Terminological debasement: a committee becomes a board

In a recent announcement from APMG, the IT Skeptic identifies a troubling new terminological debasement trend. Apparently a committee is now a board. We had the Combined Strategy Board, the ITIL Qualifications Board. Now we have the Foundation Review Project Board. Come to think of it, ITIL has been doing this for a while: since when was a CAB anything but a committee?

Indeed this is nothing specific to ITIL. I am just identifying local instances of a broader trend to debase the word "board".

The word "committee" has accumulated ugly baggage of petty bureaucracy and toothlessness. So poor "board" gets sucked down to take its place.

No matter how operational your function, no matter how little accountability or ownership you have, no matter how transitory the body's lifetime, you are now a board. It sounds so much more important and authorative than a committee. Who would dare argue with the decrees of a Board?


Crap Factoids - so what's new?

It's difficult to read both Service Talk and IT Skeptic at times. As a self confessed veteran of ITSM - 1st helpdesk in 1984, 1st SLA 1986 - I see so much rot talked about what is pretty simple stuff. So this is my 1st contribution as a possible antidote......get back to reality!

ITSM, especially core disciplines like Problem, change, SLAs, service desk (OK, ITIL has pulled the disciplines together in a framework ) is brilliant as a common sense & proven improver of IT Services. Good stuff in v3 ( good there's some amongst all those paradigms ) helps people think about how to get much closer to and understand their businesses. But stop and look both ways before going farther - you may have got all the benefit you're gonna get...

I read recently some marketing from a vendor in Service Talk (dressed up as an article or was it a survey of tame partners - or both? ) saying that people with ITIL qualification will earn 40% more. They've published this despite our call which confirmed they were talking out of their bottoms........ I remember businesses in the 1990s being told 'get ISO9000 and you'll get more orders' and spending months employing consultants to get it without much upturn in sales.............here we go again.

This is emperor's new clothes at it's worst - putting an ITIL badge on a cow, it's still a cow...........( Sarah Palin eat your heart out... )

But - the good news is that CIO magazine says help and service desk skills are the no 2 in their list of nine 'must have' skills to keep in 2009, so put your effort into getting business and people skills and put in the years - you'll be far more indispensable than spending weeks learning or implementing fringe ITIL elements. But if you want to keep ITIL trainers and consultants happy, just carry blindly on........

Howard Kendall, Chairman, Service Desk Institute

Good comment


I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.

Could I dare say that Most ITIL Trainers and consultants don't have the experience and skills to sit in that piot's seat and fly that jumbo jet.

In defence of the ITIL Consultant, what organizations require most are these agents of change to help encourage, initiate, support, direct and facilitate organizations move to a service oriented, processed based organization. I agree with your saying that it's still a cow, but think of how that cow feels.

In my years of consulting I could have collected enough deadwood to have built my own Castle ITIL from scratch., (There are enough people stuck in the old ways of doing things, afraid of change, and to me this is more of a generational ).

Correct skills

I think we can both agree that consultants (including myself) need to possess knowledge and strong experience in many softskill's such as managing change, difficult people, etc, to really be able to get the framework working top shape.

Resistance is there to make us stronger

they may be right

Hi Richard

re your signature line, I've suggested in the past that resistance just might be there because they are right

Where'sthe benefit

Hello Howard

Good point really. I have been trying to introduce ITIL here and now I see two things. Not many have been able to implement anything over Service Desk/Incident Management which they basically had due to earlier help desk implementations. Problem and Change management seem to be too difficult. At the same time people are jumping to V3 in mid-implementation.

Certificates and paradigms seem to be replacing common sense. People seem to think that service improves if everybody has a certificate and the more complicated the better. Implementations are always huge successes but there are no measurements to back up the claims.

Br Aale

Its all about the people people

You know I read many articles, I speak to many consultants, trainers, Service Managers, Course developers, CIO's, CEO'S, so on so on and so on. "ITIL doesnt work", "ITIL is all hype", ""ITIL is a consulting firms cash cow". I cant say that these arent true although some may be a little far fetched. Howard I love the "You can place an ITIL badge on a cow and its still a cow" statement, Im writting that down to use everyday. And I think in many ways that hits the nail on the head.

Lets have a look at exactly where the problem is. Personally I dont think its the framework at all. The framework does work. I have seen the framework create magical results. Although with the new framework there are a couple of processes which seem to be more theoretical than practical I would say processes like Change Management and Problem Management are some of the easier processes to work with. Infact they are rather strateforward. The problem is PEOPLE. People have an incredible way of making things that are really simple excessively complex. "ITIL is all a hype" I agree with this. It most certainly is. There has been a huge expectation created from the market place that ITIL will redefine your organisation and the way you do things. The truth is ITIL can redefine an organisation if the employees of that organisation are making it work. ITIL is like a model airplane. It wont build and link to itself and fly. ITIL is merely the building blocks. The efficiency of the framework is fully dependent on the people. Another example is the following. There are two sculpurers, each with identical tools (ITIL Framework) the sculpture with years of practice and experience will clearly make a far better scultputure than his counterpart. ITIL works precisely the same way. There needs to be someone constantly watching over it in an organisation to ensure the results expected from the framework are achieved. It takes time and it takes practice.

I have seen the framework accomplish a lot. The most important thing to remember is to keep things as simple as possible in all process areas. The reason for Configuration Management failing so frequently is because it is always made far more complex than what is required from it.

Some tips that might help:

- Support Vital business functions first, perfect the processes and services supporting those functions first before spreading the scope of the ITIL project.
- Ensure you are have found the most accurate and meaningfull Key Performance Indicators. (these should determine how effective a process or service
- Communication, ITIL is a closed loop system (outputs have effect on the inputs). If the outputs of configuration management are poor and these outputs
will be used as input into Change Management for impact assessment then the chances are the Changes would fail and there would be a large impact.
Then the Change Management process is percieved as being a complex non functional process. If communication doesnt take place correctly, Broken
telephone wire syndrome will occur
- Ensure ITIL Managers are well experienced and knowledgable in their fields. You put a young inexperienced Pilot into a $1.5 million jet then dont be
surprised when that jet crashes to the ground.

This is how I see the situation. I would like to know what you guys think.

Resistance is there to make us stronger

he tangata

you will love a book I am working on, He Tangata ("tis the people"...that are the most important thing in the world)

Sounds good

And how will I get a copy of this book, Sounds interesting.

Resistance is there to make us stronger

hear all about it

oh you'll hear all about it when it is available :)

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