A skeptical newcomer to the ITSM blogosphere

Here's a new ITSM-related blog that certainly seems to be taking a critical look at things.


Good find Skeptic. There's a

Good find Skeptic. There's a whole gang of you fellows now, which is healthy.

The itSMF are going to LOVE his latest one though -

Do you know anything about that? I'm not liking it if its true.

itSMF International are not

itSMF International are not able or in a position to develop their own materials and that what was reported to have been said in Taiwan must have been mis-interpreted. The itSMF is simply a forum for ideas to be aired and debated and thence to offer a brokerage service, if required to do so by its members. Keep up the good Blogging!

Just to correct the last

Just to correct the last comment itSMF-I recently acquired the publication assets of the ITSM Library and have committed to developing this asset still further. They therefore now have an ability to continue to develop their own materials.

itSMFI are pushing into the book business big-time

In fact I think you will find itSMFI have entered into a contract with OGC and/or TSO to deliver books - can anyone confirm/deny/elaborate?

They certainly have the contract to do the V3 Core translations, so I think you are way wrong: translations + ITSM Library acquisition = itSMFI are pushing into the book business big-time.

Delivering books and

Delivering books and producing their own books, are entirely different things and besides, they've always delivered books. They have always acted as a re-seller for TSO, VHP and BSI under contract. As far as translations go, well, they'd be daft to tackle this themselves, without involving or contracting with local people who have both ITSM knowledge and the language. Translation is a very specialist area and should not be tackled from afar.


ITSMF wrote books in the past, including the excellent pocket book by Ivor Macfarlane and Colin Rudd.

itSMF is a multinational organisation whose local chapters are presumably managing the translations.

IPESC wil be Involved

The Translations with use the itSMF IPESC structure to get the various translations done. So many Chapters wil be involved as they have ion the past.

So are you saying

So are you saying that while itSMFUK may have produced books inthe past, you don't think itSMFI have the capability?

Does anyone care or involve the members here???


Member here! Does anyone at International, or the local Chapter come to that, (who seem oblivious to all the International wheeling and dealing), ever ask what they wish for them to do?????? There have been numerous offers to help with translations and to contribute books, papers and case studies to the common good of the itSMF membership. They tend to go unheard. Why does everything an itSMF member produce seem destined for the OGC/ITIL coffer?

Is this all part of an overall business plan for 2007/2008 - if so can I get a look? After all, we are a non-profit organization with a need for some transparency with its members..... unless of course the goal of the organization is actually to develop best practices, then be a membership organization...

That last comment says it

That last comment says it all. Somewhere along the line itSMF has forgotten its membership! Good hit!

itSMF does not exist to represent the interests of its members

I'm sorry but this is a common misconception. please be clear on this: the itSMF does not exist to represent the interests of its members. It exists by definition to advance the cause of ITSM. Members are a source of funding not a reason for existence. It is very clear and open on this.

Good stuff! itSMF is being

Good stuff! itSMF is being talked about.

I'm reading this trail with interest. And of course all the other arguments and discussions within this blog site - plenty of which are conjecture, some of which are more or less accurate, others are just simply mis-informed. However all make for good debate - keep it coming!

Regarding the role of itSMF, Skeptic is partially correct and it's true, the articles of association of itSMF do not specifically mention supporting the members. The title, IT Service Management Forum, says it all! itSMF is here to create and maintain a forum for interested parties to share best practice in ITSM and to procure the means for doing so. Its membership comprises in the main, the people who use this facility and so itSMF, in whatever guise, would do well to listen to its members and other customer's interests, needs and wants.

itSMF does have a contract with TSO/OGC for the translation of the new ITIL books as well as the re-selling of these books. It is also both capable of writing new material and of procuring other organisations/author's materials too, should it be asked. It has however, to do this in the interests of the wider community and in an open, honest, transparent and accountable manner. It remains a "not for profit" (perhaps a more accurate description would be "not for dividend") organisation but this does not mean that it is not commercial in its business delivery.

Like any business it needs to deliver quality products and services to it customers and similarly like any trade body, it needs to listen to its members.

