ITIL V3 Certification points system: the magic number 21.5

[This post is out-dated now: see here for the latest news on certification.]

Many readers will be aware that the new ITIL Version 3 certification scheme requires 22 points for a Diploma (the old masters'/managers' certification). So what a surprise that V2 Service Manager plus Bridge course end up with a score of 21.5.

The following got buried in comments on this blog from an anonymous poster so i thought I'd bring it up the front here:

If you are a current ITIL Service Manager (v2) you now have 16.5 points (v2 Foundation + Service Manager). The v2 Manager bridging class gets you to 21.5
So you need to go back and take the Foundation v3 bridging class or some other course to get your 22?

I actually think this is an error in the new system. The diagram clearly shows that you are supposed to have achieved your diploma after this course of study. But it adds up to 21.5.

If so the simplest fix would be to adjust the required points level for a diploma to 21.5!

Some other notes from our reader:

  • No extra credit for having gained a v2 Service Manager with distinction
  • No credit for being a v2 approved instructor
  • No credit for actually having achieved any work success or other education history
  • No support of continuing education credits
  • If you are just beginning in ITIL it might imply an expensive route to the Diploma: ITIL V3 ($2k), 4 x Capability at @$2k each, or 5 x Lifecycle at $2k, plus managing Lifecycle ($1.5k) = $10-13k

On that last point, that does not trouble me. Readers will be aware I think it is high time we had some substantial certification in the IT industry. That amount of money and effort is small compared to what an engineer, surveyor or pilot goes through, let alone a doctor, dentist or vet. None of whom get paid what some ITIL consultants are raking in right now. Hear hear I say.


V3 'Conspiracy'

Having attended both itSMF Canada in May and the June V3 Launch in Chicago I just wanted to comment that I am deeply concerned about this tragedy that I feel V3 is shaping up to be. I have fought for years to implement ITIL best practices and I have seen them succeed - and I am completely unclear about what these 'authors' have done. Really, anyone who knows and loves process knew about Service Requests and their link to Incident etc. etc. The unprofessional way (in my opinion) many of these folks have carried on that these events is appaling. I realize there is significant $$ in a 'refresh' and the 'track' for V3 certification is lengthy and it will be costly. As someone who has been certified for going on 8 years, Masters certified for 4 of those, neither of these events and the seeming 'embracing' of vendors etc. are not giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling on the entirety of V3. I've talked to folks in the industry and I volunteered for years with itSMF branches locally and it was preached that we were "vendor agnostic" and instead it seems V3 has not only embraced vendors it fully endorses them. For anyone attending in Chicago you would have noticed not only vendor booths but the fact that the 'authors' trooped up Merrill Lynch representatives to speak on behalf of Accenture's work - and for this they still charged a full $295US for members - it was an utter joke. That and being in the presence of folks on the 'author panel' who were only too happy to divulge to folks in attendance that they were "so drunk" the previous night etc. (I would go on but it is truly tragic) made it feel like we were in high-school and not at a launch of a serious, business minded endeavor.

To me, the 'authors' should have asked the questions we all ask when we implement - What is the value to the customer? Customers of any process need to understand the 'what's in it for me'? and I for one am totally lost.

Like others on this post have stated, value is more than just a badge. Why they did not follow the lead of the CISA and PMI and make experience auditable or make continuing education a requirement is beyond me as well. Those are 'best practices' and they were not leveraged at all.

Let's hope those of us out there that care about ITIL and are implementing it well and with value will prevail in spite of this misplaced hype.

Having attended the Chicago

Having attended the Chicago event, I came away with very different impression. I took the The Merrill Lynch session, for example, as a real-life case study for the new ideas such as "how do we organize" and "the role of the product manager". I found it comforting that a well-known financial IT shop had indeed implemented these ideas in practice. That alone was worth the price of admission. The fact that it was a vendor client for Accenture was, I thought, underplayed.

