ITIL is not brain surgery

The bigger and more successful (and lucrative) ITIL gets, the more we see some consultants trying to create a masonic guild of ITIL "experts". It is a complete myth that one has to be so experienced in ITIL to implement it or run it, or even discuss it.

The IT Skeptic was recently told "what would you know about CMDB. You have never built one, let alone dozens like I have". First of all let us overlook the logical inconsistency of criticising someone who says something cannot be built by saying they have no experience building one. It is true that I haven't even tried.

Nor have I tried to make homeopathic medicines or put magnets in my mattress or build a Da Vinci flying machine. I don't need deep experience to tell me they are a dumb idea - just general knowledge and intelligence.

CMDB is not a complex concept. It is based on accepted and understood principles of distributed database, ETL, query and reporting, middleware and so on. It offers no new unique problems to be overcome. I do have experience with all those technologies. But even experience in those areas is not essential to understand how this stuff works. Anyone with experience and knowledge of IT in general can get across it. It is basic straightforward stuff.

And yet CMDB is probably the most complex part of ITIL. The rest is even more so common sense and based on everyone's daily experience.

That doesn't stop folk putting out the message that one has to be an ITIL Master or have worked with ITIL for 20 years to know the topic. I don't need a Ph.D. to understand the Road Code, and I don't have to have driven in another country to understand their version of it.

Anyone who knows IT knows ITIL. It is not encryption or ADSL or query optimisation or any of the other voodoo topics of IT. It is not dense and highly technical with an enormous body of specialist knowledge like antivirus or object-oriented programming or networking. Nor does it require any specialist skills. You have to get past the secret handshakes and jargon like any body of knowledge, but the people with the little badges aren't in possession of any advanced or mystical secrets that the rest of us aren't. I've never presented myself as an expert on ITIL, yet tens of thousands of people think I - and dozens of others who contribute comments on this blog - have something useful to say on the subject.

So let's get past this ITILier-than-thou posturing. We can have non-patronising discussions of ITIL which include everyone who's done their time in IT as well as all those smart enough to pick up the common sense principles. We can have experienced process consultants turn their hand to ITIL. We can trust staff to run ITIL processes without tens of thousands of dollars of training. It's not brain surgery.


It is not a C word you know

You say "CMDB is not a complex concept. It is based on accepted and understood principles of distributed database, ETL, query and reporting, middleware and so on. It offers no new unique problems to be overcome."

Wait. You're saying the CMDB is just a warehouse of information and anyone who has advanced knowledge of database management should get it. So the Holy Grail of IT Service Management and a multi-million dollar industry offering CMDB solutions are scams?

You make it all look like "He came, he saw, he clarified".

The key word in CMDB is configuration. It is not a dirty word. Configurations are surely implemented in databases but that's like saying all documents are files. Doesn't matter whether it an engineering drawing or a poem.

Configurations matter because they represent the whole product that is a service. Of course, most IT organizations tend to go wrong when they simply focus on the CI relationships and not on the configuration pattern itself. They're more eager to discover all connections that to define them.

Configurations map to products. Analogous to Bill of Materials.

Sure CMDB is a scam

Sure CMDB is a scam, but not because it is too easy. Because it is too hard (for 95% of organisations to show a positive value on the effort). Read my other CMDB posts.

When I say that, I get the "you couldn't possibly understand' response from supposed experts. My point here is that the concepts themselves are not complex: the execution is.

Customer's CMDB

Agree that complex itself is actually very intuitive and powerful, but has been made needlessly complex. That's because people were led to believe (or they got there somehow) that EVERYTHING is stored in the CMDB. And that bastardized idea somehow caught people's lack of imagination. Whereas, a configuration is a "wireframe" of the actual service product. So I think we should promote the idea that the configuration should be based on what is being sold to the customer as a service. Sure, there will be configuration items behind the line of visibility (i.e. backstage) and are further connected to component services and infrastructure. But at least you start with more compact and complete configurations rather than some discovered meaningless construct.

a bridge too far

I agree CMDB shouldn't be a bucket for everything (actually that's the SKMS now). And I love the use of "wireframe" here.

But even a wireframe of the configuration of the services will be a waste of resources for most sites. you do need to drill down to a useful level of CI granularity in order to do meaningful impact analysis. And that means federating data from multiple sources, and reconciling the result.

Add to that the need to manually record the configuration of the logical entities at the top up to the services, and to keep the whole shemozzle current and accurate, and you're looking at a major investment.

Which explains why so few organisations do it despite being belated as deficient by ITIL, vendors, analysts and gurus if they don't.

if they knew what they know

I truly believe (and agree) that there have to be multiple sources and reconciliation. That creates robust design from conflict and resolution and different perspectives. That's when you breed knowledge with stronger DNA. But we should shift the focus from multiple sources of data to sources of information and insight. I'd venture to say most organizations would be three times more profitable if they knew what they knew. (I just paraphrased the ex-CEO of a Silicon Valley giant; won't say which one to avoid blowing my cover). And not all of it is in databases or repositories.

In fact I'd say, if we see lots and lots of data neatly stacked in "rows and columns", then that could be a sign the organization doesn't know shit about their business and are either over-compensating with tables and charts. Or fooling themselves and others. Yes, databases and structure information are important, but at the expense or neglect of tacit knowledge. Today social platforms exist for quick and effortless tagging and linking. 10 years ago some of us had wet dreams of such technologies when were trying to help organizations with, you guessed right, organizational learning.

The SKMS is joke; that's why there is hope. Let's cauterize the ITIL 2011 SKMS concept and graft new ideas into that thing, for there lies an enormous opportunity for truly helping enterprises large and small, get their shit together on service management and begin facing their own challenges and opportunities. --- @bro0t

if i'm going to have brain

if i'm going to have brain surgery my first question is is this guy qualified not is the guy qualified in the eyes of a few morrons monitoring his every behaviour of how he is coping etc..
same applies in any walk of life ITIL sucks because it is making everyone behaving and thinking in the same way.
death of all renovation lets kill off the "out of the box" thinkers because they do not confirm is telling lets kill of all inovation its like killing da vinci, newton, etc.. for the sake of being correct.

And again in English please?

And again in English please?

The Checklist Manifesto

Personally if I'm ever operated on again I want it to be by a surgeon who has read the Checklist Manifesto (written by a surgeon) not a maverick who decides it is OK to try out a new technique because he's just had a brilliant idea which just happens to kill the patient. In the same way, as someone who flies a lot, I like to fly with a pilot who follows those cockpit checklists. Let them fly by the seat of their pants at the weekend, not when I'm on board. Oh yes, and if I'm on a cruise ship I don't want the Captain to divert four miles from the authorized route

Most of us have been around IT for long enough to see the damage that "out of the box" thinking does. It has its place in service design, not in the middle of rebuilding a business critical database on the fly.

James Finister

Voice of the Whining Cowboy

Thank-you James for saving me the effort of replying to The Voice Of The Whining Cowboy


Learning ITIL helps you talk the talk, but it won't help you walk the walk.

You can be a bureaucrat with ITIL, but you can't be useful in a crisis with ITIL.

I really don't know how else to say it. You know those hoops dogs jump through at the circus? ITIL.

The ITIL priesthood: no business telling anyone

The problem with LinkedIn discussions is it is hard to link to them for folk not members of the particular LinkedIn goup (or of LinkedIn for that matter).

This business of ITIL being some elite area of arcane expertise raised its head again recently:

anyone who does not bother to achieve any certifications in ITIL has no business telling anyone they are an authority on anything related to the subject, regardless of what practical experience the person might think they have. That would be akin to my saying I am entitled to call myself an authority on surgery because I taught myself how to use a very sharp knife on other people, but I could care less about attending any medical training.

