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Oct 29, 2007

ITIL Foundations Exam - Go/No Go?

Some of my friends and colleagues sat the ITIL V3 Foundations exam this week. Since I am in the business for some time, I helped them prepare. Of course, I was anxious what do the training, materials and the exam look like. I have seen some critiques and exam reviews in blogosphere, and first impression was that things are not very pink (ha, get it?).

I have read all five books this summer (some of them a few times) and my impression was that in 3 days of Foundations training you can't cover much more then some kind of extended glossary for these 32 ITIL V3 disciplines. People had two days to cover 11 disciplines (Processes/function(s)) in V2. Extending a training for one day to accommodate (a lot) more then 50% of increase in scope looks very brave and optimistic. What do the students say?

From what can be seen in student materials and exam questions, authors had a very high opinion on future attendees. Preparation questions were easy for me, I think I could guess my way thru at least 30 questions. But the EXIN set of exam questios was completely different thing. Without preparation, I would have flunked flat on this one.
I have no particular objection to the questions, they are understandable, do not suffer from English/English phrases and questions were rather equally divided between lifecycle stages. They were just too difficult for an introductory course.

Some of the new prep and real questions can be found on the web.

I have read somewhere that the syllabus is going to change a lot in Q1 2008. All the problems occurring in this phase were expected (at least by me), since this is all a matter of rough feedback-based tuning. So the first exam candidates will pay the price. If someone asked me, I would not sit an ITIL exam for at least six next months, like I wouldn't buy any (not even Japanese) car if a model is less then a year old. People invest three work days, some money and a piece of professional reputation here, only to end up ITIL exam guinea pigs. They should at least get some benefits for that (better price, longer training, free attempts...).

For now, the only thing stimulating people to show up on an exam is their ignorance. And some hype too. Everybody's doing IT(IL). But OGC and APMG people should have in mind that the Market is a bitch.

Oct 22, 2007

ITIL V3 Service Portfolio, Pipeline and Catalogue

In ITIL V3, the customer is more into focus then technology. In V2, customer and his satisfaction were important on a declarative level, but minimum effort was made to point out methods, the whats and hows to improve the customer satisfaction.

In the age of V2, more palpable problems were of technological nature. Also, primary concern, especially in non-IBM IT communities was IT organisation, processes and procedures. So the main hub of all stories was the infamous CMDB, an organisational gadget with a techie name.

Now, the IT mindset is of a grown up, and we turn to what and how we are doing it. Following this thread backwards, we conclude that the main question is Why. We design services according to a market demand, for some of our present and future customers. So why should a customer by a service, why would he buy it from us, what are our competitive advantages, how are we going to charge for the services, what resources do we have... These are some of the strategic questions that need to be answered.

We define, analyse, approve and charter services in this phase. We are at the beginning of the Service Portfolio, in the Service Pipeline.

Thru transition processes, these services are introduced to operation, therefore they are in the Service Catalogue. Have in mind that this is the only profitable phase in this lifecycle perspective. Services that are no more needed are retired through Transition process

The objective is to manage the information contained within the Service Catalog and to ensure that it is accurate and reflects the current details, status, interfaces and dependencies of all services that are being run, or are in preparation to run in the live environment.

It has to be available and comprehensive to all parties involved, therefore it is divided into:

  • Business Service Catalog – A customer view: IT services delivered to the customer, including relations to business units and business processes it supports.
  • Technical Service Catalog – IT Services related to customer – related with infrastructure: supporting and shared services and CIs that support the provision of service. This view should not be presented to a customer.

KPIs , critical success factors and main risks of Service Catalogue Management process remind me a little of a former version Configuration Management and it's CMDB. Service Catalogue is pretty difficult to create and maintain, and yet, everyone already talks about it, and there are some people that say they have it.

Things become even more complex when we know that Service Portfolio encompasses Service Pipeline, Service Catalogue and retirement processes. For all this we have to have operative connections to a lot of acronyms: SKMS, CMS... Better part of it is served via the Service Level Management, the process that gave birth to portfolio and catalogue since the last version.

All this looks a bit confusing at a first glance, but when you seriously get into it you really get scared ;-)

Simplified, ITIL V3 is very customer oriented. There is a Service in every of the five books title (OK, I wanted this to be funny). Most of the stuff is hard to achieve, but in the end of the day, with V3, Service providers know better where to go and what to do. The mark is up there, everyone can decide for himself how close he wants to approach it.

Oct 7, 2007

ITIL V3 Mind Map Download

ITIL V3 Mind Map Picture

There is a lot of stuff in the new V3 core books. I have read most of it, and I was overwhelmed with new slang, archetypes, processes, acronyms.

After the second reading, you start noticing that there even exists a connection between the graphics and the text in these books. One just has to read carefully.

Memorizing and putting things in a perspective can be difficult when grasping such a broad scope. Mind mapping can help to some extent.

I have created a simple mind map for the purpose of my own data organization. I thought that sharing it with a community would be a good idea. So I have put it for download on this temporary space.

I took the measure of deleting the content that could be problematic as copyright goes. Still, a lot of public info and my own graphics are left inside. This is a working copy, and will be upgraded regularly. For now it is in Mindjet Mind Manager format, if you have trouble viewing it, let me know, I can maybe export it to xml.

Oct 1, 2007

ITIL Service Definition

"A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific cost and risks. "

"Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.

I could be wrong, but this is the definition of a Service! And it is finally here, after almost 20 years of ITIL. So at last we know what are we talking about.