Saturday, July 25, 2009

What is the RFC Review?

The review activity is all about a first pass filter that will help to eliminate change requests that will automatically fail at later stages. The typical reasons for rejection are that the change is totally impractical (when assessed by the Change Manager or other nominated person), changes that have been obviously reworked versions of earlier rejected changes and those that are incomplete (“completeness” which can be defined by change types or for particular change models (or again, a degree of common sense may be applied).

What ever the reasons for rejection are it is important that the initiator is told the reasons and has the right of appeal (or re-submission, especially if the discrepancies are minor or just an oversight).

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Competition heating up in the IP race !!

There is a massive struggle happening as I type regarding the complete ITIL v3 content, from the 5 v3 Volumes.

TSO the official publisher have long been the distribution are of the ITIL V3 materials, either directly or via their reseller channel.

Now another publisher would seem to have struck a deal with the OGC and is selling the equivalent material at a fraction of the price of TSO. Has TSO been caught napping or have they made some very dangerous assumptions regarding their distribution rights?

Only time will tell, but the next 2 to 3 days will see a power struggle behind closed doors that 99% of the IT Service Management communitity will never hear about.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Key to Good Supplier Management

If you had to create a list for the bed rock that a good relationship between an external supplier of third party services and the internal service provider you'd probably hit some (if not all) of the following:

Communication and Information flow
Trust and openness
Shared risk and reward

The list presented here is not earth shattering in terms of a solution, but it is surprising the number of failed supplier relationships can be attributed to a weakness in one of these foundation stones. In particular trust, openness and communication/information flow could be the main offenders.

Time does build a more solid relationship and with the maturity of the relationship comes greater opportunities for both parties to benefit from each other.

These benefits come in the form of systems and processes (including infrastructure, security, networking systems) tending to naturally drift closer in similarity. This creates opportunity for even greater alignment, integration and the associated reduction in risks and costs. Risks and costs that are inherent when a supplier and service provider have to put in place reactionary once-off solutions due to particular issues.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

A matrix of measurements !!

When we look at using those clever little things called Key Performance Indicators or KPIs most IT professionals will list the things that first come to mind as the best way to measure the health and vitality of a particular process.

However, if you apply a simple matrix you may find you can create a much richer list of KPIs. The added bonus here is that you can select entry level KPIs for your process while it is in its infancy and grow the KPI maturity over time. This thought is at odds with most "set and forget" approaches that IT managers use.

It is not as if the IT managers and process owners deliberately set out to treat the field of measurement with disdain, it is just that they have not been given a way to treat KPIs with the importance it deserves.

Here is a simple way forward.

Create a table 4 columns by three rows. Leave the top left cell empty. The other three column headings are SERVICE, CUSTOMER and BUSINESS. The other two row headings are OBJECTIVE and SUBJECTIVE.

Now you have a mechanism for categorizing your KPIs across three different perspectives and into two styles.

The three aspects are quite logical and relate to the actual service delivered, the views and opionions of the sponsor for the service and the actual business value that the particular process delivers to the business.

The styles of KPIs recongnize that some KPIs can be factual and measured (Objective), but others are based around feelings, perception and emmotion (Subjective).

It would come as no surprise to know that Subjective based, Customer focussed KPIs are relatively easy to define (e.g. generally based around satisfaction surveys, town hall meetings, etc.). Likewise we would expect to easily define several Objective measurements for the Service and Business aspectss.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wise move ISACA?

Note.. the title of this blog is a QUESTION, not a statement.

itSMF has announced a memorandum of understanding signed between itself and ISACA - the traditional owners of the COBIT framework.

While the MOU may be more symbolic than anything it signals an interesting turn of events and begs the question - Why now?

Why now does an MOU come into place between itSMF and ISACA, when both organizations have been around and known each other for years. Please don't tell me: "because the modern day professional needs to see commonality and cooperation between such bodies". That is a cover all statement for taking any action at any point in time.

What has been the trigger that has lead to an agreement now? Let's say that the bodies have been talking about an announcement for 6 months. Who approached who and why?

These are the sort of questions that as a professional body the itSMF should supply to its members, but I wouldn't be holding my breath for a "non-political" response.

Could it be a flagging membership in both organizations?, could it be the itSMF answering a call from the OGC to boost interest levels after v3 has not taken hold as rapidly as they may have liked? - all questions open to interpretation.

What would be interesting is some hard hitting, no nonsense response from the itSMF on such questions. There are people in the organization that have the capability to shoot from the hip (I was speaking to one just a week ago); so let's get their view on this MOU.

Is it real or is it a union of convienence?

