How badly is ITIL damaged by vendor influence? What needs fixing?
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The IT Skeptic does not doubt that some vendors have been up to some things that are not in the interests of ITIL. Does that reflect on the books themselves and how does it impact the ITIL community?
Stuff gets buried in comments on this blog that sometimes I like to bring out into the light for all to think about. Witness a recent discussion: I said
I prefer the term "cult" to "religion" (see "ITIL the Cult"), but I agree about some people's uncritical adherence.
What I am not so sure about is "alternative approaches". ITIL is good stuff, and it is an enormous body of work. If there are places where ITIL is out of alignment with users' thinking, then
- how would we even know what represents the thinking of the majority of users?
- we need to wait for V3 to find what are points of criticism
- there doesn't seem to be much demand for an alternative
- there is so much invested in ITIL by OGC and by the industry and by the community, it would be far more efficient to fix it than to throw it out
Having said that, one day ITIL will get replaced, or absorbed, or morphed. I just don't think it is any time soon.
then the reply was
What represents thinking?
Certainly we know, from many surveys, that ITIL implementation penetration is less than 50%, and even then, mostly just Incident and Problem - the focus is on Help Desk.
V3? - It's in the next release? - ROFLMAO - you DID work at a vendor too, didn't you?[He needs my latest t-shirt "It'll be fixed in version 3"]
Demand for alternative - how would we know there's not demand? itSMF purpose is to suppress opposition and support the "cult" - not to represent the membership (per your earlier point). Besides, the cult "leaders" or church "clergy" are the Vendors - and, they use their considerable persuasive power to suppress discussion because it is very much in their interest.
Fix? Perhaps you are correct - that it would be better to fix than throw it out. Is there a mechanism to fix it? Or, will it continue to be a very closed, vendor-led organization for the benefit of the vendors and elite? There are alternatives, just not well funded precisely because they cannot be controlled by the vendors who have little interest in customers achieving success or value - only in sales.
I think the visitor and I were talking at cross purposes: I'm talking about the books but he is talking about the movement. Let's consider both.
Perhaps I have been associating with the cult for too long, but I don't think that there is something fundamentally wrong with ITIL content.
I have always disagreed with the term "best practice" for ITIL, much prefering "generally accepted practice" or "good practice", because the use of the term "best practice" leads with the chin.
But beyond that, I feel the ITIL authors know what is going on and mostly write up the generally accepted practice of the day. They make mistakes sure. And sometimes they try to lead: I think CMDB in version 2 was a spectacular example of that going wrong. In V3 they are trying even harder to lead, to create a core that will be current for years. This could be great or it could backfire - I think it'll be great just because servioce lifecycle is well supported in the industry and I happen to agree with it.
But do the books lead us down a destructive path in order to further the evil designs of the grubby vendors? I'd be delighted to plaster it all over this blog if you have evidence they do :-D but I think not.
The motivation of most of these people is to be seen as an expert. For some it is ego, for others it is commercial. For that strategy to be successful, they need to be as close to "best" as they can get, otherwise someone else - like me - is going to knock them off the tower. So pushing some secret vendor agenda would be a very high risk strategy for an author.
Here I'm talking about the content, the books. The rest of the ITIL infrastructure, the Pillars of ITIL, is entirely another matter. The influence and behaviour of vendors is a worry. There are not a lot of controls. Some very ugly stuff seems to have been going on, that I sincerely hope everyone will know about some day. Where I'm convinced by the evidence, and more importantly where I think I can withstand the assaults of the vendors' lawyers, I'll be telling you. Fortunately several vendors are a little sensitive about governance right now which might incline their executive and board to be less aggressive and more effective in responding to revelations. Otherwise if this blog disappears one day, you know what happened.
ITIL started off with simple aims and an informal culture based on individual professionalism and decency. Unfortunately the ITIL movement has grown far beyond that approach being able to cope with governance or control.
So I think your concerns are valid in the context of organisations, politics, and the suppression of debate (hence this blog), but I don't agree that it severely impacts the value of the content itself. Ask me again after I've read V3.