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Troy DuMoulin, VP, Research & Development

Troy is a leading ITIL® IT Governance and Lean IT authority with a solid and rich background in Executive IT Management consulting. Troy holds the ITIL Expert certifications and has extensive experience in leading IT Service Management (ITSM) programs with a regional and global scope.

He is a frequent speaker at IT Management events and is a contributing author to multiple ITSM and Lean IT books, papers and official ITIL publications including ITIL’s Planning To Implement IT Service Management and Continual Service Improvement.


The Guide

"This blog is dedicated to making sense out of the shifting landscape of IT Management. Just when we thought we had a good handle on managing technology, the job we thought we knew is being threatened by strange acronym’s like ITIL, CMMI, COBIT, ect.. Suddenly the rules have changed and we are not sure why. The goal of this blog is to offer an element of sanity and logic to what can appear to be chaos."

Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactic as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First, it is slightly cheaper: and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."
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Friday, September 12, 2008

ITIL’s Gift Of A Common Language

I Call It A Trunk and You Call It A Boot

The strange thing is that neither word does a particularly good job of describing a luggage compartment in a car and yet within our cultural boundaries people know very well what we mean by either one. However, leave the comfort of your current cultural context and you cannot be totally sure that people understand your intent by the vocabulary you use.

Language is a diverse and rich tool by which we express ourselves. However, it can also be a stumbling block and a subject over which we are confused, disagree or at least misunderstand each other. It is bad enough when we use completely different words such as trunk and boot to mean the same thing. However I feel truly sorry for the poor traveler who is caught unaware and is embarrassed by the use of a common word that has a totally different meaning in a different place. For example asking someone if they like your pants has a very different context in North America versus the United Kingdom.

George Bernard Shaw’s quote about the Americans and English: “Two Peoples Separated By A Common Language” is very true.

Don’t get me wrong, living in Canada I admire and respect cultural richness and diversity. However, when it is necessary to work at a common purpose and process across organizational boundaries such as local IT departments, geographical regions and dealing with multiple external suppliers, a common language is a Critical Success Factor.

While the poets and writers such as Shakespeare may disagree there is a time and place for a common language with shared definitions.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” ~From Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

A key benefit the ITIL library provides is a neutral (non partisan) common vocabulary and set of definitions for global IT Service Management. Lets face it, if you put 10 IT professionals in a room from different organizations and ask them what a service is, you will get at least 12 answers. While I value creative flexibility as much as the next person I would prefer to avoid confusion where people cannot understand each other due to an issue of communication. The challenges of implementing IT Service Management are already daunting enough without having to argue over terms and definitions.

Common Terminology and PinkVERIFY

As many of the readers may know Pink Elephant provides a service called PinkVERIFY(TM) to the ITSM community where we will assess tools on request by the vendor for ITIL compatibility. The criteria we use for this assessment comes from a collection of ITIL guidance, vendor, practitioner and Pink experience that you can download for free from our website.

As part of this service we have written a white-paper where we define ITIL-compatible as:

Compatible = The software tool supports the PinkVERIFY criteria and ITIL terminology “out of the box” as part of its standard commercial offering.

ITIL Terminology is referenced from the official ITIL glossary hosted by the OGC’s “Best Management Practice” website.

A recent post on Dovetail Software blog has taken issue with this stand.

While I respect that not all organizations and individuals may share this view and have every right to disagree, I believe a common language is foundational to good and effective communication within the context of a process.

Pink also acknowledges in the PinkVERIFY whitepaper:

”Note: There are many excellent tools available on the market and practitioners should not exclude any tools from their selection process just because they do not have the PinkVERIFY certification;”

Troy’s Thoughts What Are Yours?

Dictionaries are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true. ~Samuel Johnson



(2) Comments
Posted by Troy DuMoulin on 09/12 at 02:47 PM
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