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Review: An integrated requirements process

Interested in requirements?

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


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'.


SMEXA Agenda

 Day 1

Timeslots  Day 1 - Main Venue  
 08h00 – 08h30  Register  Tea & coffee served
 08h30 – 08h45  Chairman’s welcome  Johann Botha
 08h45 – 09h30  The Road Ahead

 Michael Jackson

09h30 – 10h15 Deriving Value: IT to Business

Gary Hardy

10h15 – 10h45 Break and exhibits

Tea & coffee served

10h45 – 11h25 What's the problem with probem management?

Karen Thorpe

11h25 – 12h10 Implementing ITSM: the people factor

Nicola Reeves

12h10 – 13h20 Break and exhibits

Lunch & refreshments

TRACK 1 –Organizational Change Management
13h20 – 14h00 Enabling Change

Johan Heroldt

14h00 – 14h40 Process to Habit

Martin de Lange

14h40 – 15h10 Break and exhibits

Tea & Coffee served

15h10 – 16h00 Protecting the Fortress (Security& CSI)

Andrè van der Merwe

TRACK 2 – Risk & Audit
13h20 – 14h00 Cybercrime; Strategy and Impact

Craig Rosewarne

14h00 – 14h40 Hard Copy Audit

Duncan Waugh

 14h40 – 15h10  Break and exhibits  Tea & Coffee served
15h10 – 16h00
 Risk Audit: The CUBE  Richard Cascarino
 MAIN Venue
 16h00 – 16h40  ITSMF- international perspective  Christopher Jones
 16h40– 18h00  AWARDS  Cocktail, comedy and awards


Day 2

Timeslots  Day 2 - Main Venue  
08h00 – 08h30   Register  Tea & coffee served
 08h30 – 08h45  Chairman’s welcome  Johann Botha
 08h45 – 09h30  Coming full circle  Wesley Moore
 09h30 – 10h15  Metrics that matter
 Peter Brooks & Fellows
10h15 – 10h45 Break and exhibits Tea & coffee served
10h45 – 11h30 ISO 20000 Journey Magda Bester, Linton Lazarus, Warwick Kingsley
11h30 – 12h15 IT governance and board reporting
Marius van der Berg & Leon Du Randt
12h15 - 12h45 Building our future Nigel Mecer
12h45 Closing Closing


Some exciting news for you - for your effort and support of our various ITSMF initiatives you could be handsomely rewarded, so book your seat at SMEXA 2013 today and qualify.

We’d like you to be our SMEXA 2013 CHAMPION: 

·         Recruit 4 SMEXA 2013 delegates and stand a chance to win a new iPad WiFi 32GB.

And if you are new to SMEXA: 

·         If it’s your First time at SMEXA stand a chance to win an iPad WiFi 32GB. 

And not forgetting all our Corporate Members; for you the Corporate Challenge:

·         itSMF Spirit Award will be awarded to the company with the largest delegate contingent 

Remember….. All you have to do is sign up for SMEXA 2013:

·         Dates:   24th and 25th July 2013:               

·         Venue:The Focus Rooms, Sunninghill, Johannesburg

Of course SMEXA 2013 is not just about giveaways, it’s about networking with likeminded people, seeing what’s new in the industry from our sponsors  and also hearing about the war stories and new trends and topics in the industry. It’s all about “Taking the next step”.

With this in mind our speakers and presentations include:

  • Michael Jackson presents "The Road Ahead"
  • Gary Hardy will share "Deriving Value IT to Business" with us
  • Karen Thorpe's controversial "What’s the problem with problem management?"
  • Johan Herholdt illustrates "Enabling Change"
  • Martin de Lange will show us how to evolve "Process to Habit"
  • Andrè van der Merwe will "Protect the Fortress"
  • Craig Rosewarne sheds light on "Cybercrime: Strategy and Impact"
  • Duncan Waugh wields "the Paper Peril"
  • Richard Cascarino dazzles with "The Cube"
  • Peter Brooks clarifies and simplifies “Metrics”

And visit our Sponsors and see what’s on offer:

·         APMG

·         T-SYSTEMS

·         HP

·         BLUE TURTLE

·         RADIANT

·         ALEMBA

·         TORQUE IT

·         GET IT RIGHT

·         MARVAL

Registration Fees:

·         Conference  (Members)               R2295.00

·         Conference (New-Members) * membership included   R3215.00

·         Conference (Non-Members)     R4950.00

NB: All prices exclude VAT  

And if you are into CPEs

·         Remember that attendance at SMEXA 2013 counts towards CPE hours: 16

“TAKE THE NEXT STEP” and join us at SMEXA 2013, we look forward to welcoming you on the 24th July.




Bad boys in IT?


We all heard about the IOL hack by Africa Anonymous, and within the next 24 hours we noticed the rather interesting Star Newspaper Ads...

The conspiracy theorists are smiling all the way with smug "I told you so" looks whilst the mere mortal working class man ponders exactly what happened and exactly how this affects them and how much money will have to be spent to fix this.

And in truth... what does this mean for IT? Of course there are multiple attempts daily to secure/deface or corrupt data, whether it is against financial institutions, service providers or even kindergarten web sites. The important thing is that Hackitivism is relatively rare in South Africa, very seldom do we hear of events and even more seldom, is the fight taken to print media in aid of creating either awareness, or exploiting weakness.

I had a rather good chuckle this morning on my way to the office , I had the privilege to listen to Whackhead, Sam and the crew rip off Stephen Grootes, a rather conservative news reader.

In less than 5 minutes, the talented and often controversial, yet fun, radio station had annihilated, in my opinion, what credibility the STAR newspaper, had left, by I am sure, inadvertently, elevating the hactivists to heroes in the eyes of every underdog in south Africa, and again, this is my opinion. And my opinion counts, seeing as both the Hack and the ensuing Headline stunt, stems from, and supports, freedom of speech.

In terms of IT, we in some form or another, are custodians of data, your own or someone else’s... data for all intent and purposes is the single most valuable commodity you will lay your hands on, it crosses divides, carries no tax and has the power to make or break... all at the touch of a finger on one little key...

Back to my question, is IT Service Management equipped and agile enough to weather brutal onslaughts to our sister interfaces? In the end, it is the service reputation which suffers and it becomes the responsibility of Service Management to govern, comply and mitigate risk.

How does this impact IT Service Management?

Bad boys, Bad boys... what exactly are you going to do?

check out the link to the Bogus Boys clip.






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.