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Where is the love?

Interest in ITIL v3 certification is still coming, but slowly. There is universal acceptance that the qantum jump from ITIL v2 to the complexity of ITIL v3 rocked the IT Service Management world. There were hundreds of thousands in love with the relative simplicity of v2, but it took that fateful June day in 2007 for us all to realize what we had.

It reminds me of the classic line from the Black Eyed Peas song (Where is the love).

"Lack of understanding is leading us away from unity"

There are plenty out there that are seemingly wanting to derail ITIL v3. Perhaps they have a vested interest in other frameworks, perhaps they don't get it or perhaps they don't want to take the time to learn.

The reality is that ITIL v3 is a solid framework for IT infrastructure management. I was an early detractor - however, time heals all pain. It's time to look at ways to help the community that wants to - move forward into a brighter future.

ITIL v3 - shine the light !!

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Time to remove Basel II?

Most service management professionals hold up Basel II as an example in the financial sector of a specialized framework designed to ensure clean and open governance.

However, it may be time to take Basel II off the powerpoint. A recent report in the Financial Times (Feb 28, 2008) explained in simple terms that Basel II may be the cause of recent financial turmoil.

Financial institutions (banks and other lending bodies) take risks. The simple fact is that when you give money to someone, there is a part of you that expects you won't get it back!

In a financial sense the amount of risk you're prepared to take will determine how much you will lend someone and then how much you will want them to pay (the interes rate). These decisions are reached through the application of risk models.

When you are a large bank you will have stricter regulations imposed upon you, even to the point where a "regulator" (Government or government appointed watchdog) will tell you what type of risk model you should be using.

Under the Basel I this system worked, but then large banks and financial institutions started to develop sophisticated risk models that were seen as superior to the ones they had to use.

So under Basel II regulators gave the green light for these organizations to start to use their own models. The problem begins here.

The risk models are used to calculate how much money should be held in reserve in case there is a major issue with the people who have been lent money. This is a protection mechanism for shareholders.

However, banks do not want to hold a lot of money in reserve - idle cash returns no profits. So these large banks - using their own models, and under the rules allowed by Basel II started to lend out more and more. They also lent the money to people who may not have qualified under the Basel I model - the subprime market.

The banks all made fundamental errors in judgement - they were optimistic about peoples ability to repay.

They got it wrong!

The moral of the story - "beware of good ideas that encourage unwanted behaviors!"

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What is the news on ITIL Exams?

It's been many months since APMG took over the reins of managing all the ITIL certification. What is the latest on their progress and performance?

By all reports things are going "ok" !
On a scale where OK sits halfway between awful and awesome it isn't a glowing report, but it could have been worse.

On the down side... exam certificates are taking weeks (if not months) to distribute. While this may not seem to be a major issue to the official accreditor, it has a lot to do with the way they are perceived in the marketplace. "Exin and ISEB managed to get certificates issued within a week of results. Why is it taking APMG so long?".

To be fair we need to remind ourselves that APMG wears two hats in this whole ITIL certification game. One is their role as an Examination Institute (EI). Like Exin, ISEB, Loyalist and others; EIs compete for the business of Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs). The other hat is the role of the "Official Accreditor".

As the official accreditor APMG has all EIs under their control with regards to exams, syllabi and general guidelines on how ITIL courses should be administered.

The issue with exam certificates rests with APMG the EI.

Also on the downside, there is too much indecision in the way that course syllabi are released. There are no fixed and firm dates and there is still no decision on withdrawl of older ITIL v2 exams. Such indecision causes confusion in the marketplace.

This is an issue that rests with APMG as the official accreditor.

However, I like to balance. On the sunny side, the industry is in a state of perpetual flux right now and any attempt to lock things into place requires involvement, sign-off and acceptance by so many parties; it's like juggling light beams.

APMG is doing everything in its power to keep everyone happy; perhaps this is the problem and they need to upset a few to get progress for the community at large.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's a brand new world....

The release of ITIL v3 and the new ITIL certification program brings opportunity and issues.

The issues stem from inexperienced training companies, course developers and trainers pretending that they know what they are doing when it comes to ITIL education. They are most likely the same companies that took their ITIL v2 material and changed a few slides and put in a few more. As the results from these classes start coming in and people are failing these vendors are paying the price and damaging what reputation they had.

ITIL Education has always been about taking the guidelines and interpreting them for delivery. It's just that some are better at it than others! Whether it is the convenience of a downloadable self-study program that has been fully accredited or reading the books you can find quality material out there.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Guage on ITIL v3 Acceptance - Australia speaks

Well it was more a case of what wasn't being whispered about in the halls of the recent itSMF conference held in Australia.