V3 is a natural "next step" for ITIL to make it more organic and even more closely integrated with the needs of businesses, be they operating in the private or public sectors. I for one, am looking forward to us all moving forward together to make it a success. I hope to see you at the launch on the 5th June!

And IT Skeptic... keep ut the good work, promote good debate and continue to do so, with good humour!


as·so·ci·a·tion, Noun - A group of people united in a relationship and having some interest, activity, or purpose in common. The operative word here is "People" as in member.

My point of view, from South Europe

Hi Friends!
I've been member of itSMF UK since may be 5 years, and I got nothing more than a poor forum and a really good magazine (ServiceTalk). I felt it was due to the distance and the language, so I tried to participate in all the efforts done to start the itSMF Spanish chapter.

The first meeting for the creation of this chapter was held on Madrid (again the distance!) and participated (approximated figures now) 10 people from SUN, 8 people from IBM, 6 people from HP, 3 people from OSIATIS and 2 people from my company. What we felt was the fact that this was going to be a big manufacturers battle, and we (as a small company) were due to be spashed in the middle... the results: we left the itSMF and waited about 1year until it was then retried.

Now we have an itSMF chapter and even we have at least one local chapter in Catalunya. And I keep sending my own message on this: we will not have a really good itSMF while the LIG, cometee, and management members come from vendors and consulting firms. We need to be a *final user* association not a interested association.

Hope this helps!

The viable models: ACM and IEEE

As a model, I'd suggest starting with the real professional organizations: the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Neither of those organizations is giving me everything I need right now as an IT service practitioner, but they remain the gold standard.

We need something along these lines, backed by peer reviewed journal(s) and academics declaring their primary allegiance. But I wouldn't want an ITSM-oriented professional organization to go completely academic. Disciplinarily, it would need to be a mix of operations and other business concerns as well as the technology.

The Society for Information Management (SIM), the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), and the Data Management Association (DAMA) are all in the mix. I'd love to see some convergence, but doubt that it will occur.


A great ITSM association

The probability of a great ITSM association is not farfetched. Here's the formula:

1. Have its member’s professional development at heart of its agenda.
2. Listen to the members
3. Have a strategic board of directors
4. Make sure your mission and services are aligned
5. The members are the reason....

Actions speak louder than words.

vendors are people

It is important to moderate vendor influence. However, as I have said before, vendors are people. There are crooked and greedy and otherwise undesirable non-vendors too. Any systemic discrimination against vendors is unethical and unnecessary. Good governance needs to police people, no matter where they work.

Not only that but excluding vendors eliminates a large pool of enthusuiastic skills and energy. It also discourages sponsorship. If you are going to spend daft amounts of money on software and services the least you can do is try to get some of it back!

In a civilised country (like of course mine) the vendors mostly moderate themselves. Down here where the Skeptic lives, HP were instrumental in founding the itSMF, and still host the website, but the only vendors on the committee now are a local company who sell Infra, and a few independent consultants. Our member numbers are high on a per capita basis, and vendors make up a minority. In fact the editorial in the latest newsletter berates vendors for not getting involved enough! (That editor he's a bit of a nutter).

You see, even the itSMF is idyllic in New Zealand.

Ok, vendors are people, but with their own interests

Right Mr. Skeptic. Vendors are people and we must respect them (in fact, I'm a vendor too, so please respect me! LOL). Vendors can give itSMF money, time and energy and those things are very important in the first stages of the forum; but as the forum gest stabilized and mature and the member's community grows, they should start vanishing.

There are two different types of members: those who are "passive" members, and they affiliate to the forum and waits until contents, knowledge and events knock to their door (these are the most of them) and the other kind are those members that participate actively in the LIG, committees, and events.

Do you remember the lema? "By the members, for the members". That means "by the type-2 members for the type-1 members" and if this gets evolved into "by the vendors for their potential customers" it is not what I meant as itSMF.

So what we need is that type 2 members come mainly from final users.

And what about vendors? They can promote speechs done *by* their customers, have nice banners and good marketing ads in the newsletters and Service Talk, and tell everybody the they collaborate with the itSMF.


So how do you exclude vendors?

So how do you exclude vendors? AFter you have worked on a committee with someone for a couple of years, working hard to get a chapter established, and made friends, you're going to turn round and say "thanks for all the hard work, now piss off"?

