Peter Brooks

Peter Brooks

Education

  • University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, BSc. 1979
  • Major Subjects; Maths & Physics

Industry Qualifications

  • ITIL V2 Manager’s Certificate in IT Service Management
  • ITIL V3 ITIL Expert Certification
  • ISO20000 Consultant’s Certificate Management
  • Fellow in Service Management (FSM)® (prISM)

 

  • Certified ISEB instructor for ITIL Foundations + Service Manager courses
  • FISM - Fellow of the Institute of IT Service Management
  • Marketing and Business Development Director itSMF International
  • Marketing Director itSMF South Africa
  • Member of itSMF South Africa Western Cape

Consulting Delivery

  • Governance
  • Policy Consulting - start up organisation
  • Service Governance
  • Business Analysis
  • OpenView Network and System Management; design and implementation.
  • Secure web implementation.
  • HP Service Desk implementation.
  • Application, System, and Network Consolidation.
  • Business Disaster Recovery process consulting, implementation and testing.
  • ITIL process management (practical consulting delivery):
Service Portfolio    Service Strategy    Service Desk
Incident Problem Configuration
Change Release Capacity
Financial Availability Service level

Specialties and interests

Specialties
ASM Adaptive Service Model
Service Governance Business Analysis
CSF Capacity
Consulting Demand
FISM ITSM
Governance HP OpenView
ISO20000 ITIL
KPI Metric Design and Implementation
Metrics Open Source
Policy Requirements
SANS15000 Security
Service Desk Teaching
Training Service Management
Interests
Dialetheism :Service governance
Physics :Philosophy
Psychiatry :Maths
Ontology

Travel

I have never been further
As08-16-2593.jpg north Helsinki Helsinki 60°10′15″N 024°56′15″E
south Dunedin Dunedin 45°52′S 170°30′E
west Sausalito Sausalito Coordinates: 37°51′33″N 122°29′07″W ]
east Rotorua Rotorua 38°08′16″S 176°15′05″E
... and higher than Title=3.050 m3.050 m
... and Title=faster than 320 kphfaster than 320 kph (on the ground)

 

 

Publications 

 

 

Adopting Service Governance

Collaborative Consulting
ISBN: 978-0113314652 ISBN: 978-0113313914
Webinar: Adopting Service Governance: Governing portfolio value for sound corporate citizenship Review in International Best Practice
Issues in corporate governance and service governance as a solution  
AXELOS interview with Peter Brooks  
Service Governance in the Cloud  

 

Publications

 

Adopting Service Governance.png
Adopting Service Governance - Governing portfolio value for sound corporate citizenship - AXELOS 2015 ISBN: 978-0113314652
Collaborative Consulting.jpg
Collaborative Consulting – TSO 2013 ISBN: 978-0113313914
  Review - Ivor Macfarlane
Integrated Requirements.jpg
An Integrated Requirements Process - Governing Cost & Risk in Business Analysis - itSMFsa 2013 ISBN: 978-1490489162
  Review - David Lowe
  Review - Karen Ferris
Metrics for Service Management.jpg
Metrics for Service Management: Designing for ITIL – VHP 2012 ISBN-13: 978-9087536480
Metrics for IT Service Management.jpg

Metrics for IT Service Management – VHP 2006 ISBN-13: 978-9077212691

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definition of Service Governance


Service Governance describes the means of achieving effective corporate and portfolio governance, within the ‘comply or explain’ framework, by designing the service portfolio as the overarching management system that monitors & controls corporate financial performance & value delivery.

From '''Adopting Service Governance''' http://service-governance.org/index.php?title=Category:Best_Practice Service Governance - Best Practice

Website URL: http://za.linkedin.com/in/peterhmbrooks/

itSMF UK's 'Big 4'

If you've been following the itSMF UK's search for the four big topics that they'll be concentrating on addressing over the next year, you'll have been interested in their twitter chat on the topic. You can find it by looking for tweets with  to get the results.

