Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Independence is finally mine... the imp can drive!

I've always considered myself to be a pretty independent person in most areas of my life.  However, there is one area in which I have been totally dependent upon others the past few decades of my life - getting from A to B by means of a car.  Yes - all my solo adventures have been made with the use of my own two feet and public transport.  Due to events the past few years I started thinking that perhaps I really should get my driving license.  After all, as the nature of the job I want is likely to involve travel - how likely am I to be successful in an application without a driving license?  A couple of years ago I cheekily asked if driving lessons counted as a 'training course' for my personal development plan - naturally the answer was 'no'.  My attitude is I was no worse off for asking and they could have surprised me (so I'm an optimist).

This year I finally decided to take the plunge and started saving.  It's an expensive business in the UK as there's a fair bit involved cost wise:
  • Cost of a provisional driving licence (if you don't have one already): £50
  • Insurance for a learner driver on the practice car
  • Theory test: £30
  • Practical test: £56.50
  • Driving lessons: £20 to £26 per hour in my area
  • Supplementary materials (e.g. DVD, Highway code): £25 for learner pack from DSA inc. L plates
  • Free information: Lots of good stuff on the motoring pages of the Direct Gov website.
Although I'd considered going the intensive route I decided I'd be better off taking it steady and accumulating driving experience between lessons - an approach I highly recommend.  In the end it took me 16 x 2 hour lessons (32 hours of driving tuition) and when all the costs are added up it still comes in under £1000.  A few hundred pounds over my optimistic budget... it was worth every penny to hear those magic words:

'I'm pleased to say you've passed.' 

For anyone else out there in their mid-thirties and thinks it's too late to learn - think again.  If I can do it - so can you!

Major thanks go to:
My partner: All your support, patience with manoeuvres and learning to trust my ability to stop the car.
My driving instructor - Dave Lewsey: Your patience with a perfectionist learner, willingness to translate concepts into something that worked for me (mantra: RLR, Rbs, Lbs, Bwdw) and your sense of humour - I loved lessons with you and no longer having them is the only downside of passing my test.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Need to keep IT on track? Put a woman in charge ;)

Only kidding - put whoever the most competent person is for the job in charge.  Personally I can't stand this business of meeting quotas and positive discrimination so I don't want any of you getting the wrong idea about some of my recent posts.  My headline is actually in reference to that used by Computing this week in reference to Catherine Doran who won their 'IT Leader of the Year' award.  Congratulations Catherine!
Catherine Doran, winner of Computing's IT Leader of the Year award, tells Angelica Mari of her determination to drive on with technology-led transformation at Network Rail despite uncertainty over funding.

These are challenging days for Catherine Doran. She is in charge of Network Rail's IT assets and is facing growing pressure to keep down costs, but she remains unperturbed. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) confirmed earlier this year that Network Rail will be given an overall budget next year of £28.5bn, £2.6bn less than it asked for. The company still has to respond to the ruling, while the ORR contends that the shortfall will actually amount to £1.2bn once some projects are dropped or delayed. The announcement from the regulator followed months of wrangling with the rail infrastructure firm, which is understood to have said it could generate savings of about 13 per cent, considered "optimistic" by the ORR....

Read the full story at

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The path to CIO - as a black woman - to be or not to be?

The recent achievements of Lewis Hamilton and Barack Obama got me thinking about role models again.  Those of you who have been with me for awhile will know that I'm very interested in the challenges that women face working in IT and there is a lot of emphasis on role models.

It's a current ambition of mine to become a CIO and there just aren't that many females, let alone black females (the 'double whammy' as someone recently said to me).  So imagine my excitement awhile back on hearing the success of Gail Roper - a black female CIO working in US government.  Do you know of any others?

Anyway, back to my path.  My original plan to get there was to go through the ITSM route (which I really enjoy) yet recent events mean that I've had to put that plan aside and remap my path as I walk the project management route (which I also enjoy).  After some deliberation about the move I've decided that, actually, it is completely the right thing to have done.  Why?  Whether you read ITIL, CIO, or pretty much any other technology (with career focus) website out there; there are constant references to 'the business'.  Alignment.  Integration.  That's where we are at.  So what better move for me than to step out of IT and into the business in order to get a better understanding of 'the other side' with which we are to integrate?

More on this subject another time.  For those that would say race and gender don't matter in such things - as much as I wish they didn't - the fact is they do.  I hope that as I move through both my professional and personal life that people will look past gender, past race - and see me.  A little ITIL imp :)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Amazing times...

In a departure from my normal topics - I can't let this one pass without joining in the commentary with my personal take.

It's been a great week for black people in terms of positive role models whilst at the same time being quite horrible given what is happening elsewhere in the world.

We've seen the first black formula one world champion in the form of Lewis Hamilton (image source: inthenews).  A kid who had a dream and managed to make it reality. As much as I admire him and know that he inspires others - I also want to pay tribute to his family and father in particular. Those that achieve great things rarely do so alone, it's the people who believe in them that help to make it so. None more so than the next man who has made history - Barack Obama.

I'm not sure I ever truly believed that I would witness such a day in my lifetime and I'm certain that Ann Nixon Cooper (106 year old American activist for African-American people's rights) never believed it either.

I was among those that stayed up all night to witness the historic occasion (ok, so I confess my body failed me and I crawled into bed about 15 minutes after it was confirmed that he took Ohio and it was clear he had won). How far America has come...and the oh the irony of a black family in the 'White house' - I love it.

Will he really change the world? Yes, he will - he already has by inspiring millions of people. It's THOSE people that will effect real change. I just hope that he surrounds himself with people who want a better world, that won't undermine him, and that the tough decisions he makes go towards achieving that.

If Martin Luther King could see this now...
20081104_Chicago_IL_ElectionNight1520, originally uploaded by Barack Obama.

Monday, 20 October 2008

The future of ITIL V2 rests in your hands...

Thanks to The IT Skeptic for drawing my attention to this.  I've had my say - make sure you have yours!

Here is an opportunity to have your say on the future of ITIL V2. EXIN is running an anonymous poll of public opinion regarding the future of ITIL V2. Despite the Dutch error messages and the limited opportunities for additional comment, this is a worthwhile initiative. The ITIL Money Engine wants to kill ITIL V2 as soon as possible - add your voice if this is not what you want.

The training vendors know it is more efficient to only service one version, just as software vendors try to get you off old product versions. But bodies of knowledge are not software products. The IT Skeptic believes V2 should be supported until V3 offers credible alternatives to all of V2's benefits. In particular,
  1. a phased approach to v3 is essential to provide that first step. ITIL V2 remains as valid and useful as it ever was, and a lot more accessible to new adopters than ITIL V3.
  2. Experienced knowledgeable expertise in V3 is still rare.
The market - that's us - should resist pressure to force us onto V3 before we are ready.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Happy one month anniversary to me!