Your intreprid reporter is here to say that while there was no outright "we will not migrate to ITIL v3" there was not a headlong rush towards the new framework.

This is to be expected and it is even a healthy indicator that the new framework will gradually find its feet in the industry. To rush into ITIL v3 adoption would be as silly as rushing into the adoption of CoBIT, ITIL v2, ISO 20000, Six sigma, etc.

It isn't something that should be or can be rushed. A lot of companies have invested in v2 and there is no reason to dismiss that investment by abandoning all plans. However, the gradual review and adoption of small pieces of ITIL v3 will move towards whole scale adoption and improvement over time.

Also, the savvy IT professional is now backing two horses in this two horse race. ITIL v3 will find a place and it will be as a supplment to ISO 20000. Together they will make a wonderful couple. ISO 20000 for the skeleton and ITIL for the flesh.

The new ITIL certification scheme and the Service Quality Management Foundation and Service Quality Management Advanced certifications will be large contributing factors to this eventual acceptance.

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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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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Event Management explained

When you actually study these ITIL v3 books they start to make a lot of sense. Last night I treated myself to a "getting to know Event Management" evening.

The basic premise for Event Management is "detectable and discernable" occurences where a response can be largely automated.

First point of clarity is that Event Management and Monitoring are linked but different concepts. Events can be monitored, but monitoring also includes tracking entities that are operating within normal ranges. An event

Events can be generated for configuration items, environmental conditions, software, security and standard activities (e.g. completion of a batch job).

Events need to be classified according to their significance. Events can be informational, warnings or exceptions; and it is warnings that need to be intelligently assessed as part of the Event Management process. Informational events do not require any action and exceptions may actually be inputs for the incident management process or the change management process.

Event warnings are processed by a correlation engine that contains business rules that intelligently decide upon a response.

The response - which should be automated - can include logging, generation of alert requiring human intervention or even a link to change management should the event indicate an exception (e.g. new devices detected on the network - which indicates a bypassing of the Change Management process) or an indication that intervention is required (e.g. network link is within 5% of its maximum operating capability).

The process - one of the Service Operations processes - actually makes a lot of sense when studied and properly understood.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ITIL v2 to v3 Foundation Bridging course details

Perhaps the most anticipated ITIL program is the Foundation program that will upgrade current v2 certified staff to v3.

Details have now been officially released. The course will be a one day program, WITH a 20 question, 30 minute mock exam at the end of the day. The pass mark for the exam will be 13 correct answers.

So, all those pages you've read from others who said there would be no exam were incorrect.

The 1 day program will cover the differences in v2 to v3 at an awareness level. For example the Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS) is a new concept for version 3, but it covers the CMDB and Known Error data base (KEDB) which are v2 concepts. In service transition the Service V model is a new concept and must be explained in full.

Exams for the Foundation Bridging program will be available in the last week of August 2007. You will have to have passed and show evidence of your ITIL v2 Foundation certificate to attend the program.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Service V Model or the Left to Right Swim Lane model.. or.. ?

There has been great internal debate regarding the direction of flow for the Service V model.

Some say it follows the actual V path, down and up... others say it's chronigically correct to go from left to right, back to left...

Let me explain - the Service V model is a concept defined in the Service Transition volume of the new ITIL v3. The model is (meant to be) a clear and logical model of the steps to take in order to deliver a Service Package.

A Service Package is a concept of what can be delivered to a customer for them to use (we may otherwise refer to it as a 'service' or application).

Now the confusion lies in the steps that have to be followed on the V model. My opinion is that it is down the left hand side and back up the right hand side. The confusion comes from the number on the picture. 1a on the left, 1b on the right, 2a on the left, 2b on the right... there is absoultely no text to explain the direction of travel and perhaps the authors assumed that everyone would automatically know.

However, by adding connecting arrows and the numbering system used all it has done has caused confusion and (sometimes heated) debate.

My complaint is not with the Service V model, as a concept I think it is valid. My issue is that all of these books contain confusing diagrams that are not properly explained. A book is meant to leave you educated, aware and entertained... I'm afraid that too many pages in the new core of ITIL v3 leave me confused, confused and confused.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

EXIN - Knocks one out of the park!

Exin have released full details of their Service Quality Management track of programs. Terms such as SQMF, ITSMA, SQMA and how the program hangs together can now be explained.

The track is based predominantly around ISO 20000, but also recognizes the close connections to the ITIL framework.