What is a vendor? Someone who sells software? books? services? Is an independent consultant a vendor? I think so - we sell our own services. How about an independent consultant on a one-year contract at a bank?

How about someone who is full-time at a site but they are so far up a vendor they might as well work for them?

I know, let's have plain wooden seats up the back for vendors, and separate glasses for them to drink out of.

Heck, the itSMF is a vendor, so the moment someone joins aren't they then excluded from joining?

Seriously, you think vendors are the only ones with a selfish agenda? Imagine how an honest, professional vendor feels reading this.

Don't want to exclude vendors

May be I've been wrong explaining myself: I don't want to exclude vendors, I want vendors to be auto-regulated and don't try to make itSMF a demo exhibition. Type-1 members will be more confident on the contents provided by itSMF if those contents come from final user type-2 members.


OK now I'll argue the other side :-D

OK now I'll argue the other side :-D Good governance is essential to any organisation, especially one staffed by volunteers. Vendors will never auto-regulate, any more than non-vendors will. And yes vendors have additional pressures from their bosses to be venal. So ALL members need to be regulated by a governance mechanism.

I can't believe I wrote that without a cheap shot at itSMF USA (until now that is).

Vendors and assocaitions


In my position, I have served on industry and professional organizations during my career, and understand what service involves. Based on that active participation, I have an assessment of what’s wrong with the ITSMFUSA. First, if you “staff” an association with its volunteer members, they will without a doubt run the association into the ground. You employ professional staff to run an association. Show me one person on the ITSMFUSA governing board with any entrepreneurial experience. Show me one person that has profit & loss responsibility in their professional job sitting on their board. I’m sure you’ll hear declarations that one or two have $10M or $15M budgets, but, are they responsible for producing that income or are they allocated that expense?

There has been very much said about vendors the last few days. Vendors are a necessary part of every association, generally they are the deep pocket that started many an association and the one the aaociation taps for new initiatives. They have as much interest and make valuable contributes just like the industry members. Controlling the environment in which they participle makes them productive and generally controls their influence. This is no secret, and they know it was well. Giving them a stake early on to take their money and letting them hold you hostage is their good marketing and the association’s mistake.

There has also been a lot of talk about governance. Governance seduces you to think inside the box. In a rules are for fools corporate board room where board members what the next microwave, VCR, walkman or iPod to create return for their shareholder, they’re not running marketing or accounting or R&D. They’re coming up with ideas! They’re proposing the future.

The ITSAMUSA professes to be the premier organization, the voice of ITSM in the USA. Bill Gates reminds us that, "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose. And it's an unreliable guide to the future."

There are two kinds of leaders where change is concerned: Those that think about the future and determine how best to position their organizations to capitalize on emerging trends, and those that choose to respond to changes that threaten their organizations.

Spelling error

You misspelled Association!

Americans can't spell

don't get picky. blogs and forums are rife with typos, as people dash them off in haste. and everyone knows Americans can't spell :-D

That's all very well Dr.

That's all very well Dr. Linden but which type of leader are you? The latter I would suggest.

It is important to provide proper business based guidence to those people who own the organisation so as to give them the ability to run it properly. itSMFUSA perhaps may have suffered from people who are not skilled enough to have full P&L liability at volunteer level and by people with even fewer skills at executive level. The solution therefore is to raise the skills of the staff to match or exceed the skills of the volunteers. That way the skills of the volunteers will also be raised in turn. Someone said to me once that you should always recruit people better than you. That way business improvement is assured.

Don't kick from the outside - join itSMFUSA and help it improve.


What good does it do to raise the skills of the staff if you don't utilize them in the first place.

If you don't even think that

If you don't even think that raising the skills of people is worth while, then i'm afraid that you and whichever organisation you work for, is going to crash and burn. If you don't raise the skills of your staff rest assured that your competitors will - you are in a tight market. Raising skills will enable staff to take greater responsibility for delivering their part of your business, meaning that ultimately you'll spend your time and effort "leading" rather than spending time unneccesarily "managing" them. People can only utilize skilled people, not unskilled people.