Well, today marks the first month of my new job and how the weeks have flown by without my making many blog posts.  I am so busy both at work and home that I just don't know where the time goes (well I do, but I'm not going to bore you with it).

After the first two weeks were primarily spent identifiying and meeting stakeholders, the next two weeks were focused around collecting the information for the development of the Project Initiation Document that had to be in on Wednesday 8th October.  I was able to use much of the input from the one-to-one stakeholder meetings I had but we also held a project kick-off workshop and used this to get ideas from everyone together to address things like objectives, constraints, risks, benefits, deliverables, and assumptions.  This proved very worthwhile as it helped create that shared understanding about the project and was a great input into the PID.

I actually had to write two of them, one for the local council project and one for the wider programme across all councils.  The more I worked on the latter one the more I realised it was really a programme definition document according to OGC's 'Managing Successful Programmes'.  I recently bought the book although I've not finished reading it yet so I was making a lot of reference to it as I wrote this document.  Nothing like learning through doing is there? ;)

Now that the first milestone is out of the way and I've developed the project plan that we will be working to, it's time to start making things happen.  I guess this is when the REAL challenge begins...

Saturday, 27 September 2008

ITIL V3 Intermediate Level Syllabi Published and mini rant

 At least a year in the making, the syllabi for those intermediate exams are finally published.  Not that I'd necessarily recommend that anyone actually take them.  It's not that the Skeptic has gotten to me - it's the actions of those running the ITIL show that have.  I recently blogged about the ITIL Live Portal (ITIL Live Portal - Cheeky blighters!, ITIL Live Portal - Cheeky blighters, part 2, ITIL Live Portal - what DID they promise anyway?) and it has recently come out that the price for an individual person per year is £2500 (corporate concurrent user £5750)!  Who are they trying to kid?  As my partner so eloquently said, "How much? I could get a football season ticket for that!"

Remember, you don't need qualifications to do service management!  Anyway, for those of you who would like to go through the v3 churning machine - here you go:
The ITIL Qualification Scheme uses a system that enables an individual to gain credits for each exam they take. For a full definitive explanation of the Version 3 qualification scheme and credit system, please download the ITIL V3 Qualification Scheme.
Once candidates have accumulated a sufficient number of credits they can be awarded the ITIL Expert in IT Service Management.
There are four levels within the scheme:
  • Foundation Level
  • Intermediate Level (Lifecycle Stream and Capability Stream)
  • ITIL Expert
  • ITIL Master.
Syllabi for the Intermediate Level have been published and can be seen below:
Capability Stream
Lifecycle Stream
 Source: Best Management Practice

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Starting from scratch...

Well, this week marked the start of a new role for me.  I'd always assumed that my next role would be that of a Service Delivery Manager - yet I have moved out of the operational IT environment and taken a leap into the business change environment.  I'm now a project manager on the business side (albeit with an IT background).  These days there is a lot of talk about how IT folk, CIOs especially, need to understand the business units that they support; what better way to do that than to take the plunge into said area?  Inevitably there will be ups and downs to go with the new challenges.  It all makes for the perfect personal development opportunity - and one that will get my career where I want it to go.

So... week one.  My objectives were to get a better understanding of the project(s) that I would be working on, meeting key people (potential project team members and primary stakeholders), and an understanding of the new environment I'd be working in.

Monday - I go through the usual induction stuff and find that everything isn't quite as expected with my new room or IT setup.  On the upside these small issues provided me with opportunities to get well acquainted with facilities and IT sooner than I had planned to.  Everyone proved really helpful and focused on getting what I need to do the job.  A positive day on the whole.  The only negative thing was that, although intellectually I knew that it would be hard moving from IT to the business side, I hadn't reckoned on it being so damned frustrating to find myself a 'user' and all that means, i.e. subject to user IT policies and unable to do all I am used to doing!

Tuesday - Main achievement of the day, meeting and picking the brains of the Contact Centre Manager who will be a key stakeholder in the integration project.  Obtained a wealth of information in a short time which all contributed to my weekly goals.  Once I got home I was missing the people I used to work with and elements of my old job.  Had to remind myself why I made the move and gear myself up for the next working day.

Wednesday - Very busy yet rewarding day.  Introduced myself to the IT managers and met with every member of ICT who was present.  Coming from IT myself, I know that without their support this project will be going nowhere fast.  I also met a potential team member who specialises in process mapping.  A skillset that I have some, yet limited, experience with so it's great to have someone around who is very passionate about the subject.

Thursday - At short notice I managed to meet the project customer (senior user) for a one-to-one prior to our formal meeting next week.  Very informative and useful - yet another person with great energy and enthusiasm.  Either there are a lot of those in this organisation or I've just been very lucky in meeting the few that are thus far - time will tell.

Friday - The first project board meeting with me present.  My one deliverable to show for the week thus far is a draft project organisation chart identifying programme board, project board, project team members, stakeholders and other interested parties.  The fact that I had met a lot of them helped.  I spent the afternoon in the contact centre getting to grips with the various systems in use and how they are used in conjunction with one another.  All very positive thus far - I go home tired and happy.

Conclusion after week one: Initial objectives achieved.  Coming from an outside organisation I have no credibility here; I am starting from scratch.  Spending time meeting people, making an excellent first impression, and gathering information about people and the organisation are all key if I am to be successful in this role.  Being me, I intend to be ;)

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Government IT Profession Annual Conference

For those of you who are also public-sector IT professionals, you may be interested in attending the Government IT Profession Annual Conference which is being held from 30th to 31st October 2008.  Here is an excerpt from their e-mail invitation (available to those that subscribe via the website):
The conference will take place in Leeds, West Yorkshire, at the QueensHotel, which is next to Leeds railway station. The event will start with registration at 10:00 on Thursday 30 October, and finish at 14:30 on Friday 31 October. The conference will reinforce professionalism in the
way the government delivers technology and modern services. Workshop subjects will include citizen-centred services, IT skills analysis, an update on SFIA version 4, plus sessions aimed at CIOs and Heads of IT, Competency Groups and Implementation Leaders building the public-sector-wide IT profession community.

For further information visit:

Monday, 8 September 2008

ITIL v3 Foundation Syllabus Review

There's been a lot of concern about the ITIL v3 Foundation syllabus, particularly around those initial exams where the emphasis on strategy was rather more than the delegates attending were expecting or found appropriate for their roles.  As I said previously, I think a lot of upset could have been avoided if it was just stated up front that the audience for v3 foundation is not the same as for v2 foundation.  Anyhow, after the initial changes to quiet the masses - there is now a formal review in progress.  See below and take part if you fulfill the criteria:
Following the launch of the ITIL V3 Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management in June 2007 and the Foundation Bridge Certificate launch in August 2007, it was always intended to review both syllabuses as part of APM Group's continual service improvement process.

