We get the governance we deserve: what to do about itSMF?

Nations get the government they deserve, and so too do organisations. If members don't mind the itSMF being the OGC's pet monkey or a carnival of prancing vendors, then they can just leave it to slide. If the people don't rise up and say "enough" then it gets worse.

A reader asks What is it you wish members to do [about itSMF]?

The itSMF could just as easily fulfill other purposes such as promoting ISO20000, or COBIT arm-in-arm with ISACA, or - gasp - representing the views and interests of ITSM practitioners whatever the framework. It does whatever the elected representatives decide. They will decide based on the views of their constituents, or in a vacuum of apathy they will decide based on their own vested interests or those of their employers.

Personally I want itSMF to promote the interests of ITIL. That is the correct thing to do. I wish it would also promote the interests of ITIL practitioners. ITIL has a massive momentum that some people are too quick to dismiss. It isn't going away any time soon. Just about every medium to large IT shop on earth is at least considering ITIL and a fair chunk of them have started work on adopting it to one extent or another. The industry spans millions of people and billions of dollars. itSMF should - and does - pay some attention to the sideshows like ISO20000 and COBIT, but ITIL is the biggest game in town.

If members don't mind the itSMF being the OGC's pet monkey or a carnival of prancing vendors, then they can just leave it to slide down its current slippery slope. If members want something more for their money, like representation or independence, then we all need to:

  1. be heard: all corruption breeds on apathy (and/or fear)
  2. get involved: make the changes
  3. if all else fails, take our funds elsewhere to some group who will serve (and may I say for me personally ISACA has so far made an interesting contrast to itSMF)


"You get what you reward"

In my opinion itSMF should promote the interests of ITIL practitioners more than ITIL itself. I also believe that it should not be limited to ITIL, IT Service Management is not only about ITIL.
I strongly believe in your first two action points: members get what they reward (i.e. in this case also what they do not object to).

itSMF's interests

It you take the time to review the Mission and Vision Statements of the international and, as the Skeptic says, the 600lbs. gorilla, the USA, you have to look very hard to find out what either organization does for its members. The international states its mission is to harness global resources to strengthen IT Service Management, and, the USA wants to be the definitive & authoritative source for the advancement of IT Service Management Best Practices. There is nothing that directly communicates the professional development of either's members. Moreover, it appears that both march to the OGC beat.

Also, where is the Value Statement, the guiding principles for these boards. Obviously, principals have been overshadowed by agendas.

Food for thought...

Dear Visitor,

Have a look at this link:

As I review the public links, I keep finding things that are interesting (and somewhat contradictory, at times). In this, there's almost something that represents tangible benefit to the general member (such as I).

Take for example, this snippet:

To provide the leadership and best practices that serve as a base of common knowledge for all IT service management professionals and organizations in our industry.

This mission advances the credibility and professionalism of all its members by providing:

A premiere certification program serving the industry and supporting the careers of all IT service management professionals. An IT service management best practices educational program serving the industry."

So with that in mind:
1. Where is this "premiere certification program"? I find it hard to believe that we would be using this as a description of the current certification scheme being administered by APMG. If it is, I would be very disappointed.
2. What is this "educational program" that is referred to? The annual conference? That seems to be about the extent of it. The LIG meetings are useful (when one can attend), but I would expect that the quality of the content would be all over the map (not intended to be a slam, just the reality of things). Now, if the organization actually did the content development and then provided it to the LIGs for their use, I'd expect that to be an entirely different story. Personally, I think that would be a great idea.

Although I may have been a bit harsh in previous posts, I don't think that my observations here are out of line. I mean, really, if an organization has a mission statement, is it unrealistic to expect their actions be in line with it?

This (in turn) leads me to another issue -- alignment of the objectives with the mission statement (or the lack thereof). Perhaps it's just a function of poor quality control on the webmasters part, I don't know. Either way, these incongruities make me wonder.

Members and mission

The US Chapter may have been born with every altruistic intention, but theirs emerging ethics clearly supplanted those noble ideas. The web site arouses scornful pity with outdated and conflicting pages. Perhaps they have taken a queue from the international and have multiple definitions for every opinion.

Members and mission are the very heart of successful association. Aligning products and services to the mission enables a successful association to do the right things. Remarkable associations never look away from their members, which begs the question, “How relevant are the members to the itSMFUSA?”

itSMFUSA members are a market to sell to rather that a population to serve.

I can explain the difference in mission statements...


I think I can explain. The page you reference reads very much like the original vision/mission I helped build when co-founding the organization. I don't think this page has changed or is even remembered by many. The 'about us' page http://www.itsmfusa.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=34310&orgId=itsmf shows the 'current' thinking of the Board and it is more focused on the same mission of the 'ITIL User Group' thinking, in other words build the world best 'best practice' reference.

As so many have voiced on this and similar blogs (me included) the mission has lost its focus on the individual professional - and this is the primary reason why the ranks are actually shrinking.

Given the divorce caused by the commercialization driven refresh of ITIL (sorry, well it was called the CAR), of itSMF and the destiny of ITIL, I can only suspect the mission was adjusted to reflect the new supposed direction of itSMF International - reflected in their recent acquisition of the ITSM Library - a competitor to ITIL. Who knows? Can anyone at International clarify that strategy to us the members??

Anyway, I think what you stumbled upon is more a housekeeping issue and that the real mission is on the about us page. What else can it be - because your comments are right on - where is the common knowledge (managed by the members), where is the credential scheme (managed by the members)...?

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