First the program becomes a lot clearer when you remember that Exin - long time IT Service Management certification gurus have developed new programs that extend upon the long respected ITIL Framework. They have developed two programs in that area. IT Service Managment Foundation (ITSMF) and IT Service Management Advanced (ITSMA). The Exin programs focus beyond the theory of ITIL, by encouraging training vendors to consider implementation and application issues.

Then came ISO 20000 and EXIN recognized the logical flow on for ITIL into this international standard and developed two new programs.

Service Quality Management Foundation (SQMF), based on ISO 20000, but includes Terms and Vocabulary from ISO 9000. This program looks at the theory of ISO 20000 and until recently required a participant to have passed the IT Service Management Foudnation (ITSMF) exam - BUT in July 2007 this pre-requisite was removed.

Most recently Exin have launched the Service Quality Management Advanced (SQMA) program. This program does in fact have TWO pre-requisites. The Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management) AND the Service Quality Management Foundation (SQMF).

The syllabus of SQMA is designed to teach the "HOW" regarding the practical application of Quality Management, especially related to ISO/IEC 20000, and also on certification and auditing based upon ISO/IEC 20000. So while SQMF focuses on theory - which has to be learnt - the focus of the Advanced Certificate will be on managing, organizing, optimizing and evaluating quality systems based upon ISO/IEC 20000.

All in all the program is now a solid alternative for those people looking to lift themeselves beyond the ITIL theory and into a world of standards based Quality Management.


If you are currently ITIL Foundation certified (v2 or v3) learn the SQMF material and pass that exam. Then you can automatically qualify to take the SQMA course (as your ITIL Foundation certificate will be recognized as equivalent to the IT Service Management Foundation certificate.

If we look first at the Service Quality Management Advanced (SQMA) program then a lot of other programs can be explained.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Change is in the air... (times2)

Well the dust hasn't even settled and OGC is at it again.

Our mighty powers - the Office of Government Commerce - have announced the "Refresh requirements for Prince2".

OGC has announced the requirement for a "cyclical update" on Prince2 and M_o_R (Management of Risk), as well as programme management (MSP).

Citing the last major piece of work on Prince2 happened in 2002 (minor updates in 2005) the statement indicates that the main outcomes expected for the project are:

1. Updated to reflect evolutions in Project Management
2. More accessible framework (less 'red-tape').

I'm sorry, but this reeks of another money grab that will be forced upon an unsuspecting audience. Watch for new publications, new certifications, new just about everything.

I pity the poor folks that are ITIL and Prince2 champions.

EVOLUTIONS in Project Management... what evolutions... I remember a saying.. "THERE ARE NO NEW FUNDAMENTALS".

The cave men hunted in packs - it was a project. Telling me that there are some evolutions in project management is like saying "we're designing new concepts for living well". There are no new concepts for living well; eat healthy, take some exercise and rest.. sure there are a few more basics, but not many.

There are no new concepts, no new fundamentals that cannot be mapped towards something that already exists in some form.

It is seriously getting time to look at alternatives that -although not guaranteed to be static - have a higher degree of difficulty to change. International standards spring to mind.

ISO 20000, Exin's SQMF program; could all be potential ways to save what little hair IT professionals may have as they face this new onslaught of seemingly unprovoked change.

The OGC press release states the input from "public consultation" as one of the drivers for change. Please give me the details of this "public consultation" I would be fascinated to do the numbers on this "public consultation".

Was there a marked increase in complaints and issues with what existed?

Surely, to undertake such a massive operation would require "significant" challenges to what was current; and then an even "more significant" public consultation. I am talking in the region of thousands of people to be consulted in the hundreds of thousands that would have an interest.

What were those numbers? OR - as I suspect is it all a bit immaterial - the change is going to happen, new books, new certification schemes; all the things that pry open the IT budgets of the many organizations that have adopted Prince2.

It's another victory for the bean counters; but one that must have people starting to think about the pattern that is emerging.

I guess, when you have the market cornered for defacto standards then you can do what you want. However, as mentioned earlier, this may be simply the excuse that IT professionals have been looking for to move to national or international standards (e.g. ISO 9000, ISO 200000, ISO 27001, etc.)

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

ITIL v3; Headaches for some

Online IT Service Management tools over recent years had a simple model to follow. Map the services offered to 10 processes.

The marketing team must now be running around madly looking for ways to spin their offerings into ITIL v3 compliant status.

The whole issue of compliance when it comes to tools is something that I've had a problem with for some time.

Firstly, the lack of an "ITIL compliant" stamp on a tool must not lead to its removal from the list of potential solutions for an IT organization. Don't lose the potential ideal solution for your company by making ITIL compliance a mandatory item on your checklist.