Some of the initial concerns raised by students, Accredited Training Organisations (ATOs) and Examination Institutes (EIs) were addressed through an interim syllabus version, which was released on February 1st 2008; however, the full syllabus review process for the courses and certificates is now underway.

This formal review involves extensive consultation with a wide rage of stakeholders, including, but not limited to, Users, ATOs, Students and chapters of the itSMFI and ITIL training communities, to ensure that the syllabus meets the requirements of students, and also operational objectives in terms of scope and depth of topics covered. Stakeholders views will be gathered via a number of methods, including direct consultation, questionnaire and interview.
View the ITIL V3 Foundation (and Bridge) Syllabus Review Process (pdf)
The information gathered from the market place will be reviewed and analysed by a Syllabus Advisory Board, which is made up of representatives from the itSMFI, the Licensed EIs, the V3 Examination Panel and a selection of ATOs, all of which are nominated and/or elected to the Board. This panel will then be responsible for considering all feedback and making informed recommendations for improvements and changes to the syllabuses.

Find out more about the ATO Representative Election Results.
Foundation Syllabus Questionnaire
In order to collect the feedback and comments from all stakeholders a number of questionnaires have been developed. If you are from either of these stakeholder groups
  • ITIL V3 students
  • Accredited ITIL trainers
  • ITIL examiners.
Please complete this questionnaire to provide us with your feedback on syllabus and exams.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Change Management Training Workshop - Phase 1

Hoorah!  On Wednesday afternoon I delivered a change management (based on ITIL) training workshop to the IT managers of multiple councils as they are working in partnership to deliver shared IT services.  I spent quite a lot of time preparing the materials for it as, knowing my audience, I wanted to be sure I had things they could take away and refer to when I'm not around and to consider which questions were likely to arise that I would need to answer.  The training packs were made up of some change management basics, process framework document, process diagrams, copy of presentation slides and a little 7Rs of Change Management laminated card.

I'd originally scheduled 3 hours for the session to allow for lots of discussion (again, knowing who would be present).  I surprised myself by keeping everyone on-track so that we actually finished in just over 2 hours.  I think this was due to a few factors,  My preparation headed off potential questions and that facilitation training continuing to pay off (thank you Cathy) ;)  My agenda for the afternoon was:
  1. Purpose of session
  2. Presentation - 'Let's Have Some Change Management - with a Dash of Pragmatism'
  3. Normal Change Process (using process framework documentation)
  4. Emergency Change Process (using process framework documentation)
  5. Exercices (1: Name that change 2: Roleplay an emergency change with some curveballs throw in)
  6. Wrap-up Discussion
  7. Feedback forms (I believe in self-improvement)
I was expecting quite a hard time from some of them - so I was pleasantly surprised that each manager present was taking notes and asking pertinent questions.   The only negative feedback I had was that some of them think we should wait until we have the new ITSM tool in place before introducing change management.  As all you ITSMers out there will know it's crucial to get the process agreed, documented and tested before implementing it in a tool - so I'm not too concerned about this point (although it certainly would be great if a more appropriate tool were in place to support the process in the meantime (and no - this is not an invitation for vendor spam thanks!).

Only time will tell how effective or not the workshop was.  The next stage is rolling out training to all the IT staff.  It certainly achieved it's objective in educating them in the basics of change management, terminology, process, etc.  One of the feedback forms actually showed that they thought they knew a lot going into the session, then coming out realised how much they didn't know and have yet to learn ;)

It's times like this that I wish I would be there for the duration of the journey - letting go is never easy is it?

Sunday, 24 August 2008

All change... and introducing change

As those of you who have been here awhile will know, I've been trying to get an ITSM Programme going at my organisation for some time.  I finally get the budget and the buy-in, and submit the mandate for approval to the board only for me to go and get another job.  My timing is impeccable.  I'm finding it quite difficult to let go as I still have this wonderful vision in my head that I want to make a reality.  Anyhow, as that isn't going to happen time to replace it with a new vision - but I digress.

Some months ago I was tasked with quickly introducing change control ahead of change management as part of the approved ITSM Implementation Programme.  As you can imagine, I wasn't keen on doing this as I wanted it to be done in a properly managed way - however the business need was and continues to be there so I threw something together (through workshop with other key managers).  They specificially didn't want a lot of documentation so two sides of A4 had to suffice.  As predicted, confusion reined for people failed to understand what it was all about, how and when to use it, etc.  What did they expect without allowing time for training or enough documentation to provide the detail required?

Anyhow, one of my tasks before I head off is to train the IT managers in the basics of change management and teach them how and when to use our revised new change management process (only covers normal and emergency changes in an initially small scope).  I spent today fleshing out the document with sufficient detail to address the questions they already have and those that will be asked and preparing some training packs and little laminated cards that they can stick by their PCs.  Tomorrow I aim to finish the presentation that will go with it all because I'm delivering it on Wednesday afternoon!  I'll let you know how it goes...

Friday, 8 August 2008

All change...

Due to some changes in real life I shall be updating on Wednesdays and Saturdays instead of Tuesdays and Fridays.  That way, I really have no excuse not to post more regularly!

I recently applied for a new role and was successful so real life is somewhat busy for me at the moment as I deal with the transition.  I am still working in local government with partnerships and shall be focused more upon project management and business transformation through IT for the foreseeable future instead of pure IT service management.  No doubt, the nature of my future posts shall reflect this.

It's a wonderful opportunity to put some of that self-study for Prince 2 into practice on a larger scale than previously (although applied with a heavy dose of pragmatism!).  No doubt there shall be challenges ahead and I'm looking forward to figuring out how to deal with them - hopefully coming out the other side unscathed!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Pssst... the 2008 edition of the PMBA is live!

I don't get a lot of time to just sit and read - I tend to have an average of three books on the go at any one time and most of that time they are books related to industry, business, and personal development.  With so many books out there on various topics it's hard to know which ones to spend my valuable time on.  I came across PMBA (Personal MBA) by Josh Kaufman awhile back and wanted to share it with you.  It's fundamentally a reading list of 77 of the best business books currently in print.  The premise is that you may not be able to afford a MBA course but you can borrow books from the library like Good Will Hunting and put what you read into practice.

The new 2008 list is now out.  If you are already familiar with the previous list, check here for new additions.  Personally I'm glad to see 'Presentation Zen' on there as I love the website and the reappearance of 'Getting Things Done' which I try to live by.

If you are feeling rich you can buy the "PMBA Complete Business Library".  If you already have some of the books in the PMBA you can use the "Batch Book Buyer" to only select the ones you want.

Get out in the garden and enjoy a good read!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Virtual Teams - where to start?