I presume that you work in an environment where you don't mind if people are kept in the dark. You seem not to mind if they engage with your customers on that basis and possibly care even less. And you, presumably, are engaged somewhere in ITSM? Wow! I'd love to exploit you and your company - it and you clearly don't know how to run a business!

I'm not sure that's what was meant.

I'm not sure that's what was meant. I read it as saying that staff might have the skills but the board did not make use of those skills.

You're right ....

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

And is itSMF regulated in this way?

I haven't seen any itSMF chapter with these kind of regulation. In the begining there was light, and people wanted to contribute and give their knowledge for free, just for the good feeling of being collaborative, but then money comes, and everybody started thinking on profit.

Just because ITIL is not from GNU nor from the FSF, there are important economic interests that make those regulation more and more important.
And, againg, I think that type-2 members should come from what I call "final user companies", because they don't have economic interests on ITSM.

Wich are the engines that move a volunteer association?
a) Hidden Economics
b) Knowledge spreading (translated: ego feeding for the spreader)

Do you remember the Maslow Pyramid? If you have what you need (economics) the next thing is recognition (ego feeding). So I preffer an itSMF moved by recognition more than economics. (You can call me a dreamer, if you want! :-)


Ops! And by the way... why am I the only "non anonymous" in this thread, except Mr. Keith Aldis?

selfish ego-feeders and scrabbling vendors

And Charlie chipped in with a valuable post too, so that's 3 of you.

No itSMF is not regulated. The cobbler's children have no shoes. itSMF is a quaintly amateur club running on gentlemen's agreements that suddenly finds itself riding the tiger of a billion-dollar industry. There is little process and even less governance. i said how it ought to be not how it is. But chucking out the vendors won't help. they already have puppets and patsies all over the place doing their bidding where they are not allowed to go and itSMF would be no different. I say it again: regulate ALL the people.

One more thought; there is nothing wrong with selfish ego-feeders and scrabbling vendors, so long as they are regulated. If you can harness that energy then it often far exceeds the energy of idealistic volunteers. Some people have argued on this blog that that energy is what ITIL Version 3 is built on. I couldn't possibly comment.

nothing wrong with selfish ego-feeders

:-) Of course, nothing worng with ego-feeders: you write a blog, I write a blog, both give out conferences and love the feeling to be on the scenary (is this the english word for the place where musicians and rock stars make the concerts?)

again, the energy given by idealistic volunteers is a very powerful time.. but this time that energy is feeding a private interest. I think this is the root cause of the bad feeling on this subject.

Have you seen my post "the mistery of the 1.1.1 deleted" ? is really interesting on exactly this matter.

Translated version

Do 2000 meet 6-weekly to build itSMF's best practice model?

(Warning - the figures this entry contains are dated and estimates - contact the itSMF Association for more accurate figures)

There are 40 or more Local Interest Groups (LIGs) here in the US of A. That means that within any given 6 week cycle perhaps as many as 2000 MEMBERS might meet to discuss their issues, and learn about how others deal with the challenges of being a service provider. Annually perhaps as many as 35% of members do not renew their membership, for one reason or another.

There may be more than 5000 or so US members. Given the influence of the global membership scheme perhaps as many as 50% of members are actually of a non-voting status. As far as I know most joined so they can network with their peers and feel part of a service management PROFESSION.

How do I know that? Because that was the reason for establishing the itSMF USA and the LIG concept and it remains the publicized reason for the continued growth of that network. A fair percentage of members, perhaps as high as 75% care about professional development and how meeting with others in their profession helps them succeed in their profession. A lesser percentage also care about gaining credentials that mean something with regards to their ability to do a job, representing their relative level of experience and value within the PROFESSION.

The closest I think they ever get to Keith's view of the itSMF mission is that they (the members) suspect that any good ideas exchanged become part of the 'federated knowledge base' - ITSM. As the skeptic has mentioned in other blog entries - there is little evidence that the itSMF International has managed a successful campaign to collate and replay this knowledge. Yes we HAD ITIL, but the initial dream of that becoming the 'free and open source' of service management information is now an expensive nightmare - a business.

I'm confident the majority think the mission of the itSMF is to act as a professional "Association", it sure operates that way here in the US - and successfully given the equivalent of 40 NATIONAL CHAPTERS! is managed with 6 staff (warts and all I know...)