Make it mandatory that the solution be flexible enough to be adopted to the idiosyncrasies of your organization. This way the review panel knows they are reviewing true potential solutions and not just ones that have an additional logo.

The second reason I have a problem with the whole ITIL compliance process for tools is that I wish I had thought of it!! This is of course contradictory to my first reason.

From a commercial aspect the folks who put the process together have a monopoly and from all reports they make a tidy sum for initial checks, ongoing checks, etc. You just have to applaud the foresight of such a move.

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Mysterious Ticking Noise...

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape
Snape, Snape, Severus Snape

The search for the mysterious ticking noise has extended into the Service Management world.
Anyone have any ideas on what PPM stands for in the image of Financial Management, Enterprise Value - Service Strategy (section 5.1.1).

Now without checking you'd assume Project Planning Methodology or "Parts Per Million" of assumption that each abbreviation is expanded in full - somewhere.

But not - isn't explained in the text, it's not even in the ITIL v3 Glossary.

Will someone please tell me what it stands for in this context, so that I can chalk up another TLA!!

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What is missing from this list.. ?

Interesting page on the APM Group web site regarding Consulting Accreditation.

It is an overview of the Accredited Consultant service that is offered by the
APMG. The registered consultant services offered...

  • "Project Management" is there (certification scheme managed by APMG)
  • "Management of risk" is there (certification scheme managed by APMG)
  • ??? is not there (certification scheme managed by APMG)

Doesn't take a genius to see the "hint" of a pattern emerging here. I don't think it will be too long, before we hear about "ITIL Registered Consultants".

Judging by the numbers of Project Management Registered Consultants, APMG will have to come up with a compelling reason to follow that track.

At the time of writing only 12 names exist on the Registered Consultants list - it would be interesting for those of us in the ITSM world to hear from any of those 12 about the program they have to follow and the benefits (and why are the numbers so low... is the scheme new?).

I am not anti-registration, but it would seem to be a tough sell in a market as mature as IT Service Management. I am putting myself in the shoes of a potential client and wondering what beneifts I get if I employ a "registered consultant" instead of a "damm good one". Will there be some guarantee of quality, will there be a "no cut costs, no pay for services policy" - somehow I doubt it.

Document your thoughts in reply as this is going to be an interesting one to watch.

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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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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pillaging Hordes

I am glad to see that my comments are making for useful conversation at other prominent blog sites. I am humbled.

However, comments that such as "...pillaging vendor hordes..." tend to get me a bit irate.

The comment is very rich coming from a site that is built to attract visitors interested in ITIL, where I can click on all manner of adverts and purchase merchandise and publications (does this make a web site into a pillaging vendor?).

Come on - let's drop the sour grapes about the commercial aspects of what is taking place. It's business - if the marketplace doesn't want the services offered by ALL sites offered by those working in the industry then it is they who will decide.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

What ever happened to....

It was late 2006 that Exin and ISEB tied the knot in a (what could only be considered as a commercial) agreement; that was an effectual thumbing of the nose at the APM Group.

It was early 2007 that both Exin and ISEB signed up as Examination Institutes under the APM Group. It is now mid 2007 and the waters are still muddy over the new certification scheme and who will play what part.

What is interesting is the apparent lack of knowledge (still) amongst the vendor community about the Examination Institutes.

I read the blog at Court Square in the Round. Refer to the first paragraph, the first two key words "Last week..." and then jump to the last paragraph "There are two certification tests... ISEB and EXIN". It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that it was an HP program, but shame on the instructor not providing participants with the complete story.

There are THREE certification test... Exin, ISEB and APMG. Perhaps it was a minor oversight, perhaps it was a deliberate attempt to not educate the market place; but as a major player in the industry you would hope that HP are able to present the facts as they are.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

It's acronym heaven !

ITIL folk around the world must be very impressed with the entire new range of acronyms that the ITIL v3 authors have introduced.

The DSL is out, but the DML (definitive media library) is in... the UC has been banished to glossary status, but around the Service Catalog there is a whole new species of TLAs.

LOS (Lines of Service), SLP (Service Level Package), CSP (Core Service Package) and UP (User profiles) are all introduced in Service Strategy.

SLAs and OLAs remain, but now we can throw in some Service Acceptance Criteria (SAC), Service Design Package (SDP) and ISM (Information Security Management).

The KEDB (Known Error database) was there before, but not as an abbreviation and there is just a smorgasbord of SKMS (Service Knowledge Management System) and CMS (Configuration Management System). Resource capacity management is lost forever and in its place we find a slimline CCM (Component Capacity Management).