The answer is in an excellent blog that has been going since November 2007 yet I've only recently discovered it. 
As they rightfully state:
'Leaders of a virtual team face many challenges when leading a virtual team, including team building, motivating and developing team members from afar, rewarding team members even when they have no authority over their pay, and facilitating shared leadership and team learning. When virtual teams don’t succeed in meeting these challenges, they run over budget and miss important deadlines besides creating frustration and dissatisfaction among team members.'
Their blog's mission is to help us learn about about virtual teams and what it takes to effectively lead them.  Over the months their articles reflect their own experience as well as commentary upon scientific research.  Subjects include virtual teams, leadership, collaboration, and computer-mediated communication (i.e., communication through email, instant messaging, discussion boards, video-conferencing, wikis, blogs, and virtual worlds).

Leading Virtually is well and truly on my subscription list; if you have an interest in virtual teams then I recommend you add it to yours!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

ITIL v3 books - 1st impression amendments

I've seen comments in forums about issues with the 1st impression of the core v3 books and the inconsistencies across them.  I'd also heard that there were some amendments available but they aren't exactly widely advertised - if you can find the pointer on the OGC site please let me know!  So, if like me you bought a set at launch, be sure to download and print these amendments.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

ITIL Live Portal - what DID they promise anyway?

Well, this business has bugged me so much that I went back and checked 'The Official Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle' found the following on page 7:
"1.6.3 ITIL web support services
These products are online, interactive services including a Glossary of Terms and Definitions, Interactive Service Management Model, online subscriber services, case studies, templates and ITIL Live (, an interactive expert knowledge centre where users can access time with ITSM experts to discuss questions and issues, and seek advice."
Let's go through these services one by one.
  • A Glossary of Terms and Definitions - Freely available on OGC Best Management Practice site
  • Interactive Service Management Model - currently the demo available on ITIL LIVE PORTAL which is hosted by TSO
  • Online subscriber services - Well... seems this is being tied in with the ISMM above.
  • Case studies - Where? These hardly count...
  • Templates - Also being tied in with the ISMM which will be a subscriber service.
  • ITIL Live ( - Subscriber service
  • Interactive expert knowledge centre - Where? Is this supposed to count?
Due to the use of commas in the text, I interpreted the statement as meaning that there will be online subscriber services but because they were listed separately to others that they were NOT the same as the ITIL Live OR the 'Interactive Service Management Model'.  Seeing as the currently ITIL Live Portal demo IS an Interactive Service Management Model it makes me wonder if we'll be expected to subscribe for the other web services that I understood to be free.  Is the misinterpretation all down to the use of grammar - or did they really mean to mislead us?  It seems I'm not the only one who was under this misapprehension either... check out The IT Skeptic.

Friday, 27 June 2008

ITIL Live Portal - Cheeky blighters, part 2

Okay... I've had a look and it strikes me that they are trying to go into direct competition with the likes of PinkElephant's PinkATLAS and Fox IT's FoxPrism products. This colours my prior indignation a little bit in - but only a little bit. I suppose we can't expect to get anything for free these days - especially from TSO.

1. The 'demo' is a bunch of screenshots with hyperlinks to other screenshots with a couple of templates for download. If compared to the quality of information available from PinkAtlas and FoxPrism - I think we'll find this sorely lacking so I hope the price tag will reflect this.

2. They haven't tested their survey before putting it out live to an ITIL best practice community. Well ain't that sensible? :P

3. Did I misinterpret the words of Sharon Taylor at various events? Is this 'Living Library' only about selling materials or is it really about a community sharing best practice?

4. Looks like they missed an option on their preferred service payments, i.e. free ;)
7) Having digested the offering, which of the 4 subscription models would you prefer?

Individual Lifecycle Stage Service Model: Provides access to the Service Model for one or more of the lifecycle stages. Any item from the Knowledge Base would be paid for on an ad hoc basis.

Service Model: Provides an annual online subscription to the entire Service Model. Any items from the Knowledge Base would be paid for on an ad hoc basis.

Service Model plus limited Knowledge Base: Provides an annual online subscription to the entire Service Model with a finite amount of content from the Knowledge Base, for example the templates. Any additional items would be paid for on an ad hoc basis.

Tailored Access Model: Provides access based on your Organisations profile. For example a consultant would require access to everything ITIL LIVE has to offer whereas a Change Manager may only require access to Service Transition, Operation and Design.
i. If yes, what areas of the site would you be interested in?

ITIL Live with full access to the Knowledge Base: Provides an annual online subscription to both the Service Model and all content within the Knowledge Base. – skip question 9

Points for design, not so many for content yet. Maybe we'll have that in another year?

By all means go ahead and take a look and be sure to let them know what you think. I have!

ITIL Live Portal - Cheeky blighters!

Well... we interrupt this broadcast with some disturbing news. Since June last year we've been looking forward to the promised complementary guidance that will be available on the ITIL Live Portal. The prospect of an official community all coming together for knowledge sharing seemed almost too good to be true - and well, it is. Silly me for thinking it would be a free service.

As someone registered as interested, I just received this e-mail:

Meeting the needs of the community

You recently registered your interest in ITIL Live via the website. To help ensure ITIL Live meets the needs of the IT Service Management community we are undertaking some quantitative research. As a thank you all respondents who complete the questionnaire by 1st July 2008 will receive a 10% discount off their year one subscription*.

This survey involves a short demonstration of ITIL Live followed by some questions relating to the offering. We would be very grateful if you could spend ten minutes reviewing the offering and completing the survey linked below.

ITIL Live Product Offering

ITIL Live has been created with the help of the Chief Architect and Authors of ITIL Version 3 to help you increase your understanding and assist you with your implementation of the ITIL Service Management Lifecycle.

It brings together, for the first time, the main practice elements of each of the lifecycle phases, the 27 processes that underpin each lifecycle phase and the Roles associated with each stage in a graphical Service Model. ITIL Live will help you see at a glance how the lifecycle works, who is involved, what they need to do and will offer supporting tools to enable them to deliver.

We would be very grateful if you could spend a few minutes reviewing the ITIL Live Demo.

As you will have seen from the demo, the Service Model will be accessible via three routes. Each offers several tiers of drill down capability each illustrating a further level of detail. Within the deepest level you will find the Knowledge Base offering access to downloadable templates and, in time, other documentation such as real life examples, further guidance and subject-specific publications to assist with you day-to-day use and adoption of ITIL.

Please let us know what you think of ITIL Live by completing a short survey

*Assuming the product goes ahead this offer is for one single user base subscription only per respondent. Redeemable within one month of product launch this offer is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount.

Excuse me... am I supposed to be pleased at the idea of a discount for something that we were led to believe would be free of charge?

I'm off to review the product (which it now clearly is) and fill out the survey. I recommend that you do the same!

I shall write up my thoughts on the product for my next blog post, delaying the write up of the itSMF e-symposium on Service Delivery Automation.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Referral does not = endorsement !

Hmm... whilst I appreciate people driving traffic to my blog, I just want to highlight that in the case of 'Loyalist Certification Services', I have had no experience of them and their referral to this blog is in no way an endorsement by myself of them and their services. Although it is not specifically stated, I believe it is implied so wanted to clear that up.

