The Skeptical Informer, November 2007, Volume 1, No. 10

The newsletter of the IT Skeptic. All the IT skeptical news that is fit to print... and then some!

Fatigue took its toll on the IT Skeptic this month. I would like to think it didn't show but I suspect it did. If so, my apologies for any dip in quality or frequency of content.

The month was marked mainly by a new flurry of itSMF silliness. I know I know. I'm as over it as you are, but when the guy who is the business partner of the person who wrote the book which didn't need IPESC review even though the other five did, gets elected chair of the same IPESC even though he only sits on IPESC as an invited representative of itSMF not as a nominated country member, just after his partner got elected chair of itSMF International in a hasty election by six sevenths of the Board who had been elected in an election where 42% of nominees were rejected ... well what am I to do? Ignore it? Now I'm not suggesting there is anything illegal, immoral or fattening in any of this, but it is silly. Such lack of good governance from an organisation like itSMF is farcical. And that's not all of it: there is plenty more.

The thing I find most fascinating is the contrast with brother organisation ISACA. Look for a blog in December where I take a fresh perspective on this contrast. We will actually manage to find an upside to all the itSMF slapstick.

Then there is more to explore. As I said on the blog recently, in the past the IT Skeptic has examined such topics as Web 2.0, call centres , VOIP and open source. I'd like to do more but ITIL and itSMF provide such fertile fields. Something to do with what they sprinkle on them...

Elsewhere I've also looked at topics as diverse as geeks, technological complexity, mindless faith in computers, professional mediocrity, corporate "training", and best practice.

The blog will diversify in 2008... promise.

The theme for this month's pictures is "silly"

We had an interesting month for comments in the blog: ongoing consternation over training and certification; an outbreak of discussing global politics (with yours truly one of the culprits); and some good solid content worthy of readers' attention.

The definition of helpdesk vs service desk, or X-Desk, or just X-...

Will the ITIL Version 3 Foundation syllabus and exams ever settle down? Will we ever understand the certification scheme? One thread proposed a trainers' study group to deal with uncertainty and changing conditions.

itSMF "funny business" continues unabated. One day I'll blog about the remarkable contrast with nice staid professional ISACA (unless someone wants to enlighten me otherwise?)

A wildly rambling thread took us from ITIL V3 processes to certification to green ITSM (oh puhleeese) to oil prices and Arab terrorism.

CA has a fan, an event unusual enough to note. This was one of two pro-vendor threads. Not that I have anything against vendors. Some of my best friends are vendors :) The first thread discussed vendor developers' certification against ITIL, and the second thread went into their ability (or otherwise) to actually deliver consulting. Another discussion was less positive about HP, includng feedback on the recent product announcements.

My blog about management vs. governance triggered some really beefy discussion on governance and on KPIs, including input from Mr Metrics himself, Peter Brooks. It also included Five ITIL Myths that I can't top.

Finally we got some good discussion of ITIL as best practice going, with a brief digression into ITIL wikis.


I agree with a recent comment about vendors being an essential part of the ITIL community. I have defended their presence and influence before. But we lack the governance to ensure that presence is a healthy one.

The IT Swami predicts the next itSMF AGM will involve Board members coming and going through doors on both sides of the stage, occasionally in disguise and at least one in drag.

It is a little speculative, but I suspect what they are up to is to keep the governance farce going long enough that people like me will give up writing about it. It is a good strategy - I'm just about over it.

There can be few other explanations for the following chronicle from the latest Skeptical Informer newsletter:


Subscribe now

If you are not a subscriber already, click here to subscribe to have future editions of this newsletter emailed to you.

Get all the IT skeptical news that is fit to print ... and then some!

Spread the word

Pondered the ramifications, debated the implications, now there is only one thing left to do: get the t-shirt! Or coffee mug or mouse pad...

Recent podcasts

A podcast of the original article Don't fall for the demo: an asset database with bells and whistles is not a CMDB

Don't fall for the demo: anyone can set up an asset database with enough relationship bells and whistles on it to fool themselves and others that they have a CMDB. People set up a CMDB and either grossly overspend beyond any reasonable ROI to complete it, or settle for the delusion that an asset database is a CMDB. The vendors of service desks sell an asset database that looks a bit like a CMDB then claim all the benefits of a CMDB.

Classic Skeptic

I have been discussing ITIL ROI with the Spanish ITIL community, via Antonio Valle's blog with the magnificent name "Gobierno de las TIC. Conocimiento Adquirido". I was asked the question “How is the relationship between an architectural project and a house?”.

Unless one is setting up a data centre from scratch, I don't think the architect analogy fits. An ITIL adoption is usually more like renovations.

From the blog

The Charlotte conference of itSMF USA this year was something of a non-event for me after Julie Linden's threats of a crowd of people revealing all regarding an election rort involving "100 votes" came to nothing.

"You can't manage what you can't measure". Who on earth came up with that one? One of my big concerns about the application of ITIL is it's emphasis on KPIs. Useful but dangerous.

Over a year ago, the IT Skeptic argued that ITIL is not best practice. Now Version 3 is upon us, has anything changed?

The 'not-so-obvious' V2 abbreviation of CAB/EC (CAB Emergency committee) for the subset of CAB taking decisions on emergency changes is changed to EmergencyCAB or ECAB. No objections to that.

Note: Even I saw a question on this in the foundation paper regarding who authorizes emergency changes - where both the options were given!! If you missed this change in V3, you (I mean V2 aware people) can rest assured that you lost one mark!

Now about the inconsistency:

We had some interesting discussion of how many processes there actually are in version 3. OGC are coy about this in the books. Now itSMF has published a free downloadble booklet, and it has a list of ITIL Version3 processes. And what is the itSMF's count of processes?

Malcolm Fry, who has been BMC's ITIL "thought leader" since they acquired Remedy, is billed at the 2008 HDI conference as "Executive Consultant to CA". Seems he's been over to the dark side for a little while. Well well well. I wonder what Beemer think about that.

A recent edition of that fine publication, ComputerWorld New Zealand, offers good advice, from Steve Hodgkinson of Ovum, for those on the receiving end of negative comments in the blogosphere:

respond to the critical comments directly and positively — acknowledging them as valid feedback — and providing either a factual and constructive rebuttal or indicating what the company is doing about addressing the issues raised.

Selected comments

Please forward this newsletter to someone who would enjoy it

Subscribe | Blog | Blog RSS | Podcast RSS | Feedback

© Copyright 2006-2009 Two Hills Ltd All rights reserved
Permission is required to reproduce this content in any form. Brief extracts may be used without permission if attributed with a link to the site.
"The IT Skeptic™", "The Skeptical Informer™", "The IT Swami™", "Chokey the Chimp™" and "BOKKED™" are trademarks of Two Hills Ltd.

ITIL® is a Registered Trade Mark and a Registered Community Trade Mark of the UK Office of Government Commerce ("OGC"). ITIL® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
COBIT® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association and the IT Governance Institute.
Microsoft® is a Registered Trade Mark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
CMM® is a Registered Trade Mark of Carnegie Mellon University.
ISO® is a Registered Trade Mark of the International Organisation for Standardisation.

This newsletter and its contents are neither associated with nor endorsed by the OGC or any other organisation.

The contents of this newsletter do not represent the views of Two Hills Ltd.