Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Warranty of a service

In some countries when you buy a toaster you get a warranty sticker, leaflet or some statement that says if something goes wrong for a prescribed amount of time from the date of purchase, then the toaster will be replaced, fixed or refunded.

In other countries that may be referred to as a guarantee.

So what is the warranty/guarantee for a service in the world according to ITIL? Well it's exactly the same thing, but given from four perspectives. Availability, Capacity, Security and Continuity.

IT Service Providers are asked to ensure that they have thought through these four issues - as they are the most basic considerations for any service - before they commit to providing that service to the business end users.

It is a good set of questions that forces the IT provider to look before they leap into a world of service level agreements that cannot be met, over promising and under delivering and generally building upon a reputation of being a poor service provider in the eyes of the business.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

The New ITIL v3 Framework Qualification Scheme

ITIL v2, based on 10 processes and 1 function was a daunting enough framework to get fully qualified in. The qualification scheme was fairly straight forward with 2 levels; first you did your Foundation course to learn the basic concepts of the ITIL framework; then you had a choice of qualifying either as an IT Service Manager through the completion and passing of the Service Support and Service Delivery courses; or as an ITIL Practitioner Completing one or several Clustered Practitioners courses namely Agree and Define (IPAD), Release and Control (IPRC), Support and Restore (IPSR), Plan and Improve (IPPI).

However the new v3 framework has stretched its legs giving it a little more breathing space if you will. It has taken on broader concepts, spread out responsibility, and expanded on the vague areas of the v2 framework bringing the processes to a staggering 26, and the functions to a stronger 4. It then places these processes into a Lifecycle which consists of Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Support, and Continual Service Improvement.

The v3 qualification scheme certainly doesn’t get easier. There are now 5 levels to the new v3 framework and to progress to each level you require a certain amount of points. How do you achieve these points? You do a number of courses to progress to the next level of course.

So how does it all work? Let’s break it down and look a little closer.

Current Qualification Scheme for v3
The 5 levels are as follows:

Level 1: v3 Foundation for Service Management (Being the start)

The very best place to start is at the beginning. The Foundation level focuses on the terminology and comprehension of ITIL as well as the basic concepts of all the processes.

The best part is there are no prerequisites and on passing your Foundation exam you earn your self 2 points.

Level 2: Intermediate Lifecycle Stream

There are two intermediate streams. We discuss the other stream next. The Intermediate Lifecycle Stream focuses on the 5 ITIL Lifecycle phases focuses on the implementation of processes and related activities.

You will require 2 points if you wish to complete any of these courses. You can get these 2 points from your Foundation course.

There are 5 courses to choose from and after the successful completion of one of the courses, you will receive 3 points. If you complete all of the courses you will receive 15 points in total.
Level 2: Intermediate Capability Stream.

The Capability courses are based on the v2 Clustered Practitioners but broader in scope to support the v3 framework. Its focus is on the implementation of processes and their management in clustered groups. There are 4 Capability courses namely Operation Support and Analysis (OS&A), Service Offerings and Agreements (SO&A), Release Control and Validation (RC&V), Planning, Protection and Optimization (PP&O).

You will require 2 points if you wish to complete any of these courses. You can get these 2 points from your Foundation course.

There are 4 courses to choose from and after the successful completion of one of the courses , you will receive 4 points. If you complete all of the courses you will receive 16 points.

Level 3: Managing Across the Lifecycle

The capstone course called Managing Across the Lifecycle. This course focuses on the complete lifecycle and how it approaches Service Management. Knowledge gained from the Foundation and Intermediate streams are used here to test an individuals thorough understanding of the lifecycle.

You will require 15 points if you wish to complete this course. You can get these points from your Intermediate streams. You can do mix courses from both your Lifecycle and your Capability Intermediate stream to acquire these 15 points.

There is 1 course here and after the successful completion of this course you will receive 5 points.

Level 4: ITIL Expert

After the successful completion of the Managing Across the Lifecycle course, you will be awarded the ITIL Expert certification. This qualification means you are capable of implementing and managing processes and functions, as well as being competent in the use of ITIL terminology and a thorough understanding of ITIL comprehension.

You will require 22 points to achieve this qualification. You can acquire these points from your Foundation, Intermediate Streams, and Managing through the Lifecycle course.

Level 5: ITIL Masters

This level of qualification will test an individuals ability to analyse ITIL concepts in new areas.
This level of qualification is still under development

What to do if your v2

You may be asking, If I am v2 qualified how can I upgrade my qualification to v3 ITIL. Do you I need to start from scratch?

Good News!!! No you don’t need to start from scratch. You can continue your studying by just applying a bridge course to wherever you left off. Because v3’s qualification scheme works on a point system, the v2 qualifications have been assigned points as well.