My ITIL training was completed with Fox IT whom I would recommend without hesitation.

Service Delivery and Service Automation

On Thursday I attended the latest itSMF e-symposium 'Service Delivery and Service Automation' (the presentations will be available from the archive in a couple of days if you missed it). There were four presentations, each of which seemed to skew more towards either the 'Service Delivery' element or the 'Service Automation' element. They were:'

- 'The Strategy for Success' by Chris Dowding of Fox IT
- 'How to create an automated Service Management structure in line with business need' by Jack Robertson Worsfold of Icore
- 'Building a foundation for an effective approach to process automation' by Chip Mason of IBM
- 'For the Customers ........ we change and automate' by Matthew Burrows of BSMImpact

I thought the most useful of the four was the third presentation by Chip Mason although there were a few things in each of the others that made it worthwhile. So if you only have time to listen to one - make it his. In the main, the e-symposium confirmed that I'm heading the right way with our soon to actually happen (maybe? hopefully? !) ITSM Programme in terms of definition of services and workflow to automate delivery of said services where possible.

As with the last event, I will post my key learning points from each presentation over the next two blog entries covering two presentations in each as well as detailing the Q&A.

Just a note about the facilitation by Mike Simons of Computerworld UK... better than the last in that we actually got comfort breaks this time (much appreciated). However, when it was clearly not an appropriate forum to be asking presenters for their recommendations on ITSM and workflow tools - why put them in the awkward position of asking? Far better I think to acknowledge the volume of requests, state that it was not an appropriate forum for vendor recommendations and refer people to the itSMF discussion or private e-mails (which happened with each but why put 3 of the 4 presenters through the question?).

Friday, 20 June 2008

ITIL v3 Qualifications Update

I know that this information has been out for awhile but I now realise that I haven't actually posted about it and I really should...

Fundamentally, we now know the offical names for the new ITIL v3 exams. There is also a published schedule for when we can expect to see the syllabi and examinations for the new qualifications.

Official Qualification Titles:
The Qualification Board involved the ITSM community by surveying itSMF members and Accredited Training Organisations (ATOs) on their preference for the formal titles of ITIL Qualifications. The results of the survey were reviewed and endorsed by the Board and are as follows:

Service Lifecycle and Service Capability Modules and Managing Across the Lifecycle will be known officially as ITIL Intermediate Certificates.

A candidate who has achieved the minimum accumulation of 22 credits across a selection of balanced V2 and V3 modules will be awarded the ITIL Expert Certificate.

Candidates who satisfy the requirement of the currently titled Advanced level will be awarded the ITIL Master Certificate.

As I have written previously, this is all very well but it makes it a very expensive, both in terms of time and money, route from the uninitiated through to ITIL Master. Whilst it is still possible, I recommend the v2 manager's certification route with the v3 manager bridging exam as the cheaper option. You can always read the v3 books after ;)

Read the full press release from the APMG on the itSMFi website.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

You're fired...You're hired! - Prince 2 style...

The Imp has been on adventures in another country and is now back, refreshed, and looking forward to what the remainder of 2008 holds. How fast it seems to be going!

If you are one of the many who have seen Alan Sugar's 'The Apprenice' and you have an interest in project management, you may appreciate this post. I read an amusing white paper published by FGI ltd entitled: '"You're fired": What The Apprentice Project Managers could learn from PRINCE2™'

The author takes us through a review of the series highlighting some of the tasks and how things could have been handled had the Prince 2 methodology been applied (in a very pragmatic way I might add). It leads to a rather interesting conclusion over who should really have been hired and who should have been fired. I won't give it away - read it for yourself (note - their Prince 2 resources website requires registration).

Friday, 30 May 2008

Collaborative Working with Mind Manager

I am a huge fan of mindmapping on paper as well as and 'mindmapping' electronically using Mind Manager by Mindjet. A few weeks back I was pleased to get an invitation to try out 'Mind Manager Connect' - their solution to collaborative working.

I've had a bit of a play with some of my work colleagues and it would actually address some immediate issues for us. Due to the nature of partnership working we frequently waste time travelling between sites for meetings (although there is a lot to be said for face-to-face communication). The solution from Mindjet could enable us to be more effective (as well as helping to convert a few more people to the benefits of the tool ;) ). I did notice that it makes use of NetViewer for elements of the collaborative platform (why design something from scratch yourself when you can make use of another industry solution?).

The main issue I see at the moment is companies not necessarily wanting to have their data hosted on external servers (although this attitude is changing with so many SAAS software-as-a-service offerings nowadays). When I asked Mindjet about this, they did suggest that there would be an internal hosting option available, although not at release.

Anyhow, here is an extract from their FAQ to further whet your appetites:

What is Mindjet Connect?
Mindjet Connect helps individuals and teams to work faster and more effectively using a dynamic, flexible online environment.

Combined with MindManager Pro 7 SP2 Beta or MindManager Web (coming soon), Mindjet Connect organizes, simplifies and streamlines the way people interact and share information they need - through secure workspaces, real-time collaboration and web conferencing.

Mindjet Connect helps to establish the context captured in visual maps while providing a collaborative platform for sharing and contributing information in secure workspaces.

People can co-edit visual maps in real-time, chat and launch web conferencing to present maps and other documents. The result is a high performance workplace where teams can work more productively anytime or anywhere.
Back to Top

How can Mindjet Connect help me work more effectively in teams?
The speed of today’s business requires disparate teams to work together to accomplish more, faster. Mindjet Connect can help your team achieve more with every minute, and work together to accelerate success – productively.
Improve meeting efficiency

* Save time preparing for meetings by keeping all of your important files at your fingertips. Organize project workspaces with dynamic links to files so you always have the most up-to-date version.
* Get the right team members involved with an instant online meeting and collaborate with team members no matter where they are located.
* Brainstorm and Innovate. Enhance strategic thinking and facilitate quicker project planning by white boarding and co-editing visual maps with your team members, simultaneously. Your team can now share the same map and add topics, details, notes and attach file resources.

Manage projects to achieve more in less time

* Align objectives and actions, clearly. Create an environment where everyone can see and understand the relationship between themselves, resources and actions to the objectives of the project – helping achieve clarity and avoid wasted time.
* Foster participation and strategic thinking. Provide a common environment that makes it easy to capture and organize the best ideas, techniques and approaches to accomplish anything – with visual maps that are quickly understood and easily shared.
* Simplify and streamline business and interactive work processes – from one or two individuals to entire organizations.

Create context for information management

* Keep everyone on the same page by creating workspaces where Microsoft Office™ files and web content can be linked, stored and shared so everyone can access and use information more productively.
* Keep track of revisions and version history. Files can be checked out / checked in so everyone is on the same page, and fully up to date.
* Set access controls for who can be an owner, author or reader within a workspace.