The itSMF International and UK mission seems different from that understood by the US members, why - because the US has organically grown based upon that demand to be part of a professional network. The folks do not meet to aggregate 'best practices' for the common collective. If their is any common collective to date it has been ITIL.

The very essence that propels the itSMF forward is its membership. Members join because they believe in the mission. Boards are elected to enact the mission. The survival of the organization is based upon this tenuous link of trust and the volunteer work of the many at the grass roots.

I suspect that when members understand the true mission of the itSMF one of two things may happen. 1) they will care deeply enough about their profession to force the local Chapter to change their bylaws and focus on supporting the PROFESSION. 2) They'll lack the passion and join another Association more supportive of their needs, or perhaps their is a third: 3) They will contribute information and their experiences to a true service management body of knowledge. My suspicion is it will not, perhaps due to commercialization cannot, be ITIL.

Its time for every member to check the vision, mission and strategic plan of their local chapter and ask themselves a simple question - is it something I believe in and can support? Perhaps the alleged election scandal here in the USA is a good thing - it might focus the members on the Association, its mission, why someone would dare to interfere with its mechanics.

This is an international issue

it's not limited to the USA. ALl over the world the grass roots members are there because they want an association and they think that is what the itSMF is there for. This is an international issue

What does an effective

What does an effective leader do? The effective leader helps a group become more creative and productive. Words like “involvement” and “motivation” become more important than “directing” and “controlling.” The effectiveness of the board of directors is directly proportional to the understanding of the least knowledgeable authority present, and inversely proportional to the square of the number of authorities. The officers of most associations stand to benefit greatly in terms of increased stature, and professional recognition. If this is the reason that motivates them to serve, there not leaders they’re thieves.

Associations increasingly realize that their members are now customers in many respects, and must apply business management techniques. As Peter Drucker said, “the customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence.” Likewise in an association, the members are the foundation of the association and the reason for its existence. Let’s not forget that!

Growth is a function of the association's ability to perceive changing member needs and to extend offerings which are better solutions than those offered by competing organizations. The operative phrase here is competing organizations. That noise you hear may be another association that satisfies the professional knowledge that the service management community needs to acquire, sucking the itSMF membership away.


1. Pick a poor leader. Make sure he/she doesn't keep discussions on the subject, doesn't keep things moving (or intentionally slows them down!).

2. Muddy your goals. Make sure members of the group are unclear as to what it is they are actually doing.

3. Don't take assignments seriously. To augment this, approach your task (if you can identify it) with a general lack of enthusiasm and commitment.

4. Concentrate on the question "What is it we're supposed to be doing?" But never answer it.

5. If by chance one of your committees makes specific recommendations, make sure your Board ignores them and doesn't give any feedback.

6. Waste as much time as possible, concentrating on unrelated or unproductive discussion, assuring that no consensus or decision can be reached.

7. Be sure to put at least one person on each committee who will totally dominate the group

8. Never prepare for a meeting.

9. Never take any action; rather use all your time in circular discussions which preclude decision and action.

10. Always have a "hidden agenda" item up your sleeve. This will assure that you and one or two other members can discuss your contribution to the discussion at great length while the rest of the board goes to sleep.

itSMF is TSO's Universal Translator

Keith - I'm not sure you can have it both ways - if members count so do their votes - or is the itSMF organized so that members are actually non-voting and therefore all decisions and benefits go to a closely held few? The contract as you explain it - is NOT for input from members in exchange for something in return - it is for contract based translation of what they already have - or have gathered from the members of the itSMF for free!

So you claim to be a trade body (?) and not a professional association, that 'listens' to its members for what aim - sending their IP to ITIL?

Good point - and well made!

Good point - and well made!

I think however from my relatively new perspective it is right and proper for any itSMF Chapter and the International Organisation also, to listen to the members even if, as in the case of the contract with TSO it's not specified that we should. After all, from what I can see so far, ITSM is more about people interaction, management and leadership than IT itself. I may be wrong - it's early days for me yet!