If you're not a tweeter, then you might be interested to know the result:

 

1. Back to basics.

2. Skills.

3. Managing complexity

4. ITSM & Agile

I was quite surprised by the list, but they do make sense. I think that they've, sensibly gone for more umbrella topics than specifics - so there's more to cover and more room for interpretation.

You certainly can't say that they're not important or topical though! I, along with thousands of others, of course, made my contribution to the discussion - they had a number of sessions devoted to discussing this at the itSMF UK conference and the discussion I was involved in was lively and engaging.

I think that they were listening, though - quite impressive, with so much to hear. I thought that managing requirements was crucial to future success. There we are, that's back to basics, it's certainly a skill and an integrated requirements register will help you manage complexity by distinguishing between the truly complex and the simply complicated or apparently complex. If you wish to improve your ITSM and be more agile, you certainly need to understand your organisation, and enterprise, stakeholder & requirements analysis are central to that.

I'm sure that many other people will also recognise their contribution in these broad topics!

So, well done, itSMF UK, congratulations! It's been an inspired exercise to generate ideas and to set the direction for the future by getting to understand grassroots needs.

I have a feeling that it won't just be the UK that will be using these well-honed ideas to inspire useful debate, interesting events and, who knows, some useful books...

 

Governance & Ethical Behaviour - King III & our duties as employees or consultants

Here's an interesting question about governance. The King III report on corporate governance (much of it now part of South African and UK law) says, for example:

"
Good corporate citizenship, including the company's promotion of equality, prevention of unfair discrimination, and reduction of corruption.
"

and

"
Integrating ethics: The board should ensure that the company's ethical standards (code of ethics and related ethics policies) are integrated into the company's strategies and operations. This requires, among others, ethical leadership, management practices, structures and offices, education and training, communication and advice, and prevention and detection of misconduct for example, through whistle-blowing.
"

So, if you are an employee, a shareholder, or other stakeholder, then, it seems to me that, under the act, you have a duty to report poor governance - such as corruption, unfair discrimination, inequality or other unethical behaviour.

I wonder, as a consultant, how far we should recommend this to our clients. I've been setting up a hospitality register recently, as part of the policy to deal with corruption, but it seems to me that there must also be provision of a means for anonymous whistle-blowers to report poor governance. Not just a report of all offers of hospitality, or gifts, given or received.

It's a difficult thing, though. If, say, the directors, or other board members, of a company are the ones acting unethically, then it doesn't make much sense to report these matters to the board- they, presumably, already know that they're doing the wrong thing!

Should it be reported to the company auditor? Presumably a clear path to the auditor should help - but what if the auditor is favoured by the board, might there not be a conflict of interest there?

So should we be advising our clients to set up reporting directly to the financial authorities or companies house, or the SFO?

It's a difficult balance between loyalty to the company being interpreted as loyalty to members of the company, or board, (who might be doing damage to the company) or loyalty to the company itself. 

What should you do if a CEO or Company Director attempts to influence, say, the purchase of an ERP system? We know, in the old days, that salesmen from various very large computer companies would take directors out to meals, arrange golfing seminars for them, and, maybe, give them the odd bit of kit to 'try out'. All this would be covered by the UK bribery act now, but most employees would probably consider it unwise to even mention the bribery act if their CEO says - 'I think that XYZ software would be an excellent choice', even if there has been no due process of tool selection, or if that due process suggested that ABC would give much better value to the customer.

It's difficult for a consultant too - presumably the obligation of a consultant to the company should mean that he'd recommend against the CEO in the above case, and, if overruled, mention the matter to the FD and/or auditor - but would this be a good career choice for the consultant? --- but, can a consultant ignore his ethical duty in favour of his possible short-term career prospects?

They're not always easy questions - but my personal view is that the ethical decision has to be made, even if it causes personal difficulties. It would be better to lose a follow-up engagement than have one as a result of being complicit with unethical behaviour.