There was a bit of party-like humour here and there but I've come to expect this from most ITSM events. Seems to be a British self-effacing thing. Not entirely unwelcome. These events tend to be dry to begin with. Let's not take "our thing" too seriously.

judge not by the cover but the content

It will be a pity to judge ITIL v3 by bad experiences with vendors, ITSMF, or the authors. It is not about the outside or the package. It is about the content of the framework. So far the books are giving me a lot to work with, even if I disagree with some of the concepts and would have presented this another way. It might be true that the service request process is not new, that's why it is called a good/best practice in the first place. It still needed to be integrated in the framework.

It might be better if we had discussions on ITIL3 from the perspective of the content. There is a lot more to offer than to discuss the stupid things so and so did at some launch or conference (even though that might be more fun to talk about)

Unfortunately the cover is often mistaken for the content....

Perhaps - but although one should look at the content - it is not new stuff. I agree with above - overall quite sad.

It is in this case not the content but what we choose to do with it.

Mature or immature is not the question really; life in business particularly is about perceptions and perception becomes reality. Badge colors are irrelevant - unfortunately there are only a select few organizations and folks out there that can make sense of the content and that is what we should be looking at and improving on - those actually able to make ITIL a reality and not just "shelf-ware".

Call it maturity, call it progress - I call it madness overall. A billion dollar a year industry in North America alone just on ITIL that everyone wants a part of - let's hope they do not do it too much damage or it will continue to be the "ITIL Drive you crazy" and continue in many circles to be laughed at.

V3 Certification - BIG MONEY GRAB

So, I have my Foundations Certificate under V1 and my Managers Certificate under V1.

I taught the Foundations Course to companies like Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Johnson and Johnson and the Canada Revenue Agency.

When V2 came out, I did a report on the differences between V1 and V2 for my employer.

For the last 6 years I've been transforming and implementing processes according to ITIL.

I have a real issue paying the money required to take the courses that in the end only provide me with a piece of paper that says I'm qualified to do what I've been doing for the last 6 years.

Where's the value?

What about the pin?

The really important question about this is: will they issue a new pin, and what color will it be? :-) Seriously, I am in the same situation as several respondents, having Service Manager, ISO 20000, and COBIT certs and working anytime I want. Although I really like and intend to apply the refinements and enhancements found in the refresh, I'm not sure the certification is that important to me. I'll let you know if I retain that view after losing a contract because of v3 certification.

We'll know the new pin colours soon

We'll know the new pin colours soon... any day now, apparently.

To agree with Antonio, the day I get my Manager's cert is the day
a) I can't get work without one and
b) there isn't a cheaper and more effective use of funds to get work

The Glass Ceiling

Although each year hundreds of people take and pass the manager’s certificate there are very few on the job market and as a result the salaries offered continue to spiral. Here in the UK at least a premium is being paid to those with a red badge. As I wrote recently, training budgets will prevent new people from achieving the V3 qualifications whereas those with the ‘red badge’ will, by hook or by crook’, get someone to pay for the V2 to V3 conversion and thus achieve the ITIL diploma. The ‘glass ceiling’ will slide across leaving only a select bunch of people with the diploma and these will become the new elite. Personally I can’t wait to see the effect on market rate when that happens. Of course from a purely skeptical point of view, none of us are getting any younger and as we die out so I’m afraid will ITIL 3.

many times that to get an MBA

I have an article waiting for publication about how people need to take responsibility for their own training these days.

If salaries are spiralling and it is really driven by the badge (as compared to experience), then finding ten grand for a certification is not a big investment.

People personally fund many times that to get an MBA.

So I disagree. V3 Diploma is no less accessible than V2 Managers cert. If it is increasingly lucrative then you can argue that it is MORE accessible because it is more affordable - it repays itself sooner.

Losing a contract?

Ray, have you *ever* loose a contract because of the lack of an ITIL certification? I think it helps to win, but it does not make you loose.


