Just how does itSMF involve the members?

Just how does itSMF involve the members? What does itSMF International do for international communications? How did the ITIL Qualifications Board survey the ITIL "community"?

According to a Statement from the ITIL Qualifications Board
published Friday, May 23, 2008 by APMG:

The ITIL Qualification Board is pleased to make the following announcements regarding ITIL V3 qualifications.
Official Qualification Titles:
The Qualification Board involved the ITSM community by surveying itSMF members and Accredited Training Organisations (ATOs) on their preference for the formal titles of ITIL Qualifications. The results of the survey were reviewed and endorsed by the Board...

This sounds pretty good. The IT Skeptic has been critical of the ITIL establishment not involving the ITSM community. But the IT Skeptic mixes in ITIL/itSMF circles worldwide and had heard nothing of any such survey. I am notoriously absent-minded so that could mean several things. So we had a survey of our own. Here are the results:

To itSMF members: were you surveyed by ITIL Qualifications Board on your preference for the formal titles of ITIL Qualifications
Total votes: 51

So as at today, 43 out of 47 itSMF members who responded were not surveyed. I'd be interested to know what "surveyed" means. It could mean someone asked the members at a local itSMF meeting. Or the pub. Since the Qualifications Board are almost certainly all members themselves, perhaps they just asked each other? Or since the ATOs are probably all members too, perhaps they thought that asking the money-machine is the same thing as asking the ITSM community. At least one of the four "yes" was I believe in the capacity as an ATO. An email to the Chief Examiner and to the CEO of APMG asking the question has not yielded any response a week later. They are busy folk.

The IT Skeptic welcomes further information on the process involved in getting ITSM community involvement in APMG decision-making. The four readers who voted yes, please respond. What was the context of the survey email? i.e. why was it addressed to you, because of some role you play in itSMF?

The fact is no mechanism exists for itSMF to effectively survey all members. Every country has its own mailing list. The itSMFI website uses Drupal which means the results can be centrally collated using a voting mechanism exactly like the one used here. (Voters can be required to be registered.) But they aren't ... yet.

Branches are spending money setting up 50-odd islands of infrastructure for services such as email, newsletters and membership because itSMFI still has not moved to provide a central platform. This is financially inefficient, inconsistent, unreliable, and unprofessional. What is all that itSMFI money for then? It is nice to see Sharon has implemented videoconferencing for the Board, which will hopefully reduce the excessive travel expenses of old. Perhaps this will free up funds for itSMFI to make a useful contribution to the local chapters that fund them, such as a common member register and emailing engine.

In the meantime I hope the ITIL Qualifications Board will stop sounding like a vendor with wild marketing-speak about how they "involved the ITSM community by surveying itSMF members" when over 90% of our itSMF readers don't know what they are on about.


The definitive answer to what constitutes the ITIL community

From the itSMFi Forum

The survey was conducted via all of the Examination Institutes who sent out a questionaire asking their Training Providers to respond and also itSMFI who asked the respective Q&C committees within each country's chapters to respond.

A variety of options were put forward for each level however all responders were also free to suggest alternatives.

The itSMF UK Q&C committee responded, these results were collated and discussed by the Qualifications Board and their decision has now been published.

So the "itSMF community" is in fact the "itSMF UK Q&C committee", one Aussie (see the forum thread) and possibly a few others.

Depends on the definition...


The crux of the matter here to me is the definition of "ITSM community". As you rightly note, this could be either a handful of folks at the pub OR tens of thousands of persons world-wide. In my view, I think it's the latter. I'd venture a guess that there are at least 10K in the US alone, save any foreign interests.

If we grant that this is merely a subset of itSMF members (regardless of affiliation), let's say that this represents about 4000 people. If all of the members were contacted, assuming a direct mail response rate of 2% (worst case scenario, eh?), this would represent about 80 persons. (Of course, given the topic, I'd be willing to wager that the response would be significantly higher).

If I were a betting man, I'd wager that the size of the pool was probably around my 2% number... just not the 2% represented in my previous paragraph. I can hear a crap factoid brewing in the background -- 98% of the ITSM Community agree that the formal titles are representative of what the community needs (or similar). I may get lucky and have someone use this as one!

Then again, maybe this is an excellent example of representative democracy in action -- where the few represent the needs of the many. Only, we (me and the mouse in my pocket) didn't choose the few (so, it's not really representative) and those few didn't campaign for the post or reach out to the represented for their views on the issue (not very democratic, eh?).

I hate it when I blow up my own theories! ;-)

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