The only exception to this would be the authors of the material, and even they take the exams!

to which I replied

Perhaps those who don't take the certification choose not to because the five-figure investment (not counting opportunity cost) does not return a good ROI?

Also I'd be interested in a survey of the number of V3 Experts amongst the senior echelons of Castle ITIL. I'm betting it aint 100%

Finally medical training takes eight years not four weeks. medicine is a complex and arcane topic that does require heavy specialist study to develop expertise. ITIL is five books full of obvious common sense... well four anyway. Once again: ITIL aint brain surgery.

an improved hammer

I said in a LinkedIn discussion:

if you are good at IT you can be good at ITIl once you do the reading to absorb the language and concepts. the key to the "brain surgery" remark is that the concepts are not complex or advanced ones. It is not like trying to understand encryption or network noise or viruses. the ITIL knowledge is basic. Applying it well takes expereince, wisdom and common sense. Nothing about that is particular to ITIL.

ITIL is an improved hammer not a theodolyte. If you are a good carpenter you can pick it up and use it readily. if you aren't it won't help much.

Smart or dumb don't

Smart or dumb don't matter.... Sometimes we need to be told what to do or how to do it and that's what consultants and experts get paid to do. How many people do you work with that would go on record and tell you what or how to do something before you do it? But if you fail they will be there to tell how you should have done it.

It isn't worth what we pay for it and it isn't essential

I wouldn't judge a consultant or expert on a certificate. I'd judge them on what they've delivered.

And I wouldn't use off-the-shelf theoretical training to tell staff how to perform work procedures.

So ITIL training is mildly useful to give people rapid knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings, that's all. It isn't worth what we pay for it and it isn't essential.

Watch out you 'banker'!

Horrible evidence of the economic downturn from a UK IT periodical.... it speaks to up to 7% of bank IT staff are expected to lose their jobs. It begs the question as to what percentage of the 7% had an ITIL certificate, and what protection one offers in today's financially focused market, or perhaps why the IT organizations involved (many of which claimed to have major ITIL initiatives) failed to deliver the required efficiencies through better practices....?

Perhaps an unwelcome reminder, as bannered by my 2006 itSMF USA Annual Conference presentation of the same title "ITIL Doesn't Matter - Results Do"....

I am already dubbing this period in the IT industry the KT-layer - when we get the chance to look back I expect to see a thin band of dark matter in the geological layer representing the extinction or 'great dying' of ITSM/ITIL projects due to a failure to demonstrate or speak to their bottom line value in real, tangible terms....

Please, if you have an active or planned initiative, please, please please spell out in crayon for your stakeholders what fiscal benefits you will deliver within the next 30, 60, 90 days....

And it gets worse

Since that article RBS have announced another 750 job cuts targeting IT. As IAn UK banks have been big adopters of ITIL, in fact some have been through several iterations as lessons learnt from one initiatiative get forgotten over time.

Obviously with the challenges UK banks have faced this year cuts were inevitable. A question to ask is perhaps whether having adopted ITIL will make it easier for their IT departments to absorb the cuts, and if that is a case have they been lax in leverging ITIL driven efficencies.

I am aware of at least one bank's service management team being effectivly disbanded.

I mentioned in another recent post that during the last recession ITIl did well, because it was used to drive headcount reduction. If ITSM/ITIL is to do well in the current world then we need to remember it isn't all about staff empowerment and making people feel good.

You know, you're right in

You know, you're right in saying that ITIL is not as mystical as some "experts" would have many believe, however; just because you've been in IT for a long time doesn't necessarily mean you understand the core concepts and methodologies of ITIL. I think IT, as a whole, is becoming more and more specialized, and the marketplace is taking notice of that. Just because I know how to set up a Windows server, or wire a building, doesn't mean I know how troubleshoot your PHP code, and just because I know how to troubleshoot your PHP code, doesn't mean I know how to run your IT operations.

So there is something to be said for taking the time to learn the core principles of ITIL, especially if you want to participate at the management level. Not knowing the terms, concepts, processes, and methodologies is like being the only guy in the room who doesn't speaking Spanish. You may be extremely intelligent, and have a broad base of knowledge, but if you can't speak the language, no one's going to pay attention to what you're saying. It's also becoming increasingly exclusive, in that if you don't have the certification, you're not even invited to the table in the first place.

Look, I'm a do-it-yourself, learn-it-yourself kind of guy. I've built a career on sheer talent and tenacity, so I get what you're saying here. But if you know your stuff, why not go ahead and get your membership card?

Why not get the card?

I'm all for learning ITIL. And yes one needs to get into it and understand it, especially the language. I'm not sayingomne knows it automatically and immediately with zero effort, just that it is not hard. no concept is hard to grasp, you just need to reach out to it. that's what I'm saying.

Why not get the card? because it costs $20,000

Perhaps it is brain surgery...?

Phew - some people really do get their knickers in a twist when ITIL seems to come under question. Lets get this straight - its not about ITIL - its about whether and how a service management culture and perhaps a related initiative, helps an IT organization better help their traditional customer - the enterprise.

ITIL is a useful resource, a tool, a reference. It certainly is not the singular answer, in fact a view polarized on ITIL alone is damn dangerous and heightens the risk of failure and unnecessary costs. Service Management is brain surgery - the service provider and consumer relationship and value proposition is often intricate, requiring subtle skills - we are surrounded by examples from the non-IT world. The key value of any framework, and especially any related training or consultative advice, is being able to speak plainly about a potentially complex and expansive, to decipher and help plot a plausible and pragmatic course of action that addresses issues and smoothens out inefficiencies and the like.

I am an ITIL Expert - that means I am an expert in ITIL based upon the given test. But as Skep says - that does not mean I can identify and address an IT issue. That - needs up close and personal experience as the classroom is the IT working environment.


The picture has been painted clearly. Everyone on this post is bringing up the same points. The people on this post are from many different areas in IT and all over the world. We all agree on the benefits of frameworks. Now its time for our keyboard cowboy the Lone Ranger to take the blinkers from his eyes and get of his "high" horse and join the rest of us down here on planet earth.

I love the smell of controversy in the morning!!!

No thanks, I don't wanna be where you are Richarddk.

Glad to see you've come around to calling it a 'framework' instead of a 'tool'. At least you agree with me on that. Maybe you'll reach the next level of enlightenment that it is a 'framework of guidelines' or aka a pile of shyte. I've taken the ITIL 2 foundation course some time back because it was pushed in the company and I was interested to understand what all the ITIL fuss was about. It was utter rubbish. Nothing more than bastardised and bureaucratised common sense in a fuzzy wrapper that claims to be everything and accepts responsibility for nothing.

Clearly you are entitled to your opinion as am I. Implementing ITIL is a cynical exercise in conformity disguised as a form of 'standardisation' and 'best practice'. The ITIL ethos and approach adds layers of complexity through introduction of additional unskilled ITIL management, and associated ITIL headcount, on top of skilled IT resources. This is not to promote best practices but to shift power and kudos back to the 'business' and is a typical knee-jerk reaction from knowledge challenged management. It is counter productive and anti-innovative. Good management would trust and listen. Do you question your CFO?

The company I work at is still following the ITIL yellow brick road. If I feel I have to, then I'll take ITIL 3 and pass it, but I won't pay for it.

Your - 'The picture has been painted clearly. Everyone on this post... blah' - is a small sample, is innacurate and of little point to me. Check out the Asch experiments. If you lie with dogs you get up with fleas.

Jargon alert. I work with CXOs, business and technical staff from corporate and public entities in a broad spectrum of industry verticals to provide enterprise solutions and services. I'm not 'blinkered' - I'm focussed. I'm not an ITIL conformist - I'm an innovator. I don't like change management - I like change.

