Announcing the Inaugural IT Skeptic Awards for 2006

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The IT Skeptic is pleased to announce our first annual awards, presented to deserving figures and organisations in the IT industry in general and the ITSM industry in particular.

This year’s winners are:

The Stallman Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to the Documentation of ITIL Best Practice goes to those tireless volunteers who are building the Wikipedia ITIL entry(s). Runners up were the other open websites such as OpenITIL, the ITIL Open Guide and the ITIL Wiki.

The Platinum Microscope for the Finest Hair Split goes to Pink Elephant for assuring the world that PinkVerify does not certify ITIL compliance. Assessment, validation, verification, certification, compatibility, comparison against criteria, explicit demonstration of commitment, reassurance, diligence, support for definition and requirements, and guidance met … but not compliance.

The Trump Medal for Most Inappropriate Empire Building goes to the executive of itSMF International for attempting to get control of ITIL through the CAR tendering and now attempting to get control of ISO20000 certification. The itSMF exists as a volunteer organisation to further ITSM professionalism and best practice, whatever flavour. These commercial and political manoeuvrings are unbecoming.

The Gold Finger for Megalomania goes to Microsoft for trying to patent everything (and for …).

The Engelbert Humperdink Memorial Codpiece for Worst Change of Name goes to OGC for publishing the updated "ITIL in SITU" [Small IT Units] as “ITIL Small-scale Implementation”. How could they lose such a clever name?

The Tolstoy Championship for Forum Contributions Above and Beyond goes to Frank Guerino, founder and CEO of TraverseIT, whose forum posts and comments invariably extend to several screensful of content that ranges from the astute to the fixated, but always passionate and nearly always managing to mention his product.

The Terminological Debasement Cup goes to Dennis Drogseth of EMA for trying to redefine CMDB as a process not a thing.

The Gartner Ribbon for Most Preposterous Statistic goes to … who else … Gartner for assuring us that ITIL reduces costs by up to 48%. Not 50% Not 45% Exactly 48% [We are still seeking the actual source of this oft-quoted number. Can any reader help?]

The Hussein Trophy for Most Hypocritical Protestations goes to those members of the itSMF who howled about letting CAR contracts to a privately owned company (APMG) and the sale of TSO when their own private companies are doing so nicely out of contractual links with ITIL.

The Andrés Escobar Memorial Shield for Best Own Goal goes to itSMF USA for publishing the research result that “A staggering 72 percent felt unable to acknowledge any linkage at all between process maturity and performance improvement”

The Caterpillar Cup for the Most Outstanding Contribution to ITIL Case Studies goes to Pink Elephant for finally giving us some names to add to the thoroughly worn-out Proctor and Gamble, Caterpillar and Ontario Justice.

The Kim Il-sung Memorial Vase for Keeping It In The Family goes to the OGC committee awarding ITIL 3 refresh authoring contracts, for ensuring all contributors came from the Western corporate ITIL industry. No authors from Asia. No authors from government, health, engineering, non-profits, or small business. Well done!

The P T Barnum Gold Cigar for the Most Hyped ITIL Concept of the Year goes to a consortium of vendors for their brochure-ware proposed standards for CMDB repositories.

The Skeptic’s Banner of Best Individual Contribution to goes to the anonymous “Claire” of Practical Service Management for proposing “We could look to some sort of Continuous Hype Improvement Process (CHIP) - sustaining ITIL through a never ending series of refreshes and book reissues.....”

Finally, the one you have been waiting for …Envelope please… The Grand Sagan Candle for IT Skepticism goes to Robert Glass (in the Communications of the ACM 49:8, August 2006) for reportedly applying scientific method to one of IT’s many assertions, the Standish CHAOS Report. This is the one that gave us those oft-quoted numbers (known on this blog as “crap factoids”) “a staggering 31.1% of projects will be canceled before they ever get completed … only 16.2% [of] software projects that are completed on-time and on-budget. In the larger companies … only 9% of their projects come in on-time and on-budget”.
Glass points out the inconvenient fact that “Objective research study findings do not, in general, support the Standish conclusions” and makes some telling criticisms of the Standish methodology, which appears to be much the same as those of most industry analysts: anecdotal, unscientific (no random selection, no controls, no full disclosure of data, no double blinds) and unreviewed. Whether Glass is right or wrong, he is the one following best research practice, not Standish. [This was brought to our attention in that excellent blog – thank-you Charlie]


Standish reports

More criticism of the Standish reports here (thanks Peter and Dave), milder than Glass's article but still questioning the data.

Like almost all IT analyst reports, the Standish reports are crap science

Thanks for the read

Thanks for giving away your awards. They are a nice read and gave me a smile on my first workday in the new year. I am still bubbeling inside about the CHIP.

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