Friday, July 30, 2010
APM Group Publishes the OGC ISS (Tool Assessment) Process Criteria
Now that APM Group has published the OGC ISS (tool assessment) criteria, we will now be able to identify the process criteria that are associated with OGC ISS and those that are specifically PinkVERIFY criteria. We are currently editing the PinkVERIFY 3.1 criteria documents to replace the designated re-worded criteria with the APM Group approved wording as published. The revised version will be ready for September 1, 2010. This will not have an impact on any vendors who are in the midst of completing PinkVERIFY 3.1 process criteria documentation as the intent of the questions being replaced will be basically the same.
The PinkVERIFY process will continue as before, with all process criteria being demonstrated for the assessment. We will continue to score the OGC ISS criteria for functionality, automation and user documentation based on process compliance as defined by APM Group for OGC ISS Process Compliance logos. Additionally, we will continue to score the OGC ISS criteria as noted and the additional PinkVERIFY criteria based on process compatibility for the PinkVERIFY process logos.
The Official OGC ITIL website also notes that the scoring for the published OGC ISS criteria will be changed from 70% to 100% on September 1, 2010. This is under discussion in the OGC ISS CAB meetings and any changes to this will be announced accordingly.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Perhaps the IT Skeptic is a little slow on the uptake [no comments necessary at this point] but when I was asked to interview some of the professors for the 15th Annual IT Conference, I thought this was one of those cute terms marketing folk come up with.
Let’s have a “school” and lets call the presenters “professors”, better still “iProfessors”
You know the kind of thing. But I did the Pinkers an injustice. Sure Track 4 of the conference is called “IT Business School”, but it includes real live professors from actual business colleges and universities. This isn’t spam, it’s beef.
Check it out:
Dr. John Beachboard, Professor of Computer Information Systems, Idaho State University
Dr. John Beachboard is a professor of Computer Information Systems (CIS) at Idaho State University (ISU). He has more than 25 years experience implementing large-scale information technology and telecommunications systems, and has received an AIS Award for Innovation in IS Education for his work incorporating IT Service Management concepts in the CIS curriculum. ISU has been recognized by the National Security Agency as an academic institution of excellence for its teaching of information assurance and computer security.
Dr. Sue Conger, Associate Professor, Director of IT & IT Service Management Programs, University of Dallas
Dr. Conger is on the university’s faculty where she manages both IT and ITSM programs, she also has served on itSMF’s Academic Executive Committee and the Steering Committee for itSMF Dallas LIG.
Dr. Stuart D. Galup, Associate Professor of Information Technology, Florida Atlantic University
Dr. Galup teaches database and MIS courses and holds many impressive certifications – he is a Certified Computing Professional, Certified ITIL Expert, Certified IT Service Manager, Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT, and Consultant/Manager Competence Certificate in ITSM according to ISO/IEC 20000. In addition, he has held several IT practitioner roles.
Prof. Tony Gerth, Clinical Associate Professor, Operations and Decision Technologies, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
Professor Gerth is a highly seasoned and well rounded IT expert with practitioner, consulting and academic experience. He is also past-Director of the university’s MBA Consulting Academy, which prepares MBA students to take on IT consulting roles after graduation. His areas of specialty include: information systems management; IT organizational effectiveness; enterprise resource planning; organization Change Management for business transformation; realizing value from business and technology transformation.
Dr. Howard Gitlow, PH.D., Executive Director, Institute For Study Of Quality & Professor, School, Of Business Administration, University Of Miami
Professor Gitlow’s areas of specialization are the management theories of Quality Science and statistical quality control. He is a senior member of the American Society for Quality Control and a member of the American Statistical Association. He has consulted on quality, productivity and related matters with many organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.
Dr. Ramesh Venkataraman, Chair MSIS Program, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
Dr. Venkataraman is Chair of the Masters of Science In Information Systems (MSIS) program at IU’s Kelley School of Business – one of the country’s top 20 business schools. Dr. Venkataraman is also an active participant in both the ISACA and the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) communities.
Dr. George Westerman, Research Scientist, Center For Information Systems Research, MIT Sloan School of Management
Dr. Westerman is co-author (with Richard Hunter) of The Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value, which CIO Insight magazine named the #1 IT / Business Book of 2009, and IT Risk: Turning Business Threats into Competitive Advantage, one of CIO Insight’s five Best Books of 2007. He has received the 2007 Best Paper award from the Society for Information Management and multiple awards for academic reviewing. His research has appeared in journals such as Sloan Management Review, Organization Science, Industrial and Corporate Change, MIS Quarterly Executive and IESE Insight. He works with leading organizations such as IBM, State Street, Microsoft, Intel, Raytheon, and Fidelity Investments.