I'm amazed you can smell anything over the BS you spout. How's that for controversial? ;-)

Hang in there visitor.

Hang in there visitor. Robust debate is much needed in IT.

i do believe IT needs to change and the principles of ITSM provide good direction in which to change. We DO need to change the way we work in IT. We need to be more discipline and controlled. We need accountability and proper records. Anybody who has had to fill in as an external temp for a sick network administrator or to make changes to a twenty year old application will agree. Or maybe like me you have had to face the business when the core systems are taken out for DAYS due to a routine upgrade of a SAN. ITSM does reduce error rates. It does reduce redundant work and repair work. it does make IT people more service aware, with a better line of sight to the end user. if it increases headcount that is because such a sloppy skin-of-the-teeth job was being done before with so much essential work left undone.

If you have read the rest of the blog you know I'm no ITIL cheerleader. I don't approve of cultishness, nor unreasonable attribution of benefits. I don't like dogma. Most of all I am a passionate proponent of the idea that change is about people more than process or technology. I probably agree with many of your arguments but my concern in the anger with which you make them. This indicates emotional not rational reaction. If you are bucking, that it is because you think you are too good and smart and skilled to need control or accountability and you don't want to share your knowledge or skills. I call that a prima donna.

One argument I can't agree with is the applicability of the Asch experiments. this blog crawls with ITIL skeptics, naysayers and outright haters like yourself. in every site that adopts ITIL there are always vocal groups resisting and objecting. in my experience there is NEVER ever a uniform "yes master"ness with a lone objector. the Asch effect only works on a single individual.

incidentally I think CMDB is mostly a pile of shyte, a geek's dream. i make a studied guess that it is the only bit of ITIL you DO like.

So I too doubt many aspects of ITIL but unlike you I am accepting of the professional change that ITSM represents (and only represents - don't confuse cause and effect)

Just because I'm expressive

Just because I'm expressive of my opinion and rattle a few cages doesn't make me angry.

"This indicates emotional not rational reaction." But it could be either or both, or neither. Perhaps it's an instinctive reaction? Irrespective, I stand behind it.

"outright haters" - nope - if you want to categorise me I'd be a 'naysayer'.

"incidentally I think CMDB is mostly a pile of shyte, a geek's dream. i make a studied guess that it is the only bit of ITIL you DO like."
... no I don't like CMDB either.

"the Asch effect only works on a single individual." Yes. What if that individual is the policy maker for the company?

I think Im slowly starting to understand you.

We humans are strange creatures; we are driven by a variety of complex emotions. These emotions drive us in all sorts of strange directions. One of the less attractive emotions is hatred and anger. This emotion is instilled by fear. One of the reasons fear spawns in a corporate environment is due to lack of understanding. But you appear to be an expert on Social Psychology based on the Asch Experiments you asked me to observe.

Your Response: “Glad to see you've come around to calling it a 'framework' instead of a 'tool'. At least you agree with me on that.”

My Response: The definition of framework as taken from wordweb for your benefit is “A hypothetical description of a complex entity or process” “A structure supporting or containing something”. A tool from wordweb is defined as “An implement used in the practice of a vocation”. So to settle the silly semantics you seem to be obsessed about, ITIL the framework is used as an “implement (alignment)” in the practice of my vocation as a Service Manager. I use this word "tool" to indicate that their are a variety of "shyte" tools available.

Your Response: “Maybe you'll reach the next level of enlightenment that it is a 'framework of guidelines' or aka a pile of shyte”

My Response: Well we can agree on something else visitor, Frameworks are a set of guidelines and best practices. In terms of them being a “pile of shyte” well I think the boys at Ford (with reference to your comment to James Fisher “Do Ford and Pepsi use the same process or something?”) and to the large population of Japan you may be a little out of your depth. The Deming Model, one of the “shyte” best practices employed by ITIL took Japan to world dominance of many markets in the second part of the 20th century. Dr Edward Deming was the founder of Total Quality Management. A small portion used in the ITIL framework. He worked with William W Scherkenbach at Ford motor company who drives his teachings still today. Dr Deming was also hired by Nashua Corporation.

So to mildly answer your question regarding manufacturing being the same as IT, Well they both have inputs and outputs don’t they. And the customer either likes the outputs or he does not. Again its about what the customer wants. Not about having the manufacturing mindset of produce then convince the consumer they need the product. We follow a marketing mindset now of find out what the customer wants and produce it.

Your Response: “Implementing ITIL is a cynical exercise in conformity disguised as a form of 'standardisation' and 'best practice'”

My Response: ITIL is not standardization. If you want that go get the company certified in ISO/IEC 20,000 another “pile of shyte” to you Im sure.

Your Response: “The ITIL ethos and approach adds layers of complexity through introduction of additional unskilled ITIL management, and associated ITIL headcount, on top of skilled IT resources”

My Response: Now your comment regarding ITIL adding layers of complexity? IT is layers of complexity. The IT guys do a sterling job of integrating everything and making it work. Without them none of the business would be possible. However back to the definition of a framework as taken from wordweb “A hypothetical description of a complex entity or process” “A structure supporting or containing something”. So in essence as much as you would like to argue the point the ITIL framework is there to simplify complex IT and business (neither one nor the other) areas in order to get the most out value out of both of them.
Im still in agreement that majority of the time IT Management does not have near the skills of the skilled IT resources. Majority of the Skilled IT resources however do not have management skills. If they did guess where they would be. IT Management!! I have personally watched and assisted many skilled IT resources move into management. They are happy. And Im sure they would look at your statements in with a raised brow.

Your Response: “This is not to promote best practices but to shift power and kudos back to the 'business' and is a typical knee-jerk reaction from knowledge challenged management”

My Response: Im still not sure why you have this disturbing view of power shifting in organizations. Sure there is a lot of it in the corporate world. I think business in general including IT has the survival of the fittest attitude. There will always be a skilled IT resource younger and more clued up somewhere in the world. In terms of knowledge challenged management. Wow that’s a general statement. Again Im sure the many IT professionals I know in management would laugh at that comment. Sounds to me your falling into your own trap of “small sample, is inaccurate and of little point to me”

Your Response: “Do you question your CFO?”

My Response: Guess what? There are state laws, regulations and audits enforced on a CFO so I wont need to worry about that and neither should you. And by the way we have Enterprise Governance Frameworks to keep a watchful eye. But I suppose in your view they would also wind up being “a pile of Shyte”.

Your Response: “Your - 'The picture has been painted clearly. Everyone on this post... blah' - is a small sample, is inaccurate and of little point to me”

My Response: Ever heard of the itSMF. That is an international organization for IT Service Managers. They promote and drive frameworks. Many organizations are members of the itSMF due to the success of what frameworks do for them and for their hunger to continually improve. Im sure if you really wanted a bigger sample evidence we can all provide it on this blog. However you and I both know that isn’t going to change your view.

Your Response: “Check out the Asch experiments”

My Response: I found that very interesting thanks :-).

To sum things up once again. People are the issue. If you have a bad manager who cant do the job then ITIL is only going to make that more apparent. ITIL focuses on accountability and responsibility of individuals. It is up to individuals in Marketing, Finance, Sales, IT, Management, Production, so on and so on to make the company run effectively. It is all about the people. Its all about them working together out of silo’s so that they can accomplish more. ITIL is SUPPOSED to assist with this. And I have seen it accomplish this many times over.

I think perhaps all you need is a hug? ;-)

Resistance is there to make us stronger

I love your insight into

I love your insight into humanity. Your attempt to sidetrack my opinion by implying it is based on an emotional argument is futile.