Many people ask me when am I going for my masters/managers

I've been making a good living and turned down plenty of ITIL consulting work. My qualification is ITIL V2 Foundations. I don't pretend otherwise. It does me no harm. Your record and your self-presentation speak for themselves.

Qualifications are useful - in fact I've argued elsewhere they should be compulsory and much harder to get. But in transition periods like this, especially combined with boom times when there is more work in the industry than anyone can eat, we have plenty of room to make allowances for history.

Many people ask me when am I going for my masters/managers. My answer: when I can't get enough work without it, and there is no cheaper alternative which will pay the bills. Everything driven by business requirement.

Funding Training

There’s talk in this blog of the cost of achieving other professional qualifications such as accountancy, architecture etc. In the main these qualifications are achieved in colleges and universities where the bulk of the cost is funded by governments supporting the cost of education. In the case of ITIL the first exposure to training is in the workplace and so funded by companies. In fact there’s an element of needing experience before study and so not possible to be done prior to doing the job, a bit back to front compared with the professions but that’s where we are. It’s not unusual to see training budgets set at perhaps only £1k Stirling (2.6k NZD) per person per year and so the opportunity for training unless self-funded is very low. I took my red badge in 1995 and in the intervening 12 years have only managed to pick up Prince 2 foundation and ISO 20K. At today’s prices this adds up to about £350 per year so a lot less than the average training budget. If I were setting out on my best practice journey today I’d be well into retirement before I managed to get the new diploma. A bit of good news, it appears that the examination board has listened to comments on the points structure and now anyone with current managers and no foundation can achieve the diploma by passing the V2 / V3 bridging exam (3-5 day course not the one dayer) so there’s hope for us old-timers yet (by the way, this was only hearsay and not in writing). So, to the Skeptic and others with foundation, it is perhaps worth getting the V2 under the belt and then doing the conversion rather than waiting until next year to do the V3 manager equivalent which could well turn out to be double the cost of the V2 red badge.

Beware V2 to V3 Manager Bridging Syllabus

I've just reviewed the draft V2 to V3 Manager bridging syllabus and it reads like a V3 Foundation to V3 Manager syllabus, NOT a V2 to V3 Manager bridge. Comments have gone back to those responsible via official channels. Its but a draft I know but given its condition I feel the panel needs to expose their thoughts to a much wider audience and allow more than a week for a response before 'loading, aiming, firing'. I encourage everyone who is an ATO and who has received the syllabus and sample questions to please review and comment carefully as we did not get that chance on the flawed Foundation syllabus.

I received my red pin in 1996.

More like "load, fire, aim"

More like "load, fire, aim" I gather

Its just poorly considered...




A well considered and thought through release of information process again when it comes to ITIL v3!!!!

Accept the fact it has been poorly designed and il-considered as a frame work for exams.

Also do you have the budget to pay for all those courses???????

APMG Response

We received the following response from APMG on this very question:

"With regards to your question concerning the requirements for the diploma, you are correct in that the current qualifications scheme which has been proposed by the v3 examiners panel is that the holder of a v2 Foundation and v2 Managers only needs to take the v2>v3 Managers bridge to obtain the ITIL® Diploma.

The numbers which appear on the diagram are not hours of study but are in fact credits, and they indicate which qualifications you will need in order to obtain sufficient credits to be able to attempt the Managing Through the Lifecycle capstone course and achieve the Diploma. In the current proposal, the v2>v3 Managers bridge bypasses the credit system, and instead updates a certified Managers qualification to the Diploma. To achieve this, the Foundation bridge is not required."

Clarification on route to ITIL Expert

Maybe it was just me,and everybody else got it, but I found out today at a meeting with ISEB, that my understanding of the certification scheme is not quite right (although I think my interpretation of the guidance is commonly held!). Basically it is NOT TRUE that you need a balance across Capability and Lifecycle. After sitting V3 Foundation, and before doing the Managing across the Lifecycle, you can do one of the following:

1. Amass your required points entirely from Capability courses
2. Amass your required points entirely from Lifecycle courses
3. Take a combination of Capability and Lifecycle courses. NB In this case, you must not have too much overlap between courses - ie. Service Operations Lifecycle and the SOA Capability course.

