Give up on ITIL V3 training and certification - it is not going to change

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Yet another unhappy camper prompted me to hammer on the cold stone walls of Castle ITIL once again, right over the blood-stains of last time I tried. But I won't. I give up. ITIL training and certification isn't going to change. It has been taken over by the money engine and is lost. The real experts are elsewhere.

We've banged away here long enough. We've pounded on the walls of Castle ITIL. The training vendors own the design and management of ITIL certification and they show zero sign of even acknowledging the dissent publicly let alone changing course.

It's all about the money now. ITIL is too big and too successful for it to be anything else. I don't see this changing (though I guess I will keep on trying). The vendors will feed off the creature until it is dead, then move on (watch out COBIT).

We users need to come to terms with this and go our own ways.

If you want to work within the ITIL establishment, then you have to play by their rules now.

If you choose to use ITIL without feeding the parasites, you can with a little difficulty (I am V2 Foundation certified and I still get consulting work, at least for now until Castle ITIL figure out a way to force people like me out. Ironically they will probably do this with the very professional accreditation I think this industry needs).

If you want to seek and promote and work with alternatives to ITIL then you can.

The comment said

I'm not embarrassed to say that I've taken the exam twice now and failed both times. I'm almost proud of the fact as it proves my point.

I'd say you are following the right course by being proud to have failed the ITIL Expert exam. You should be judged by your results delivered and your experience, not by a debased certification. Let newbies pay the money to get in to the industry, and the vendors use ITIL Expert to try to show they have in-house expertise. The real experts are elsewhere.


ITIL v3 Design and Certification -an optimist opines

In my opinion, based on 15 years training on ITIL V1, V2 and V3, the comment "The training vendors own the design and management of ITIL certification ..." is only partly true.

Training vendors did have some influence with the design, management and certification needs associated with V1 and V2. I think the intention is to bring this influence back with ITIL V3.

Last month elected training representatives were invited to join the ATO panel to participate in the ITIL V3 Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management syllabus review process. I am sure they will soon be permitted, willing and able to widen their scope to cover other certificated areas

This is not all new, at least one examination institute had an official supplier representative late last century and early this century. The representative was elected by the suppliers to represent all suppliers and their interests (syllabus, content, exams, progression, new course etc). I performed that role for two years as did others before and after me. About five years ago the role was disbanded after re-organisation

Although the ITIL V3 representation initiative is only one month old and two / three years overdue, at least training providers will have some formal representation via their country / continent representative to relay comments from "the field" (consultants, students, buyers, Auntie Jane etc) back to the exam institutes And far more importantly relay these comments back to those who define the qualifications and the related syllabus and write / mark the exams,

There is still concern from training providers and students about the apparent relevance of the V3 exams and syllabus. Not least the "dumming down" of the width, depth and scope of the coverage.

Some questions (expert and other levels) do seem to be on the lines of "Follow the string to see whether Teddy has found a request, incident, event or fish" and "Which is the option Nellie should take when it is raining, sunny, snowing or Friday. Should it only be only those with an R in the month; only those on even dates; only those where the SLA has a UC and embedded OLA or is the answer 42? So there is a bit of luck needed

I expect that when the questions setters and reviewers have more time to review the material and the exam market (some might say understand the subject?) then the questions will become more "management and practitioner" oriented as per ITIL(R) v2. It may take time

In summary professional training providers (and trainers) would like far more influence over contents, materials, scope and future. The good trainers are told by the people on their courses what the market actually wants. They do pick up and relay the dissent as well as the compliments. However until recently they had almost zero influence. Howling at the moon might have been more satisfying

I think I am willing to live a little longer so perhaps I need to get out more


ITIL v3 training is a money grab, however...

Well said, Skeptic. However, it takes an expert to recognize an expert and most organization lack that. In my experience most companies still go with the latest trends and buzz words whether it makes any sense for them or not. Unless you get an opportunity to invest significant amount of time just educating your client around IT service management and ITIL specifically, they will always choose ITIL v3 vs ITIL v2 just cause it's the latest. And sadly, this is not the type of education that most companies are ready to invest into.

40 years in the ITL V3 wilderness & no promise land

Absolutely concur. I too have "stormed the APMG & EXIN castle gates" to no avail. The OGC is obviously a bureaucratic morass - the V3 books have been out ~1 year, released without any supporting infrastructure. I've tried drawing their (evidently limited span of) attention to content in their own documents. That is, consider Service Strategy => Service Design => Service Transition. The competence gap: There is no V3 training infrastructure & no certification exams beyond Foundation. This relegates ITIL to library dust collectors - maybe rightfully so. V2 was not broken, but OGC & APMG have certainly managed to "fix" it.