Demings philosophy is independent of ITIL. Demings approach is logical and I can see it's value. One does not need to adopt ITIL to apply Deming philosophy. You cannot use Deming to support ITIL. In fact Deming would probably turn in his grave. When Deming took on Ford he found MANAGEMENT were grossly responsible for the Ford decline.

You are bobbing and weaving like a real ITIL pro now...
'The definition of framework as taken from wordweb for your benefit is “A hypothetical description of a complex entity or process” “A structure supporting or containing something”.' ... and then ... "Well we can agree on something else visitor, Frameworks are a set of guidelines and best practices." ... ahem. Sorry - but that's a different definition entirely. Why don't you give me the definition of a 'framework' and 'tool' from the ITIL library - surely there's a list of definitions there? ...for consistency.

"We follow a marketing mindset now of find out what the customer wants and produce it." This is common sense. People have done this since time began. I don't need to adopt ITIL to do this.

He said, she said...
I said: “Implementing ITIL is a cynical exercise in conformity disguised as a form of 'standardisation' and 'best practice'”. You said: "ITIL is not standardization." ... But from we get:
ITIL: Overview and Benefits

improved IT services through the use of proven best practice processes
standards and guidance
improved delivery of third party services through the specification of ITIL ...blah... as the standard for service delivery in services procurements. standards and best practices.

Now you're on to 'supposition':
"Blah blah... And Im sure they would look at your statements in with a raised brow." Probably natural, given they're your prodigy. Is that one raised brow between them? Do they pass it around?
"In terms of knowledge challenged management. Wow that’s a general statement. Again Im sure the many IT professionals I know in management would laugh at that comment." They probably would. Hysterically. But they wouldn't address it. Then they would throw in a few buzz words and anectotes desperately trying to raise their profile among their peers before retreating to their tidy desks to sharpen the corporate daggers, beat down their innovative 'resources', schedule a self-effacing meeting, and distractedly grasp at the straws of ITIL for the next report.

"There are state laws, regulations and audits enforced on a CFO so I wont need to worry about that and neither should you." So you don't need ITIL for that then.

"Im sure if you really wanted a bigger sample evidence we can all provide it on this blog." I don't at the moment, thanks. But sampling from itSMF is like preaching to the converted isn't it? I mean choosing a biased set from which to sample is at best inconclusive supporting evidence.

I get all the hugs I need. Sometimes the hug leads to something more... but I digress.

Pleasantly surprised

I have to be honest initially you came across as not having a bleeding clue. I still don’t agree with you completely which is fine as you said we have our own opinions. However you have provided facts this time, which I like. Lets see if we can find things we agree on shall we.

Based on the facts you have given I will withdraw my statements relating to this being an emotional driven argument. Lets call this more of a debate now that we have solid facts to work with.

Regarding the paragraph around Dr Deming. I agree with you 100% on every point you made here. You certainly do not need ITIL to apply the Deming philosophy which go’s far beyond the Deming Model used in ITIL. You cannot use Deming to support ITIL. I don’t recall saying this initially. I only happened to state that the Deming Model was one of the best practice guidelines used by ITIL. I cannot see how this would cause Dr Deming to roll in his grave. Im sure if anything he would be happy to see frameworks (Successful or Not) make use of his philosophy in order to better serve the stakeholders involved.

No one ever suggested ITIL never highlighted where management was failing to deliver. I would happily say that if a company is performing poorly it would be due to management in some degree or another. Why? Because it is management that is supposed to make key decisions, It is Management that is supposed to hire capable individuals, and it is management who needs to answer to itself. If it is staff that is causing the decline in a company then it is management who would still be held accountable as it is management who is supposed to ensure that staff is trained, motivated, and happy in their work environments. If they aren’t then it is likely not a good job and if good fortune is upon them then they should get another job.

As for the definitions you requested, as I suspected Im afraid they are not in the ITIL books. I will be forwarding a mail to the authors to add tools and frameworks to the glossary. How does that sound?

You caught me out fair and square with the contradictory statement. I see I am not going to slip one by you very easily which is great. I was however in my defense referring exclusively to the ITIL framework where I mentioned it to contain guidelines and best practices. Im at least hoping I got my point across regarding my use of the framework and tool terms?

You mention my statement regarding the use of a marketing mindset being common sense and that it was done since time began. I don’t agree with this. I can prove this based on the marketing eras over the last few years.

* Firstly it was the simple trade era which is where early produces made products that were needed by themselves and their neighbors.

* Then from the 1920’s the Industrial revelation occurred and the production era was born. They produced a few specific products with the “if we can make it, it will sell” attitude. Factories started running into competition as everyone was getting involved in production. This drove the movement to the next mind set

* The Sales era around the 1930’s was aimed at beating competition via vigorous selling. Remember the door to door sales man?

* The marketing department era was around the 1950’s. This is where effort was required to tie together the efforts of research, purchasing, production, shipping, and sales. In other words this was when all these efforts were brought under one department to integrate better into the firms activities

* Then by the 1960’s came the marketing era, this was where the marketing concept came into play. The concept of satisfying its customer at a profit. IT eventually was recognized as a vital component to organizations and once IT went public it boomed at a rate far beyond what was initially thought it could. This meant new age services could be delivered to companies as well as individuals. The market era mindset is still integrated with this today. However as for it being common sense you would be surprised by the amount of companies who build a product and expect it to sell. You are right in the fact that you don’t need ITIL to accomplish this. However ITIL does get an organization thinking more about the customer than what it was initially accustomed to. ITIL version 3 is powerful in this regard. The Service Strategy publication takes on a marketing approach in developing services that truly provide value to customers. Most of it is on a theoretical level. But theory is ultimately the backbone to everything.

The comment regarding the standards (Sheesh you really have me working for my points here)

The framework is not a standard and this is often confused. The framework takes best practice element from standards. It is the source of good practice. ITIL takes good practice from other Frameworks, standards, as well as the proprietary knowledge from successful companies. Sorry I was not clear about this initially. This is how they put together the set of best practices and guidelines.

The comment regarding the IT Skilled professionals in IT Management:

I do not have a prodigy. I am an individual who helps organizations find solutions to common problems they face. I assist them in streamlining their current processes to ensure they get the most out of them with the minimum amount of effort and cost.( I have a feeling you are going to try and distort this to through back at me.) But honestly that’s what I do. The people who have moved into those management positions are good people and they are highly intelligent and I have the utmost respect for them on many professional levels. I defend them due to my respect for them. I need to stand firmly against your implication that management as a whole is knowledge challenged. I am not in management so I don’t defend it on my own capacity. I just think that statement is somewhat absolutely ridiculous. What are your grounds for a comment like that?

ITIL does not fix incompetent people. If a CFO is incompetent or an IT Skilled Resource is incompetent or anyone else in the organization for that matter is incompetent. Then they will remain that way. If they are important success factors for an ITIL alignment then ITIL will fail. ITIL does take accountability for its failure. When ITIL fails it is clearly seen by all. If you are driving a car and you are in a crash due to the brakes failing and the engine seizing you would be quick to blame the car Im sure. But then on further inspection it is discovered that one individual who serves you at the garage was not educated in pouring oil into the engine and didn’t know about it. The other person thought cars were a waste of time so he didn’t bother using brake fluid cause he thought it was a silly concept I mean how does fluid stop a car. Could you still blame the car itself for the crash you were in? ITIL is about team work and everyone needs to be involved or it will fail.

itSMF was not a biased set from which to sample. The people who are members are converted you are quite correct. They are converted for a reason though. They have seen IT Service Management frameworks work for them. If anything I think this is the ideal bunch who could stand up for the success of IT Frameworks and standards.

