Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why is learning ITIL so hard?

Back from the first week of ITIL Service Managers' Training... Took me 4 days to recover - part of which could be the driving [only 7-8 hours each way].

Realised I needed email access whilst away - and my Palm PDA with 802.11 wireless doesn't cut it for email. Have acquired a laptop, and am creating 'dual boot' setup. Don't trust MS-Windows - especially those in Internet Cafes. Need 'ssh' to access mail.

So why was I exhausted?

Six of us doing the course - and all of us suffered the same. Lack of sleep, 'exam nerves' each day and extreme psychological reaction. At least a number of us seriously thought & discussed ditching the course - a seriously expensive move.

I don't have a good reason...

Everyone [all men] found the experience "intense". We are all used to change, acquiring new information, reading long tracts, writing, solving problems, creating/giving presentations and attending talks/lectures... And doing the odd test.

It's not like the ITIL material is 'deep' or 'difficult' like Queueing Theory [thanks Neil!]
It is broad - there is a lot to cover. Not that many Powerpoint slides [50 a day?]

Still don't know why I came back so wrung out. Not sure if that's a universal experience.

At this point, just have to take a note of the effect and look for other stories/experiences - and keep pondering over it.


John said...

Thanks for your write-up. I've been trying to learn what's involved in taking the ITIL Service Manager's exam--at least, what would be involved.

John Borwick

p.s. I found you via technorati's "itil" search.

SteveJ said...

You're welcome. And you'd be the first person (outside of my friends) to notice my writing... [I'm not in/on Technorati]

Not sure where on the planet you are. I'm in Australia (Canberra) - so my comments may be of limited use to you.

From what I garned from others, the 'Itilics' approach is a little different and their focus on dilivering success for their students seems to pay off.

One training company here is supposed to have said they have an 87% failure rate. I'm sure I've seen [for S.Mgr] >50% failure rates quoted on the ISEB or iTSMF website. A friend was on a course of ~15 - and only 3 passed... If I was the course provider, I'd be ashamed of allowing such poorly prepared students waste their time & money taking the exam.

The study *is* intense. I'm very lucky because I don't have a day job to distract me just now [living off a small inheritance while I 'reskill' in ITIL].

The exams would be considerably easier if, like 'practitioner' certificates, you could study for just one discipline at a time... I've yet to pass that hurdle.

One option is to take the two exams separately - though that's not officially an option [question got asked in class & the answer was 'you could just not turn up to one']... But it would increase the cost of the training considerably.

'Itilics' *do* estimate about 120 hours [3 weeks] study is required and will provide letters suggesting study leave.

If I was presenting ITIL as a series of graduate level units [3hrs*13weeks per unit] - it would have to be at least 6 units [a full Masters program is usually 8. 1 year full time] - or 240 hrs instruction and same again in other study/assignments.

An undergraduate course would be probably 12-15 units.

So - doing the training in ~70hrs is quite a compressed schedule. I've *never* had such bad 'exam nerves' as for our daily "mock exams".

And the people on the course have quite a depth of experience - we get very detailed, comprehensive questions and very deep discussions... Exhausting - but some of the best training I've had - and nobody seems left behind.

The future of ITIL V.2 courses (and testing) is not clear. OGC or someone is claiming that existing certifications will always remain good. V3 is due out soon [April?] and nobody has discussed training and testing, the transition period [will V2 resits be available? how long?] and will V3 'retesting' be required [like CCIE & MCSE].

If I can be of more help, drop me a line.
[Follow profile to my homepage & there's a mail address there]