Collaborate & communicate effectively

* Communicate in real-time with the ability to see who is online, view work being done by others on a map in real-time, and interact through a variety of online tools.
* Host web conferences to share any kind of file or application.
* Edit maps with your team members, simultaneously. Your team can share the same map and add topics, details, notes and attach file resources.

What are some of the notable features of Mindjet Connect Beta?

Co-editing visual maps - One of our most exciting new features. Co-editing allows multiple users on different computers in different locations to work on the same map at the same time. It’s true real-time collaboration over the Internet.

Instant Meeting - You can experience true virtual collaboration through the integration of web conferencing and white boarding sessions.

Secure Workspaces - Create new workspaces when you need them, for new projects, new teams and new clients. Then tailor your workspaces with access controls for invited members, locking and versioning of documents, integration with e-mail and importing of maps and secondary documents.

MindManager Web (coming soon, not available for beta) - Access your workspaces and collaborate anytime within a standard web browser. You’ll have access to your data, even when you aren’t at your own computer.

Other reviews:
The Mind Mapping Software Weblog
CABRE - Applications of Mind Manager

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Girl Geek Dinners

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am pretty passionate about women working in IT and that it is a little demotivating to hear stories about people leaving the profession and the number of girls who are not opting to study computing in it's various guises.

Thanks to a fellow woman referencing it on the BCS Women's discussion group I came across this article (website | PDF) in the Guardian about 'Girl Geek Dinners'.

Created by Sarah Blow, from what I can see it's another networking group that seeks to raise the profile of women working in IT. They have groups all over the world - perhaps it's time that this geeky imp checked them out ;)

Thursday, 22 May 2008

SFIA v4 Update - have your say

ITIL refresh... Prince 2 refresh... let's add another one to the list with SFIA (Skills for the Information Age)! This just in today from e-skills:

This is to let you know that consultation has now begun on the development of version 4 of the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). IT professionals, their employers and those responsible for their education and training are invited to participate by visiting ...

Everyone who has an interest in IT skills can comment on the existing skills definitions and make suggestions for new content. If you need any guidance on what is needed, you can see some notes on the SFIA web site at ...

... and there is a link from there to the Update site.

SFIA provides the most widely-accepted definitions of IT skills and is now used by more than 1,000 organisations to produce job descriptions and role profiles, support resource planning, and improve business effectiveness. It has been translated into Chinese and Japanese.

Quote: "The great strength of SFIA is that it is based on actual best practice in the workplace. Users can therefore be confident that it provides a tried and tested solution to their IT skills management needs."

The consultation will run through to September and SFIA version 4 is due to be released before the end of 2008.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

How hard is it to run a forum anyway?

WARNING: this post is nothing but a rant from an unwell blogger who is too tired to think up any real content.

I don't normally rant here but I think this is worthy of an exception. I thought it was a great thing when the itSMF uk announced that they were redesigning their website. On the whole it is a significant improvement on the last one which was stuck in the 90s. That said... what is the deal with their forum? itSMF - it Service Management 'FORUM'. A means for us to gather and discuss all matters relating to IT Service Management right? Wrong. The current web forum is actually worse than the old one in terms of functionality. In a web 2.0 world where we expect a lot from our internet browsing experience, how hard is it to give us a web forum with basic features such as the ability to view new posts since your last visit; to bookmark threads that you are interested in, etc. ? Even the itsmfi have a better forum platform!

I think they do a great job at achieving the forum in terms of the SIGs (Special Interest Groups) and conferences... but where is a decent WEB forum to encourage IT Service Management professionals to interact with one another?

Come on itSMF uk... it's now the 2nd quarter of 2008 - get it together for those of us who can't make it to all your face-to-face events! Who's with me?

I should just add that I have years of experience in running web-based forums and just know that you can do better - no, I don't want to do it for you ;)

Friday, 18 April 2008

Women getting back into IT

As a woman working in a predominantly male industry it can be quite frustrating at times. Particularly when I read articles regarding the continuing imbalance between the genders as regards pay-scales for the same job (although I suspect that local government may do a better job of this than the private sector - I wonder if anyone has sent in Freedom of Information requests to find out...).

At the moment, I'm constantly getting jibes regarding my age and how I shouldn't wait much longer before having children. There is a valid argument behind this. However, like many women I'm pretty career-focused and can't help wondering if I were to take time off to bring up a child whether I may find myself in the same boat as other women trying to return to work after a career break, e.g. less likely to get a promotion or even not getting a job utilising your skills at all! The research (2005) reflects a sad truth. If anyone is aware of any more recent studies that buck the trend I would be very interested in them!

This question published in the Guardian last November is but one example of the reality for women in IT.

For those women who are already on the other side of their break, there is some advice available from the likes of Equalitec (see the ITEC Career Opportunities for Women Returners, July 2005) and BCS Women.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Whitepapers and research

I've been catching up on some reading the past week and wanted to share some links with you.

1. Whitepaper: ITIL® V3 and ISO/IEC 20000 by Jenny Dugmore and Sharon Taylor
This outlines the differences between ITIL V3 and ISO/IEC 20000 from 'the perspective of each clause in the standard where the core 5 ITIL books either do not cover it or cover it differently. It does not cover changes that mean ITIL V3 is closer aligned to
ISO/IEC 20000 than was ITIL V2. The table included within this white paper is an ISO/IEC 20000-1 centric document. It identifies clauses where there are notable differences between ISO/IEC 20000 and ITIL V3 that are not simply due to the different purposes of the two sets of documents.'

As it is only 6 pages are we to infer that there aren't many differences? As I have not yet read a fully copy of the ISO 20000 standard I'm unable to comment. I thought this may be useful for those of you who are going down that route though.

2. The Forrester Wave: Service Desk Management Tools, Q2 2008 by Chip Gliedman
Garner have the 'Magic Quadrant' and Forrester the 'Wave'. This report evaluates 16 products from 13 vendors and presents two waves. One for large enterprises (or those with complex requirements) and one for small enterprises (or large ones with simple requirements). The results are pretty consistent with HP, Remedy, CA, IBM, and Axios solutions classed as 'leaders' for large enterprises. What is interesting is that Infra who were only added to the Gartner Magic Quadrant last time around have also made it into the 'leader' class. Also, the software as a service solution from it only just outside as a 'strong performer'. Interesting times for vendors...

3. Whitepapers from EMC (Infra Enterprise)
Normally I'm not a fan of vendor whitepapers as they are generally a major sales pitch. Spurred on by the Forrester Wave I thought I'd take a look at those from Infra and I was pleasantly surprised. Aside from a few typographical errors and a missing word that changes the meaning of a sentence to the exact opposite in one (immediately obvious to anyone who knows ITIL, so much so that you almost put the missing word in without realising) I thought there were some good ideas in there - particularly the service catalogue. I'd only seen this sort of thing in dedicated products like Newscale.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Moving your ITIL Implementation Forward - part 4

It's here, the final part in the series! This covers the question and answer session from the itSMF e-symposium entitled: 'Moving your ITIL Implementation Forward - what are your next steps?' on 18th March 2008.