To close off once again. ITIL consists of 26 processes (There are arguments about other areas being processes as well but that is not for this conversation) These processes depend on each others outputs for their inputs making ITIL a closed loop system. If they are fed rubbish inputs then they will put out rubbish. You cant polish dog doo doo. ITIL is a network of processes all with very specific outcomes that are supposed to benefit an organization. All organizations have business processes that require IT Services. ITIL helps the organization ensure that the IT services are meeting their necessary requirements. The business processes thus run better than they ever could alone. ITIL does this as I have mentioned before by mixing the right capabilities of IT Skilled staff as well as regular staff, together with the right resources in order to get optimum outputs. (Some more Piffle for you Im sure. Read between the lines though)

ITIL IS STILL ONLY A FRAMEWORK!! Not a person. ITS PROCESSES AND FUNCTIONS!!! Recommended for use. The fact that you use them or not is entirely up to you. It’s a set of recommendations. If you want to make it more than that it is entirely up to you as an individual or an organization. But that’s what is.

Now instead of nitpicking at my comments which I still have facts to (if you find some you really don’t agree with then once again point them out) Tell us what you think is an ideal solution for management to better understand you and your work. Tell us how you think management can better run its operations in difficult economic times so that it can still afford to pay its employees . Give us some solutions Visitor. You can quickly object statements and complain about inefficiencies but lets hear some real solutions to these problems you are pointing out. Give us facts so that we can all change our ways and be better at what we do. Clearly we are all totally misguided.

I am enjoying the banter. You are slowly becoming a worthy opponent.

"that management as a whole

"that management as a whole is knowledge challenged. .... I just think that statement is somewhat absolutely ridiculous. What are your grounds for a comment like that?"

One cannot purport to be omniscient therefore one must be knowledge challenged. Like me for example. But then I'm not ramming ITIL down anyones throat. I think that coming out with a strong controversial statement is always good for debate. And debate is generally good.

In the context of ITIL, I feel many 'key decision makers' assume it's a silver bullet or a golden hammer. And unfortunately the target of the bullet or hammer is IT. Yes it is.

To be honest I don't see a need for management to understand me and my work. I would propose they simply facilitate a black box IT operation.

Then we are in agreement

If that is your response to "knowledge challenged" then I support your view and would happily back it up 110%.

I am an ITIL punter and I try hard not to let it get in the way of seeing the bigger picture. I am passionate about the framework and I have a comfort in it. To be honest its because at this stage its what I specialise in. I am not one to place all my eggs in one basket and I am learning of many other frameworks. I am a strong believer in ITIL. But I know it has its pitfalls like everything on this planet. well almost everything with exception to good blues and whisky. My personal prefrence yet again.

I agree with IT getting hammered with all the buzz and latest trends. I agree that people expect too much from ITIL, as I have said already. It will not solve all your companies problems.

And once more I agree that management doesnt need to fully understand you and your work. as long as you get along. They have their own problems to deal with.

I appreciate the debate Visitor, I always welcome them. Good luck out there :-)

Resistance is there to make us stronger

Not complex, but profound

I have a feeling a number of different arguments are going on here, which possibly weakens the overall thrust rather than strengthens it.

First of all a lot of people who aren't experienced in ITIL have set themselves up as experts and are out there making mistakes the early adopters made in the early 1990's that those with experience would avoid. Worse than that they are advising others who believe that they are listening to real experts. I'll add int that some of the more experienced experts sometimes struggle to let go of ideas that have had their day.

There is little, if anything, novel and unique that ITIL has introduced to the world. The early versions were a re-codification of the proven guidance already been used in the best mainframe shops. Many of the supposedly new aspects of ITILv3 is content borrowed from other sources, some proven, some not, some well interpreted, some apparently not really understood.. I would rather trust the knowledge of any experienced management accountant over the advice on cost management in any version of ITIL.

We all know that there are lots of CMDBs out there,, it is not their creation that matters so much as their on going use and integration with operational and managerial decision making that many doubt. I have seen CMDBs outside of IT that have achieved all that ITIL says and more, but very few within IT departments, because I believe the average IT department does not have the capability to support a mature approach to CMKS. I am therefore very sceptical of anyone's claims to have implemented dozens of successful CMDBs, not least because it suggests whoever made the claim did not hang around to see the state of those CMDBs two or three years later.

On the other hand I still come across IT departments who consider almost all of ITIL to be theoretical and work on the basis because they have not tried something, or have tried it and failed to make it work, then it must be impossible.

I'm not sure if I agree whether or not CMDB is the most complex part of ITIL, but my gut feel is that at at least lies within what should be the average IT departments realm of experience, whereas a truly customer/service centric approach is a simple concept, but very difficult for most IT departments to change to. The reasons for that are many, and in my experience the real ITIL experts are those who appreciate that and do not offer magic bullet solutions. I worry that the commoditisation of ITIL training, coupled with exams that are about the books, not the application of ITIL, obscures the need for ITIL to be implemented and operated by those with a skill/talent set that that is far from common.

Brain surgery, I'm reliably told by my medical colleagues, isn't that hard and is rather more hack and slash than we would like to think, and trapanning is a technique with very old roots.

We all know the apocryphal story about the engineer who turns up on site and saves the day by turniong a single screw. The bill arrives and is queried because the engineer was only on site for five minutes. The revised, itemised bill arrives "Turning the screw $1. Knowing which screw to turn $999"

ITIL Expert

It doesn't help that the v3 Manager Certificate is now called 'ITIL Expert'.
I'm an expert. I have a certificate that says I am.
But I'm not an expert.


ITIL is a bureaucratic regime enforced on skilled IT people by non-IT management to shift the perceived sway of power and force IT to 'support' the business. It is not a set of rules, merely a framework of guidelines, aka a pile of shyte. And look who came up with it! Lordy lordy.


This is the best quick review of ITIL I've yet seen. ITIL is bureaucratic sewage. In ten years it has not helped me, or the organisation one jot. This is because theoretical drivel does not survive contact with reality. Here's an example of how dreadful ITIL is. Take a look at the following description of a service desk's activities, from I've numbered them for reference.

1. Receive all calls and e-mails on incidents
2. Incident recording (including RFC’s)
3. Incident Classification
4. Incident Prioritisation
5. Incident Escalation
6. Search for Work Around
7. Update the customer and IT group on progress
8. Perform communication activities for the other ITIL processes (e.g. Release notifications, change schedules, SLM-reports)
9. Perform daily CMDB verification
10. Report to Management, Process Managers and customers (through SLM) on Service Desk performance