Service Management Architecture Workshop

It is really exciting that the Axelos service management architecture workshop is taking place next week after the itSMF UK conference in Birmingham. The details are here:  ( http://t.co/Ow9QXZqzbq )

If you are interested, please follow the discussion, and join in, on twitter ( #ArchSM ) or on Back2ITSM>

This started as an open discussion in the 'Back2ITSM' social networking groups and continued on google+. Many people have wanted this for a long time. It is great, for the itSMF South Africa, that so many of our members are represented in the team:

As Christian Nissen said, on the Back2ITSM group on facebook yesterday:

"

Stuart and Peter have explained the evolvement of this initiative very well, however I will like to contribute with a summary of the history. As Stuart explained, this initiative originates from the “ITSM Knowledge Repository” discussion group on Google+. At some time an old idea was discussed, namely that to take IT Service Management forward a Service Management architecture and ontology is needed. It was very difficult to see, how a knowledge repository can emerge without a basic structure, a spinal cord. This has been discussed on several occasions over the last 10 years, but nobody has really taken the initiative to do something about it. It turned out from the discussion in the group, that Stuart, Peter Brooks and I felt ready to do something about is. We discussed the approach, and we wanted it to be a crowd-sourcing initiative. However, we didn’t believe in crowdsourcing without a starting platform. The idea materialized to arrange a five days physical workshop to sketch a basic structure.

We decided to arrange the workshop immediately following the itSMF UK conference to take advantage of the people already at the conference. Then came the hard job. We needed to invite some people, that we knew would represent a wide range of interests, geographies, capabilities but all had experience with structuring service knowledge. We could easily find hundreds of matching candidates, but we agreed that the workshop only would be effective if we were around 10-15 people. We therefore identified 13 people and asked them if they were willing to give five days of their time for free, if we could find a sponsor for the travel and accommodation. All of them replied, that they were willing to participate, but two of them were not able to. We then prepared a business case and the most obvious sponsor was AXELOS, even though other organizations already had informed us, that they would be willing to donate, if AXELOS didn’t want to invest in the initiative. The idea was presented to AXELOS at the AXELOS Future Opportunities Workshop and also referred in the output from these meetings. It turned out, that AXELOS saw this as an important step for the future of ITIL, and even though we see the architecture as a generic Service Management architecture that may be used by a lot of purposes, ITIL is of course one of them.

AXELOS therefore accepted to host and support the initiative, but we also needed a custodian for the subsequent development of the content. We therefore agreed that the architecture will be published by AXELOS under a license which allows public contribution and free use similar to that for the existing ITIL glossary and that the draft we make at the workshop shall be public exposed for crowdsourcing after the workshop. In addition to the 11 candidates that we have asked to contribute, three representatives from AXELOS will join the workshop. It is not a secret, who will participate, so here is the full list of the workshop participants:

Johann Botha, GetITRight (South Africa)
Robert Falkowitz, Concentric Circle Consulting (Switzerland)
Gary Hardy, IT Winners (South Africa)
Alain Renault, Tudor Institute (Luxemburg)
Colin Rudd, Items Ltd (UK)
Mark Smalley, ASL BiSL Foundation (The Netherlands)
Sharon Taylor, Aspect Group (Canada)
Katsushi Yaginuma, ITpreneurs (Japan)

Peter Brooks, Phmb Consulting (South Africa)
Stuart Rance, Stuart Rance (UK)
Christian Nissen, CFN People (Denmark)

Chris Barrett, AXELOS (UK)
Phil Hearsum, ALELOS (UK)
Frances Scarff, AXELOS (UK)

As can be seen, this is not an ITIL initiative. We have tried our best to include people who are heavily involved in COBIT, ASL, BiSL, ISO/IEC 20000, TIPA, etc. to strive for a holistic approach to a Service Management architecture.

"

 

Somebody wrote to me and said that it was a pity that the Axelos Service Architecture workshop  was a 'private consulting business initiative', not an itSMF initiative. My reply to this point was:

"
It isn't a 'business initiative' - Christian, Stuart and I are doing this because we feel passionately that it needs doing. As you can see from the people on the workshop, it's mainly members of the itSMF, many of them leaders of the itSMF, so, in a way, it is an itSMF initiative. It isn't private either, which is why we're discussing it on Back2ITSM, twitter and have been discussing it on g+ for months.
"

The aim isn't to make money directly for anybody. Certainly it's true that a sound architecture will enable a lot of people to make more money, that's the aim, but the architecture won't be a money making project itself, and that's important.