Sure there are issues around IP and thankfully members be they individuals, vendors or more likely, individuals working for or supplying to vendors, contine to support the movement. Ultimately the cost of the development or knowledge gathering for ITSM Intellectual Property is paid for down the distant line by the users of Service Management. Rest assured though, that any money made from any activity of itSMF's wherever it occurs must be ploughed back into developing new products and services to promote good practice in ITSM and to support the sharing of ideas. We should all hold hands on decision making, all benefit from the positive outcomes of those decisions and all share in the negative outcomes.

Interestingly, Lenin once said that "everything is connected to everything else" - probably the only true statement ever made by a Bolshevik!

Keep it up!

Yours in ITSM!



Money made by itSMF is ploughed back into ITSM, except for the money that goes to pay for itSMF International and all those who make a career of being the ITIL elite. In return they serve, and make possible the ITSM movement, so it is a fair trade.

Except for one word: transparency. Who decides how itSMF International money is spent? Who decides how often and where the Board should meet in person? Who decides how many itSMF should attend conferences and which conferences? How does the membership know who went where and how the money was spent? How do we know what we got in return? More to the point, how do we get a say?

Skep. An interesting


An interesting viewpoint except for one thing. I've already talked about principles of openess, honesty, transparency and accountablity. Rest assured I think this is exactly what as a basic minimum, is required to happen if (let's say) the UK chapter and others are to continue to be involved in supporting International. International is after all "owned" by its Chapters. I'm convinced the Board want to be so too and i'm sure they have operated the same principles in the past - it's early days for me to make a proper judgement on this of course.

itSMF International does some excellent work, I see most of what it does first hand and it's important that we keep working at it.

If your view is that this transparency has not happened in the past, then i'm sorry, that's really history as far as i'm concerned. We can't do much about the past - in fact we can do virtually nothing. We can do something now, that if done correctly, might affect how we want things to be done in the future.

As for a say, by all means if you want, drop me a letter or e-mail to CEO@itSMF.co.uk and i'll pass the comments on. the next appropriate International Board meeting is on the 13th July if I remember correctly.

And by the way, this Blog and others are equally valid places to vent your spleen and be heard.

I'm listening and watching at least.

Keep the faith!

Yours in ITSM and have a good weekend readers!


Request for additional info


Thanks for your post. I'm just a country boy when it comes to the itSMF, so can you please post some references or additional material that support/elaborate on your comments:
1. "International is after all "owned" by its Chapters"
I'd like to understand and know how to trace these linkages and hear about the provisions for governance. How does this all work? Who is involved?

2. "itSMF International does some excellent work, I see most of what it does first hand and it's important that we keep working at it."
If any part of my dues go to fund this, I'd like to know that my portion of these monies are well spent and consistent with my intentions. What work is this? What are the readouts? Where is the benefit?

Thank you,

Here comes clarification!


Ah! but which country? :-D

It's fairly simple really.

itSMF International has an AGM at which, each Chapter has a vote on who its directors are. Last year it was agreed as I understand, to extend the Directors tenure to two years from one which is in line with individual chapters. So they currently have a two year tenure which is due to end this year. That's the "ownership" thing. In other words Directors and the company is accountable to the Chapters and essentially operates like a trust board. At least that's how it was originally intended to operate. We in the UK Chapter follow the same process and this is what we've tried to encourage others to do around the world. The Directors are stewards of the business who recieve no dividend and cannot take money out of the business. They are unpaid and largely work pretty long hours (often) with the good grace of their respective employers. itSMFI has no staff and uses the UK Chapter's operation to deliver its business. The board are are company directors but not private company directors in the totally commercial sense. It's like a Management Board working for a trust if anything.

Regarding whether or not any of your dues go to supporting itSMFI, technically they don't. Each Chapter is required to provide itSMF International with I understand, 5% of it's income based upon the size of its membership. Not all have paid yet this year! Most chapters make money not on membership fees but on re-selling books and other products and services so it's unlikely any of your hard earned cash goes directly into itSMFI. The US and UK are the biggest contributors here I suspect in any case - the UK certainly! Although i've yet to really get into the detail.

As to the benefits - send me an e-mail & i'll sent you a list of the benefits which itSMFI publish or simply check out the website. www.itsmf.com

All of what I have said is in the (UK) public domain/records. itSMFI is a UK based company and is subject to UK law.

Yours in ITSM!