1. Is fine, as 1.s usually are.
2. Is also a no-brainer. People have been listening and noting stuff down for centuries. We do this in kindergarten.
3. Is where the ITIL machine kicks in, and immediately breaks. IT is not an exact science, nor will it ever be. Neither is management, but there's another topic for another day. ITIL's first mistake, somewhat oddly, is to think that IT incidents can be reliably classified. They cannot, just as most events in life cannot be either. A user calls in with a vague error message in Outlook. Office has been upgraded recently, the network performance is relatively poor, and the Exchange server fails frequently. There is also a perception that the end user is not au fait with the application. A request to install an add-in program was recently carried out. Furthermore, two change requests which relate to the domain this user accesses, have been mentioned in the context of Microsoft Exchange. How exactly will ITIL assist you here? The incident is hugely indeterminate; is highly likely to remain so, and will never be fully or properly explored, by anyone, ever, for no one has the time. Ask 100 people to record this incident and you will get 100 different records. 99 of those will be the product of brute force, common sense and general level of education. The best records will be by those who spurn ITIL, but read good quality prose daily. They probably hate IT, which is typical, certainly where I work. The other 1, is the guy "thinking in terms of ITIL" who takes seven months to describe a password reset. "Thinking about good quality case notes" tends to go straight out the window and a kind of clerical madness sets in.
4., Incident Prioritisation is a mixed bag to say the least. First, a good number of problems are, as I am wont to say all too often, indeterminate. "Server's gone down for X". Hoo, sounds bad. Except that this is a test server. Or hardly anyone accesses Citrix on this server lately. Or this server should actually have been decommissioned before Christmas. On the other hand, "I can't get infrequent obscure sounding report to print on this printer". Sounds like a minor concern. But this affects payroll for that month, if the figures don't land on the director's desk, from where certain bonuses will be calculated. Second, much like the Necker Cube, there is often more than one way to judge an incident's priority. There is the end user's perception (everything is massively important). There is the person taking the call (it's not as important as the end user thinks it is). Further along the chain there is the resolving team's perception (everything is unimportant and should be raised as a low priority). Then there is the service manager, who changes his mind depending on the direction of the prevailing wind. I could go on, but you get the drift. By the way, no one pays much mind to priorities anyway - only priority one incidents are earmarked with any reliability. 3's, 4's, 5's - who gives a monkeys? - they're not P1's, so crack open a beer by all means.
5. is one of my all-time favourites. It means pretty much exactly nothing. To escalate means nothing more than to tell someone (often in the form of a poorly worded email) that something has reached FUBAR status. Escalation can be a mealy-mouthed term too. For many it means no more than "I'm going to try to get you into trouble for not looking at a case for two weeks, even though I know you've only just got back from The Maldives, and have thousands of other cases that also demand attention. It also means informing senior people who have no clue as to how the world works and who reply back, if at all, with something like "What's this about Dave?". Escalation by service desk is also an almost completely fake responsibility; akin to asking hospital receptionists to chase down those pesky triple heart bypass specialist doctors, as Momma needs an update on how Uncle Larry is doing in theatre. As a service desk responsibility it also promotes the notion that specialist teams and management can largely avoid the customer altogether (the holy grail). Let service desk do all the running, chasing, promising, explaining, tea-making, f**king up, and so on.
And so, we come to 6. Well, I never - work-arounds. Wow. Groundbreaking stuff. Would never have been able to work this out myself.
As to 7. I find myself sputtering again. What is highly amusing though is how, as I alluded to above, the tendency is for specialists to state "Done", in case notes, and not bother contacting the user at all. The telepathic check box is still not available in my case logging system, so I do have to wonder. A week later, Suzanne calls, and is advised that the work is "done", and she can go right ahead and "test it". Suzanne does, and the same error pops up. "Ooh, right" we say, and the whole process starts over again. Fabulous. Here I can defend ITIL, but I am only defending what I would do as a matter of course, in any area of life. ITIL does not add to common sense.
8. and 9. are, in practice the usual waffle that no one understands, certainly at service desk level. Release schedules mean Playstation 3 games this Fall, nothing more.
10. is arguably worse. Much data is faulty at the outset, or never examined carefully, or is "tweaked" or spun by middlemen. IT is full of data drivel. You've done four more client Y cases today Sam. But you're down 10% on random KPI X. Who cares? So long as people turn up, put in the effort, and have the tools they need, what more can be said? ITIL is part fantasy, part trivia, and part careerist rubbish.


I'm impressed by the effort you put into that rant. I too am a critic of ITIL but I like to think I'm a rational one. I'm afraid I can't say the same about most of this comment.

You quote - a commercial site trolling traffic for their ITIL Toolkit product -which indicates you are not in possession of ITIL itself. I wonder if you have ever read it or been trained in it?

I'm glad to provide the platform for you to vent your spleen. Done. But sadly your criticisms are nothing new. They seem to boil down to 3:
1) I knew that already
2) I've seen that implemented horribly
3) ITIL didn't magically fix bad behaviour

1) We all know ITIL is nothing new - it is documented common sense, so attacking it on that basis makes little sense.
2) Don't shoot the message because the messenger didn't deliver it well. Personally i have had much success using ITIL, as have many others.
3) ITIL isn't a cure to culture. it is a reference framework: a source of ideas and a benchmark to compare to. No more.

You are clearly beyond reason so I won't try reasoning with you. You go on being bitter and angry, I'm sure it enhances your working day.

I disagree

I mean I disagree with Rob, not with Visitor. Or at least I do at one level. I actually agree with Rob's three points.

But.....If one of the ITIL/ITSM names had written essentially the same things it would probably have been hailed as a thought provoking piece, not a rant. Sadly the ranting aspect does rather undermine the value of some of the valid comments, and that sound is undoubtedly the scream of the baby being washed away with the bath water. OK I do agree with Rob that Visitor is commenting on what happens in the typical IT department, not what happens in one that has made a realistic attempt to follow ITIL, but perhaps we should take note of how often the so called ITIL shop more closely resembles visitor's world than that found within the pages of ITIL.

I've given my view on specific points Visitor makes below, after my signature, because I don't think the individual points are that important compared to the big points which are implicit in what visitor says:

a) ITIL doesn't face up to the "messiness" of the real world
b) ITIL fails to get the key messages out to the people who matter - especially the message that you need to do things differently to achieve specific real world outcomes
c) ITIL continues to offer the same basic advice as it did 20 years ago without modifying it in the light of what happens in reality

In my more cynical moments I wonder if the ITIL successes I have seen have actually been rather like stone soup.

James Finister

Actually 1 and 2 aren't the given no-brainers Visitor allows, in that I'm sure I'm not alone in coming across organisations that don't do them.

His view of 3 misses out that if the majority of simple incidents are better classified than they are in many IT departments then it is a lot easier to cope with the problematic ones, and because we are prioritizing to avoid sweating the small stuff no one is going to spend ages discussing how to classify this particular incident. Any decent system of classification is driven by three needs: The need to prioritise, the need to send it to to the right support team, and the need to provide good (indicative) management information. Most ITSM tools depend on classification to support workflow. ITIL isn't saying create an abstract classification for the hell of it. But OK, given all of that, lets accept the fact that classification is often messy and inexact.Perhaps that is why we've never developed a basic set of industry wide classifications.

Point 4 - Again I have to agree that different people have a different view of priorities - even in the executive suite - and most priorities below 2 are pointless. (1 - Important urgent and unavoidable 2- Significant but I don't need to wake the CIO to tell them about it)

5 - It is a valid observation in the real world that escalation is meaningless, but ITIL tries to make it clear you need to agree why you are escalating to certain people and what you expect to happen as a result. In the out-sourcing world I live in escalation has very real meaning.

6 - Yes it is obvious. Then so are half the checks pilots have to carry out in an emergency, but there is a good reason they are still written down on checklists. ITIL does seemed to be damned if it does and damed if it doesn't in Visitor's mind. Wrong if it disagrees with common sense but pointless when it states it.

7 - Well I know an awful lot of IT employees who have found themselves out of work or working for an outsourcer primarily because of a persistent systematic failure to keep users/customers informed .

8-9 Probably true at a service desk level, but ITIL isn't just about the service desk. Yet you know there are an awful ot of people who I admire in the ITSM world whose experience doesn't go far beyond the service desk.

10 True. I was saying that back in 1998. It doesn't mean we should give up producing MI though, just we should be more realistic about what it is telling us, and work a bit harder to improve it.

How old are you?

Yeah Im sorry but that was an extremely ignorant and childish statement. How on earth is IT forced to support the business. What other purpose could IT possibly have? If the business isnt making money then you arent going to be paid a salary.

Of course Management is non-IT. The main focus of management is to run a profitable organization and ensure all departments are achieving their goals and objectives to drive the business forward.

ITIL is certainly not a bureaucratic regime. Its purpose is simply to get management to better understand IT and IT to better understand the business. Its about empowering IT staff to become more efficient and valuable to the business. It certainly is not there to "control" IT staffs every action. If anything it provides IT staff with more time on their hands to focus their efforts on becoming proactive for the business and to reduce overall pressure on IT staff.

