Un-Common Language

[A guest post today from long-time reader Alison Adams with more feedback from the field on ITIL V3 exam questions:]

How confident are you in identifying the difference/s between a stated AIM, a PURPOSE, a GOAL and an OBJECTIVE ?

A dictionary might not help much, look them up in dictionary.com, they reference one another in a complete circle. Even the official ITIL glossary includes -

"Objective: the defined purpose or aim of a Process and Activity or an Organisation….."

From recent student feedback I gather this is precisiely what one current question requires – to choose from a list of 4, which is the 'Aim' of Release and Deployment. Of the choices described to me, I am fairly sure that the 3 ‘wrong’ answers are all part of the official 'Purpose, Goal and Objective' of Release and Deployment.

I think the question includes these choices, based on bewildered-student descriptions - but not having seen it myself, this is 'heresay':

1. To build, test and deliver the capability to provide the services specified by Service Design and that will accomplish the stakeholders requirements and deliver the intended objectives.
2. To ensure that the release package consists of a set of related assets and service components that are compatible with one another
3. To ensure that all release packages can be tracked, installed, tested, verified and/or uninstalled or backed out if appropriate
4. To record and manage deviations, risks, issues related to the new or changed service and take necessary corrective action

In my opinion, the books are weak on the differences between terms such as aim, purpose, goal, objective in general. Okay, one choice here is more high-level than practical, but is that enough to differentiate them when they are all valid ITIL statements? And would that difference make it Aim or Goal ?

These definitions are on p84 of the Service Design core book, with answer 1 on its own and 2-4 listed under ‘Purpose, goals and objective’.

In the Service Design Key Element Guide the statement in answer 1 is not included anywhere, nor is it in the Official Introduction, though both books include very similar things under different headings entirely. I would be very keen to know if it is in the Foundation Exam book.

The syllabus – well that requires the student to ‘state the objectives' for R&D.

This is a question at Foundation level ! Yes I know you have to get another 14 questions wrong to fail the exam, but I still don’t feel this is a fair question for students who are very unlikely and in any case not required to have read the core publications.

As a trainer, I dont think the semantics of how these terms are used/intended should be a training course topic at Foundation level.

Bah humbug.

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