The Skeptical Informer, February 2008, Volume 2, No. 2

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

New Zealand television news has declined so far that they think it news when some trashy pop tart re-admits herself to the nut-house. So when the Mickeysoft bid for Yahoo makes the 6pm headlines, it means something. When the battle royal between them and Google is drawn to the attention of the great unwashed masses, there is a message there. The trouble is I'm not entirely sure what it is. I do know that this kind of competition will likely be a good thing for the internet community.

We could use some competition in the IT operations BOK space. Right now there is only one game in town, ITIL. And it shows. It shows in the arrogance of the certification industry, who design training to suit themselves not their clients. It shows in the ITIL aristocracy, who think they can do what they like without reference to the peasants funding the whole circus. It shows in the user community, rendered apathetic through lack of choice or excitement.

What the IT community needs is a bloody good stoush, a cracking brawl between two competing bodies of knowledge. ITIL needs a challenger to keep it honest.

I had high hopes for ISO20000, but it seems too big, too abstract, too challenging, too something... The response to date has been underwhelming.

It could have been MOF, except for the Microsoft kiss of death.

There are multiple wanna-be challengers out there, but all lack something to give them serious momentum.

Perhaps IBM really will do something, like I once suggested in jest. Or ITSMBOK will find a heavy backer to give it some oomph. Or itSMF USA will break away, toss the tea in the harbour (sorry, "harbor") and do their own un-British thing.

Somebody, somewhere do something! This smug complacent decadence is infuriating.

Comments were quiet on the blog for a second month. The Northern Hemisphere does not go into a torpor for January the way we do down here, so I assume the reduced activity stems entirely from my own leisurely posting rate.

It is good to see new people posting comments each month, though I must say a fair proportion seem to have their own websites: the ITSM blogging industry looks to be as incestuous as the blogging industry overall.

A thread from last month ended with an interesting comment about

Strategy, and the mechanisms leading up to it, are disturbingly often explained in simplistic terms. Its nature is inherently dialectic and characterized by uncertainty. It deals with a future state we cannot really know...Can we "plan" it, as in a process? I don't know, but, if so, it should be done with an understanding of the limits and traps of "strategic planning".

and another thread from December ended with discussion of Metric Monkeys - managers who manage by numbers.

Another ongoing thread was discussion of exactly what the processes are in ITIL3. Several more were suggested.

The topic of certification continued with a discussion of the relevance of ITIL V1 certifications today.

The IT Skeptic Annual Awards generated some heated comment, as they are likely to do. Someone leapt to the defense of Sharon Taylor,which lead to a discussion of the fairness of the awards, and degenerated into accusations of sycophancy. A branch thread started with that perennial "what is process" and led to an interesting discussion of BPM and its successes and failures as a BOK.

The post about the blogging industry brought new readers and new commenters. Likewise the comments about my post on privacy, which led to an interesting discussion on whether privacy is any defense against malevolent government.

Relevant to my editorial in this newsletter, I took a swipe at APMG for its ongoing degradation of the training and certification process. Appalling.

We considered the question of ITIL's scope of coverage of ITSM, actual and potential, which continued here. A closely related thread was this one on ITIl vs ISO20000: how they relate, the uptake of ISO20000 (and ITIL3), and so on. It included this quote:

One of my concerns about ITIL 3 is that amongst all the hype there is a sub text that ITIL 2 is old hat and everybody has already done it, rather than an acknowledgment that organisations still struggle with the basics.

The comment of the month must be this one though:

ISACA is devoid of politics. itSMF is a Petri dish for politics.

Nailed it in one.


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:

This post has been podcast

If you missed this month's edition of the Skeptical Informer, you missed some scuttlebutt about why the itSMF International website has hastily gone off the air. The circus continues - all part of an endless litany of mis-management, spats, dodgy deals and mis-governance through 2007.

By way of contrast, it is interesting to reflect that in the past two months ISACA has, for me personally as a member, done the following:

itSMF exists as a marketing arm of the ITSM industry, by definition. An open market is a wonderfully self-levelling system: money flows where the potential money is. So itSMF forms a very good indicator of where the interest or 'action' is in ITSM at the time. Right now it is ITIL. But what about the future?

People demand online privacy as if it were some god-given right. Privacy is an abberation of recent history, a transitory phenomenon that is evaporating quickly in the hot light of technology. Privacy is dead - get over it.


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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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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.

Classic Skeptic

[Updated 28th February 2009]
Of course not. To look and listen around the IT industry these days one would think so, but there is actually more than one game in town.

From the blog

itSMF International announce the election of Ken Wendle (HP, USA) to the seventh position on the Executive Board, defeating Pauline Angelico (Itilics, Singapore). The old school wins over fresh ideas.

Regular readers will be aware that the IT Skeptic takes a break this time of year and goes camping with the son and heir in Kaitoke: a place best known to the world as Rivendell, for you LOTR fans. It is only 40 minutes from here so we do get home for a shower and a quick log in to email and websites - hence the irregular postings.

DrupalFurther to the news that itSMF International had the plug pulled on its website (covered in the last edition of the Skeptical Informer) and is scrambling to implement a new one, the pilot site is coming along.

Who left the IT in itSMF? Service Management can be about so much more than IT. What a shame we have kept our focus narrow. Perhaps one day Service Management will become a universal discipline.

Blogging is developing into this incestuous industry of bloggers writing about blogging and each other. The resulting spiral has the industry rapidly disappearing up its own fundamental orifice.

Fuelled by the vanity of everyone having their own soapbox, a money engine is emerging where blogging is seldom about anything useful or relevant outside of its own onanistic world. Bloggers are all busy selling advertising and affiliate programs to each other. Their content is on how to blog, or how to make money from the internet which usually involves ... wait for it ... blogging.

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