Reviews of Owning ITIL

Those of you who have read my book Owning ITIL, please take a moment to review it.

David Moskowitz has, on Amazon. He gave it two stars and said (amongst much else in a lengthy review - thankyou David!)

A skeptical point of view, worth reading, not accepting

The fundamental difference between the author's point of view and mine (reflected in this review) is that I don't see "ITIL... (becoming) something of a cult," or "a movement." I don't see ITIL becoming something it isn't. Quite simply, ITIL is documentation of good/best practice for IT. This doesn't lend itself to "cult" or anything else -- it either is good/best practice or it isn't...

There are too many additional points of disagreement for me to enumerate them all in this review...

Bottom line: The book author is The IT Skeptic. Read the book to understand a skeptical point of view. Don't accept it as your only guide to make competitive decisions to meet today's situations, challenges or demands.

That's good. Any feedback is good feedback. CSI and all that. I'm not going to debate David's points here, although I agree with about as much of his review as he does of my book :) But I know there are others who think differently. Please have your say.

Actually I will correct one point in the review. David says

it includes this quotation from "Not everyone can afford or wants best practice." The book does not say that the site is owned by the author's company, or that the post was by the administrator, aka the author of, "Owning ITIL," so of course it's going to agree with the author's point of view.

...which kind of implies I'm being deceptive. David obviously doesn't read footnotes as I point out my association with Core Practice on page 39 and again on page 45, so I found that a bit hurtful. But I don't want to get into a debate over the review. I'm grateful for feedback and welcome other people's opinions too.


If your going to put your opinion out there

then you have to be prepared for criticism. And I think you are..

I think David put forward fair alternative opinion, he has apologized (both here and on Amazon) for the core practice comments.

David takes the role of critic in his reviews. Its evident by his reviews of other books on the topic. Its always, "I agree with this but".. Its more balanced than alot of critics and certainly more than the media.

I don't necessarily agree with him on some of the points. But hell, I rarely agree with anyone on anything :)

So as you say, all publicity is good publicity..

Brad Vaughan

other views

I didn't complain did I? I think my response was as fair as David's review. I'm merely using it to stimulate other comment. I know David's views don't represent all the readers of the book and equally David's opinion might also invite criticism. I'd like to see some other views.

I actually think he's entirely missed some of the points in the book which is important feedback for me that I need to improve my communication skills.

And I never said all publicity is good publicity - you are distorting what I said which is any feedback is good feedback. I sincerely seek to improve. You're not wrong - I do seek to sell the book - but please don't imply that I'm only publicity seeking.

A good cigar

Well I enjoyed it.

If I have an issue it is that the horizon between Rob's most skeptical moments and his most practical real world comments aren't clearly distinguished. I THINK I know him well enough to detect the irony, but I'm never sure....and I think I know when when he is making a point knowing that the ensuing argument will further our mutual general understanding.

The enduring memory of my lecturing days is you make a throwaway comment to stimulate debate and then you read exam papers and realise the students took what you said as a statement of truth.

PS the scam filter thingy made me input the text *Modeller Inaccess" Do you think it has something against technical architects?

There's an idea

That may very well be part of the problem. I wrote the review based on my reaction to the material in the book. While I've gotten to know Rob a little through Twitter, that really isn't sufficient (at least not for me) to say that I know him well enough to make the distinction noted in your comment. As a consequence, I took the material in the book rather litterally (didn't have much other choice, given the circumstances).

While writing my first book (About OS/2 nearly 20 years ago), a good friend and very successful author, taught me a very important 3-word phrase: "Remember the Audience" and the follow up, "They can't see you smile or frown."

Most of the time remembering the phrase has helped. Not always, but... :-)


Health Warning

Perhaps the covers of all Rob's books should contain health warnings "May contain large amounts of irony, humour and controvosy"

PS I took the model railway geek comment in the way I think it was intended ;-)

I mean it

You got in again!????!!? (Actually you shouldn't be getting captcha challenges if signed in - I'll go check the settings)

I just had another quick look through the book with this conversation in mind and I can say that none of the book is facetious or written solely to provoke (that's Introduction to Real ITSM). I mean it all. All the recommendations are serious ones. All the positions I take are genuinely felt. I get ascerbic or even sarcastic at times but I seriously want readers to consider all my arguments if they are using ITIL.

if there is disagreement it is possibly because (a) some consultants (possibly David, I have no idea) spend all their time talking to Fortune 500 and huge government entities and defense, all of whom have the vast funds needed to drag ITIL over the line whatever the cost and (b) maybe I've had a bad run and just haven't seen enough successful ITIL - to me it's like Bigfoot. I'm not alone in that view. In other words, I have a jaundiced cup-half-empty view of ITIL. Maybe. Even if I do it doesn't make me wrong :)

Clients large and small

My time is split about 60/40 small (i.e., not Fortune 1000) and large/gov/mil with 60% in the smaller organizations. In addition, many of the small want to work with (or contract with) the large and... if the large have mandated ITIL, that doesn't give the smaller firms much latitude.

I didn't see this with V2, I DO see it with V3.

We have different experience. "Reporting" based on that experience doesn't make either one of us right or wrong.


(No Captcha???)

No I think the antispam has

No I think the antispam has a thing against model railroad geeks - dunno how you got through.

That is really good feedback that I need to be more careful about when folk might take me seriously - a realisation that was already dawning. Kiwi humour does not translate to all cultures, though the overseas success of Flight of the Conchords gives me hope.

On the other hand ITIL's complete failure to distinguish between best practice and good practice sets a strong precedent for me to just keep muddying it up.

That's a different question:

Specifically, does ITIL have to distinguish between good and best practice? I'm not persuaded that it should. The concept of "best" is going to depend on context.

Best for a pharmaceutical company might not be best for a transportation firm.

Good allows more latitude for organizational (organisational :-)) specialization (some "z" I'll leave alone :-)) or adaptation.


There ought to be health warnings on the ITIL books

I'm using the terms as ITIL does - and as i just grokked properly as part of doing my Foundation exam :) Best practice is leading edge stuff that experts think is a good idea. Good practice is best practice that has been widely used and proven. Distinguishing between Incidents and Problems is good practice. SKMS and CMS are best practice, or as I like to say "blue sky thinking".

Even though what ITIL calls best practice comes from experts, they might be wrong (gosh imagine that). In ten years time the world may regard SKMS with the same bemusement as we now regard CASE. I'm sure it will regard CMDB and CMS that way. There ought to be health warnings on the ITIL books not mine. "Caution this book contains conjectural best guesses from experts mixed with proven practice and we are not telling you which is which" If you know enough to distinguish, you don't much need the books.



I DO read footnotes, but clearly not all of them. My error. Missing the footnotes, I was trying to be fair. Again, my error.

My apology offered, hope it's accepted.


Accepted of course

Accepted of course. I think your review is very fair. As on Twitter, we agree to disagree :)



Works for me. I have several friends with whom I don't (we don't) always agree. ;-)

Thank you.


Revised review at Amazon


I posted a comment to my review and also edited it to correct the error noted above.

Thank you for pointing it out.


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