Monday, February 26, 2007

Notes from the Field. Post "Service Level Management"

A 'post course' report - some of thoughts from reflecting on the "Service Level Management" Practitioners course.

"Hats off" to course presenter, Ed Broome, and "Itilics" in Melbourne.
Their home site.
Give them 5 out of 5 for content, delivery and physical stuff.

Follows a bunch of observations on ITIL in general.

"There are 40,000 orgs around the world doing ITIL".
Hmmm, there's 3.3M ABN's in Oz & 2,000 companies on the ASX. It's commonly accepted there are around 1M 'companies' in Oz. And Oz is ~2% of Global Market.
You might expect 50M companies globally - and around 100,000 in the medium-to-large area. And at least the same again in 'Government'.

Use: Market is small. Selling through existing 'franchises' might work.
Question: If it's so *good*, why hasn't it taken off after 20 years??

'Practitioner' courses are not for novices or 'juniors' or maybe even
'intermediate' skill level people.
Needs more than 5 years of experience in I.T. to understand & pass...
Use: There's a niche teaching long, practice/tool based courses for the
those below this level.

"ITIL is Public Domain" - the same way that buying a Lexus is PD! Anyone can do it, if they can pay!
Use: Cheap resources & courses are a niche market that's crying out!

ITIL seems to have missed, "The Internet Changed *everything*"
Use: Super-model. 100% Availability paradigm, ...

The ITIL model is quite thin... Think 80's, think 'mainframe', think 'large government', think 'common sense' (choke, splutter, gag) vs.
SysAdms are not mentioned. Technicians just do magic.
Apparently 'technicians' are all of equal talent. Falls into the "Mythical Man Month" Fallacy. Not all 'Subject Matter Experts' are of equal talent - by at least 100:1 (that's one HUNDRED to one). Professional vs. Professional. (And I wish I had more to back this up than 30+ years observation!)

Performance Analysis, Tuning & related stuff only come up in context of 'Capacity Management'.
Use: Hmmmmm

Corollary: PRINCE2 is assumed for Project Management - but the interfaces don't seem well drawn.
There must be a technical/SysAdm taxonomy possible as well.
Are there other parallel disciplines that should be noted (Data Analysis, Security, ??) - and their interfaces defined.

ITIL explicitly doesn't support making use of quantum leaps forward in computing - applying the latest technology to achieve big gains is specifically 'out of scope'.

The "Service Improvement Program is about *gradual* (steady?) improvements in Quality" and "Improving the TCO of IT Services" (an implied 'Slowly').

We've just come through a number of really significant 'event horizons' that need to be digested/put into practice.

  • Everything runs on Intel (most everything)
  • Q1 2003, Moore's Law constant for Processor Clock speed went from 52%pa. to ~20%pa. [Can't find original source]
  • Win XP was the last 'Big Breakthrough' in O/S
  • Virtualisation is now free & ubiquitous - XEN and Vmware.
  • Disk is really cheap... $1,500/Tb.

Next two/three:

  • Multi-core that does real SMP! And Apps that use it.
  • DataCentre in a Box. Do the Google & treat CPU & Disk like fluorescent tubes. Let them break & replace in one big sweep
  • Snapshots. When the NetApp patents run out or they license. Reliable Data, Everywhere...

Use: Add to the super-model. Show people how to do it. 100% Availability

There are 3 kinds of datastreams gathered by instrumentation, used for:

  • service level metrics (Nr Tx/hour, end-end user response, ...)
  • system metrics used for internal systems processes - tuning, forecasting, analysis, ...
  • diagnosis/troubleshooting [catch *every* packet on an interface for
    later analysis]

Use: Performance Analysis, Service Level Reporting, Tool development.

IT Services are about SERVICE (the capital-S kind that great restaurants do).
Not defined in ITIL. Not even noticed from what I've read...
And this is about selecting people for there (psych) attributes, attitudes and aptitude - of course ignored.
Use: Add to the super-model

ITIL is probably too disciplined & formal for most *management* groups (they're not teams).
They like to not be held accountable, play 'games' etc etc.
And they have staff who are used to these games and will
Use: Will never sell to these people... Flee immediately! when spotted.

The *whole* group (6 ppl) were all high achievers. Was this the norm for "Service Level" Management? (Apparently not - Ed confirmed we were an unusual group.)

We were given a 'sample test' - and everyone was disappointed they didn't score 100%!
Lowest score was 17/25 (12 or 13 needed).
Use: For some of the ITIL disciplines, those who've done the training are pre-qualified as 'movers & shakers'.

The ISEB is very British... Good thing they are having ITIL testing taken away - hopefully the next group is a little more amenable to small changes & giving feedback.
Use: none. Barrier to entry & successful learning.

There was also some mention of "Organisation IT Services Maturity Level" assessments similar to CMM.
[AXA Insurance is at the top level, '5']. Don't know where that standard comes from...
Use: A great service to sell :-)

Now the BIG NEWS:
ITIL is undergoing a 'refresh' - version 3 is being released this year.
BUT - there is an ISO standard for "Quality Management of IT Services" - that can be audited... ISO/IEC 20,000.
It is ITIL *based*, but has a slightly different taxonomy (14 disciplines vs. 11).

This would be a perfect standard for the Sarbanes-Oxley people to pick up on & adopt for big public corporations in the USA... And what the US does, we tend to follow... Or not :-)

This apparently is not a new idea. Awww Shucks.

And I passed the previous 'Problem Management' exam :-) Received the paperwork from the UK today. Now I have to write to the "iTSMF" in the UK for a badge :-(

Does this mean I now have a post-nominal?? (But what? 'IPPM' - ITIL Practitioner - Problem Management)

One of the really interesting questions: Just *what* in ITIL is copyright and what can be freely reused (like the names of the 11 'disciplines' or 'processes' - are they copyright?)

To write a commentary on ITIL, big chunks of it have to be quoted to be critiqued...
To write practice-based courses - ditto...

Now a pie-in-the-sky question:
What are the *limits* to "IT (Ops) inventing themselves out of work?

Where does all the automation & embedded appliance/service stuff end?
How do we make a buck in that world - or is it after I retire :-)

A precise of the actual content will follow in a later post.


Dr. Q said...

If ITIL is to X as CMIP is the
, what is X?

Neil Gunther said...

That was supposed to have read ...
If the ITIL standard is to the X standard as the CMIP standard is to the SNMP standard (i.e., RFC), what is X?

SteveJ said...

This is a really good question - so good, that it deserves a blog of its own. I don't know what there is... But have some ideas on what it should look like.

Thanks for asking the hard questions

Neil Gunther said...

One possible answer is X = IEEE standard for IT service.

John Michle said...

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