Here is what you can do if you hold the following ITIL v2 qualifications

V2 Foundation course

If you have your certification for ITIL v2 Foundation then you have 1.5 points. Because you require 2 points to enter any of your v3 Intermediate courses you need to get an additional 0.5 points. Where do I get 0.5 points? You can get them by doing your v3 Foundation Bridge course

V1 or V2 ITIL Managers Certificate.

If you have your Service Manage certification then you have already earned yourself 17 points. All you need to do here is successfully complete the v3 Managers Bridge exam worth 5 points and you will then acquire 22 points. This means you will immediately get to Level 4 and be issued your ITIL Expert certification.

ITIL v2 Practitioners Certificate

Each v2 Clustered Practitioners courses is worth 3 points. You have 3 choices at this level:

Choice 1: Either you complete all your v2 Clustered Practitioner courses to acquire 12 points; then successfully complete the v3 Managers Bridge for 5 points brining your points to 17. And then successfully complete the Managing Across the Lifecycle course to acquire another 5 points brining you to 22 points which will give you your ITIL Expert certification.

Choice 2: Try and quickly successfully complete your v2 Managers exams both Service Support and Service Delivery. This will get you 17 points. Then complete the v3 Manager Bridge worth 5 points to bring you to 22 points. This means you will immediately get to Level 4 and be issued your ITIL Expert certification.

Choice 3: Do your v3 Foundation bridge and work your way through the v3 Intermediate stream to acquire 17 points (including your foundation points) and then do the Managing Across the Lifecycle to acquire 5 points bringing you to 22 points. This means you will immediately get to Level 4 and be issued your ITIL Expert certification.

Used with permission: Richard de Kock, ITIL Trainer & Consultant

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

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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Saturday, March 1, 2008

ITIL and the English Language

It is reported that English is the hardest language to learn. It is easy to see why when you spend so much time teaching the vagaries of our articulate enunciation!!

I have to say, ITIL doesn't help. All authors (to the best of my knowledge) speak excellent English - I would have to say - too well!! English is my first (and only) language, but even I struggle with some of the concepts raised.

The nuances of words used create confusion and ultimately a lack of true understanding. Without true understanding it is impossible to appreciate the value of ITIL v3.

BUT - the value is there and I for one will continue to "spread the word" - albeit using far simpler words.

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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.

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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.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ITIL v2 Managers to v3 Diploma

Well the official syllabus is out for all your ITIL v2 red badge certified gurus.

The target audience for the course is restricted to ONLY those people that have passed the ITIL v2 Managers certificate. It matters not if you have passed every single and clustered practitioner program under the sun and have 50 years of IT Service Management experience; if you don't have the ITIL v2 Managers certificate - then you don't get a start.

For those that do... here is a summary of what to expect.

Firstly, make sure you've read the entire 5 volumes of ITIL v3 BEFORE the course.
Yes, it's true, this is an expected pre-requisite. Good luck with that one to start with... but you have been told.

The course, is based on the ITIL v3 Foundation course - perhaps no surprise there as it cuts down on the amount of work that the examination panel have to do in preparing the syllabus. Because of this, if you are eligible to attend the v3 diploma bridging course -you DO NOT have to attend any ITIL v3 Foundation level study before hand.

Number 3 on the must know list... anything that is not defined in the syllabus will NOT be examined. hmmm take this with a grain of salt, as the ITIL v3 Foundation syllabus may cover a topic, but those who have taken the exam have complained that there were questions like "what is the fourth word on page 175 of Service Strategy" :-)

The training providers are told.. 28 hours is the required contact time and that it is anticipated that most will run a 4 day course (using innovative techniques to get the message across). Well I don't think that the people who wrote this understand that a typical training day DOES NOT equate to 8 hours contact time!!... more like 6 hours... BUT as is the case in a lot of new certification material it will be left to the vendors to setup programs that work, while having to work within "foggy" guidelines.

I will spare you the detail of the actual syllabus.. suffice to say.. you had better spend some time reading the books BEFORE the course starts.. BUT it is wise to point out that the course is ONLY available through accredited vendors, using trainers that has taken and passed the Managers bridging exam themselves and can present a valid ITIL Service Management Diploma.

oh... the public launch is 5th NOVEMBER 2007...

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Distressed ITIL Trainers

I am seeing quite a few messages in which very proficient ITIL trainers pour out their concerns regarding the delivery of ITIL v3 courses.

At the time of writing the only course that is being discussed is the v3 Foundation program and the concerns go along the following lines...

I've been an ITIL trainer for x years; but with v3 I am really worried that there is too much material to cover and the concepts are far too detailed for a Foundation level program.

Ok... let's break this down.

