The IT Skeptic's first impressions of the ITIL Version 3 core books

It will take years to fully read and understand the five core ITIL Version 3 books, so this is very much a superficial first impression. But first impressions count, right? [In this dumbed down world cynics might argue they are everything]. It may come as a surprise to some readers that I am capable of such a thing, but I like these books.

We harp and quibble about pockets and corners of ITIL theory, but the bulk of the content is sound common sense. We whinge and moan about politics and commercialism, but the overall ITIL movement is immense and impressive. I feel it is good to step back and remind ourselves of these things - especially on a blog like this one.

bITa Planet has published ITIL v3: Passing the Skeptic's Test, an article discussing these impressions further... and of course making some initial criticisms too. This is the IT Skeptic after all.


V3 Foundation Training

Thought you might be interested in the new V3 Foundation course. As a trainer, I've recently attended a train the trainer course and none of us are very happy.

The problem is that APMG have crammed far too much into the course and it will be a struggle to do it in 3 days; consequently the whole course is very high level with the majority of processes getting no more than 4-5 slides each. Only Incident and Change get any real in-depth focus which then creates disparities with the other disciplines.

The other issue is that although the course focusses on the 5 concepts (strategy, design, etc) it is difficult to follow the flow from stage to stage as each of the processes and functions has been allocated to a distinct stage (as per the books). However, due to time constraints and the extent of the syllabus, its not possible to see how the processes change across the different stages nor how Strategy should flow into Design, etc.

The mock exams also contain errors and are confusing.

The feeling is that this is more of an overview than a foundation and it will therefore prove difficult for people to go back to their companies and make sense of this due to the lack of detail.

I suspect APMG will have to change this course otherwise the market will not buy it but whether they do given the hype and the pressure to deliver remains to be seen.

Personally, I would recommend ignoring this course until this is sorted out and concentrating, instead, on the version 2 offerings.

Liz Gallacher Freelance

Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

This is my first post here, but I wanted to agree with the trainer comments above. Whilst there is loads of great stuff in the V3books, the syllabus for the new foundation course is a real struggle. Of the 3 days, only 4 1/2 hours are spent on processes, so most get 3-4 slides each. I would of course agree that we need to go beyond processes, but they need to exist before they can be improved! Covering the 11 topics in V2 was always pretty intensive, if you wanted to get the students to think about and discuss how it could be applied in their workplace. I have always been able to say that people leave with a practical next step in mind, about how they will apply it back at the ranch. V3 does not and will not give them that. If the Foundation course had been extended by a day, we could have covered it all properly. I have very real concerns that companies will not see the value in the training any more.
Despite the comments on this site about training vendors making a killing with V3, I think that will only be true for the very large companies. Certainly in the UK, many companies are small, with a handful of permanent staff.They needed to have training materials for Foundation, Managers and (sometimes) Practitioners. The considerable overhead in compiling new course material for so many new courses, and paying for accreditation is a real problem for this sort of company. No-one knows for sure what the take-up of all these courses will be, so the payback period could be considerable. As a very small company, with no full-time staff, fitting course development around teaching, compiling our current V2 course took several weeks, and cost thousands to get accredited. V3 will take even longer.
The biggest training companies (especially those with involvement in the writing of the books!) rushed out V3 Foundation courses. There was a big push to be able to say that they had courses running within days of the exam being released. How these materials could be of a high standard in such a time escapes me. Many trainers have heard rumours of unhappy students on some of these courses. A more sensible idea would have been to delay the exam for 3 months after the books came out, to allow proper familiarity with the material, and well-developed materials. I am not prepared to train someone if I am barely 1 page ahead in the manual than my students. I could not do it, and they deserve better .
As for the managers certificate being replaced , and complex multiple-choice being the new approach..... I have been involved in all aspects of the managers certificate. It IS difficult, but is is valuable. Contrary to what people say, it is not an essay-based exam. It is a written exam, so bullet points, tables of problems and how to overcome them , diagrams etc. are all acceptable. The majority of failing candidates do not answer the question asked, or brain-dump. It should not be too much to ask that an expensive managers qualification means that the holder is able to respond to the sort of requests they might get in their workplace, such as
"can you do a quick presentation on why we need Change management, what it will cost, what are the benefits?"
"We are getting a lot of complaints about the service desk - could you make some recommendations about what we should do?"
"How can we improve availability and still keep within budget?"

many candidates struggle now- but will be able to recognise the correct answer often enough in a multiple choice to get a pass.

Rushing out V3 qualifications too soon could damage the whole training market.

Don't forget the diver

My experience of foundation training goes back to teaching the first ever English language foundation course, along with Ivor Evans. I've looked at the v3 Foundation syllabus and frankly I don't understand how it can be taught sensibly and get the right messages across. But my real issue is a bigger one: one of the main markets for the ITIL books has always been delegates doing the exams. I wonder a) how many exam candidates will be able to afford a full set of the books and b) Whether the books are fit for purpose for students taking courses? As I write this I have a copy of the CISA Review Manual in front of me, and it is a very different beast from the ITIL books, being very focussed on the exam requirements.I pity a student trying to revise from the ITIL 3 books.

There will be an official V3

There will be an official V3 study guide soon, we are told

small and silent changes

At last I've received my v3 books and I've started reading the CSI book. Suddenly, something has shocked me: ¡¡ they are talking about Service Management!! not about "IT Service Management".

Please, check the glossary definition of "Service" and the V2 definition for "Service" and you will see how deep is the change. As proposed in my last blog entry "Socrates and ITIL V3" at we can now change the hole name of this thing from ITIL to SIL (Service Infrastructure Library)


PS:: I'm liking what I'm reading, but I don't agree with everything, of course!

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