The Skeptical Informer, December 2009, Volume 3, No. 10

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

The IT Skeptic likes to think I'm not just a barmy troublemaker, that I actually give back to the IT community too, in a couple of ways: by introducing new ideas, and by providing a forum for evolving ideas. I'm endlessly fascinated by the basic ITSM questions that generate great debate: ITSM is clearly not a mature science, whatever ITIL tries to suggest. So many questions are unresolved, left unanswered by ITIL or other bodies of knowledge. I've recently discovered just how awful LinkedIn is as a forum for discussing them: there is a lot of twaddle on the group discussions. Posts that are illogical, or ignorant. Posts that don't even parse or make any sort of sense. I've kept a tight editorial rein over the IT Skeptic blog: if someone posts rubbish I tell them privately and ask if they would like to recover some of their dignity; occasionally I just pillory them. As a result we get a high standard of comments and they constitute a more valuable resource than the original blog posts. I think we've all learnt from them and advanced our thinking on ITSM issues. Thank-you to everyone who has contributed. Then there are the fresh ideas. Even the satirical book Introduction to Real ITSM had what I thought were a few good serious ideas. And the IT Skeptic blog has introduced quite a few more. Next time I get a chance I will tag a lot of them with a topic thread so they are all drawn together (and just maybe one day they'll be a book - that's about number 10 on the list of potential books). If my ideas suck, there is still strong debate around them by some of the leading ITSM thinkers. This newsletter has passed 1000 subscribers which isn't bad but neither is it a lot when you consider the world's ITSM practitioners number in the millions. Likewise the blog gets tens of thousands of visitors a month but that isn't a lot either in that context. And there are some heavy duty minds I don't see participating in the debates on the blog - I'd like it to become the leading site for thrashing out some of these thornier questions - and the basic ones that still seem to be unresolved. So do me a favour please: get a little evangelical. Tell a few colleagues and peers about the IT Skeptic. There's real value there in amongst the rock-throwing and other fun - lead them to it. I'd like more people to be getting that value - it would give my efforts more purpose. And sure, in tough times some extra income wouldn't hurt in justifying those efforts either. I'm not looking back at the month that was this time, despite the temptations of all the infighting going on within itSMF. So here's to a new year. May the blog grow and contribute even more, to ITSM in particular and IT in general. You can do your bit to help that happen: this newsletter always has an invitation on the bottom to forward it to those who might be interested. And may the new year be a good one for you and your business. May I be wrong in some of my gloomier predictions - I sure hope I am (but keep something in reserve in case I'm not, OK?). Happy New Year! P.S. This month's pictures are from some of my favourite places, courtesy of Google Earth. The Pukerua Bay winds are howling and I got the travel bug bad.


Playing "bush lawyer", I have been tracking down the terms under which OGC control the copyright to ITIL (discussed here recently). And it makes an interesting little story: ITIL was almost free. And I think maybe PRINCE2 is.

Every year the IT Skeptic website starts the New Year with our Awards. (You can see past years' awards here). This year we have quite a few, and even more than most years OGC seems to have swept the field:

Dear Wiz

The auditor pinged us for not creating a problem record every time we have a major incident. I've been through ITIL V3 and ISO20000 and I can't find anything that says we should. What do you think?

P***ed Off

A BOKKED post three months ago drew a lot of attention. It was about the disconnect between Incident and Problem Management in ITIL V3 Service Operation. [See also the ITIL Wizard stirring the pot about Major Incidents] I've just discovered a response to that post which has popped my brain with its simplicity and clarity

During two ITSM consulting engagements recently, I was reminded of a fundamental fact about ITIL – it works.

We stridently criticise ITIL – few more than me – because we want it to be better, and there is room for that, but we would not waste the breath and effort if it was not worth it. ITIL works. It is a useful tool.

It seems to me that the technoid's obsession with over-analysing and chasing perfection - what I call ETF: Excessive Technical Fastidiousness - is often applied to the definition of services.

Wizard Wisdom

Dear Wizard

I have been tasked with a project to introduce service management globally in our organisation. I hope you can help me with a few quick questions

Hi Wiz

I hear all about the combination of Lean and ITIL. Every day I read something telling me how essential it is I combine the two. But I don't seem to be able to find a case study of it actually having been tried. Can you point me to any please?

Skinny Evidence


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Dear users,
the email subscription engine on this site has caused much grief over the years. Effrective 31st November we'll be turning it off unless there is much protest from the users - you guys. Anybody desperately need it? The RSS feeds provide an alternate mechanism for new content and/or comments
this won't affect newsletters

Classic Skeptic

There is much talk about the dangers of offshoring.

From the blog

BSM cover
Rob England's latest book is titled Basic Service Management

Not ITSM, just SM. Everything you need, in 50 pages.

Out now!

In my up-coming book Basic Service Management, I am using the term "governance support" to distinguish from governance.

It seems to me that anonymity and the emotional detachment of typed communication lead to a decline in basic civilised behaviour. The dark side of the web is evident, such as two recent examples I have come across.

The IT Skeptic has made some New Year resolutions for a better IT Service Management - read them here

Although Australian readers have the option to sit ITIL exams with other organisations such as Prometric, we recommend you use APMG-Australasia for the Practitioner exam. Unlike other examiners (and contrary to the syllabus) they appear to allow you to take a book into the exam:

Perhaps you too were under the impression that itSMF is about ITSM, i.e. more than just ITIL. Certainly itSMFuk is heavily involved in ISO20000 as well as ITIL. Well not in the good ol' USA.

Ever wondered how to get to be an tSMF International Global Member and what you get for your money? Me neither, but Chris asked so here is the answer...

If the Brits are taking control of ITIL, perhaps the Yanks are planning to take control of itSMF. Here is a little known fact: itSMF International Board members don't have to be members of an itSMF chapter. itSMF Global Members have the privilege of nominating their own Board members!

OGC recently published a brochure describing their intellectual property rights over ITIL. Please do not rely on that document to guide your decisions on usage of ITIL.

TSO has appointed the four "mentors" for the ITIL Refresh Refresh (thanks servicesphere)

Ranging a little far afield today, but what is it about apostrophes? The rules for their use are simple yet a fair chunk of the human race seems incapable of learning them. The UK has the delightful Apostrophe Protection Society to whom I am indebted for the following:

1. They are used to denote a missing letter or letters
2. They are used to denote possession
3. Apostrophes are NEVER ever used to denote plurals!

That's it.

APMG have annnounced the ITIL Master certification.

Thankyou to everyone who voted for me in the ComputerWeekly blog awards: I came runner up! Not bad for an un-certified ex-vendor living 12,000 miles away in a tiny village in a tiny country - the internet is just awesome. Congratulations to Alim Ozcan on winning the category.

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