ITIL is not the full enterprise solution. It is a single tool amongst many such as COBIT, TOGAF, ZACHMAN, ISO/IEC 20,000, Kings Report 3 etc, etc. People forget that ITIL is a single tool in managing complex environments. They place too much emphasis on ITIL and their expectations are far too high.

ITIL is about correctly mixing and managing People, Process, Technology and Partners. If you fail to properly manage one area you will likely fail in the rest. People for example have three important attributes that need correct managing. Attitudes, Behavior and Culture. If these attributes are not focused on throughout any alignment, then it is bound to fail.

Skep, with regards to your initial post, its unfortunate that individuals become so childish and protective over their knowledge. I was unfortunately unable to read the initial post that spurred this post as the link provided I could not access. However the only reason I feel people behave this way is because of the following:

They are technically responsible for the CMDB and follow the ITIL Configuration Management process, their claim to fame is that they have got the CMDB running to a fair degree (I say this cause it is generally unlikely the CMDB is running successfully where it provides value to the business. This is based on information gathered from surveys and general discussions). They become defensive of other people commenting on how they do things because of the emotion they have tied up in building what they have built. They regard themselves as the experts and wont listen to what others have to say purely because they have been there and done that. They want an elitist status as they are unique in what they have done. Then for someone with no experience to start commenting on their work they are quick to jump at the jugular.

The other scenario may be fear of exposure. Perhaps limited knowledge on subject matter and on frameworks itself, or perhaps they are in a comfort zone in their office where they do not want management digging around to discover they are not achieving what is required of them.

I couldnt say which would be the correct answer to any given situation. These are also my opinions and I am open to correction provided it is backed up with facts or a good argument

Resistance is there to make us stronger

My response to Richarddk's personal attack and continuing piffle

Your Q: How old are you?
My answer: None of your business. As a manager you should know that is an illegal question to ask.

Your Q: How on earth is IT forced to support the business.
My answer: ITIL and must conform to ITIL

Your Q: What other purpose could IT possibly have?
My answer: Productivity improvements, ROI improvements, innovative technologies that ENABLE the business to GROW PROFIT or INCREASE MARKET SHARE... for example. We are not a support organization for dim witted business ideas.

Your statement: Of course Management is non-IT. The main focus of management is to run a profitable organization and ensure all departments are achieving their goals and objectives to drive the business forward.
My comment: ....actually, your next comment shows your dilemma.
Your next comment: ITIL is certainly not a bureaucratic regime. Its purpose is simply to get management to better understand IT and IT to better understand the business.
My conclusion: You don't understand IT so you use ITIL to help you. You force IT people to conform to your bureaucratic regime so you can control them because of your lack of ... knowledge? trust?

Your comment: Its about empowering IT staff to become more efficient and valuable to the business. It certainly is not there to "control" IT staffs every action. If anything it provides IT staff with more time on their hands to focus their efforts on becoming proactive for the business and to reduce overall pressure on IT staff.
My conclusion: At the end of your daily ride on your high horse, resplendant in your shining armour, the rose-tinted view of your ivory tower must be gratifying. IT staff handle pressure and are proactive through continual process improvement and teamwork. That's why we have so much time on our hands. Nothing to do with ITIL sir or management sir.

Your comment: ITIL is not the full enterprise solution.
My comment: That's right. Spread the blame.

Your comment: It is a single tool amongst ...blah blah
My comment: That's wrong. ITIL is NOT A TOOL. It is a framework of guidelines of mumbo-jumbo that obfuscates common sense to the degree that it cripples innovation, free thought and process and technological improvement.

Your comment: They place too much emphasis on ITIL and their expectations are far too high.
My comment: How unreasonable of them. They should just simply go and ask their IT department to help them next time. We are people too. We can communicate.

Your comment: People for example have three important attributes that need correct managing. Attitudes, Behavior and Culture.
My comment: Shyte - I thought it'd be skills, ethics and career. I suppose the measurements for the attitude and behaviour would be subjective really, and you'd be deciding on what's good and bad. I probably have a bad attitude and am badly behaved. Wait a minute, maybe it's because of my 'culture'? How'd you measure culture now pray tell? Or do you enforce a culture on your staff from the top?

Your comment: its unfortunate that individuals become so childish and protective over their knowledge
My comment: Sounds like you're in the dark on things regularly. I would recommend you study IT and trust your co-workers.
My conclusion: Knowledge is power. You seek power through management. Management didn't deliver you power and you have no knowledge of IT so you embrace ITIL and enforce it on the IT people who have the knowledge to be of value to the business. When they look at you, they look at you in bewilderment.

Your comment: I couldnt say which would be the correct answer to any given situation.
My comment: I've concluded that about you too.

It's not the 1980s any more

I don't know how many people work for your organisation, Visitor, but if they adopt ITIL and you don't, it can only end one way. If 100 people say lets go this way and you say lets go that way, your opinion is so valued and your insight so superior to everyone else's that the company will immediate revert to your course right? And objecting to the course they want to follow is so important that you should sacrifice your job and financial security and future career for it by resisting to the end right? Even if it is stupid and misguided, you either dance to the piper's tune or you find another piper.

Actually most folk think ITSM's not stupid. There are three kinds of people: those who nake things happen, those who know what's happening, and those who cry "what the fuck happened?". And I'm not referring here to technology directions or Moore's Law or even new methodologies. I'm referring to cultural change in the industry and political change in your organisation. In the interests of your own satisfaction and future you owe it to yourself to be in one of the first two groups of people and not the third. I'm making asafe bet you are not one of the first group so be in the second. See it coming, be ready, have a plan, react to look after yourself. Your comments so far indicate you have no idea what is happening. You are angry, puzzled, resentful.

Once upon a time, people tolerated rugged individualism in IT (I've seen bourbon bottles on desks) because not only did we have a hero culture but few people understood any of it, we overly valued technical knowledge (I say JAPS Just Another Piece of Software - most smart experienced people can grok a new tool in a few days or weeks), and we expected failure and delay as business as usual - IT is tricky and unpredictable and delicate right?

Well guess what. It's not the 1980s any more. IT is a profession now. We do the job properly, we follow generally accepted practices, we share and reuse IP, we work in teams, we record what we did, we are accountable for our actions. It is a lot more boring - it is almost like a real job.

You can go one of three ways: you can work out what your employer wants from you and work to that, you can resist and buck and wonder why you get used less and never get what you want, or you can leave. There is a fourth option: mangement will go "holy cow! he's right. We're all going the wrong way. Our saviour! How brilliant. Oh thankyou thankyou". Figure the odds.

It just sounds to me you

It just sounds to me you have a major chip on your shoulder and I dont think anything anyone says to you is going to make you feel any different. You refuse to embrace a new era which could be so beneficial to you as an individual. Why fight it? If you are good at what you do how on earth does it threaten you. Its there to compliment your work. Clearly you have issues dealing with change.

Your comments unfortunately only show how ignorant you are to business and what is trying to be achieved with these frameworks. All your comments were emotionally driven and none of them bore any relevant facts to support your arguments.

I think your are rather out of line with your statements. This is not about the control of power. Really mate stop reading all those comic books :-). You live in a siloed environment and you will remain there with that attitude Im afraid.

There is no need to be so aggressive. This is a professional forum with many highly respectable intelligent individuals trying to find ways to make your life easier. Dont bite the hand that feeds you. If you want to participate in discussions like this with the caliber of people contributing to this site (I do not regard myself near the caliber of these professionals) then I would suggest bring more concrete factual arguments.

Angry person...