Thankfully get to keep our beloved MTBSI, MTTR and MTBF -but joining the MT family is MTRS (Mean Time to Restore Service).

My understanding of all of these new terms and concepts is a WIP, but the ROI I get will be PFS - I need a PSO !!

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

ATOs and EIs

As the official accreditor the APM Group must have a big say in who gets to be appointed as an Examination Institute (EI).

It is an interesting fact that the APM Group has two distinctive roles..

1. As the "official accreditor" - where it gets to lay down rules and guidelines for EIs and manage the examination question bank


2. as an Examination Institute - where it works with Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs).

I'm not a gambling man, but I can't see the APMG breaking it's own rules; whereas other EIs may not be so quick to tow the line.

Could this be a good enough reason to back training organizations that have aligned themselves with the APM Group?

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Colin Rudd

I've been wanting to put up a note about Colin Rudd, without it seeming as if there is an ulterior motive.

There isn't...

Those lucky enough to have met and worked with Colin will appreciate that fact that this is a guy who "knows his stuff". Colin has got a pedigree as long as your arm, he's seen it all and deserves the respect that he gets in the industry.

I've met Colin on a few occasions and the guy is a gentleman.

Sharon Taylor in the forward of the ITIL v3 Service Design book said..

Service Design broadens our horizons and helps us to see a larger, more cohesive view of IT Service Management.

Fittingly, Colin as one of the principal authors of this book couldn't have been better placed to contribute to this vision for the new look at Service Design.

Colin has been involved in the industry for over 35 years - I don't know when he'll take a break from it all; but it will be a well earned rest. His son - Steve Rudd (also acknowledged in the Service Design text as a major contributor) is working with Colin. I couldn't think of a better mentor and tutor and Steve I'm sure will be a name to watch out for in the coming years.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The APM Group web site lists the details regarding the new ITIL version 3 certification program. The article explains the option for existing ITIL Managers to take a bridging course and be awarded the Diploma in Service Management.

BUT... the scheme requires 22 points of credit to be awarded the Diploma and with the ITIL v2 Managers certificate worth 15, the ITIL v2 Foundation worth 1.5 and the bridging course worth 5 points... there is 0.5 points missing.

To me it's obvious the ITIL v2 to v3 Foundation upgrade course which is worth 0.5 points is mandatory AND it should be mandatory.

Otherwise we will have a bunch of Diploma qualified Service Managers running around that don't even understand the basic processes, key principles and general concepts of ITIL v3.

Now, we just need the APM Group to make the bold step of proclaiming the Foundation upgrade is mandatory and order will be restored.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Utility, Warranty, Confusion, Mayhem

The new ITIL v3 Service Strategy book discusses a couple of interesting new concepts. The "utility" (fit for purpose) and "warranty" (fit for use) when looking at the "value creation" of a service.

To me, when I look at these terms and the surrounding text it seems to be a re-work of the Effectiveness (do the right thing - utility) and Efficiency (do things well - warranty) concepts that we’ve been familiar with under ITIL v2.

I wonder if anyone else is seeing basic concepts that we've grown used over the years reworked into something that is certainly different and potentially more confusing?

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

George Spalding – the new ITIL Philosopher

During one of the lighter moments of the ITIL v3 Launch in London recently, one question to the author panel was “what are one or two sentences that I can tell my boss are the benefits of ITIL v3”. As expected the majority of authors used words like “integration, alignment, value, etc. etc.”.

However, George Spalding’s answer was a classic; “You can use ITIL v3 to guide you through ITIL without consultants”.

Amidst much laughter, I felt myself wondering if he knows something the rest of us don’t !! Of course Georges answer is fine as he is employed by one of the largest IT Service Management training companies in the world – Pink Elephant. And of course, guess what Pink DON’T DO much of – you guessed it “consulting”.

I wonder if George will have an equally clever answer when he is asked about the “official” ITIL Study Guides that the OGC plan to publish for every ITIL v3 exam. Will George still think that move (which is likely to hit education vendors the hardest) is equally amusing.

We don’t know the answer to the question – but if the global vendor community had to appoint a single representative voice – then I think they could do worse than George Spalding. The man is buoyant and energetic and he calls it as he sees it.

However, it is likely that whoever is involved with the development of the official study guides would not be a great supporter of such a Vendor OrganIzation Community(E) - or as I shall formally announce it the "VOICE".

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ITIL v3 Launch - an emmotional event.

The suits were out for the official ITIL v3 launch in London. The 5th June 2007 marked the start of a global tour for the intrepid and brave authors of the “new and improved” material. As always Sharon Taylor led from the front – and in a rare show of emotion there was even a small hint of a tear when the larger than life George Spalding gave an impromptu , but heart felt acknowledgement of the work that Sharon has put in over the last several years.

