The Skeptical Informer, April 2007, Volume 1, No. 3

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

This has been a quiet month for the IT Skeptic website, but not for the IT Skeptic.

The Raroa Coding Gnome (another alter-ego) has been busy developing our new OReckon project that will be piloted on the IT Skeptic website before too long. Add to that a family crisis and a week in the mountains with my son and the month is suddenly behind us without an awful lot on the blog.

The greatest excitement of the month was a set of allegations about the itSMF posted as comments by one Dr. Julie Linden. Don't rush off to look at them: much as I love a little scuttlebutt I had to edit them out - they were frankly libelous and (so far) totally unsubstantiated.

I don't remove stuff willingly (except spam and blatant commercials, which are ruthlessly expunged). I'm not happy about taking the allegations down. If and when there is evidence substantial enough to take on the most powerful, wealthy and litigous organisations in ITSM, the IT Skeptic will be first to daylight it (if Julie forgives me).

The other defining characteristic of the month for me was continuing frustration at OGC's and APMG's failure to act in the ongoing fiasco which is the ITIL certification industry right now. Nothing has changed since my tirade in last month's newsletter, which shows how much the ITIL establishment notices my few rocks tossed at the castle walls. It is terrible the way the training industry powers ahead in full gear, churning out ITIL Version 2 certifications without any direction as to whether they should be, under what terms, and just what the results are worth.

Next month I have the local itSMF national conference and I'll be presenting at the bITa USA Conference in Boston. We will also be on the home run to Refresh Day, May 31st. And Dr. Linden just may come up with something sensational. So I look forward to a more active and exciting month coming for the IT Skeptic website.

I guess after last month's monster edition of the Skeptical Informer, it is nice to have a briefer one for April. For those who feel short-changed, please forgive me. This is what lured me into neglecting you all:

(There is a pattern here: in January my son and I went camping in LOTR's Rivendell. This month we went to our hut which is near another LOTR set).

So sit back, relax and enjoy a low-key Skeptical informer for April, with a promise of more exciting times to come.

Editor's note: if you are new to the Skeptical Informer, the quirky nature pictures are in support of ITIL Version 3's nature-themed graphic designs

These are the IT Skeptic's picks from the comments of April 2007. As I said, it was quiet month, but the comments area was the most active. I wish I could print the allegations that appeared but my lawyer would kill me.

Visitor234- I am not a number! (not verified) |
...ITIL is a big moneyspinner and, on the course I did of around 30 students, not a single person failed. It's a big club with no substance for the boys (and girls) who want a new evangalistic pseudo-religion in the workplace.

ITILNooooooooooo |
...I recently read that ITIL should be treated, financially, as a core part of the business say like a PC or a UPS, an essential part of the business. So, where you may have to produce a return of investment on some specific item to improve the business with your PC, you don't because it's essential. I can see why they want to do that with ITIL - The thing is a money sponge!...

ITILNooooooooooo |
...Isn't it great that ITIL doesn't tell you how to implement stuff because that way it can't tell you how much you need to spend!

Visitor (not verified) |
...there's potential for the ITIL training provider community to get a bit of reputation if it is perceived they've urged people to take their certification in recent months and are now pushing for the obtained qualifications to be sidelined or devalued

skeptic |
...the fact is that once the market for ITIL resources gets at all competitive (and no sign of that here - desperate shortages of people), when that day comes a V3 Manager's cert beats a V2 Manager's cert... Pink reckon Foundation training will be available pretty soon after the June release. The word is that practitioner and manager certs are likely not to be out until end of year. they will be more radically revised, especially the practitioner groupings which will completely change.

Angus |
I am now in the middle of my Service Manager course as the provider in Canada (eduCORE) committed in writing to provide the one-day refresh to v3 for free once the material becomes available. Perhaps we can shame some of the other providers into making this the standard?

Onus (not verified) |
...I am convinced ...all of our certificates will be required to be 'refreshed', or in other words trashed. My prediction is that ITIL V3 is designed to drive a worldwide money machine for certain training organizations to re-accredit us all so we remain up to date. No continuing education strategy here - just plain blackmail... my current certificates will ...look like a my sons 2001 Nintendo when compared with the new XBOX 360!!!! ...I for one will not seek re-certification of my Service Manager. I paid $10,000USD to get it, plus time away from work for two weeks, and travel expenses. Probably upwards of $20,000 invested and now I have to wait and see what it is really worth... where is the itSMF in all this. NOONE is representing my case to the establishment - why not - I pay my dues - I want representation!...

kingmail53 (not verified) |
The level of thoughtfulness and thoroughness given to training and certification reflects the mindset and capability of the underlying "product" - ITIL v.3. Extremely bureaucratic, little attention to realities, etc. Did they honestly expect the training companies to just shut down for six months to a year while they mucked about slowly making up their minds? More bureaucratic buffoonery from the clodpated ITIL Brits.

Consolidating server sprawl is a cyclic event driven by cost. If they happen to implement application rationalization, rarely do the architectures revert to "putting it in one place"...I helped Google architect their infrastructure - the only semblence of centralization is the output on your browser and even that is an illusion. I'd give more detail but they take NDAs very seriously...There has always been and will continue to be strong advocates for centralized control. The ITU vs. the IETF is my favorite. The DRM advocates are another. But the strategy of "putting things in one place" usually doesn't work for long.