... very interesting how you are so resistant to what is only best practice. All successful industries have best practices. Where would manufacturing be if it allowed free reign to make up process as you go to its factory staff. Would your car be as reliable or your fizzy drink taste as consistent??
ITIL does not cripple innovation, free thought and process and technological improvement. It just says don’t do all this with your production systems.

"...very interesting how you are so resistant to what is only be

"...very interesting how you are so resistant to what is only best practice"

Prove it. Self proclaimed best practice is hollow. Companies have been highly successful without implementing ITIL. It is merely a current buzz - like an annoying fly.

Are you telling me manufacturing is based on ITIL?!?!? What are you trying to say? Are you trying to draw some parallel to something? Jeez - do you think manufacturing is the same as IT? Do Ford and Pepsi use the same process or something? Is it ITIL???? Wow.


I would have a little more respect for "visitor" if they signed on and didn't hide behind anonmynity, and also if they cottoned on to the ethos of the skeptic's site. We all know ITIL isn't perfect, but we do mostly care that IT proves its worth by suopporting business objectives. I don't care what a great firefighter someone is, or how elegant their code is, if they don't get the message that the business pays our wages then they go and find a new job.


I don't know you James. I didn't ask for respect. I'm sure you keep your head down and toe the line. That doesn't work for everyone. Diversity should be valued in an organisation. Does ITIL say 'fire those who do not conform'? I'd say you have a high attrition rate in your group. I hope you're not a manager. ;-)

Once again... are hiding behind anonymity. I think people here who know me also know that keeping my head down and toeing the line is not my style.

I value talented and skilled staff who believe that IT is about delivering what the business needs. That's what a senior manager has to do. I value diversity when it adds value. I didn't say I would fire those who didn't conform, I said I would fire those who don't realise IT is about adding value to the business. I stand by that.

James James James

No James. I'm not hiding behind anonymity. You just think I am. Don't try to bully me James. I didn't say you did say you would fire those who didn't conform.

Having briefly researched you, I have a better idea of who you are. But, are you a senior manager with the power to fire, as you imply? Well, you're a company director, of your own company... I was one too - cost me about 50 bucks to become one...

But are you a senior manager... ? You'd be more senior than another manager in your company then? Or at least maybe that would mean you'd have staff to manage. Well at least one member of staff, right?

Humour me - I hypothesize that you are a one man band operating as a limited company. Of course that's admirable and I've been there, done that too.

Again, humour me, because if you had staff...
you'd probably have someone to answer the phone at the office. But no - you don't publish a contact phone number on your company site - just an online contact form.
Now, hang on, but you have a company website! Maybe you've an IT department! looks like it's been a homegrown $30 Mr-site site with outsourced co-located hosting. Hmmm. Probably no techie to bully then. Particularly given your own blog is hosted elsewhere. Couldn't get it on one site? Ask a techie to help when you've a business problem James. We can all work together!
So maybe one could come to your office for a personal consultation? Dang - not even an address on the website! Perhaps there's no business premises? You wouldn't have a cleaner to bully either!!!!

So are you a senior manager? And who are you managing? And why are you senior? Perhaps anonymity may have been a better choice?

I'm so stupid

I forgot to mention a couple of things.

First of all you are talking utter twaddle because you ARE hiding behind anonymity and how you can post as a "visitor" and not acknowledge that is beyond me, but for others to judge.

Secondly if you want to do some real detective work dig out a '92, '93 or '94 copy of the UK's Civil Service Yearbook where you'll find out that I was a Senior Civil Servant in the Cabinet Office.

Does that prove anything? Probably not, though I was exceptionally proud to have joined the First Divison Association via the ranks rather than the Fast stream

It was a very different world then, of course, with ITIL in its infancy. We didn't think of it as something faddish in those days, but primarily as a codification of how the best IT operations were being run already. Corporate IT was predominantly mainframe based in those days and I sometimes wonder what difference that made. On the one hand IT tended to have a bunker mentality and believed the customer should be happy to get the service they were given, but on the other hand there was a lot of positive emphasis on control.

Sometime looking back it is hard to see what it was we saw in ITIL then that made us so committed to it. I suspect that then as now it was less about the actual content of the books than it was about the next steps they encouraged you to take. The two big differences it probably made at the time were the clarity on how to escape from the break fix mentality by making the link between incidents, CIs, problems and change more explicit, and the beginning of a realisation that IT was about a service, and the technology was a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Anon, anon, anon

Gosh you can follow the links I post as part of my signature. Thats very clever.I'm an independent consultant these days, so what? I'm quite open about that. It pays for a nice lifestyle and a good work life balance, with interesting clients, and I do like to keep my overhead costs down to an absolute minimum. Techie, hmm no I haven't been at all techie for years, I don't really know how I passed my CISA exam.

Fantastic James. Truly.

I am glad it's working out for you. Independent IT Consultancy worked out for me for a while too. It's good to be your own boss.

Nobody likes change

Nobody likes change.

Freewheeling geeks don't like to be made accountable for their actions, they don't like to be measured, and they especially don't like being asked to be professional - it's boring. Too many IT people have had it too easy for too long. What this industry needs is a little discipline. I run a professional development course for IT technical people ("The Seven Trials of EnGrok") where I try to get that message across: get with it or get sidelined.

And CMDB gurus don't like a bright light cast on their pet technology. On a technical level it works: the wheels go round, the data goes in, the pretty pictures come out. It is a thing of beauty and it is their creation. to question it on business, strategic or financial grounds is to be a philistine, and it challenges their value set. most of them are smart enough to know the challenges ring true, which only makes the response more emotional in order not to face the unpleasant truth.

Now if I could only learn to

Now if I could only learn to say it as poetically as that. After that comment I say you have put the issue to rest Skep

nothing inherently hard or inaccessible about ITIL

Don't get me wrong. ITIL implementation is only as good as the people doing it. To take a responsible advisory position they still need to be skilled experienced people, knowledgeable in IT. I'm just saying that ITIL in particular isn't that hard a study for anyone with a solid background in other areas of IT, nor anyone with a few clues. ITIL is not a mystic black art and it is not an arcane field. If you know IT operations you can quickly understand ITIL. If you are a good quality process consultant you'll quickly become a good ITIL consultant. If you don't have experience of ITIL you can quickly learn from those who do, so long as you are willing. If you are skilled in cultural change then ITIL is just another transformation. Yes there are instant experts about who are dangerous. There are long-term ITILers around who are pretty dangerous too. It is all about the individual. But there is nothing inherently hard or inaccessible about ITIL per se.

If someone is already Service Desk Manager do they need to go on a practitioner course to be Incident Manager? Maybe, maybe not. If someone has been consulting to IT Operations for twenty years do they need to be an ITIL Master to keep doing so? Probably not.

Knowing doing gap

I'm sure the Knowing Doing Gap must be on your bookshelves somewhere. As an industry we need to make clear the difference between knowing what is in the books, having the ability to add to what is in the books, implementing what is in the books and operating what is in the books.

We need to protect the innocent from the harm done by those who do not know what they don't know, and the even more unscrupulous.

In the good old days the managers exam was intended for those who were already highly experienced, and I think you would have been lucky to pass the essay style exam without being able to bring real life work experience into your answers. The view I took in those days was a good IT manager should be able to pass the exam with minimal new knowledge, but with some re-framing of what they already knew, whilst a bad IT manager would often fail. I don't know more than a couple of good managers who didn't pass, and then it was through a misunderstanding of a question.

Marking essay questions, in audit as well as ITIL, you realise that a lot of people know a lot less than we presume they should know.

Does a manager who has been in ops for over twenty years still need training. Yes, because the chances are m,ost of them stopped learnign anything new eighteen years ago. Is the current ITIL training what they need - almost certainly not.

Syndicate content