The service management community, not just Axelos, will be able to use it to be more precise. Vendors can use it to build tools that interoperate with each other better - not because complicated interfaces are built, but because the tools are architected to be compatible. So end users will have more choice of tools and advice, with any luck that increased choice and reduced confusion will enable them, the end users, to deliver better value to their customers and thus make more money, and, particularly if they're non-profit companies, achieve their goals more effectively and efficiently.

2013 itSMF International Survey

The itSMF International 2013 survey is out.

The link to the announcement is here:

http://www.itsmfi.org/content/global-itsm-survey-report

the survey itself is is here:

http://www.itsmfi.org/files/itSMF%202013%20Survey%20Report.pdf

There are many useful and interesting points in the report. For me the most immediately important is how closely this survey follows the survey in 2011. That provides strong confirmation that, despite the different respondents and the gap in time, the two surveys are measuring something real.

The subtle changes are fascinating and tell a powerful story of what has been happening over the past few years. Some is very positive. I think that the fact that proportion of 'extremely successful' Service Management projects using ITIL has doubled is extremely impressive - mirrored and confirmed by the fall in unsuccessful or failed projects by two thirds 1.1% down to 0.3%. ITIL adoption is giving value and has been getting better.

The adoption of metrics has improved, though only slightly. The value delivered to the enterprise, in terms of profitability, has improved.

It's good to see that the service management job market appears to be maturing, with more job titles, and more specific job titles, in the respondents than in 2011.

What concerns me is that the business emphasis has declined. Interest in Financial Management has dropped relative to the other processes, as have the warranty processes, availability, capacity and continuity. This suggests that service management projects have not been supported as much by senior management - which is not an encouraging trend.

ITIL adoption as a framework has increased significantly - it was
already clearly the leading framework, with Cobit, Six Sigma, ISO/IEC 20000, LEAN and CMMI trailing at least 3 points behind, but now the lead has increased to 4 points.

Part of the change of focus to a more operational view - the opposite of what service management professionals would have hoped for - is clear in the Service Desk overtaking better control and monitoring (metrics) to become the second most important justification for
service management after customer satisfaction.

Reflecting exactly the same trend, 'comply with business requirements' has dropped from second to third place, overtaken by cost reduction, and 'reducing risk' has dropped from third to fourth - something that ought to worry those concerned with corporate governance.

My conclusion, having studied the survey report in some detail, is
that work needs to be done to increase the profile of service
management as a tool for reducing corporate risk and improving the delivery of value to business requirements. In particular, Service Governance needs to be emphasised so that boards of directors can learn of the value to their business of using the service metaphor and governing portfolios of services effectively.

Review: An integrated requirements process

Interested in requirements?

Here's a great review of 'An Integrated Requirements Process':

http://shiftmediainc.com/2013/08/21/an-integrated-requirements-process-author-peter-brooks/

The book itself is here: http://shiftmediainc.com/2013/08/21/an-integrated-requirements-process-author-peter-brooks/

If you've read the book, I'd be delighted to hear any comments or read any reviews.

ITIL Exam trends 2013 vs 2012


I was interested to see the most recent ITIL exam statistics (thank you Plexent!), and thought that other people might find this graph interesting - particularly with the changes likely in the future. It shows the changes in the number of candidates for ITIL exams and the pass rates compared to last year. Overall ITIL is becoming much more popular 15% more candidates world wide. Encouragingly the pass rate for exams has also gone up by 1.5%. While Asia, Europe and Oceania have had the same pass rates, Africa, and the two Americas have improved their scores by just over 1% - improved teaching as a result of more experience, I'd hope. Africa has done particularly well, with the number of candidates going up by 23.5% - an extra 139 candidates a month! I wonder where all these new candidates are. The strange anomaly, to my eyes anyway, is Central America and the West Indies. That's the only region where the number of candidates has gone down - by 2.2%. But it's also the region where exam pass rates have improved by an amazing 7.5%! It's possible that some less successful teachers have moved on to other things as it used to be the lowest scoring region, but now has overtaken Africa. It does have the smallest number of candidates, 222 a month, so this might just be size related. [I do this sort of thing because somebody has to read this sort of report sometimes and I'm interested in trends - I think this report would be a lot more interesting if it showed short and long-term trends]

