How to dominate the itSMF Board. Perks for the Global Members

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!

I don't see any mention of that on the itSMF website but then itSMFI don't actually publish the constitutional rules anywhere so we have to piece them together from announcements like this one.

Of course they still need to get elected like anyone else, but that seems a walloping privilege just for having paid twenty grand in dues to be a Global Member. They are not representing the member consitituency, they are representing one of the following vendors: HP, IBM, CA or Sun. (Yes we are down to only four global members now.)

Who decided that little perk then? [See questions for the Board in a comment below]

Work it out: every chapter has an upper limit of two Board members. So too does each Global Member. Sure they are all international companies but they are also all US-based. So in theory the entire Board could be one nationality and that would most likely be the USA. (There are 6 elected members plus the Company Secretary who is currently a Brit. )

Hopefully the Chapters would never vote to let that happen ...

Here's another ironic twist to the odd rules: seemingly the only companies limited to two Board members are the Global Members. By my guesswork of the rules, any other company can get more than two people onto the Board if they come from differing countries. HP should drop their Global membership if they really want to rule the ITIL world.


20K and a global member

Someone really needs to just write a book on ITIL-gate and get this done with. So for 20K you can "buy" global membership? Is that true? Can I do it today? Where can I go?


Global membership

Moving up to a blog post

I love the idea of the book. there's more scandal gone on in this community than Peyton Place (ooooh that dates me). Sadly none(?) of it has been salacious which won't help book sales

Mission change

This is kind of similar to something that changed in itSMF USA with no fanfare or even mention. At some point in the not to recent past the mission on the itSMF USA website changed slightly. There use to be a part of the mission that talked about being a practitioner focused organization. Some time in the last few months, right before the elections here is when I noticed it, that wording changed to "membership-oriented". I can only assume this change was instituted to make sure the vendors were not feeling left out. So there is now no mention of itSMF USA being practitioner focused, which to me is represented by the fact that only NONE of the current board members are practitioners, they are all vendors... As a practitioner I think it is time for find a new professional organization...


Vendors are people too. Without the energy and money of vendors, things like ITIL and organisations like itSMF do not move forward. Changing to "membership" doesn't trouble me if it is more inclusive of vendors, that is a good thing.

The current Board don't look like they are ALL vendors, though lots clearly are. it also depends how you define vendor. I'm a vendor, of consulting services, books, and web advertising. Having a Board all vendor is a bad thing, but I don't know how you control for it as I doubt "vendor" can be adequately defined.

There are decent vendors and crooked practitioners. At least one Chapter can attest to that. It is not about where someone works, it is about what governance you have for all members.

Three scenarios

Further to some "back channel" discussions on this, here are three scenarios. Which ones are prevented by constitutional rules? (Since we don't know what rules itSMF operate by you'll need to tell us)

1) Somebody wants to be on the Board but none of the Chapters feel much like supporting them. But they happen to work for a Global Member so they get their nomination anyway.

2) Company "ALB" get Board candidates put forward by 15 different Chapters. ALB are not a Global Member. From amongst their 15 candidates ALB employees win (across two years of elections) all six non-executive Board positions.

3) Companies "DB" and "IQ" are Global Members. They both get two Yank employees onto the Board. The itSMF USA also gets two members elected. The USA holds all six non-executive positions

I can see where the arrangement came from. As I've said before, itSMF regards us not as members but as shareholders, and not all shareholders are equal. In fact major shareholders often get a position on the Board.

Questions for the itSMFI Board

I'm a forgetful old man but this is the first time I have noticed anything about Global Members having the right to nominate Board members, though it was in effect at the last Board election as the link above shows.

It concerns me that four major vendors have been given exemption from seeking Chapter support merely on the strength of having paid a fee.

Since all Board decisions are conducted in secret, I'd like to ask the following questions as an active paid-up member of itSMF:

1) Who decided to give Global Members this privilege and when? Was it the Executive Board or the Full Board with Chapters?
2) If it was the Executive Board, how many members of the Eecutive Board were employees of Global Members at the time?

When you're wrong, you're really wrong

Anyone nominated for the Intl. board has to be a member in good standing of a Chapter and nominated by a Chapter in good standing. Period. There are no "special rules" for employees of Global Members.

You are right Ken

You are right Ken, neither the Bye-laws nor the Articles of Association say that Global Members may nominate Board members. (As a matter of fact neither of them appear to say anything about Global Members, which begs the question as to on what basis the Chapters have imposed on them the obligation of servicing Global Members but that's another question...)

But I hope you will forgive my mistake when the link above, the communiqué to Chapter leaders for the IEB 2009 election, said

3 directorships shall become available to be offered to potential candidates nominated by Chapters and Global Members... There are also a number of key essential criteria that potential candidates must meet, before they are nominated. They are:
Essential Qualities
• Is willing to be put forward as a nominee
• Is a paid up member of an itSMF Chapter or Global Member which is in good standing...

In accordance with the rules, no more than two nominees can be appointed and hold office at any one time, from any one particular Chapter or Global Member...

End- July Distribution to all Chapter Leaders and Global Members of the official nomination form...

The communiqué for the current bye-election to replace Sharon said identical wording:

"Is a paid up member of an itSMF Chapter or Global Member which is in good standing ...
In accordance with the rules, no more than two nominees can be appointed and hold office at any one time, from any one particular Chapter or Global Member"

I draw your attention to the word "or"

You can see that it clearly states that Global Members may nominate, and that nomination forms are sent to Global Members. So I put it to you, sir, that I am not wrong - the communiqué is wrong. Twice. And as the itSMF see fit to operate by secret rules and secret Board decisions I had no opportunity to correct the error (although thanks to the kindness of a reader I can now check).

I am glad that you have confirmed for us that Global Members may not nominate candidates for the IEB. It sure would be good to see an official correction to the communiqué as I don't think comments on my blog count as Board rules yet

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