to get on with the career path development and this basic fact seems to be falling on deaf ears.

Let's hope todays news release brings some happy relief to all of us.

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