I don’t think there would be anyone that would argue that the effort required to get v3 off the ground is enormous. Whether v3 will fly or not remains to be seen. However, the signs are positive – especially as there will be a live, on-going feedback mechanism that everyone can contribute to.

The involvement of the ITSM community for v3 does not appear to be lip service. There are genuine efforts to retain the high degree of user contribution that has characterized this latest version of the popular framework.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Good practice, best practice - which is better ?

I overheard a recent conversation about the ITIL v3 definition of Good Practice and Best Practice.

There were comments like.. "organizations once they've attained Best Practice will move to Good Practice". I was confused... surely "Best" is better than "Good".

Then I did some reading.

Sharon Taylor in the forward of the Service Strategy book uses the term "Emergent".
She summarizes that ITIL provides "good practice structures with room for self-optimization."

and later in the same book (Service Strategy) best practices are defined as "patterns in action"... that reflect "superior outcomes".

Combine these elements and we it is plain to see that early adopter organizations that use a framework like ITIL (provided they get it right) are the "best practice" leaders... over time, others in the industry catch up, so that the best practice of a few becomes the good practice of many.

Now the challenge is for the few to set new superior limits and establish themselves as best practice leaders in their industry - while their competition stays at the expected good practice baseline.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

People are in !!!

At last there is a recognition that People are in!!..

Yes - ITIL v3 finally gives full status to the fact that "people" make it all happen in the Service Management space.

People are now considered one of the "Four P's" in the Service Design volume of ITIL v3.

1. People
2. Process
3. Products (Technology)
4. Partners (Suppliers)

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Where will we be in 12 months time..?

It's 24 hours until the official launch of ITIL v3... is this a bit like the Year 2000... everyone expecting fireworks and mayhem, confusion, crashing systems and general destruction on an unprecedented scale... but what actually happened.. NOT MUCH.

The most disruption for Y2K was caused when all the IT folks had to miss the parties; even when they knew nothing would happen!

One thing is for sure, the launch of ITIL v3 does not have folks camping out overnight so as to get the first copies. This is not X-Box !

What will the cynical bloggers be writing about in 12 months. Will it be the demise of ITIL, because of what seemed like a good idea at the time (but actually turns out to be a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it)… OR will we be applauding ourselves as an industry for having the foresight to see that ITIL v3 was an upgrade that we just had to have.

I simply don’t know, no-one does and don’t believe a word from anyone who says that they know which way the pendulum will swing. The market place will decide and the marketplace is a fickle beast when it comes to changing something that we’ve all grown comfortable with.

Vendors of course will be pushing everyone down the upgrade path; however, this upgrade may in fact be just what organizations need in order to save their cash being spent on what they perceive as “big-cost, small value” projects.

The upgrade may be the justification for decisions against adoption of ITIL that has changed in such a big way; opting for a framework with built in longevity – aka ISO 20000.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Just one small letter TELLS the whole story !!!

Isn't it funny when you find the actual evidence of what everyone has been talking about - but no one has been able to actually identify.

There has been enough blogs and articles written over the past several months to stretch the full length of the itSMF member list regarding the "commercialization" of ITIL with the new Version 3.

Note: the spelling of commercialization is a realization (another "z") that organizations (one more "z") based in the USA are keen to read material that is written is US English - not UK English.

In fact, some will say that the real blocker for ITIL shooting to fame in the USA is due to the perception, based on fact, that ITIL is a British invention - so it won't be accepted.

Your intrepid reporter has an interesting comment. The new version of ITIL is written in US English. Organizations, realize, recognize, specialization.... Catalogue reamins with a "ue", but both spellings are common in the US.

Would others have noticed this small - but enormous change !! I think that it was meant to sneak under the radar, but the smallest of changes can often have the greatest consequence (positive or negative).

So, there we have it, for all those original British authors it seems that another treasure of the British Isles is to be Americanized !!

Will this simple last letter of the (American :-) Alphabet be the real key for acceptance in the United States.?

Will the OGC be renamed as the Office of Governor of California in the US versions, will there actually be a UK English version, a US English version, an Australian English version, etc. ?

I don't know, but I will be waiting with baited breath to unwrap my new books and find the answer.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

itSMF to develop their own materials !!

Brian Jennings, big wig chief of the itSMF International community announced today, at the first itSMF Taiwan (one day) conference the news that itSMF are going to develop their own intellectual property.

