An apology to the OGC, the itSMF and the ITIL community from the IT Skeptic

I got my facts wrong. Without prior feedback or pressure from anyone, I would like to apologise to OGC, the itSMF and others involved in the ITIL Version 3 Refresh for the imputation that there was no public consultation prior to the authoring of the ITIL Version 3 books.

There was in fact considerable effort:

"OGC and itSMFI are working together to consult UK and overseas public sector users, corporate and business users and suppliers globally. itSMFI will additionally seek feedback and coordinate responses from their members in over 27 countries. The two ITIL Examination Institutes, EXIN and ISEB, will organise responses from the training community." (OGC Information Bulletin - 21 January 2005 )

Just as importantly, there was a web-based survey as well.

These resulted in reportedly "530 written responses and over 6,000 comments, representing 80% of the countries with an itSMF chapter"

The conclusions were published in a public report. This was a major piece of work that I should not have overlooked.

Having said that, this was a one-off exercise that was commendable but only goes part of the way towards community involvement.

I maintain my position that there has been and still is no official community mechanism for ITIL. This apology does not affect the statements I made in ITIL Must Embrace the Collective.

I also maintain my position that the process of preparing Version 3 has been perceived by many in the community as lacking transaparency (and in communications, perception is reality).

And I continue to believe that the basic approach and philosophy is patronising rather than participatory. The ideal is somewhere in between: see ITIL reform needed: not letting the money changers and hookers into the temple, just some sort of protestant reformation.

However I regret that in comments made I have overlooked these efforts and have suggested there was no participation at all: for that I unreservedly apologise.


Your apology is accepted

Skeptic - tut tut. You were definitely off course when failing to recognize the extensive series of interviews and input collected by the exhaustive process. As a member of the US community that was requested to take part to represent the itSMF USA members we are keen to see how many of our requirements are actuallyt reflected in teh final product. It is my distinct impression that the customers asked for more how to and a 'refresh' of teh existing materials to ensure their relevancy and continued use. This refresh/update was requested against a more service centric and not infrastructure focused philosophy.

Frankly, since offering our input in Dallas nearly two years back we have received zero, nana, zilch feedback from the review team - nothing that remotely resembles a proven requirements management process whereby the needs and wants are carefully morphed into an objective and service level target. Reminds me of a simple analogy we use on our classes - ordering a cup of tea. Thats a need. The wants - hot, Earl Grey, honey, in a china cup and saucer. Or ordering your steak - 'medium - just a little pink in the middle'.... There was no recognizable dialog back to the customer to verify or refine the expectation.... this above all may lead to a misintepretation of the end deliverable... and in business terms that often translates to a higher cost of marketing to set or reset expectations....

best practice in process development is still some ways behind

It hasn't been a terribly iterative process to refine the plans aagainst user expectations has it?

I'm struck by the analogy with the mainframe applications of old, where the user specifications were captured once is a series of bewildered interviews with people who had no idea what the thing might look like or even what language the analyst was speaking; the specs were written up in a 300 page technical book that nobody read but the user stakeholders were forced to sign off on; the developers disappeared into back rooms for two years; then TA DAAAH produced a finished multi-million-dollar set-in-concrete system that nobody wanted and didn't meet the real requirement properly.

For decades we have had iterative prototyping models instead of the traditional monolithic waterfall: RAD, JAD etc

Obviously best practice in process development is still some ways behind application development.

Only Connect

I must admit that in reading your comments it hadn't struck me until now that you weren't aware of the original exercise to discover what people wanted from ITIL3. The point for me is that the survey looked at a meta level view of ITIL 3. In effect it was trying to identify what users want, but it didn't seek to identify what best practice actually is. That for me is the debate that hasn't taken place.

The missing connection for me is how the wants of the user's of ITIL can best be met by those creating and owning ITIL.

I want to give credit to what has been done

I was aware of the "530 written responses and over 6,000 comments" but I misunderstood what the process had been.

I agree that there has been no public debate of anything much so ITIL's definition of "best" remains, as you say, the opinion of a group.

But I want to give credit to what has been done - and I will give more as V 3 comes out - because I do believe it is a most impressive undertaking... just not above criticism. I'm sure I annoy a lot of people but self-satisfaction is fatal in any movement so I will persist in being the gadfly.

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