Round Table - Questions and Answers
I didn't catch the names of everyone who asked questions, suffice to say it was worthwhile hanging on until the end.

Q1. How do we measure the ROI of ITIL v3 adoption?
A1. Rob Stroud observed that the last 60 days have seen a massive move to v3 and went on to say that IT needs to measure things at a different level in a way that the business see as important, i.e. the provision of service. He states that the ROI of ITIL is not necessarily tangible in bankable cost-savings.
Malcolm lightened the mood by informing us that he often thinks of the ROI of ITIL as the 'return on insurance', i.e. the potential cost of not doing it.
Sharon was quick to point out that there are other benefits aside from the financial.

Q2. Can you drive COBIT and ITIL agenda from middle management or does it have to be C-level?
A2. Harvey was strongly of the view that it doesn't need to wait for higher level management. He has been fortunate in his role to take what he needs and get on with it. He did note that for funding senior management do need to be involved.
Georges echoed Harvey's viewpoint stating that you can always start within your own area of responsibility. The organisation can then look at your area as a centre of excellence and adopt in the wider scene (why does Zapp! come to mind?). He did advocate the need to sell to senior management to expand beyond your own area.

Q3. ITIL certification is always on individual basis. Will it ever be organisational?
A3. Sharon sees no need for ITIL certification to go beyond the individual as for organisational certification there is ISO 20000 (ITIL v3 is aligned with ISO 20000). One of the drivers for individual certification is to promote ITSM as a profession within the IT industry. Harvey reiterated that "ISO 20000 is the quality standard for ITSM".
Rob informed the delegates that he often is asked for products that are actually ITIL accredited. (ITILImp: Currently there is only the PinkVerify scheme which has recently been updated to take account of v3).

Q4. Why do you need to know what level something is at?
A4. Georges picked this one up but I didn't make many notes other than the comment that COBIT certification is for the individual only, not the organisation.

Q5. v3 exams are now multiple choice rather than written. Is this a dumbing down of the qualification?
A5. I've heard this comment a lot since the itSMF conference last year and the answer hasn't changed.
Sharon stated that it is not a dumbing down and that there is a misconception regarding multiple-choice. The exam formats have been based upon research into undergraduate and postgraduate university examinations. The ITIL exams will use a blend of simple multiple-choice at foundation level whilst the higher level exames will use gradient, complex multiple-choice (e.g. one answer is the most correct, another is less correct, etc.). Apparently this challenges the application of what someone knows rather than their ability to write a paper. Exam pilots suggested that this format is actually harder than the v2 essay format for the manager's certificate. She also made the valid points that it removes the objectivity in terms of the exam grading and will benefit those writing in non-native languages.

As an academic himself it is not surprising that Georges stressed the benefits of multiple choice commenting upon their adaptability to the complexity of questions you want as well as being easy to mark.

Malcolm isn't a fan of these and believes that they lack the interpretation... the why. I liked his suggestion that for the new v3 Advanced ITSM Diploma candidates could write a white paper or say 30 pages as a way of demonstrating that they are a proven practitioner. The end result could then form part of the ITIL v3 complementary guidance. Sharon interjected to say that something akin to this IS part of the advanced service professional certification.

Q6. Will the business guys be worried that IT want to take over the business?
A6. Rob didn't think so, "Communication is the key".
Georges pointed out that ITSM benefits from the business as it positions IT to deliver capabilities. A service is not worthwhile if it is not delivering what the business needs. He also said that it helps accountability with clarification betweeen business failures vs it failures.
Sharon wrapped up by paraphrasing from a Harvard study, "CIOs have to be business leaders, not IT-centric".

All in all, a good set of questions and answers. Although I'm sure there were lots more questions that didn't make the cut. I put a few in (one being a request for Harvey's full workshop as it was really good stuff) and had one answered but the one that I thought would be a quickie that wasn't answered was: "When will the ITIL Live Portal be going live?" It's mentioned in all the books and it now almost a year since they came out. Since then, on a little adventure this ITIL Imp notices that the address is now redirected to The Stationary Office (TSO) which assures us that it is 'coming soon' (Perhaps that is June, or the next eclipse of the moon, who knows?). Register for updates to find out.

There we have it... the final in this series. I wonder where my next adventure lies...

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Moving your ITIL Implementation Forward - part 3

Before I start, my apologies for failing to get this up on Tuesday 25th March as hoped. I almost wonder whether I should start following ITIL principles for my blog posting regime ;)

Today's post was going to be the final part in this series. However, as I was writing it became longer and longer so I figure you can have a part 4 on Friday!.

Georges Ataya and Rob Stroud - IT Governance for the Real World, Mapping COBIT & ITIL
This presentation started off with a little background about ISACA and the ITGI. One thing that I wasn't aware of is the introduction of a qualification: Certification in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT). Aimed squarely at professionals and management who are responsible for governance in one of the domains, the first exam will be in December 2008.

The presenters reiterated the message that most of us reading on the subject already know: COBIT and ITIL are complementary - they are not competitors. (As mentioned in a previous blog entry, we are still waiting for the updated COBIT 4.1 to ITIL v3 mapping which is apparently close to completion - at the time of writing not published on the ISACA website).

After a high level summary of the content of COBIT (and I mean high-level!) the point was made that, when considering the introduction of IT governance and IT Service Management, a top-down approach should be used, i.e. IT Governance first and IT Service Management next. As with ITIL implementations, they recommend that you select the bits that are immediately relevant to you to solve business issues rather than trying to implement all domains in one go.

There was nothing else that leapt out at me during the presentation other than:
1. Reference to the COBIT Maturity model, level 3 is considered to be 'compliant'.
2. I believe that Rob Stroud (apologies if it is George Ataya) is currently writing a service management guide to 'implementing COBIT in your environment'. It's already on my 'to buy' list :)

The final part of this series will be on Friday as I have already written it (I am testing the new Blogger scheduling function which if it works, may lead to more regular updates).

Friday, 21 March 2008

Moving your ITIL Implementation Forward - part 2

This post continues my summary of key points from the itSMF's latest e-symposium, 'Moving your ITIL Implementation Forward' this time focusing upon Malcolm Fry's 'ITIL V3 Essentials and the Role of a CMDB' and Harvey Davison's 'What Should Configuration do for Change?'

Malcolm Fry - ITIL V3 Essentials and the Role of a CMDB
I've seen a lot of presentations from Malcolm on-line but not had the opportunity to see him live so this was particularly interesting to me - if its possible to assess a presenter's style from an online web seminar anyway!

