IT Skeptic runner-up in ComputerWeekly blog awards

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.


Alim won fair and square

Thank-you everyone for your support. One thing though: Alim won fair and square. It's a popularity contest not an objective assessment of content. He got the votes and he worked hard for them. No hard feelings.

To me one of the few even mildly useful metrics on the web is Google page rank and Alim rates the same as this blog - a 4. People like his column. Different people than this blog I suspect but that's life's rich diversity.

My other test is longevity and Alim looks to me like someone who is going to stick at it for the long haul.

So I welcome a brother blogger and congratulate him on his success.

What is the point in Alim Ozcan's blogs

I just don't get it. I've read a few of his blogs and I would say that there is no content, no idea. Can anybody point me a blog that is good because I find them boring.

Another thing is that there is no discussion in his blogs. Your blog is the only place intelligent discussion on ITSM. I'm ultra skeptic on this result.


a matter of opinion

That's a matter of opinion Aale - it's yours but not the voters'. I'm happy (on a day like today in Pukerua Bay you can't be anything but - sunlight and ideas are streaming in my window)

Welcome to Hel sinki

+3 C, raining, dark. Constant weather this time of the year. Skeptism is streaming in my window. Did you know that the most common reason for UFO observations in Finland is the uncommon appearence of sun during winter?

So, where did those votes come from if nobody comments? Please point me to one good text. Is there discussion somewhere?



I think you'll find he ran a campaign for the votes on LinkedIn and other places - unlike Rob who just put a post on the blog asking for votes - hardly a campaign. The award possibly reflects that he is a better campaigner than Rob not necessarily a better blogger but that's the internet for you. I imagine his win though will bring him more readers now - maybe as many as Rob already gets.

More Campaigning

Congrats Skep, Alim also has an ITSM Facebook account where he campaigned.
I point people here whenever I can. Thought provoking, good examples and nice books to buy.

I got it

Actually I'm also a member of some of Ali's LinkedIn groups. I just have stopped following them because there was so much noise.

Now it was interesting to see a beautiful discussion on Problem management in the LinkedIn group: ITIL v2 / v3 Service Management (ITSM) and ISO 20000 + Subgroups : What is the best approach for Problem Management Process? ITIL V2 or ITIL V3? where Rick Lemieux writes: I don;t believe the Problem Management process has changed much if an between V2 and V3. We have eight Do IT Yourself (DITY) Newsletters on problem management that you might fine useful. They can be found in our DITY archieve at ...

A little later when people have explained that there indeed are major changes he writes: If V3 Problem management has the problems Larry, Liz and Derek state above why hasn't anybody brought this to APMG/OGC's attention?

After that Larry Hupman writes: Wow. How could the APMG and OGC not know? This was discussed when I was getting Support and Restore instructor certification two years ago. Probably most famously, The IT Skeptic website pointed this out very early on...

Really good and entertainig discussion but my point is that this discussion happens in a LinkedIn group owned by Ali but he does not seem to take part in the discussions. And all the real information came from this website. So it seems that he got his votes from the LinkedIn group with over 16.000 members which is understandable but I do not believe he got the votes from his blog's readers.

I googled him. His name brings about 6000 hits but they are mainly leading to someone else. I could not find a link to his blog or anything he has written on the top 5 pages of Google results. "It skeptic" has over 70.000 hits and they point to Rob or this site.


The problem with ITIL problem


Just a quick comment on the problem management item. ITIL problem management does not work and cannot be made to work without an extreme makeover and addition of vital elements from more robust sources. As I may have blogged elsewhere, the following are missing in action from ITIL V2, and were not added or repaired in ITIL V3, and do no appear to date on the change log for ITIL V3.1:

0) The overall structure of a complete problem record (see next)
1) How to define a problem statement
2) How to define the impact of the problem
3) The true scope of cause analysis, which should include control barrier, change and task analysis
4) How to define a solution (known error?) statement, with supporting action plans and justification, oh and impact on stakeholders
and so on....

If that were not enough, ITIL V3 also fails miserably to explain how problem management (languishing in operation), connects and drives the Plan-Do-Check-Act wheel (propped up in CSI). As those who have used PDCA successfully know - it was designed to effect MICRO (atomic) level change, not process wide....

So if the 'new edition' of ITIL just addresses language and grammar, we will remain without a workable means of moving an organization from current to any other state..... these are the conversations bloggers should be taking on... any takers???

The problem Management Function


Problem Management is difficult and misunderstood. For many practitioners, consultants and ITSM trainers it is just 2nd level Incident Management. I have seen comments where people state that V3 PM is much clearer than the confusing V2 version! Jan van Bon has argued that there is only proactive PM, all reactive work is IM. I think he is quite right in that.

I would add to your list the Problem Management Function. Contrary to ITIL guidance, I believe there has to be a organization and it can well be run by the Service Desk. The Service Desk has the best chance of recognicing recurrent incidents and usually the best motivation for trying to solve them permanently. naturally they will need resources from other units to do it.

On CSI, I prefer the ISO 20000 approach. It is a management responsibility overall but all processes must improve themselves.

BTW This discussion is getting pretty far from the original subject but I agree that PM should be completely rewritten.


Jan also argues that

Jan also argues that proactive PM is just risk management and shouldn't have its own label.

I agree that reactive PM could possibly be owned by the service desk. The ITIL V2 book, now seen in the past with rosy specs, specifically says don't do it (6.11.1). I think it is usually better in IT operations


I'm almost with Jan on that. The reality is we have lost the problem management battle so we need another name for it. People do just think it means major/difficult incident management. I'm not sure it is the same as risk management - I quite like issue management, but we really need a term that makes it clear we mean something DIFFERENT from the common interpretation.