 

This is from the intermediate statistics. All world-wide. MALC remains, of course, the most difficult, with the general pass rate improving by 0.6 percent. I think the change in take-up and apparent difficulty of the exams are the interesting trends. As you'll see from the table: Relatively, PPO has had a much higher pass rate than before, with CSI & ST also improving. Meanwhile, SOA and OSA haven't been doing so well, with SD candidates doing much less well. More people have been taking all the exams, which is, again, good news for the popularity of ITIL. The greatest increase in popularity has been with SS, followed by SD & SO - so the lifecycle courses have been becoming more popular than the capability ones. It's interesting that MALC comes in just below SO - it has had 28.9% more candidates per month than last year, the average increase in popularity has been 26.7%, so MALC is catching on as a popular exam, from quite a low base. It looks as if we can expect a lot more 'ITIL Experts' to be getting their qualifications over the next year or so if this trend continues. OSA, RCV & PPO have increased in popularity the least. PPO is probably the most curious outlier. It's being taught better, since the pass rate has improved, but it's not becoming as popular as you might expect from the improved teaching. This probably reflect it's being the most technical of the courses, appealing to more analytical types who are not, it seems, a growing population, at least not in the service management community - this might be bad news for the future as it might suggest that the general improvement in service management isn't being reflected in such economically vital areas as capacity management. The poor performance of SD candidates reinforces this as something that the industry might need to worry about.

SMEXA 2013 - a huge success!

The itSMF South Africa's annual conference, SMEXA 2013 this week has been a resounding success.

 

This was the 15th annual conference, so quite a landmark in the history of the itSMF - it was also the most highly attended.

 

The presentations were of an extremely high quality with many fascinating insights - not just for novices new to service management, but also to the many familiar faces who have been stalwarts in the community for years.

 

If you are interested in contemporaneous reactions to this exciting event - with some summaries of the insights - search on twitter for the hashtag #SMEXA13 (also some with #SMEXA and some with #SMEXA2013).

 

It was wonderful to have our colleagues from ISACA there to talk about Cobit5 - I'm looking forward to reviewing the book that the TSO will be bringing out 'ITIL Cobit Interface Guide' by Gary Hardy.

 

All the presentations will be on-line here within the next week or so.

 

One highlight for me was the entertaining and insightful talk given by Nicola Reeves from Hewlett-Packard on training. She had many good ideas for improving training in the future and I hope that Axelos gets a copy of her presentation. She made an appeal for training to be used in the context of projects so that it can deliver practical immediate value, rather than just being an exercise and emphasised the importance of senior management and the business being trained in the value of using ITIL.

 

Another highight was the brilliant and entertaining presentation by Richard Cascarino on risk, followed by an excellent, but terrifying, presentation on paper and identity theft by Duncan Waugh in 'hard copy audit'.

ITIL Joint Venture newsletter

  • Published in News

The second newsletter from the new owners of ITIL is here:

http://www.best-management-practice.com/gempdf/Best_Management_Practice_eBulletin_Issue_02.pdf

If you are interested in the future of ITIL, this is well worth a read. Also, this is the time to make a contribution. If you have any suggestion, you can shape the future by writing to:

twitter: #JVListening @ChrisBarrettski

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Service Governance

Service Governance

 

Is our emphasis on Service ‘Management’ wrong? Should it really be Service ‘Governance’ rather than ITSM or ITIL?

An imagined chat in a lift 

Chairman of the Board: You’re one of those ‘Service Management’ consultant’s, aren’t you – you were at yesterday’s presentation.. 

Consultant: Yes, that’s right, we were presenting on ITSM and ITIL. 