...when they use a virtual server they call it by the name LPAR - hmm smells like mainframe to me. The problem I am working on is dumb software vendors who want to charge my client for the number of CPUs on the box, not the CPUs allocated to task/application. Hmm I have vague memories of suppliers trotting this one out when the big iron was getting more CPUs. Next thing you know, we will be charging virtualisation by the MIP... ;-)

skeptic to be service-aware. That is, they see packets, so they can tell what the user experience is overall, but can they differentiate between packets for the Payroll application and packets for eMail and packets for the core business transactional system? One user might use all three services but have quite different SLAs for each...

Jan van Ommen (not verified)
...Look at the ingredients of a nice pie. Each individual ingredient is tasty, but combining all ingredients together might give you a bad taste after all. Not even speaking of the processes involved when preparing, baking or even serving the pie... low-fat, sugar-free... How do you measure your result? Exactly, by the taster or the audience. And they will NOT categorically tell you that a specific ingredient destroys the expected result. ITIL in that respect is just an ingredient...


You can measure effectiveness with metrics like incident counts, but most metrics are not good measures...So usually the baseline is an abstract figure called maturity. And maturity is nearly always measured against ITIL as the benchmark. The logic is you rate poorly against ITIl so you need ITIL to fix it. And lo and behold after you implement ITIL, your ITIL maturity improves, so ITIL was the right solution and ITIL delivered. This is the same circular reasoning as cults use: to measure you against their answer. it is also similar to the trick the Scientologists play when they accost people in the street and offer personality readings...

Honeywell is going live with a behind-the-firewall tagging capability...This is interesting for a number of reasons...Of course, it could be nothing more than hype.

Willisblag (not verified)
...ITIL shows you HOW this should work, but if your organization cannot be moulded to work that way for any number of reasons then you don't HAVE to do it. There is no 'ITIL COMPLIANCE' award. You dont fail !...

Paul (not verified)
Hmmmm itSMF have actually managed to create a website that doesn't look horrendous, this must be serious....

Visitor (not verified)
last year we had Sharon webinaring using Frontrange and now its Axioss - when weill we ever get a NON-VENDOR webinar for us folks in the trenches.. doesn't sound or feel vendor neutral to me.

J M Linden, Ph.D (not verified)
With the incredible competition in the ITIL/Service Management conference space coming into prominence, coupled with [THIS POST HAS BEEN EDITED TO COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF USE OF THIS WEBSITE]

Readers will see that three of the posts by Dr Linden have been edited to remove unsubstantiated allegations. The IT Skeptic is unwilling to take such action in a free and open forum, but the allegations are too serious to be allowed to stand without adequate (or indeed any) evidence. A favourite saying of skeptics is "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

J M Linden, Ph.D. (not verified)
...In an attempt to get further information [from the itSMFUSA]...I received the following reply: “We strive to ensure transparency… however, all the information you requested below is readily available to our members either via our website or upon request.” In order to get information about the organization, you must join the organization...

[Will the IT Skeptic lose anonymity by speaking at the bITa USA conference?] We've discussed my wearing a burqa, which would also improve my looks.


A Review of "IT Service Management from Hell! Based on Not-ITIL®" by Brian Johnson and Paul Wilkinson, editor Annelise Savill

This article has been podcast

IT Service Management from Hell is a silly book. And along the way it makes some serious points. A balanced view of anything is far healthier than blind obedience. Give this book to your staff to lighten the mood and stimulate discussion around ITIL.

This article has been podcast

More on ITIL Version 3 certification from Pink Elephant, so good on Pink for giving us some transparency into their thinking. Unfortunately that thinking is a bit alarming. OGC's and APMG's failure to act in the ongoing fiasco which is the ITIL certification industry right now is unacceptable.


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Books by the IT Skeptic

Rob England is the IT Skeptic. Under the pseudonym of the IT Skeptic he has published the following books:

book Plus! The Standard+Case Approach
See service response in a new light

book Basic Service Management
A 50-page guide to every aspect of service management

book Owning ITIL®
A skeptical guide for decision-makers

book Introduction to Real ITSM
A satire on IT operations

book The Worst of the IT Skeptic
all the good stuff from three years of this blog

book The IT Skeptic Looks at CMDB
the case against CMDB!

Full details of these and Rob's other books are here

All-time favourite blog entries

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.

A podcast of the original article: Book Review - "IT Service Management from Hell! Based on Not-ITIL®".

A Review of "IT Service Management from Hell! Based on Not-ITIL®" by Brian Johnson and Paul Wilkinson, editor Annelise Savill

IT Service Management from Hell is a silly book. And along the way it makes some serious points. A balanced view of anything is far healthier than blind obedience. Give this book to your staff to lighten the mood and stimulate discussion around ITIL.

Classic Skeptic

This discussion of CMDB and its total impracticality has got legs. Let me reinforce two points please: (1) CMDB can't be done because of the data and regardless of the implementation and (2) I'm talking about CMDB as specified by the ITIL books, not any old database. It can't be done.

From the blog

Now here is a conference session the IT Skeptic would love to attend: "Can’t Speak Won’t Speak – ITILv3 "!

The IT Skeptic will be presenting and participating in a roundtable discussion at the upcoming bITa USA conference The Building Blocks for Business IT Alignment.

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