This is one high-octane line-up of content, further boosted by two of my favourite Pink-Thinkers: Gary Case, Principal Consultant, Pink Elephant; and Troy DuMoulin, AVP, Product Strategy, Pink Elephant. Troy and Gary may not be official professors, but the title sits lightly upon them as all who know them would agree.
Maximising your ROI on the conference has to include some sessions from Track 4.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The IT Swami has a vision of the 15th Annual IT Management Conference
Broad predictions of conference themes are all well and good but I wanted the IT Swami to make some more concrete predictions for us of what we might see at the upcoming conference.
So I fired up my Kingswood (the ultimate New Zealand road-trip car), and loaded the boot (that’s trunk to my American friends) with his favourite trance supplements. The IT Swami’s trance recipe? A quart of zinfandel, two bottles of Moet et Chandon, a jar of NoDoze, an ounce of gotukola, a packet of nutmeg, 100 grams of Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate, a jar of peanut butter, and 20 Marlboros - all perfectly legal I assure you. I headed over to Wainuiomata to the suburban commune the IT Swami established with a beach volleyball team.
After I had sat through the usual lecture on the spiritual merits of beach volleyball, we got on to the topic of IT in general and eventually (very eventually) to the IT Management Conference in particular. Once he worked out that the zinfandel was coming to an end if he didn’t come up with some visions, the IT Swami ate and drank everything else I had in the boot - including the Marlboros - and sank into a stupor. Apparently stupor is another word for trance in Wainuiomata.
I told him the conference will be in Las Vegas and that perked him up - one of his favourite cities apparently, except for another of his many failed business ventures. (Something about an unfortunate misunderstanding in a combined marriage chapel and dog-grooming parlour - I’m happy to say I missed the details).
Whether the ensuing groans were part of the visioning process or due to the peanut butter I don’t know. Between alarming sounds he started to see future visions. Most of it made little sense to me, make of it what you will: people with parrot-heads, pink crustaceans, volcanoes, cheeseburgers and pirates. Personally I put it down to the anti-freeze in the bulk zinfandel. Other bits were more coherent (more or less). He saw:
- a classroom full of people learning how to tweet (not parrots)
- a perfectly ordinary-looking conference except everyone was dressed in flip-flops
- margaritas in tiki bars (oh dear, my head hurts just thinking about it)
- a lean green elephant (OK that’s not entirely coherent, but then neither is a Pink Elephant)
I did ask the IT Swami about what he foresaw outside the conference itself. He was evidently too startled by what he saw on the streets of Vegas to be able to describe it, but then that’s any day of the week in Las Vegas. Some days it looks to me like a zoo without bars. Well not that kind of bars - you know what I mean. The zoo is in the bars. I’m sounding like him now…
So I left him to the ministrations of his beach-volleyball acolytes who nurse him through his peanut-butter-and-chocolate withdrawals. As I left I heard his faint voice say he could hear “Gulf and Western”, though what they sound like is beyond me. And something about him being buffeted by it?? Even by the IT Swami’s standards it is strange stuff, nothing I can unravel. Hopefully somebody out there can make sense of it.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
IT people saying we are doing governance - it is so cute
When I hear IT people talking about governance, I’m reminded of a small boy wearing his dad’s carpentry belt and boots and pretending to be a real grownup. Governance - real governance - is performed by the governors of an organisation, most of whom don’t work for it. That’s why we call it governance.
Over the years, governance has come to mean the management activities that: (1) put into effect governors’ directives; (2) collect data for governors’ monitoring; or (3) make proposals or escalations for the governors’ evaluation. We’re all - including this writer - guilty of slapping the label governance on these activities, where ideally they would be labelled something ponderous like governance-enablement or governors-management, or something snappy like policing.
I yield to the inevitability of yet another example of terminological debasement, but when we use the word “governance” in an IT context, let’s try to keep in mind that what we are really doing is managing; that true accountability flows right to the top; that the directives come from outside IT; and that’s where the resulting reports should go. What we do is very cute, but it’s only a plastic hammer and real governance tools - OUCH! HURTS! - belong to grown up governors.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Personal rant about people «complaining» about the ITIL® V3 scheme
There is much negativity presently in various blogs and social media sites about the ITIL® v3 scheme.
First, and sorry for being blunt, «It is what is it is».
Second, I am a senior examiner working with a great group of fantastic people. These people only want to create the best examination scheme possible.