Firstly, yes it's harder - but it will become easier with time and practice. As trainers there is a need to learn how to present the course and nothing beats practice. The reality here is that even in a v2 world every course you ran was just that bit better than the last - because of your confidence in your own ability.

So too it will be for v3. The confidence will take big steps in the first ten courses; but after 10 you will be wondering why you were concerned.

Your material must be spot on. Most vendors are just wildly following the syllabus without creating stories and anecdotes to support the message. You do need to study the syllabus, your material and books and then think about easy ways to explain that.

You need to ensure that one slide/topic flows to the next and this can even mean that you change the ordering of the materials (there is no hard and fast rule that says your course must follow the syllabus)... For example.. I put all the disucssion about certification at the front of the course (in the syllabus it is last).

Two reasons to change that. It gives you something 'easy' to discuss AND it is what your class students want to talk about when they first start the course. This is just one example of many where the syllabus writers were obviously not trainers (but to their credit - there is no rule preventing you from moving elements around).

Also, you must come up with non-IT stories and examples to help explain concepts. There are a million stories around and perhaps trainers reading this blog can add comments.

My one for the community is a airline company and long haul plane flights. Strategic - which markets shall we compete in, Transition - new fleet of planes to replace older models, Operations - mid-course correction required to avoid bad weather, CSI - improvements in customer seating and in flight entertainment.

So, please feedback any support for other trainers and perhaps leave a story that others may benefit from.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

MTTR out: MTRS in

The Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) metric was widely known - but it has been replaced by a more meaningful and 'holistic' measurement.

The Mean Time to Restore Service (MTRS) is considered to be a better measurement for issues relating to availability and change management as it encompasses all aspects of service restoration and not just one element.

The problem with MTTR was that while a component (or part of a service) may have been repaired the service itself was still not available to an end user. Take a simple example. Server hard drive crashes, service is unavailable, emergency change is rushed through and the hard drive is replaced.

In this example the MTTR is measured from the time of the actual crash until the new hard drive is snapped into place. A good metric that can reflect on the overall performance of the IT department, but not a metric that is of any interest to the customers and users of that service.

Once the hard drive is snapped into place, the server is powered on and 15 or 20 minutes later the customers and end users can get access to the service. It is these 15 or 20 minutes that equate to MTRS and make it a better overall metric.

MTRS will be taken from the point of failure to the point where the service can be accessed by customers and end users.

Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) remains as a way to measure the uptime of a component in the service chain, but now the MTRS is the true downtime of a service.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Cross process relationships - tighter bond

While all the talk about ITIL v3 centres on the Lifecycle approach it is wise to remember that processes still form a large strata of the framework. It is also true that many of the widely documented process relationships from ITIL v2 have made the seamless transition to the latest version.

The issue that most IT folks are having is that they are getting stopped in their tracks by the lifecycle concept. Perhaps this is scaring people off, but look beyond that and the processes still exist - in fact there are more than ever.

It is true that ITIL v3 introduces many new processes, but again these are spin-offs of what was already happening..

Release and Deployment Management simply recognizes that there are two disciplines to the installation of new infrastructure and maintains its close alliance with Change and Service Asset and Configuration Management.

Service Request fulfillment neatly packages those requests that weren't incidents in the first place.

Access Management is born of Security and Availability.

Service Reporting - like its ISO 20000 cousin is just common plain good sense and refers to all processes.

and so on.....

We may have lost some elements of ITIL v2 that we had grown accustomed to, but the ability to tell logical stories that connect all the lifecycle phase processes together can still be told.

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Famous Five Run Away Together

The nice folks at OGC must have had a giggle when they choose the cover designs for all the new ITIL v3 material.

On more than one occasion a passer-by has commented on the cover design for the "Vendor pre-release briefing" - "That's marijuana!!" one rather eldery woman commented.

It was of course my civic duty to enquire about her knowledge on such a topic - however, no answer was forthcoming as she tripped off to another destination.

But then I had a look at the covers of the "Famous Five" books that are flooding the market faster than a free iPhone giveaway competition.

X-ray images of Peas and Poppies, sea shells and starfish - there is a definite hint that the team were out to have a bit of laugh in choosing the designs.

I think the term "Famous Five" is very apt for the books. Those of us lucky enough to have grown up on the stories of Enid Blyton we will fondly remember Julian, Anne, Dick, George and Timmy the dog.

Just like "Five Run Away Together" we can understand our intrepid authors looking forward to their usual holiday at George' s home and tucking into Aunt Fanny's and Joanna the cook's delicious food !!

I'm just thinking that the designers of the covers for the new material were tucking into something a little bit more powerful when the concept was discussed. At least we're talking about it, so in that regard it's a great success.

Authoring over 700 books in her career we thank our modern day Enid B. (aka Sharon Taylor) who held those rascally authors at just 5 books.


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