Apparently they are working on a tool which will suggest combinations - but I would not hold my breath!
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

Rush for V2 Manager??

Presumably, there will now be a rush for the V2 Managers course as a quicker and easier way to obtain the Diploma?

In which case why bother with the new V3 courses as V2 is expected to be around for the next 6-12 months?

In their attempt to be seen to be fair have the vendors shot themselves in the foot?

ha ha

What if you never did the Foundation exam


In 1992 when I did my service manager certification there was no ITIL Foundation course. That only started in around 1993/4 by EXIN. I know I was involved in that. So since then I have been an instructor (accredited) and consultant for ITIL V1 and ITIL v2...
So I only have 15 points... which brings me to 20 if I do the bridging...

I am looking forward to that discussion with the exam institute...

Peter Lijnse

another interesting question for APMG

or another interesting question for APMG (I hope they are reading this, and they may like to contribute to my hosting costs for providing the forum for them that they don't seem to provide themselves - except for APMG customers):

From an unidentified consultant "I have my Managers, My V2 Foundation, and 2 clustered Practitioners - thats more than 22 pts - how do I collect my V3 diploma?" Well according to the rules it would seem you can. there is seemingly no limit on V2 points as compared to V3 points. All points are equal as far as we know.

However I suppose pragmatism must apply.

First "Any ITIL v2 Manager who wishes to gain the v3 Diploma can take a bridging course and pass an examination". Does "can" mean "must"? i.e. over and above your points score is the bridging exam a pre-requisite?

Second "It is recommended that candidates discuss their current qualifications in ITIL v2 with their Accredited Training Organisations to establish how many credits they hold towards the Diploma."

So I don't think you can be too simplistic about this points system and I suspect further "clarifications" wil be issued as these cases come up.

latest on Certification from APMG

Posted on itsmf uk website - link to report from APMG - key points extracted below

An update on the ITIL v3 Qualification Scheme
The Qualification Scheme
The Qualification Scheme has not changed in substance since launch in June but has changed in detail as explained later. One major change relates to how v2 Practitioners are recognised within the v3 Qualification Scheme. It has not been possible to map the v2 Practitioner Scheme to the v3 Capability and Lifecycle Streams. Mapping took much longer than expected due to the need to obtain detailed syllabi for all the v2 Practitioner qualifications.
The Proposal (not yet endorsed by the Qualification Board but will be considered in their meeting on October 8th) is that a Bridge Exam should be introduced for existing v2 Practitioners.
No specific course will be associated with this Bridge Exam as existing Practitioners will have a variety of different levels of experience and knowledge. It is up to the individual to decide if they require further training.
The Bridge Exam will be available for any v2 Practitioner who has 16 or more credits on any
combination of different v2 Practitioner and v2 Foundation Exams.
Any existing v2 Practitioner with less than 16 credits (calculated in the same way) will have to
gain sufficient credits from v3 Capability and Lifecycle units should they wish to progress to v3
The Syllabus for the Practitioner Bridge Exam will be very similar to that for the existing
Managers’ Bridge Exam. This still needs to be agreed by the Qualifications Board but should the
Board agree it at their meeting on October 8th then this could be introduced before the end of
v3 Foundation
In order to ensure that no candidate was disadvantaged, APMG as the Official Accreditor,
produced a series of standard examination papers that were provided to each EI and they were used in sequence. This enabled all questions to be validated and if there were any anomalies in the results for moderation to take place before the final results were issued to candidates. This process significantly lengthened the turnaround time of results but was endorsed by the Qualification Board to ensure fairness.
We have now reached a stage where there are sufficient proven questions to enable papers to be sat, marked and results provided within a matter of days. These new papers will come in to use towards the end of September. Nobody was happy with the turnaround time but it was
considered to be in the candidate’s best interest.