Third, and for your information, coming up with the appropriate syllabus for each course in the ITIL® V3 qualification scheme was not easy. We, the senior examiner panel; came up with many great ideas but at the end of the process, we could not use them all. The scheme was reviewed and approved by the Qualification Board. The board is composed of members from each of the Examining Institutes (EI), ITSMF International, The official Accreditor (APM Group), and the Chief Architect for ITIL® v3. Many people are involved in this.
Fourth, please consider the following:
• The ITIL v2 qualification scheme covered just two  books (Service Support - 306 pages & Service Delivery - 373 pages) each with five processes plus the Service Desk and a bit of Security Management
o This meant twelve  topics to cover in 2 to 3 days depending on the Accredited Training Organization (ATO)
• The ITIL® v3 qualification scheme covers five  books covering five  phases, 26 processes and four  functions
o Stratgey (264), Design (334), Transition (262), Operation (262), Continual Improvement (220)
o This means 35 topics, which I admit cannot possibly be covered appropriately in just 2 to 3 days.
o This means some topics had to be left out.
o If I trust my calculator, that’s 679 pages for the previous scheme vs. 1342 pages for the current scheme to cover. That’s twice as much material.
Here are some examples of complaints:
Foundation level and the Manager Bridge Level
Many people complain that the Manager Bridge is a much better Foundation course than the Foundation course itself.
Look, the syllabus for the Manager’s Bridge course requires 30 hours of contact time while the Foundation syllabus requires 18 hours of contact time. Neither course covers all processes and all functions. They are different courses.
The target audience and the intended results are vastly different. The Manager’s Bridge is aimed at people who already possess their IT Service Manager certification. The Foundation is aimed at anyone new to the framework.
About the Intermediate Levels
There is a lot of stuff crammed in a short time.
The Lifecycle courses require 21 hours of contact time while the Capabilities courses require 30 hours of contact time.
Show up to class prepared. Being prepared makes your learning experience as well as those of your fellow students so much easier and so much more interesting. It also makes it that much more interesting for your instructor as well. The Lifecycle syllabuses/syllabi «strongly recommends» 21 hours of pre-course reading to be done “prior” to getting to class. Look at the syllabus, all of the sections to read have been identified for you. By the way, the capabilities syllabuses/syllabi recommend 12 hours of pre-reading time.
About the Accredited Training Organizations (ATO)
The syllabus is only a guide providing a list of the material to cover. Each ATO is free to present the material in the format and order they wish as long at they cover the entire syllabus. By the way, it is also up to the ATO to decide which diagrams to use or not.
The ATO must meet their EI’s strict requirements regarding the organizational processes, the course material, the instructors, and the instructor notes. For intermediate level courses, instructors must have a minimum number of years of experience and hold both the ITIL® Expert certification and the certification for the course they are teaching.
Of course, there are organizations offering online (computer-based) courses. The EI do have specific evaluation criteria for theses types of courses as well.
Becoming an (ITIL®) Expert
In order to be an expert in any field or discipline, one must put in effort and time; what people refer to at «sweat equity» or the «heavy lifting». One does not become an expert by attending an introductory class on a particular topic.
In the case of ITIL®, read the books! Read the books! Read the books! Discuss the topics with others, make them you own, identify where they are in your organization, read blogs and whitepapers. You should attend a set of courses covering the entire spectrum of the framework. Look to the syllabuses/syllabi for details of what is covered in each course.
About the exams
Finally, the examiners do not go out of their way to «trick» people with a «nasty» examination scheme. There are no «trick» questions. There are no «trick» answers. There are no situations where the difference between the best answer and the second best answer is only one word or a misplaced comma.
If you firmly believe that you can do a better job at writing exam scenarios, questions, answers and relevant rationales, please contact APMG and apply to become an examiner. Creating exam questions is not as easy as it seems.
If you are looking for the number of people that have achieved a particular qualification, for example, the number of people who followed the Manager Bridge route versus the ITIL® V3 route to become and ITIL® Expert please contact your Examining Institute and/or APMG.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
The Conference just got naughtier and nicer
A while ago I talked about how the 15th Annual Conference is going to be naughty but nice, thanks to the “unbalanced team” of subversives, Chris Dancy, Aale Roos, James Finister and me…and the folks from Pink, especially David. Things just got more extreme with the addition to that team of Ian Clayton. Ian has a crystal clear vision of service management, which he articulated brilliantly in his masterwork USMBOK, the Universal Service Management Body of Knowledge. This is the definitive description of service management (not IT-specific SM), a book I fall back on when I need clarity in my ITSM consulting. With his encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject, Ian is not afraid to point out when something doesn’t fit, is logically inconsistent, or doesn’t make sense. The vigour of the debate at the upcoming conference just went up another notch. I can’t wait.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The IT Swami predicts the themes of the 15th Annual IT Management Conference
Entering the new decade (the millennium is already old), IT is in an even more extensive and rapid state of change than it normally is, which is really saying something. The change is not really technology driven, though virtualisation and the internet play a part. Nor is it process driven, whatever the ITIL wonks like to think. The change is in the business models of IT and in IT’s relationship with the business. The IT departments that are still back in the mindset of keeping the lights on, keeping a tight rein on change, and carefully cutting code, are looking frankly bemused.