Due to the same conditions, ISO/IEC 20000 is likely doomed to "great idea, no follow-through" trash heap. A major disappointment to a True Believer!

Don't give up on ISO20000

I think, though I may be out of touch, EXIN is providing ISO20000 certification.

Banks especially are interested in the ISO path. Apprently, the regulators want them to prove they have controls in place.

ISO20000 infrastructure

Contractual requirements for ISO20000 compliance are showing up all over the world, so i think ISO20000 growth is a given. But the point is a good one that beyond the standard itself, there is only EXIN's certification, a few auditors, and books like the ITSM Library ones. Once again: no governing body (for the whole industry not just the content), no product certification, no official user group, no full professional accreditation [???? am i right about that?].

ISO/IEC20K Training/Certification

The training/certification around ISO20K is a bit of a mess. Originally, itSMF, as owners of one of the major accreditation schemes (certifying auditors, awarding compliance certificates etc.) specified 2 training courses. One was for Consultants, one for Auditors. I achieved the Consultancy qualification, and later was accredited to teach it. (I am not allowed to offer, or even attend the Auditor one, as I have not been an auditor myself, although the syllabus is a sub-set of the Consultancy syllabus. This makes offering the Auditor qualification very much a closed shop.)
The Consultancy qualification itself does not really seem to know who it is aimed at. The syllabus combines a lot of time on "This is what the standard says" (which a consultant should know anyway) with less time on " This is how you achieve it, this is how you prepare, this is what the auditor is looking for" which is much more useful. In theory, at the moment, someone can go from basic knowledge to Consultant in 3 days.

It became apparent that the Consultancy qualification was not enough - organisations seeking 20K want a much more widespread knowledge amongst their staff - the Consultancy was overkill for them. EXIN meanwhile had realised this gap, and after trying out the Service Quality Management qualification, started to offer a Foundation and Advanced level qualifications. The qualification program IT Service Management according to ISO/IEC 20000 comprises of a Foundation Level, a Professional Level, an IT Management Track and an Auditing Track. Practical Assignments are part of the higher level training courses. This seems much more what is required, and I hope it is successful. However, there are some difficulties remaining with this -

- In the UK at least (I know there is a whole world out there, but the UK is mostly where I operate) very few companies offer EXIN courses, and so therefore people are unaware of their existence. Employers in particular would not appreciate what the qualifications mean.

- itSMF realised that it needed a Foundation level, and is now offering one, which means that there are 2 different ISO20K Foundation qualifications! itSMF are working with ISEB on this, and seem to think that the EXIN qualification will just fade away in response to the itSMF/ISEB one.

I want to offer more 20K training - as an accredited training provider with itSMF, offering their foundation seems logical, however the EXIN scheme seems more thought out. Most of my potential customers have not heard of the EXIN courses, however.

Unless itsmf/ISEB and EXIN get together to agree a joint Foundation level at least, confusion will continue, and people will not have a clear message on what training to go for. The ISO/IEC Certification website run by itsmf does not mention the EXIN qualifications.This will also hold back the take-up of the Certification itself, as many people might go on a Foundation level to find out about 20K, then decide to go for it.

Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

EXIN's ISO20K Qualification Program

Firstly, a declaration of interest...

I am heavily involved in the development of the EXIN qualification program for ISO/IEC 20000 and have been since its inception working with a number of very credible internal EXIN staff and supported by a few other experts from the worldwide field.

Now that is out of the way, here are a few of my PERSONAL thoughts...

Liz, you mention about the level of awareness in the UK in particular of the EXIN portfolio of qualifications. There are plans afoot to raise the awareness of the 20k program within the UK marketplace. Already, I and others have been supporting EXIN through various launches around the world, these have taken place in the USA, Australia, Spain and elsewhere. Next week I am due to contribute at a conference and TTT session in China (Beijing and Shanghai) for EXIN. What about the UK I hear you ask? Well, this is coming soon. The UK marketplace is quite a complex one suffering from over saturation and perhaps an unjustified international focus though. Although I am a Brit I know that the ITSM world does not revolve around what happens in the UK. However, I should also state that there of course is a strong pedigree of ITSM and expert knowledge on the island too and I am sure that EXIN will wish to tap that market in a controlled and careful way.

As for the qualification program itself...does the market need the following from a qualification program...

