The Skeptical Informer, January 2008, Volume 2, No. 1

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

Happy New Year everyone. December was a bit slow on the blog as I slogged away in a serious 24x7 operational role for the first time in years, but I look forward to a cracking 2008 now I return to fulltime blogging.

I had hoped that we might have the final seventh Executive Board member elected for itSMF International as news for this edition of the newsletter. But we don't.

We do however have the interesting spectacle of the itSMF International website transitioning to a new site. Spectacle? Well it wouldn't be itSMFI if it happened gracefully and seamlessly would it? The old site is gone, and hastily I might add. But the new site won't be ready until February. We have a "holding" arrangement in the interim.

So why did the old site have to shut down when the new one will be ready in a month or two?

Because itSMFI "have been informed that the current 3rd party support, for the current website, will be withdrawn from December 31st 2007." If you wonder what lies behind this, I have had indications that a key player in the ITSM world is withdrawing from the itSMF community, presumably in disgust at the shennanigans that I have been reporting on throughout 2007. That person provided the itSMFI with website hosting.

I suggest this is the tip of the iceberg. The IT Swami predicts:

More volunteers will be unwilling to contribute their efforts to an organisation that is so overtly supporting the commercial ITIL industry rather than the practice of service management, let alone the practitioners.

More practitioners will regard itSMF with apathy and disinterest as they see less personal value from it.

More and more, itSMF will depend on the contributions of those with a vested interest in doing so.

Sigh. There goes one of my New Year's resolutions, blown already.

Note for those paying attention: there is no December 2007 edition of the Skeptical Informer. I skipped it so that I now publish at the start of the month instead of a few days following the end of the month.

The theme for this month's pictures is of course "circus".

It was a bit quiet on the blog, probably for two reasons; the run up to Christmas, and because I was posting slower thsan usual.

HP came in for a bit of flak over OpenView Service Desk.

The question of ITIL as best practice saw some discussion, of both "best" and "practice".

The question of what is a "process" came up, in several places.

We had some strong discussion over the issue of measuring people by numbers.

The comparison of ITIL and COBIT drew a bit of comment including a couple from Rob Stroud, sorry Robert E. Stroud (Chair, COBIT Steering Committee).

In case you missed it there was an interesting update on the paths to the ITIL Expert qualification. the criticism of the training and certification just keeps coming.

We talked abit about the pros and cons of ITSM forums. ["Fora" actually but I used that in the original post and decided it looked wanky].

Ian made a good comment about the ongouing wishy-washiness of Release. There was also discussion of Retired Services.


As the IT Skeptic digs (happily) deeper into COBIT, I ponder the difference between COBIT and ITIL. In my simple layman's mind, ITIL is the hitchhiker's guide, COBIT is the encyclopaedia, rather like the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Encyclopedia Galactica.

This blog entry has been podcast
The IT Skeptic is pleased to announce our annual New Year's awards, inaugurated last year. These awards are presented to deserving figures and organisations in the IT industry in general and the ITSM industry in particular.

This year’s winners are:


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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...

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A podcast of the original article ITIL is the hitchhiker's guide, COBIT is the encyclopaedia
As the IT Skeptic digs (happily) deeper into COBIT, I ponder the difference between COBIT and ITIL. In my simple layman's mind, ITIL is the hitchhiker's guide, COBIT is the encyclopaedia, rather like the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Encyclopedia Galactica.

Classic Skeptic

This article has been podcast

CMDB is positioned as the key underpinning foundation to ITIL:

Configuration Management provides the foundation for successful IT Service Management and underpins every other process. The fundamental deliverable is the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) [Ref 1]

This is wrong. It is a peripheral nice-to-have. In a previous blog we discussed how it is currently an infeasible nice-to-have. Let's talk about doing without it.

From the blog

In our fast paced and cynical age, I doubt anyone takes New Year's resolutions seriously any more. Or if they do it is only for the duration of the modern attention span - about 30 seconds.

Nevertheless they do provide an opportunity to contemplate what we would like to improve and to prioritise what we are going to do about it. And they provide a source of amusement around this time of year (not to mention the amusement next year when we review how well we did).

So with that in mind, here are the IT Skeptic's New Year's Resolutions. In 2008 I will:

PohutakawaTo all our readers whatever your religious persuasion, whether it be Christian, Muslim or Itsm, we wish you the complements of the season and best wishes for the year to come. May all your projects be funded, your problems have roots, your incidents be brief, and your changes be successful.

My thoughts go especially at this time to all of you carrying pagers and mobiles, on call over the holiday.

There are a large number of ITIL forums on the Web these days, of varying levels of participation and insight. The IT Skeptic thinks their value is strictly limited but for what it is worth here are a dozen of them.

Thanks and congratulations go to itSMF International [wow, it must be Christmas time] for launching an official discussion forum.

Perhaps readers can help out one of your fellows who is stuck on the ITIL Version 3 process "Strategy Generation".

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