Everyone is struggling as fundamental rules are challenged. Organisational changes come faster than IT can analyse them let alone execute them. Production changes come in machine time not human. Data is never 100% accurate, and may differ depending on how and where you ask. We don’t control all our assets - we’re lucky if we know where they are. Systems are too complex to ever describe completely, let alone debug what just happened. We no longer control our staff’s desktops - they bring their own. We no longer control our user community - they meet on forums. Development is the integration of off-the-shelf-products and we contribute development to off-the-shelf-products. We need to be lean and green and cheap and agile and mobile and robust and sustainable and competitive.
I think there is a new mindset slowly emerging to come to grips with this chaos. Much of the momentum is coming from Cloud, which isn’t the real issue at all. We are learning to deal with imperfect information in an unpredictably mad world.
We talked recently about how Service, Governance and Assurance are strong themes in IT management for the twenty-teens (I like to use the word assurance to bundle risk, compliance, security and audit). In the context of what I’m ranting about here, look for a faster ITSM where change is the norm not the exception, where the steady state is change. Look for tighter governance to deal with looser (and buffeted) management. And watch out for more frequent and rigorous assurance that things are holding together.
As part of his mid-winter solstice rituals several years ago, the IT Swami* had a vision that “The …Three …Castors …Of …The …Seat …Of …IT’s …Future …are …are …Governance, Service and Compliance” which he later amended to ‘Governance, Service and Assurance” after a questionable research trip to Amsterdam. Come along to the 15th Annual IT Management Conference and listen to all the sessions to see if he is turning out to be right about Governance, Service and Assurance being emergent themes.
I’m off to ask him to go into a trance for us and predict some of the things you might see there at the conference.
*The IT Swami is the IT Skeptic’s alter-ego. While the IT Skeptic uses known facts to draw inference or predict outcome, the IT Swami is not so constrained. He uses instinct, second sight, crystals and patchouli to wildly speculate on the present and future.
Monday, July 05, 2010
Personal rant about «escalation»
I have been working in the IT industry since 1984. I have seen my share of technologies; both software and hardware come and go. I started my IT career answering the phone as part of a group called simply «the desk». Whenever we needed specialized assistance, we would first consult with someone in a specialist group and if we could not resolve the issue together, I would simply «transfer» the issue record. In those days, and in that company, it was on a paper form.
As I moved from company to company, I noticed the term «transfer» was used when specialized assistance was required. We rarely escalated anything to Management but we did keep them in the loop. Management became involved (i.e. escalated to) only is someone was uncooperative or if we needed someone to sign-off on an unexpected expense.
It was not until I became aware of ITIL® that I became familiar with its two types of escalation, functional and hierarchical (or hierarchic). There is nothing word with using the term escalation. It is only my personal preference not to use it.
What’s the difference?
Conceptually there is none. However, it causes all sorts of headaches. Functional escalation is too often interpreted to mean asking someone more important that the previous level, which is not the case.
Functional escalation means that someone with skills and knowledge that are more specialized needs to be involved. The analogy I use is travelling. Let us assume you are going on a cruise vacation.
1. You use a cab to get to the airport
2. You transfer to an airplane
3. After you land, you transfer to a bus to get to the dock
4. You then transfer to a ship for your cruise vacation
You used specialized modes of transportation to get to your destination. You transferred from one to another. You were not escalated to an airplane, bus, or ship.
So what’s the point?
The point is this. When you are designing processes and you come to a decision point regarding functional escalation, make sure that people do not think that functional escalation means to someone better or more important that the previous level. Functional escalation is about transferring the «record» (a.k.a. «ticket») which could be an event, an incident, a problem, a request, or even a change to someone with skills and knowledge that are more specialized.
From a personal experience, I had much fewer issues with the various levels of support when I worked in an environment that used «transfer» instead of functional escalation.
Since ITIL® uses functional escalation, use functional escalation. The purpose of the above is to help you clarify the difference between functional and hierarchical escalation.
By the way, you can use the above example free of charge to explain the concept of functional escalation.