Brian stated that in order to make the itSMF all that it should be, their needed to be additional funds... how does your intrepid reporter know this... easy, I was there and I took notes!

So in the space of a few short months we have moved from a vendor neutral, non-profit organization for Service Management professionals to join, to one that is openly looking to make profit.

And the itSMF has a captive market for selling its own material !! Every member - corporate and individual supplies all their details as part of thei registration process. I wonder if there is a tick box on the application form regarding the deilvery of sales material?? :-)

Is this another jab at the vendor community that has supported itSMF over the years, with sponsorship dollars OR is it a sweetheart deal between the itSMF and some "choosen few" vendors.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Who will want ITIL v2 learning?

The Examination Institutes (APMG, Exin, ISEB) are happy to tell the public that v2 exams will co-exist with the new v3 exams for some time (up to 12 months).

Begs the question - who will want them?

Two schools of thought; but I believe both can be countered with a logical argument....

1. Consultants who need to get some ITIL Qualifications in order to apply for positions. Forget it, go for v3 - with Version 3 knowledge you'll be a shoe-in for any v2 work as well.

2. Organizations that have already invested heavily in v2 certification. Forget it, v2 exams will not be available in the future - bite the bullet and start investing in v3 certification and all those bridging courses that the vendors will offer.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Confusion reigns on certification

The impending upgrade of ITIL (r) v2 to version 3 is going to create a lot of debate and questions regarding the change in content.

However, let's not forget all those that have worked hard to earn ITIL certification in Foundation, Practitioner or Managers level programs.

There is a lot of misinformation about changes to the certification scheme. The one certainty is that there will be change. The Foundation level program is expected to stay roughly the same - pitching a common understanding in the fundamentals of ITIL.

However, the upper levels of certification may head along the Six Sigma path. With classroom components, but an element of "real world" proof of practice required.

Questions are coming in thick and fast about new programs, bridging courses and validity of v2 certification. We really need to see the Examination institutes put out some definitive answers to these questions and concerns rather than the stock standard answer "we are currently reviewing the system and will provide more information".

People want dates, not flimsy excuses.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Grapevine Newsflash - no ITIL v3 CDs

For those that were looking forward to their new set of shiny ITIL v3 CDs - you'd better wish for something else.

Inside sources make it clear that there will be no CDs of version 3. Instead you can purchase a PDF file for the same price as the books OR you can pay a very slightly smaller fee and get access to the books online for a 12 month period.

Interesting that the subscription is for 12 months.... there is the best sign yet that ITIL has become a great way to make some money for the owners !!

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ITIL v3 Early starters

The printers are running hot, with the anticipated release of ITIL v3.

ITIL is a trademark protected concept belonging to the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in the United Kingdom.

Training vendors are busy preparing their new ITIL education programs. Bridging programs are expected to be the big ticket item in the first several months. The accredited training companies already have pre-release material that they are using to prepare the programs.

This is how you will be able to tell the "grey market" trainers from the others. Only accredited companies have the material; so if you're training says "no material yet - so we can't offer the course" - you know that they are not accredited by one of the three Examiniation Insitutes (APMG, Exin or ISEB).

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May 30th 2007 - LAUNCH DATE !!!

Those among us old enough to remember the release of ITIL version 2 are eagerly anticipating the release of ITIL version 3.


Because of the chance to look for inconsistencies, errors, and flaws in the logic. And they are bound to be there....

Your ITSMER will be at the official launch of ITIL v3 coming up in London. The venue is near London Bridge - so lets hope that the structure remains intact (the bridge and the new version of ITIL).

INSIDE TIP: stop listening to all the chat about ITIL v2 being basically the same as v3. WRONG!.. huge differences and your blogger knows this from one on the "inside". The insider is sworn to secrecy; but they do report significant changes.

This begs the question - will the new version be globally accepted? The answer - "let's see in about 12 months". No one knows what the uptake is, but imagine you are a senior IT Executive that 12 months ago decided to pump a heap of investment into ITIL. How do you think it would look if you went to the board to ask for more money as the stuff you've done is now outdated.

Yes - outdated. No secret there; it's all over ITIL v3.. it will REPLACE v2 as a framework - could be some serious issues in that one.

Stay tuned - it's going to be a heck of a ride.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Welcome to ITSM View

Welcome to the first entry on the first day of ITSM View, a log dedicated to all matters related to IT Service management.

During the coming months and years every aspect of ITSM will be explored, uncovered, and reported. ITIL, MOF, ISO 20000, every aspect, discipline and approach will be investigated and commented upon.

We hope that you will stick around, and in particular, comment upon the articles presented.

ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark, and a Registered Community Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce, and is Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

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