Tuesday, 28 June 2011

To put it another way....

In my post earlier today I linked to the self congratulating page of reviews for ITIL 2011 Edition.

James West tweeted that

"If ITIL v3 was so hard to read in the first place, as these comments infer, why wasn't it called a draft?"

Good point James, so why don't we turn those comments around to refer to v3.0:

'ITIL lacks  clarity and consistency amongst the five books , is difficult to read and hard for users to understand.
'The first edition contains many inconsistencies to be removed .
'Although these are a  great set of books there is content  that needs clarification or correction, and other topics I wish had more coverage!
'ITIL publications require an astounding improvement . The language and descriptions are not clear and concise, and don't give  the reader a clear appreciation of the processes and stages of the ITIL lifecycle.'
 'ITIL is a useful resource but not an essential one.
'Strategy is not accessible. It doesn't flow, it  doesn't link up to the other stages of the lifecycle .
' ITIL Service Strategy is not an easy read. it is too theoretic and not practical.
'Service Design. is like a 'jigsaw' puzzle without the picture on the box.'
ITIL Service Operation ' is ambiguous, and inconsistent especially around roles and responsibilities, particularly in technical management, IT operations and applications management.
'The inclusion of proactive problem management and additional analysis techniques [in ITIL Service Operation] would be of great value.' 
'Service Transition has many confusing aspects.  SKMS, CMS, CMDB  is a mystifying and unhelpful maelstrom.
Service Transition lacks synergy making it hard for the reader to locate like-for-like content across the process areas covered. More practical application and alignment more closely to real-world experience would be useful'

Now, aren't you glad you spent all that money on the v3.0 books and training?

ITIL 2011 Edition

As I write this the ITSM community is eagerly awaiting the release of  ITIL 2011 Edition due on 29th July.

Many of us have no real idea what to expect from it except the crumbs of information provided by the FAQ and the self-congratulating review page.  This is in stark contrast to the approach taken by ISACA who ensure that drafts receive a wide audience before publication, a point picked up on by several blogs.

As you would expect Rob England has a few thoughts on the subject, and so does my colleague  Stephen Mann from the ITSM Rest of the World Podcasts. Like most of us they have not seen any of the content, so their comments refer mostly to the process around the revision.

It seems like only five minutes ago that v3 was launched with much hoo-hah, but like Stephen I wonder what change it has really brought about at the coal face. Also like Stephen I have still to see what I consider an ITIL v3 implementation in the wild - I think his blog post accurately reflects the reality that many who claim to have moved on to a v3 paradigm are still struggling to effectively deliver in areas that date back to v1.

I can't help feeling cynical about the new edition. However it is being dressed up this new version has been required because there were major mistakes in the way v3.0 was delivered, such as a lack of consistency and accessibility. Hopefully those two issues will largely have been addressed in the new version, and if so it is to be welcomed.

So what are my concerns going forward? I have three major ones:

The first is that ITIL continues to lack a central set of principles and propositions to guide ITSM design and delivery. Until it does so it will remain, as Ian Clayton would put it, Inside-Out rather than Outside-In. If the only answer to "Why should we do it this way?" is "Because ITIL says so" then ITIL remains broken.

Secondly I'm concerned that the ITSM/ITIL industry will hype up the significance of the changes to promote yet more training and ancillary publications of dubious value.

Thirdly I suspect the world portrayed in the ITIL books will continue to be a long way removed from the reality that most of us recognise in our workplaces. When I look back to the v1 books - and I do - I find them grounded in real life as it then was.

In the run up to the launch I intend to cover all three of these points in more detail. You can also expect to hear them, and more, debated on the podcasts.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

SDI 11

I've just returned from an exciting two days at this year's Service Desk Institute Conference and thought I would share a few thoughts with you post event.

Before going any further I have to thank the SDI for providing me with a free pass for the two days so that we could record an ITSMWPROW podcast there. More of that latter.

Being an inveterate people watcher I found the mix of the audience interesting. This is very much a grass roots service desk practitioner event and that was reflected by the people in the room, but all were unified by an overwhelming enthusiasm for what they do - not because they think it is interesting, but because they believe it is important to the people they serve.

I'll call out, perhaps unfairly, two teams for special mention. The Kent Council IT service desk have recently retained their SDI 4 star rating, and talking to Paula and Emily on the first of the two SDI11 podcasts we recorded it was clear that they are driven by a desire to go on improving the service they provide whilst acknowledging the constraints the UK public sector is currently working within. They also echoed a common message among attendees - addressing customer satisfaction mechanisms is a real challenge.

The second team I'm going to call out have addressed that challenge head on. TNT Express, the well deserved winners of the Large Team Award. They get close to the customer by sending team members out to experience "a life in a day" of their customers, which means helping out the delivery drivers on the road wearing overalls and safety boot. Again we will be featuring them on an upcoming podcast and I really urge you to listen to what they have to say.

The great thing about a conference like this one is that the technology stays firmly in the background and the spotlight falls on people. This was certainly reflected by the messages of most of the speakers. I'm sure that for a lot of people Catherine DeVrye's sessions were inspirational.

James West picked up an interesting theme about the role of ITIL at the event, which I think reflects what we are hearing at other conferences as well, and the theme was also evident in some of the comments made by various industry gurus on Barclay Rae's ITSM TV.

Having put in a lot of links to Twitter accounts in this article I should mention  Frieda's session on social media. It still seems to be the case that Twitter is under used at UK ITSM events which is a real shame, especially for those who cannot attend in person.

So there you are. We will be covering a lot more from the conference in the upcoming podcasts, but a heartfelt thanks to Howard, Emma Tessa and the rest of the SDI team.