- the scope focuses upon the critical elements of ITSM that need to be implemented, operated and maintained

- it needs to be "framework neutral" allowing best practices from around the globe to be used

- it needs to state and show how a business focused, integrated, end to end and continually improved ITSM management system can be designed, implemented, operated and maintained

- it needs to work commercially, a balance between days out of the office and practical benefit, not just a certificate on the wall

- it needs to be role based focusing on the needs of the people, it shouldn't bombard them with other information that they will feel is of little value at that point in their careers

- it needs to address the question, "how do you effect cultural change?", as opposed to a lecturer simply saying "you need to address the culture" and moving on quickly

I truly believe that EXIN have developed such a qualification program and that is the ISO/IEC 20000 qualification program. More information on the program can be found here

I hope this helps. You of course will draw your own conclusions and comparisons. My only concern is that the awareness worldwide needs to be raised of the benefits of an ITSM approach using 20k as a reference and the best practice of choice. How do you navigate the extensive BP guidance out there? Use 20k as a table of contents of the critical elements that need to be present and then navigate the BP of choice for guidance on the topic.

Cheers! David.

Although I teach the itSMF

Although I teach the itSMF Qualification, I am completely frustrated at the way it is managed, and the farcical "2 Foundations" situation. The EXIN scheme looks much better, but does need the marketing that you mention, David. If I was not currently so swamped with writing and sitting ITIL Intermediate courses, I would be pursuing the EXIN scheme now. It is definitely on my to-do list!
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

EXIN Marketing

Hi Liz, many thanks for your candid views, much appreciated as always. For info, I have advised the EXIN rep in the UK about this thread so that he can see some feedback "first hand". As I said, the global EXIN marketing machine is well and truly rolling and has been for some time, I am sure that we will see more in the UK, watch this space. Cheers, David

How does ISO9000 work?

Let's look outside our own backyard for answers. How does certification/training work in the ISO9000 world? Who owns/controls certification? Any reader know?

ISO Accreditations

As far as I am aware, once the ISO has agreed a standard, it is open to any organisation to set up a certification scheme against that standard. In the case of the itSMF ISO/IEC20000 scheme, itSMF appoint Registered Certification Bodies, who audit organisations against the standard, using the itSMF scheme, and they are then able to award the certificate. Although anyone can set themselves up a scheme, most people look to schemes run by names they trust, and few reputable auditing companies would be interested in auditing using a little-known scheme.
The companies that do the auditing are usually already auditors for other standards, such as 9000. itSMF has tried very hard to make its scheme the best-known and respected.
I do not have an issue with the RCBs, or the scheme itself, but the training that was offered by most training companies (until EXIN) was completely itSMF-scheme focussed, rather than on the standard itself, and the various options for certification.

Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

itSMF and EXIN

I hold bothe the itSMF ISO20K consultant and the EXIN ISO 20K foundation and advanced. As a matter of fact I was one of the very first to obtain the EXIN 20K certificates.
In my opinion the itSMF certification is somewhat between the EXIN Foundation and Advanced level (who by the way have been recently replaced by a series of other series developpend together with the German Standards Institute TÜV, which is I think, a very strong approach)
I was (and still am) astonished that itSMF (an then only the British itSMF) proposes such a certification as to my current knowledge itSMF was to be the ITIL and later ITSM "user"group. Furthermore, EXIN is much more flexible in its approach:
- they recognize the itSMF certification in their program to be equal to the foundation level, where itSMF does not recognize EXIN certifications. Weird!!
- the offer accreditation for independent trainers such as me. ITSMF does noit, you have to obtain this via an ATO!!! Weird!!!

So it might be that EXIN needs to bit more of marketing in the UK, but I also thing that itSMF UK has to open it's eyes and discover that there is a whole world to be found around them (or is this yet another example of: "The Continent Is Isolated" ;-) ;-)

I see a same approach with OGC and APMG. I deeply regret that OCG has chosen APMG as the prime accreditation autority in ITIL land. EXIN had ( and has) a far better experience in the ITIL world worldwide, than APMG. The results:
- nice promises about exams and translations, but... delay after delay
- exam descriptions (called syllabus) that do in no way satisfy the needs of the "end users" and are far to "full". Which idiot has decided that you can cover more than 20
processes in the same three days as we covered 10 (11) in the ITIL V2 days)
- crappy exams. All the errors and unfairness that EXIN has removed from their exams have returned, such as: which form the following 3 statements is correct (have they
never realised that that uin fact are 3 ! questions in 1?? )
- they promise ITIL Expert level certifications for thow who have the correct numer of credit (as many, inlcuding me, already have) but they apparantly have not decided yet
on which colour of paper to print them. Not to speak about the "master-level" or how they call this nowadays

And I, poor independent trainer, have to explain this to my course participants!!!

Guidance vs. Guideposts

Still thinkin' more focus on ISO 15504 (particularly Part 8- ITSM) would be a very good thing for everyone. It would be of much more value to customers than a web-based reprint of the v3 literature. In fact, certification on the Guidance is nice but I like the concept of certifying the assessors too....

-- we have much more guidance but not much improvement in the guideposts ....

John M. Worthington
MyServiceMonitor, LLC

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