5% of my dues go to itSMFI

Now Keith, don't get disingenuous on us. If 5% of my chapter's income goes to itSMFI, then 5% of my dues go to itSMFI. "It's not that money it is this money over here" is a basic sleight-of-hand that gets past no accountant.

Thank-you Keith for taking part

Thank-you Keith for taking part, and good on you. Ladies and gentlemen, the new CEO for itSMF UK. (You might like to register Keith so no-one can spoof comments in your name, and to get the monthly newsletter since I say stuff in that in addition to what is on the blog).

If there is any mis-information on this site PLEASE correct it. I work hard to make sure it is factual.

I would suggest that reading the mission and objectives of the itSMF shows "sharing" or "exchange" are secondary. The primary purpose of the itSMF is the promotion and advancement of ITSM.

These are fine objectives. But in the regions the itSMF fulfills the "association" function by default, in absense of anyone else doing it. The fact that the itSMF has failed for years to see the need and officially step up to the mark is sad indeed. It is indicative of the fact that far too many people in power in the itSMF community don't give a toss.

Now a sub-group have been allowed to pursue this objective independently, the IoSM, with the blessing of itSMF, when blind Freddy could see itSMF should have taken the role.

itSMF is rapidly becoming the vehicle of software vendors and a clique of independent "authorities", working together in their own interests. The membership will end up a market not a constituency.

Hmmm.... tough audience

Sorry for the reception Keith. You can see there are some angry people about.

This issue has been brewing for some time. I get to lance the boil, not through choice but by default - nobody else is giving these people such a forum, least of all the itSMF.

I have no idea what proportion of itSMF members feel this way. Nor I suspect do the itSMF. There will always be a few without gruntles. I hope for the sake of the itSMF they are a minority, but I worry about:
1) the widespread misconception that itSMF is a member organisation
2) the lack of participation, community, accountability and transparency
3) the increasing influence of vested interests - personal and corporate
4) growing commerialisation of the organisation
5) whiffs of corruption yet to be confirmed or dispelled
They don't bode well.

Not tough - exciteable...and perhaps with some reason possibly?

Thanks Skeptic and thanks everyone for the comments. I welcome the feedback.

Now! Bearing in mind that i've been in post for exactly 4 weeks, most of which time i've spent dealing with itSMF International matters, I am fortunate not to have any ITSM "baggage", having come from an engineering, construction, energy and trade association/professional institute background. I hope the following will re-assure you and your contributors of the fact that there will be a different approach to the way itSMF does its business in the future.

Firstly, as far as I am concerned there are no sacred cows! In other words, if there's a desire to move itSMF into a different direction (for example closer to its membership) then that's what we'll do.

If there's a need to get openness, clarity, transparency and accountability into the itSMF, again then that's what will happen. My Chairman and I are determined on this.

If as some of your contributors feel, the only way they can make a statement or protest, is to leave the organisation, then I shall do what I can to get them back.

Regarding the IoSM. It will have my fullest support in its desire to become self determining and autonomous and truly international - that may take some time but their current President and I, are at one on this.

I have no personal or vested interest in "taking" your contributor's IP for my own use and certainly no personal financial gain from doing so. I and all of the staff of itSMF UK, are employees. We help to develop policy and to implement it but we have absolutely no desire to deviate from the rules set either in the articles of association or our various Committees, SIGs, Regions or fellow Chapters. We are fully accountable!

As far as communication goes, I have already commissioned two pieces of work. The first is to be a customer satisfaction survey and the second is a communications plan. Both will give us the direction from the grass roots we ask for and the ability to communicate the outcomes and desired actions resulting from it. It will influence our future business direction.

It is going to be a very exciting next few years for itSMF and for the industry. Please play your part in making sure that all the hard work you've done in the past, to get us where we are now, is not wasted. Sure there will be glitches and set backs, but keep the end goal in mind. We are all seeking to bring ITSM up to the proper level of professionalism and recognition it deserves.

Keep the faith!

itSMF International CEO admits that Members are Secondary!