Don't rename - respect problem management

The problem with problem management is how ITIL has defined it, or rather mucked it up for all of its readers. Problem management is a set of skills. It is a necessary and sophisticated set that spans developing hypotheses to packaging countermeasures and solutions. Risk management is another skillset - they co-operate and can be intermingled, along with impact/stakeholder management and so on.... Why do we keep trying to put these round objects into square organizational holes?

As for reactive and proactive - another ITIL fabrication. There is just problem management and it has every right to look back at an issue (ITIL -reactive) and forward incorporating risk and impact (ITIL-proactive?). Placing reactive problem management at the Service Desk is a recipe for disaster unless you mean within the Service Support or Quality Management function....

Also - we need to scope problem management as it can easily get into a runaway mode - it needs boundaries. In the USMBOK it is deliberately defined as a knowledge area - analogous to a skillset, and bound to a service - 'service problem management', thus applying universally available skills and methods to managing the quality and cost of a service.

Problem management should not be renamed - it should be respected and learned as it has for years by NASA, Healthcare, and accident investigators. Today it can be wrapped in Lean and/or Six Sigma methods, and is a mandatory element of a continuous improvement program. Forget using ITIL problem management - it was poorly defined in V2 and misunderstood, and V3 did absolutely nothing by leaving it in the Operation book instead of incorporating it into CSI - a clear clue...

James is right

Jimbofin wrote on twitter: Sometimes I think all the real ITIL Masters could fit into a room. Of course they would all disagree with each other about what a room means

What I mean by Problem Management is that someone must be looking at incidents and try to see which need to be passed on to specialists. That could be called Quality Management or whatever but in a small IT organization the Service Desk Manager might be only person who cares about incidents. Solving problems is another thing, there you need skills and procedures.

The ITIL V2 warning of not combining IM and PM is useful at a certain level but in practise the combination seems to work pretty well. In those cases the SD manager may be managing two teams, the actual SD and a second specialist team which works on all kinds of customer requests, bug fixes and problems. Maybe the title is then wrong, the person is Customer Service Manager or something like that.


Give PM its due


Please - do not try and mix problem management with incident management or service desk. I also have to disagree with your "pass onto specialists" comment. I may be missing something here but a problem is not just a more complex incident - it is an event (likely recorded as an incident) that has significant impact on one or more known stakeholder... (thats a USMBOK type definition). As I may have said ITIL has butchered problem management and I feel confused many.... and that after a 10 year discussion on the difference between an incident and a problem - easy - impact and governance.

Problem management (PM) is a set of skills far beyond ITIL's myopic scribbles. PM MUST work standalone and be allowed to inspect incidents as one source of evidence of issues and potential 'problems'. ITIL is right in warning us of the inherent dangers of lobbing into the Service Desk area where incidents and requests are the norm. The goal of incident - "fix as quickly as possible (within agreed limits)", goal of problem - "take your ruddy time, find out whats causing it, and come up with a permanent solution (within agreed limits)".

As for problem being part of Quality - thats feasible - again its a skillset, a capability. As I said, its as the core of any continuous improvement program worth its salt, whether wrapped in Lean or Six Sigma clothing... but incident or Service Desk - nope...

It was more of an observation


No, I'm not saying that problem is a complex incident, I would say that problem is an incident you do not want to see again. I think that agrees with your impact and governance. Problem Management by Service Desk was just an observation, some people seem to do it against the recommendation and to my surpise it looks like it works. This has come up when I have been trying to collect data on PM.

What I have been trying to do is to find statistics about number of problems and known errors but I have not been able to get much data. It is easy to find data on Service Desk, Incident management and even on Change Management but not on PM. There is a contradiction when IT management report that they have implemented PM but are unable to tell how many problems per month they open.

Does anybody have a clue what would be a normal range of problems per incident or per user per month? I mean that when somebody tells me that they had 10.000 incidents last month and they opened one problem, I'm pretty sure that their PM is not working at all. Another person reported that they had opened 100 incidents and 100 problems last month. In thruth they had 100 calls and 100 incidents, they just called incidents problems. So I would say that 1:1 is too much and 1:10.000 is too little but where would be the healthy range?


At some point, industry's

At some point, industry's attempts to implement a framework have to impact the framework itself.


I do not post to your blog. There are so many true brilliant people that I don't want to waste the space. I read many blogs to keep up with events. Some report, some rehash and many just spread FUD. Your work from your "tiny village" inspires many. I will continue to promote your work and your efforts. You are a ASSET to the IT Support Community. We need more Rob Englands.


Thanks for your kind words

Thanks for your kind words Chris - and everyone else. Hopefully anyone who reads this blog reads ServiceSphere - and watches ServiceSphere TV, and tweets the good tweet. You are the master of media in this sphere. You're building that IT support community.

First person to suggest that if I'm an asset I should be in a CMDB gets their IP blocked. Well actually, strictly speaking they would be the second now... No I won't be blocking myself

You don't have to feel sorry

You don't have to feel sorry for yourself, Skep. This Alim character probably just has more friends that could vote for him than you do... ;-p

IT Skeptic Runner UP

Congratulations. It's a great testimony to your influence and contributions far beyond your "tiny village" to be recognized by your peers in this way. Of course you were the first to point this out, but I heartily echo the sentiment. :)) ldiaz

blowing of one's own trumpet

Haha LOL yes I did.

The internet is about noise, and about getting around. Quiet guys finish last. "Build it and they will come" doesn't work except for instant-grat 10-second shiny things like xkcd (which I read every day).

A certain blowing of one's own trumpet is required, and from up and down the street too not just from your site's rooftop

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