One of the things that I found interesting was his immediate acknowledgment of the v3 certification scheme being superior to that of v2. He strongly felt that in v2 everyone forgot about the other 7 ITIL books (true enough) and that with v3 the assessment of ALL core books will lead to more rounded ITSM professionals.

He also dropped a plug for a book that he is writing at the moment with working title: 'How to build a service management department'. I look forward to seeing what it has to offer.

His presentation faltered a moment for me when he talked about the v3 lifecycle and had the wrong order of the core books up on screen (had transition after operation instead of before). Something fundamental like that inevitably then makes you question the accuracy and validity of the rest of the presentation but thankfully that was the only error I spotted.

The slides showing how v2 and v3 work together were quite helpful, but most amusing was his use of a perfume analogy to achieve an ITIL implementation road map. Apparently in perfume making there are four key things: Primary, Modifier, Blender and Fixative. He expounded upon the analogy by showing how the various ITIL processes could slot into one of these categories, e.g. Incident, Problem, and Change Management came under Primary with Financial management listed as a fixative.

There wasn't really anything of note in the section on the Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS) except that he reiterated the benefits of template CIs. Towards the end of the presentation he did make a joke regarding how there should be a 'decision management' process in ITIL. Someone pointed out in the Q&A afterwards that this exists in the form of IT governance and went on to promote A 8015:2005 which is the Australian standard which has been taken to form the basis of a new ISO standard.

Harvey Davison's 'What Should Configuration do for Change?'
Of all the presentations I think that this was the most interesting and useful for me. This may be because he is working in the trenches of Lloyds TSB and using ITIL theory successfully in practice. I really liked the whole approach to identifying which areas to attack first in the creation of a CMDB and using change management as a driver for this.

The approach sounds simple enough... define the objectives, identify the results required, and ascertain what is needed to deliver those results. Actually doing this can be quite a challenge though.

When it came to defining their CIs they divided into type, role, and status. In doing this they were then able to produce a cube which showed where best to focus their efforts.

An analogy I liked was seeing the infrastructure as a jenga tower. The CMBD then tells you which brick you can pull out safely without the tower falling down.

To be honest there was so much good stuff in this presentation that, rather than me trying to summarise it here, I highly recommend that you sign up to the itSMF e-symposium and go listen to it and download the slides in the archive!

Check back on Tuesday for the final summary featuring Georges Ataya's and Rob Stroud's presentation on 'IT Governance for the Real World, Mapping COBIT & ITIL' and a summary of the roundtable Q&A.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Moving your ITIL Implementation Forward

This afternoon I 'attended' an itSMF e-symposium entitled: 'Moving your ITIL Implementation Forward - what are your next steps?' Before I summarise my thoughts on the whole thing I must say that I didn't think that any of the presentations, or indeed answers to the questions, addressed the question posed. It was really more of an introduction to ITIL and IT Governance than what I interpreted it to be, i.e. a high-level process for planning and implementing ITIL with focus on the first steps of visioning, road-map etc. Admittedly the summaries of the presentations immediately suggested that it was not going to deliver what I hoped, but still I thought it worth attending. So... coffee in hand and Mind Manager at the ready, I listened to the music before the symposium began.

The Interface
The enterprise web-cast platform is provided by Brightcast. Having pre-registered for the event I received a reminder e-mail the night before and it was a simple matter to login with my username and password. As a spectator rather than presenter there was no need for me to dial up to listen, just delivered as you would expect through your PC soundcard. Limited controls during the live symposium as there was no way of pausing when I wanted to nip to the toilet / get a drink. However, there were tabs to make it easy to submit questions (shame you could not view which other questions had already been asked) and download the presentations in PDF format. Finally there was a tab to take the CPD test to get your certificate.

The Presentations

Sharon Taylor - What's going on out there?
This was fundamentally an updated version of the presentation she delivered at the itSMF conference last year. A few points:
- She believes that ITIL v3 will achieve an increase in the measurement of both Business value and ROI.
- Observed that the ITIL was previously geared towards a purely operational audience and now this is broader including CIOs and the wider business.
- Ran through some of the areas that people are picking from v3 for early adoption.
      - Service Portfolio Management
      - Service Catalogue Management
      - ROI Business cases
      - Event and request management
      - Supplier Management
      - Service Measurement
- She has this idea that everyone is actually doing ITIL because v3 is based on v2. Personally I think this is a nice concept but don't believe this to be truly the case in reality.
- As with v2, Sharon stressed the importance of picking and choosing what is needed for your organisation and the benefits of an incremental approach to implementation.
- When asked about the v3 qualifications capability and lifecycle streams she advised that the syllabi are complete and going through checks for consistency between the streams. The sample exams are in pilot as part of QA and there will be a further pilot with accredited training providers, i.e. a way to go and will be some sonths before release.

Check back on Friday for my summary of Malcolm Fry's 'ITIL V3 Essentials and the Role of a CMDB' and Harvey Davison's 'What Should Configuration do for Change?'

Friday, 14 March 2008

Presenting with the 10/20/30 rule

I've been a fan of Guy Kawasaki's blog for over a year but I didn't know about this being on You Tube until I saw it on another blog - Edith Yeung's Dream, Think, Act!

Pay attention if you don't want to cause death by powerpoint!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Another place to have your say...

Where has the month gone? I must be getting old!

It looks like things are finally back on track with the itSMF International website. Unfortunately you have to sign up all over again which is mildly annoying. Whatever happened to integrated logins across the same organisational body? Oh, and not forgetting the other login for the forums!

That said, the forums do so far have some pretty good responses from the people in the know (aka Sharon Taylor) so it is worth signing up and keeping your eye on things.

In other news... the presentation last month went very well, objective achieved. I got some lovely compliments on both presentation style and content as well which is always nice. Now I'm musing as to how I can use the same techniques in my next presentation outing later this month.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Presenting with Pictures

'A picture tells a thousand words', or so they say. I don't know about you but I am so tired of presentations that consist of powerpoint slides with bullet point text on them which the 'presenter' then goes on to read verbatim. What do we need the presenter for if they aren't going to add any value to the slides?

I saw a really good presentation at the itSMF conference (the only one I saw that wasn't of the above nature!) where the presenter used images to illustrate the story that he then told with the audience hanging onto every word. This is the sort of presentation I want to give!

Tomorrow I shall be attempting my first 'all picture' presentation which will force my audience to listen to what I'm saying as they won't have the luxury of reading about it on the screen. It's designed to simplify what is a complex topic so fingers crossed that I get my message across.

Sunday, 27 January 2008


First of all a delayed Happy New Year. 2008 thus far has already had it's share of ups and downs and no doubt that shall continue for the remainder of the year!

For those of us interested in COBIT (Control OBjectives for Information and related Technology - an IT governance framework) and ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) as they relate to IT Service Management, it is good news to hear that the 'COBIT® Mapping: Mapping of ITIL v3 With COBIT® 4.1' will be published on the ISACA website before the end of the first quarter of 2008.