Chairman: Perhaps you can help me understand. I know our Operations is in a mess, and I understand that this ITIL framework is supposed, somehow to sort it out, but I don’t believe in silver bullets – it’s been tried before and failed – and, in any case, the training seems to be for techies and first-level management, so why should I even know it exists? 

Consultant:  I understand your confusion. Part of the problem is exactly that, people think it is about technical stuff with a bit of management thrown in – and, quite understandably, the board isn’t particularly interested. This is why it hasn’t worked and isn’t likely to work. Actually it has the wrong name, ITIL should be known as ‘Service Governance’. 

Chair: Governance? I know that Cobit is involved with IT and the auditors use that for IT governance, what has ITIL or ITSM to do with that? 

Consultant: I didn’t say ‘IT’ governance. I said ‘Service Governance’ – the governance of services that give value to the business. What ITIL is supposed to do is to help the organisation govern business services so that they comply with policy and deliver value. You should be aiming for excellence in managing the delivery of value under sound governance.

Chair: Really? Nobody told me. You mean that they’ll enable us to pass audits for Sarbanes Oxley, Basel, and King III even for IT? Do you really mean deliver business value?

Consultant: Yes, and yes. Not just for IT either. The idea behind the metaphor of a ‘Service’ is that the board can see the ratio of value delivered to the organisation relative to the cost for each service. That’s what the ‘Service Portfolio’ is there for. Then the board can decide which services are uneconomic or unproductive and replace them while investing more in the services that deliver good value for low cost. Meanwhile, all these services are specifically designed to comply with corporate policy, including reducing risk.

Chair: So we’d actually know what we were paying for our sales, manufacturing and financial systems and what business value they were delivering? And… I’m not sure if I’ve got this straight, the services would actually be designed to reduce operational risk, so our mess would be sorted out? If this was true, we’d be in some kind of business heaven – but I’ve not seen this happen with the ITIL exercises we’ve done – why not?

Consultant: Yes, that’s exactly what it is supposed to do for the business. It can only work, though, if it has full support of the board. If it doesn’t then it can’t operate under proper governance and, when things go wrong there’s no board authority to put them right, so the risks remain known at the technical or management level, not escalated to the board risk committee, so you have the operational mess you described at the start.

The lift gets to its destination 

Chair: Look, this is my floor, but join me for a few minutes, this is interesting, nobody has put it like this before – Service Governance is exactly what we should have. 

After some further discussion

Chair: If I understand you properly, to get this Service Governance going as a programme, I should appoint a ‘Director of Service Governance’ and have the CIO report to him, instead of to the Finance Manager, and I should announce to the company that we will be using ITIL advice to achieve excellence in Service Governance, aiming to be certified in ISO 20000 in three to five years time. Is that right?

Consultant: Well, yes – but not quite so fast. It would probably best for the board to go through a short training course or simulation or group exercise to get them on board with the idea and to make sure you’ve got good answers for the press conference.

Chair: Please set it up with my Secretary asap. We need this!


 

Should we be talking about Service Governance?

 

That imagined conversation in a lift is a fantasy, but not one that is that far from reality. Boards of Directors are concerned with governance – the change in regulatory climate, both after the Enron scandal and as a result of the world-wide economic slump, has made directors vulnerable to things that go wrong with governance, they are, potentially, exposed to the risk of criminal charges personally.

The aim of ITIL, as expressed by the Service Strategy book, is to turn ‘Service Management’ into a corporate strategic asset. Every ITIL process and service is designed to serve the objectives of the business and reflect their value and cost in the Service Portfolio. This is a board concern and a matter directly of good governance. The board sees Operations (not just IT operations by any means, though it is a major culprit) as an area that is difficult to govern. Mere management advice seems, to the board too low-level, too operational itself, to achieve the sort of improvement that they require.

So it is necessary, to make it clear to those running organisations, that what is being talked about in ITIL is not technical stuff, nor is it just management advice, it is, actually, a means of achieving good governance for the organisation as well as operational excellence – and the metaphor of a ‘service’ is used to make operations transparent to the board – not the murky pool into which money disappears, as it is seen today.

