The Skeptical Informer, October 2007, Volume 1, No. 9

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

This month I have been reflecting on recent events in the ITIL world, and I must say it induces a pretty jaundiced view. This blog started out as a critical examination of some of the theoretical assumptions behind ITIL content, but events over the past year have sidetracked much of that as I reported some of the goings on in the ITIL community. Some days the blog started to sound like News of the World or the Sun. So in that vein...

Scuttlebutt: itSMF International refused a certain country's nomination for chairperson; but the outgoing chair, Brian Jennings, is quite happy to be their conference keynote speaker. Withdraw privileges when it suits us and extend them likewise.

More scuttlebutt: Sharon Taylor and Ivor Macfarlane are business partners, or at least they were. Ivor's UK address has recently disappeared from Sharon's company's website at (but it was there). Is it because he went to work for IBM? or because the link is seen as a bit too close for comfort when Sharon is also supporting Ivor's highly contentious bid for the Chair of IPESC? Aspect group still lists Ivor's company, Guillemot Rock, as an affiliate.

Even more scuttlebutt: Ivor's election as Chair of IPESC has ruffled a few feathers, including on the incoming Board of itSMF International. Why? Because Ivor is arguably not even a member of IPESC, just an invited representative of itSMFI. Certainly Ivor's name was listed an an officer but not a member on the original list of members put out by the returning officer, Luciana Abreau. Certain members of IPESC have been vocal in the past, apparently with the support of the IPESC, that they do not want a Board-imposed Chair. On the other hand the IPESC has voted for Ivor so I guess that answers that.

Given that in recent times we have had:

...poor little IT Skeptic can hardly keep up. It is never a dull moment in the ITIL world. An extraordinary contrast to the genteel goings on over at ISACA.

I don't know about you but it makes me seriously consider my future with itSMF. I think I'll always stay a member but I am certainly looking at other options as well. One wonders how long all this can go on and the itSMF/ITIL edifice continue to stand. In reference to that last comment, the theme of this month's illustrations is "ruins".

Due to pressure of work (gasp! REAL work) the IT Skeptic is having a break this month from reviewing comments on the blog.

Did you know you can subscribe to an RSS feed of the latest comments on the blog? Get notified on your favourite reader.


Call, contact, request, incident, issue, task, ticket, job - they are all the same thing really. The latest one I heard was the "case". They are all requests of one form or another. The incident is just a request that it be fixed. What is it about ITIL and its fixation with the Incident?

Recent correspondence suggests that ITIL3 struggles to articulate a useful value statement. Since anyone can play, the IT Skeptic has a crack at defining one.

Several people commenting privately to the IT Skeptic are worried that ITIL has taken over itSMF. ITSM is ITIL: get over it. Of course, it won't always be thus.

This article has been podcast
If there is an eccentric company owner out there who would like to contribute to business science by conducting a controlled experiment on your company, please contact me. I would like to trial ITIL versus a placebo.

Instead of using ITIL as the framework or guidance for process improvement in IT production, I would use a placebo body of knowledge. Examples might include:

  • astrology
  • today's process is brought to you by the letter "A"
  • Madonna's lyrics


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Announcing the IT Skeptic's ITIL Pipe - an ITIL newsfeed

yahoo pipesUsing Yahoo's new beta tool Pipes, the IT Skeptic has built his own custom ITIL news feed. You can share this feed to bring you your daily ITIL news if you wish, simply by subscribing to the RSS feed.

Alternatively the geeks amongst you may prefer to build your own pipe with this pipe as input.

I am aiming for as wide a net as possible to obtain all news of general interest regarding ITIL, CMDB and ITSM.

Terms of use: I built it for my own use to give me the ITIL news I want. Without notice, I will modify the pipe over time as I see fit to meet my needs. You are free to suggest modifications, but they will be made only if I agree. I.e. this pipe is a personal service that is shared, not a public service. Naturally the IT Skeptic takes no responsibility for the content served up by the pipe.

I hope this pipe is useful for you. Enjoy!

Recent podcasts

A podcast of the original article

I would like to trial ITIL versus a placebo.

Instead of using ITIL as the framework or guidance for process improvement in IT production, I would use a placebo body of knowledge.

This is a podcast of the original article ITIL's biggest hole: where is the meta-lifecycle?

ITIL3 now describes the lifecycle of a service, and does an excellent job of it. But where is the guidance on how to implement the ITIL process machinery to manage that service through its lifecycle? Where is the lifecycle of the lifecycle, as it were - the meta-lifecycle?

Classic Skeptic

[This article has been podcast]

There certainly are some strong similarities.

From the blog

Learn to live with the fact that itSMF serves the ITSM industry not the practitioner community. Consider whether you also need to be a member of an another organisation committed to representing your interests and developing your profession.

The ITIL Version 3 Foundation syllabus is attacked as a joke: far too much content jammed into a timeframe compressed to meet marketing imperatives, jamming up to 25 in a room, covering topics of little relevance to the attendees and too lightly to be of any use anyway. Why? Because the world doesn't give a flying fox about Quality any more.

Further to the spot of bother APMG find themselves in with their "accreditation auditors" the UKAS, investigation reveals the suspension is a fact.

This blog is (currently) ITIL-centric, so most readers will be interested that I believe ITIL is not covered by the suspension.

Nobody has called me out on the disconnect between my past strident criticism of the training industry for flogging ITIL2 training as ITIL3 loomed, and my advice now to go for ITIL2 training and not rush into ITIL3.

You folk aren't dumb (with one or two obvious exceptions who visit occasionally), so either you aren't paying attention or you are being kind or you get that there isn't really an inconsistency.

In case you don't get it, here's my rationalisation so I can appear in public:

It's true: the itSMF show is more fun than Harry Potter. Why is it that the International election results have been announced, when the original intent was to announce them at the itSMF International AGM on October 31st? Obviously ratification by the full Board at the AGM was seen to be unnecessary. Could it be that the result has been hurried out because a challenge to the election has been mounted by a Chapter not too far from the Skeptic?

Really, I do want to get on to something else. Just as soon as itSMF intrigue gets boring....

It's official: Sharon Taylor is Chair. So what next for Ken Wendle? Watch this space...

ITIL3 is on the way to being a fully-fledged fad as the ITIL industry falls over itself in its haste to get product, especially training product, to market.

Some sizzling criticism of the ITIL Version 3 Foundation exam was posted on this blog recently by Ian Clayton, reproduced here: can you test an individual's basic grasp (their understanding - if we are truly using Blooms taxonomy here), of 380+ figures, 130+ tables and 2000 pages with 40 questions? Simple math and a vanilla application of Blooms gives us an interestingly bigger number.

If the criticism of ITIL version 3 certification that you see on this blog and others concerns you, consider this.

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