A bulletin from the castle

I wrote last week about how we are in the dark over the new joint venture between her Majesty's UK Government and Capita owning the "Swirl portfolio": ITIL, Prince2 and assorted other IP products.

A bulletin (pdf) has fluttered down from the castle wall today.

ImageNobody actually came out of the gates to deliver it - it was tossed over the wall.

My interest is in the role of the practitioner community and the impact on us. So I was sensitive to the line in the accompanying email

This communication is being sent to as many people within the community as possible, but we would be grateful if you could cascade this information to ATOs, ACOs and other organisations that you work with.

...Oh, and distribute it to the masses if you like I suppose.

The bulletin itself is careful to be more inclusive

The new company’s role will therefore be to support the development of independent communities of practice, orchestrating expert and user-generated product development activities ... This is about co-ordination, rather than control.


The promise is that the JV will be

Building an online community of practitioners, providing continuous updates, user-generated content and tailored/localised information through a social and highly collaborative platform

We've been promised this many times before by many organisations. Most independent, not-for-profit, community-based attempts to do this fail, let alone corporate ones.

One of the things I am struggling to get my head around is how much I feel like contributing, collaborating and volunteering for the new - and still un-named - JV. The user communities of other commercial products are sometimes very active, and people can get quite passionate in their support of a money-making venture.

But it is still hard to escape the fact that you are then working to enrich somebody else, in this case the shareholders of Capita.

If you believe strongly enough in the advancement of ITIL then that is a minor consideration, and so it will be for many in our industry: ITSMers can be quite evangelical.

On the other hand

  • public service by individuals is in decline: these are the Me generations
  • the internet has engendered a loss of respect... no an outright contempt for the value of IP
  • society grows ever more cynical and jaded about the motives of any profit-based organisation

How this plays out is anyone's guess.

One last thought: count the number of mentions of itSMF. Nada.

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