The transparency of the service model is crucial as it allows decisions to be taken on services at a board level – the essence of sound governance. With the board understanding cost, value and risk – not the detail of the management or the technology. It is vital that requirements are understood and governed through an integrated process, as they govern the understanding and measurement of the business value delivered. 

A long history of ITIL training being given to individual technical contributors, mainly, as if it was a technical subject, or, at best, to the management team in IT, means that the message has been poorly communicated and so it has been impossible for boards of directors to support the service initiative – because it has been seen simply as operational management, not Service Governance.

This has all been known for a long time, but recent changes with the management of the ITIL Best Practice framework have led me to these thoughts again, with the hope that, perhaps, an initiative could be started to understand how to position Service Governance in the market and how to communicate its importance to the custodians of organisations.

The message is more complicated than this brief article is suggesting, I know that. Other advice is also very important to achieving good Service Governance. I believe that Enterprise Architecture (TOGAF, for example), the management of value (or should that be the ‘governance of value’?) and the management of risk provide important adjuncts to ITIL, as does the management of portfolios, that provides a strong basis for the business driving the investment portfolio that includes the service portfolio. Services ought also to be governed under the umbrella of sound programme management.

 

 

 

 

Experiences at the itSMF Canada Conference in Toronto

I've just spent two days attending the itSMF Canada annual conference in Toronto. I enjoyed visiting  Toronto, and Canada, for the first time, and the weather has been excellent.

The Conference has also been excellent. The organisation started many months ago and it certainly has paid off. There have been about 200 people attending the conference - interestingly, a fairly large majority from other countries - a delegation from the Netherlands, people from chapters in Ireland, the UK, the USA, Turkey, and, of course, me, from South Africa. The discussion between sessions have, as usual, been extremely useful.

Some excellent speakers have been engaged, I've tweeted during the sessions, so details can be found of specific presentations on twitter under #itsmf2013 or my account @fustbariclation.

Actually the twitter hashtag is an interesting question. There wasn't one in the conference documentation and we only got one on the first day, mid-morning, when somebody on twitter asked the itSMF Canada tweeter for one - I think that conferences, in future, would be wise to advertise their twitter hashtag a few weeks before the conference - it's a really good way to get to know who is going and to pick up last minute recommendations or issues.

The streams were extremely well organised - not just the topics, BYOD, Cloud and Social Media were the three streams and they are hot topics that generated very interesting presentations and discussions. The order of speakers within the streams was also very cleverly arranged, so that each speaker followed the previous one logically, often following on the ideas that the previous speaker had highlighted as important. This gave an impressive continuity to the day.

It was good to have many influential members of the itSMF community there. Sharon Taylor gave an interesting talk on how to influence your customers - helping them to 'become the customers you want them to be'. There was a very entertaining session on the experience of developing and marketing a game called 'Things' - I was lucky enough to get a free copy of the game and I'll look forward to playing it with friends at home.

One of the later talks was by John Deland, a director of itSMF International on the future of priSM. It's clear that he's engaged very effectively with the team, reorganising it and making it more efficient and effective. There are good plans to make the programme more coslty  effective, both by modifying the cost model and by improving the value delivered. I've got great hopes that this will resurrect priSM.

It was good to meet up with the team from the Netherlands and see how far their social media solution 'Coconut' has developed over the past few years. I'm going to be putting together a video with Jose Stijntjes in Amsterdam to make the power of the solution visible to non-Dutch speakers. I think it might be a good solution to priSM reducing its administrative costs - John Deland is interested in the idea. It may also be a valuable hub for other chapters.

It was good to chat to so many people, some, like Lindsay Parker, director of itSMF Canada, who was involved in so much of the preparation behind the successful conference - a great team altogether. I had tremendous help from Maureen Llewellyn, and Tina Hutchinson in particular.

It was very satisfying to see the huge enthusiasm and interest for the Integrated Requirements Process. I'm hoping that there will be some follow-up - we're meaning to have a google+ hangout to discuss the book in a couple of weeks. Anybody interested in joining the discussion can connect with the google+ circle here:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/113833482795521214932

The conference is just wrapping up now, and I'll be on my way to Amsterdam.

 

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