I am surprised by Keith's candor. At last someone has admitted what we as members have felt for too many years. There is no Association for the profession. The IoSM is an exclusive not inclusive club and largely for those that seemingly get their jollies from comparing scout badges! As a member of the itSMF USA I joined and was under the impression it was for the benefit of the member - an open, professional club. Its my understanding that a number of larger sponsors joined on that understanding too.

Now I understand the itSMF game. The itSMF lures us in to talk about our problems and share our goodies and then vacuums it into either ITIL (an increasingly commercial product) or their own to-be son-of-ITIL! Now I see why the itSMFI succumbed to large scale vendor sponsorship - so they can act as a distribution and sales channel to us members!!!

And in responding to the original question posed you admit the itSMFI is working under contract to translate materials owned by a UK Government agency and through which two commercial companies (APMG/TSO) make a profit!

A freudian slip as well Keith: "itSMF, in whatever guise, would do well to listen to its members and other customer's interests, needs and wants" - I read this as though you regard members as a type of customer.... hhmm... or at worst - free labor. So what are we as members getting for all the sweat and volunteer work we put in - the opportunity to build your business - as you say a commercial operation minus the dividend!

I am amazed by the cheek.

I am canceling my membership forthwith and starting my search for a true professional association. Don't worry about the election scam - you are welcome to the non-association.

The authors are the authors

The authors are the authors and yes, Colin Rudd and Ivor McFarlane and others are especially good authors. There are of course many many others too. TSO seem to be the people who want to write a lot of new things including pocket guides based upon the new copyrighted ITIL material, not ITSMFI. ITSMFI can write books if they are mandated to do so by the various country branches of itSMF. I don't believe they have that mandate or are every likely to. So they do not have the capability!

itSMF have sold their own books for a long while

itSMF have sold their own books for a long while. I love the wee Service Management handbook. They are expanding that operation with the acquisition of “ITSM Library” from itSMF Netherlands, but it is nothing new.
More like symbiotic epiphyte than competitor

TSO to Launch Pocketbookes - what now itSMF?

But the majority of content was taken taken directly from ITIL... until now it seems... check the TSO Refresh statement for this week's announcement....

itSMF Still involved

itSMF International, though its IPESC group will be reviewing all these Key Element guides, working with OGC/TSO, and they will then go through the same endorsement procedure as the new ITIL V3 Books.

And like others - I'll be

And like others - I'll be doing that too - but what does it prove - what is the relationship (on paper) between itSMFI and TSO? Are they just a reseller? How does it square with the acquisition by itSMFI of the Dutch ITSM Library? itSMFI is beginning to look like Amazon.com without a strategy published to its members... On that point - what do the members want? have they been asked?

itsmf don't look like amazon

itsmf don't look like amazon.com because amazon.com don't depend on revenue from WRITING their own books

Sounds like a natural

Sounds like a natural response to OGC/TSO announcing 2 days back they are going to offer their own pocket guides and self study guides - a traditional huge source of revenue for the itSMF - reads as though the divorce is being finalized......!!!! reason - irreconcilable revenue differences.... So it begs the question again why is itSMF helping launch a competitor....

got a link for that

got a link for that announcement? i can't find it on the web

It appeared in the ITIL eLert news emails that went out. For those who didn't get one:

ITIL Refresh Complementary Portfolio
Forthcoming publications to support ITIL Version 3 from the official source
As well as making sure that the eagerly-awaited ITIL V3 is ready for publication on the 30th May 2007, TSO, the official publisher, has also been working on the first supporting publications in the official portfolio. Written and reviewed by experts in the industry, TSO will be releasing the following publications in the Summer.

Key Element Guides
These concise pockets books will provide a handy reference guide for each of the core publications:

The Official ITIL Service Strategy Pocketbook
The Official ITIL Service Design Pocketbook
The Official ITIL Service Transition Pocketbook
The Official ITIL Service Operation Pocketbook
The Official ITIL Continual Service Improvement Pocketbook.
Each guide will offer an introduction to the best practice framework, the fundamentals and key terms of ITIL. The books will provide a high level service model containing the processes that make up the Service Lifecycle.

The main focus of the publications will be the principles behind each core title. Key themes include:

Key Elements
Roles and Responsibilities
Challenges, Opportunities and Optimisation
Key Messages and Lessons.
Further guidance will include links to external frameworks, methods and standards.

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