Passed ITIL Practitioner. Some Musings On The Experience

Just finished sitting the new ITIL Practitioner exam online with PeopleCert. And the scores are just in. A pass and a good pass at that. So just taking the time to post a few brief comments on my experience with this new certification from AXELOS.

My first exposure to the ITIL Practitioner course was an official reviewer of the publication and its associated toolkits. Initially I was impressed with the approach, the content and the way the authors (yes numerous authors here) joined up the material. Although at the early stages of development, these was feedback given on how to improve things (in my view).  Fast forward to 2016 and the polished up text was approved for publication, shortly followed by the official exam and certification.

Next up I took part in one of the Train the Trainer (TTT) sessions for ITIL Practitioner provided by ITpreneurs. Incidentally, ITpreneurs are one of the few official courseware providers, for the immediate time anyway – which ensures that quality content is provided to delegates attending the course. I can say first hand that the trainer material provided by ITpreneurs is of excellent quality, concise and very helpful to both trainers and delegates.

After that, I must admit, my focus was 100% put towards passing some recent exams for an MBA which I am in the middle of.  So self-study (trainer) time for ITIL Practitioner was limited.  

The ITIL Practitioner exam is open book. This is a welcome advancement as I am an advocate for open book exams under the right learning conditions. The sample exam is good. The syllabus is clear. The ITIL Practitioner Guidance book is easy to read, follow and use. All this helped towards my exam preparations.

In the interest of integrity I will not discuss the exam proper or its content. Only to say that a small number of the questions could have done with having some more specifics included to help identity the BEST answer. Or maybe it’s me? The other point I think I can make is that anyone with a reasonable background in organisational change or continual service improvement initiatives and ITIL would have a reasonably good chance in passing this exam.  There is ample time to complete the exam even though there is a lot of context to be read in the scenarios. The ITIL Practitioner Guidance was liberally used and references during the exam.

By the way I stuck to my first answer on ALL the questions, even though I had ear-marked five for a final review. Goes to show – go with your gut instinct. It can serve you well.

In closing I am excited to have passed the latest offering from AXELOS. I am very pleased with the ITIL Practitioner Guidance and having been part of its development as a reviewer. I wish it every success and hope people and organisations will benefit from having a standardised approach to making improvements continually. For me it is back to the MBA and six months of more study, assessment and exams (really) – but the optimist in me says that at the half way mark the glass seems half full!

Calling all Irish based IT Service Managers, IT managers and anyone else in the industry…

Calling all Irish based IT Service Managers, IT managers and anyone else in the industry…

Can you help with the following research project by answering a small survey?

Aislinn Collins is currently completing her 3rd year of a BSc. in IT Management in the Institute of Technology Tallaght.  

In order to complete her 3rd Year project she is undertaking research on the impact of the adoption of Cloud Computing on Information Technology Service Management within Irish organizations.  

The focus will be on large organizations but she is happy to receive completed questionnaires from micro, small and medium-sized organizations in order to compare experiences across different sectors.  

Research questions to be answered include whether there is a need for formal ITSM practices such as ITIL or COBIT to be adapted or augmented in light of the new service and deployment models associated with cloud computing.

Please take the short questionnaire

Thank you for your help with this research project.

Want to know what roles are required for an effective service catalog?

Believe it or not but it takes much more than just a service catalog manager to effectively produce and manage a service catalog that provides value to the business and achieves desired business outcomes.

Read my new column over at the ITSM Portal for more details.

The column is available here

What roles are required for an effective service catalog?

If you think the answer to this simple question is just the service catalog manager, then think again!

True, there should be a service catalog manager, or managers depending on the size, scale, complexity and number of service catalogs in use. However, in addition to the service catalog manager there are a number of other key roles that are required.

These roles contribute to the effectiveness, relevance, management and operation of a service catalog and ensure that each service catalog, the information they contain and the function that they fulfil are fit for purpose, fit for use and delivers value and expected outcomes to the organisation and their customers.

There should be an owner of the complete service portfolio at an executive level. This is to ensure overall accountability exists in the organization for the service portfolio. In order for this to be effective, ownership and accountability has to be delegated downwards to the various management layers in the form of:

  • Service catalog managers.
  • Service owners.
  • Process owners.
  • Departmental managers.
  • Operational managers.
  • Line managers.
  • Product managers.

In medium and large organisations expect to find multiple portfolio owners, while in smaller organisations, look to find even one.  

The following list is intended to outline a number of important roles that will be involved one way or another with the various service catalogs.

  • Service portfolio manager.
  • Supplier manager.
  • Contracts manager.
  • Service level manager.
  • Service catalog manager.
  • Service catalog librarian.
  • Finance manager.
  • Service owner.
  • Process owner.
  • Configuration manager.
  • Configuration librarian.
  • Change manager.
  • Capacity manager.
  • Availability manager.
  • Communications specialist.
  • Product manager.

In practice small and medium sized organizations may have to combine numerous roles as there is a considerable investment required in time and manpower in fulfilling all these roles. Even large organizations may want to combine some of the roles in an effort to lower overheads, bureaucracy, staff numbers and complexity etc.

Therefore, individual roles do not necessarily have to be performed by individual personnel but may be shared amongst a number of people. For example supplier management may be performed by a specific team of people if the organization is large and is dealing with a high number of suppliers. The roles are not necessarily a person’s single job and may only form part of their overall day to day job function or duties.

The roles for each process and function should be identified, assigned to people and managed to ensure that they are carried out. Each process should have a specific owner. Some of the responsibilities of the process owner are to:

  • Represent the process and the delivery of the process outputs on behalf of the business.
  • Ensure that a process exists and that it is fit for purpose and fit for use.
  • Act as the overall champion and gatekeeper of the process.
  • Ensure that the process is continually reviewed.
  • Resolve conflicts that arise regarding the process.
  • Ensure that relevant KPIs and metrics are identified, recorded and reported.

In order for processes and functions to be effective and serve their purpose clear lines of responsibility need to exist, are assigned and acknowledged. Failure to do this will lead to non-accountability, a lack of responsibility and confusion over who is meant to do what. The following are applicable:

  • Each function and process should have specific roles defined.
  • Each role should have clear responsibilities that allows the person assigned the role understand their obligations in regard to the role.
  • Each role should be assigned to specific people to ensure that the role is carried out.

It should be clear that there are numerous roles that should interface with the service catalog(s) and their supporting processes. In addition each role requires a defined level of accountability, responsibility and effectiveness in order for them, and the various service catalog(s) achieve any real value for the organisation.

Further details on this topic and a full in-depth description of each role listed above is available in chapter six of my book “The Service Catalog” which is published by Van Haren Publishing as part of the ITSM ‘Best Practice’ library and is available through online bookstores.

Author: Mark O’Loughlin

The Service Catalog – reviewed by itSMF Australia

Karen Ferris, board mamber and director of publications at itSMF Australia, has reviewed The Service Catalog for their chapters newsletter.

The following is a brief extract from the review:

One of the testimonials on the back of this book says “At last a practical, independent, hands on guide to design, develop, maintain an almost universal service catalog!”

That about sums it up. I love this book. Anyone who is working in (or about to work in) the area of service portfolio management and service catalogue management should have this book on their desk. This is one of those books that you will see dog-eared, well worn and notated throughout by the owner.

The book provides a full understanding of key concepts and definitions including assistance with the burning question “What is a service?”

The full review is available here