All EIs, and through them, APMG as the Accreditor have received feedback that the v3
Foundation Exam Syllabus is broad. The Syllabus will be subject to a formal review at the
beginning of 2008.
There has also been a suggestion that there should be a course below Foundation as the
Syllabus is too broad. At this stage no decision has been made regarding the introduction of
such a course.
The ITIL Diploma
We have received feedback regarding the naming of the ITIL Diploma in that Diploma is not
necessarily an appropriate word in every country where ITIL is popular. We are currently
undertaking market research, through itSMFi, to try to find a suitable name. The concept remains
but the name may change.
Once we have finalised the name and people have started to pass the Managers’ Bridge
Qualification then some award ceremonies will be arranged. These are likely to be linked to
National itSMFi events.
The Advanced Diploma
The Advanced Service Management Professional Certification is under development.
Candidates for this level will be required to have achieved the ITIL Service Management Diploma level and demonstrated practical application and experience through a period evaluation scheme.
They will be assessed on the broader issues of ITSM implementations including, but not limited
• Managing cultural and organisational change
• Responding to industry change
• Continual improvement of ITSM capability
• Preparing organisations for audit and certification
Details for the Advanced Level Certification are unlikely to be available for review and comment until early 2008.
Withdrawal of v2 and v1
Following detailed market research through all itSMFi Chapters as well as direct feedback, v2
publications and qualifications will be available beyond December 2008.
The decision to withdraw v2 publications and qualifications will be based on demand. It is likely that different language versions of v2 publications and qualifications will be withdrawn at different times as v3 gains acceptance around the world.
It is not possible to forecast the date of withdrawal but the accredited community will be given 4 – 6 months notice of any planned withdrawal of v2 publications and qualifications.
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

ITIL V2 to V3 Certification

I also have the V2 Foundations, Managers and 2 clustered certifications. I'm also a trainer, so I contacted the APM group and asked if I could already claim my V3 diplome. NOPE! You have to take the Manager's bridge course even if you already have enough points under V2.

And..given the new content..not a bad idea....


I have posted the following message to APMG

As good ITSM practitioners, APMG channel all contact through their service desk (unlike any itSMF organisation I can think of... those cobbler's children again). So I have posted the following message to them:

In the absense of any public forum on the APMG website, there are two important questions about the new ITIL version 3 certification points system that have been raised on the IT Skeptic website. As administrator of that site I draw your attention to them for your interest as they raise valid concerns and queries about the new system.
They are and

Let's see what happens.

Your missing 0,5

comes from the bridge course for ITIL Foundations? :)

Dont think so, it is not

Dont think so, it is not required to take the Foundation bridging as well. Lets just assume they will round up 21.5 to 22.


I'll not spend thousands per person to get our staff recertified under the "assumption" that the certification bodies, that obviously cannot do basic math, will "round up."

Hey, Skeptic, you regularly comment on Americans' inability to write the Queen's English. How about complaining about the now published fact that the British designers of ITIL can't do basic addition?

Well... they already can do basic addition

But with Integer maths... they haven't discovered R and i LOL from the third world

Conspiracy theorists will see the hand of the training vendors

Conspiracy theorists will see the hand of the training vendors who shaped this policy.

For once I'm being more charitable and seeing an oversight. This _was_ done under pressure trying to get a whole bunch of (competing commercial) parties to agree.

The response from APMG will clearly show which one is correct.

Pressure, huh?

Perhaps they should have applied some PRINCE2 Project Management to their efforts. They only had years to see this coming.

I don't see conspiracy. Just neglect caused by hangovers from their luxurious Mexican vacation trips paid for with "contribued" funds.

Very clubby. Very British. Truly incompetent.

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