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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We are now an ITSM Career School! Introducing the ITSMP Diploma Program

Big news at ITSM Academy! We are now licensed by the Florida Department of Education, Commission on Independent Education, as a career school with the ability to grant occupational ITSM diplomas. ITSM Academy's program is the first of its kind and we are the only career school licensed to offer IT Service Management occupational diplomas.

Our new IT Service Management Professional (ITSMP) diploma program has three career tracks – ITSMP Change Manager, ITSMP Support Manager and ITSMP Service Level Manager. Building on critical roles within the prominent IT Service Management frameworks, the ITSMP program bundles ITSM certification courses into diploma tracks. This ensures that students are equipped with ALL of the skills needed to succeed in a specific process management position. In addition to earning an ITSMP diploma, students will also achieve industry recognized certifications.

Each career track consists of two required courses (ITIL Foundation and Certified Process Design Engineer), two subject matter expertise courses (one ITIL Lifecycle, one ITIL Capability) and a standard or framework elective (ISO/IEC 20000 Foundation or Microsoft Operations Framework). To learn more about these programs and courses, click here.

We built these programs and went through the rigor of becoming a licensed school because we believe there is a need for role-based ITSM education and credentials. Until now, there has not been enough focus placed on the educational requirements of key process managers. A successful Change Manager, for example, should have more knowledge than just that contained in ITIL Release Control and Validation (RCV) or ITIL Service Transition courses. Understanding multiple frameworks as well as the mechanics of designing, implementing and improving processes is equally important. And having a recognized and licensed diploma not only credentials the individual but legitimizes the occupation.

Achieving ITIL Expert™ is still absolutely appropriate for those who will lead ITSM programs – either within an organization or as a consultant or trainer. It is the ITIL Version (V3) equivalent of ITIL Service Manager, a well recognized and respected role. ITSM Academy will continue to provide training and support for those seeking ITIL Expert™ certification – in fact, we recently introduced an ITIL Expert Pass that allows learners with ITIL Foundation certification to take 16.5 credits + our MALC course for a flat fee. However, for those who are, or aspire to be, process managers, the ITSMP diploma program focuses on related and necessary skill sets.

In becoming a licensed school, ITSM Academy is committing to the governance and compliance standards of the Florida Department of Education as well as other school accreditation agencies.
Providing our students the opportunity to earn ITSM diplomas has been a long-standing goal at the Academy. Our concern is that other training organizations will see the value in offering the diplomas, but won't complete the rigorous process required to be under the supervision of a state or professional agency. If that's the case, they will be granting diplomas that are either fraudulent, or because of the lack of proper standards, worthless. We will do our best to educate the community on the difference between licensed schools and diploma mills.

ITSM Academy's License number is 4142. Additional information regarding the Florida Department of Education, Commission on Independent Education may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 323099-0400, toll-free telephone number (888) 224-6684.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CPDE Now Earns ITIL V3 Credits

The Certified Process Design Engineer (CPDE) course and exam have now been approved as a Complementary Qualification in the ITIL V3 scheme. Successful candidates will earn 1.5 credits towards ITIL Expert. CPDE is only the fourth qualification to be granted Complementary status and is an official part of the ITIL Credit Profiler. Exams are owned and administered by Loyalist Certification Services (LCS). Read the LCS press release.

CPDE fills the gap between ITIL’s “what to do” and “how to do it” in terms of designing, measuring, re-engineering and improving IT Service Management processes. The curriculum is framework-agnostic and encourages organizations to leverage the guidance from multiple sources such as ISO/IEC 20000, COBIT, CMMI and Microsoft Operation Framework (MOF),

ITSM Academy is proud to be the first Accredited Training Organization to offer the CPDE Course. The source textbook was written by Donna Knapp, our Curriculum Development Manager. It will be published by J. Ross Publishing in Spring, 2010.

For more information on the CPDE course, click here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New PMP Exam Prep Course

I am happy to announce that ITSM Academy will be offering Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam Preparation courses beginning March 1, 2010.

As many of you know, there is a natural relationship between IT Service Management and Project Management. The ITIL books support ITSM and Project Management integration, particularly during Service Design and Service Transition. ITSM implementations are more likely to be successful when designed as formal programs with projects led by qualified Project Managers.

Over the years, many of our learners have expressed an interest in becoming PMPs. I feel that the PMP credential track is a good fit for our learning community and encourages our clients to realize the value of leveraging both sets of best practices.

While the Project Management Institute (PMI) has eligibility requirements in order to take the exam, there are no pre-requisites for taking the PMP Exam Prep course. You can begin to prepare for the exam before, during or after the completion of the PMI application. The eligibility, application and exam process are detailed in PMI's PMP Handbook. This course does fulfill the mandatory 35 hours of formal training.

Our PMP Exam Prep course will be a comprehensive 5 day course led by an instructor who holds PMP and ITIL Expert certifications. The curriculum will review the key concepts of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). Like ITIL courses, you will need to obtain and read the PMBOK prior to the class. The courseware complements the PMBOK with a learner manual, comprehensive exam preparation textbook, 1200 sample exam questions and other study materials. The exam will not be part of the course as it is scheduled and administered by PMI through Prometric Centers.

ITSM Academy has been a PMI Registered Education Provider since 2006 and is committed to strengthening the ties between the Project Management and ITSM communities. I see the cross-pollination of the bodies of knowledge as a logical first step.

To learn more about this course or to register for an upcoming session, use this link.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Retirement of V2 Examinations

On October 29th, the OGC announced their plans for retiring ITIL V2 products and examinations by June 2011. This is a global product withdrawal, meaning that all languages will be removed at the same time.

Here are the final dates for first time exam takers:
  • V2 Foundation - June 30, 2010
  • V2 Service Manager - August 31, 2010
  • V2 Practitioner exams - Dec 31, 2010
  • V2/V3 Foundation Bridge exams - Dec 31, 2010

Re-takes for all of the above will be available until 30 June 2011.

The V2 Service Manager Bridge exam will also end on 30 June 2011. At this time, there are no re-take extensions (although myself and others are still pressing to have this reconsidered).

All V2 books will be unavailable after June 30, 2011 and some may be withdrawn before that date based on demand. Service Support and Service Delivery publications will be not be available after June 30, 2011 although OGC states that "in the later period these may only be available as ‘print on demand’ or in electronic formats." I am not quite sure what this means but suspect that if demand does not justify printing, they will make other options available until the end date.

So, if you are planning to obtain a V2 certification, you must achieve it by the end dates described above. This is particularly important for those with existing V2 certifications who would like to take advantage of bridging courses for Foundation and Service Manager.

ITIL V2 Service Managers have the unique opportunity to fast-track to ITIL Expert by taking the V2 Manager's Bridge course and passing the exam. If you have taken the Service Manager course but did not pass one or both exams, I would highly recommend that you plan for a re-take before the end dates. Becoming an ITIL Expert via the Manager's Bridge route is much faster and less costly than navigating the 22 credits required of the V3 scheme.

If you have a V2 Foundation Certificate, you can upgrade your certification and meet the pre-requisite for entry into the ITIL V3 Intermediate courses by taking the V2/V3 Foundation Bridge course and exam.

From a knowledge perspective, the guidance from V2 Service Support/Service Delivery is alive and well in V3. There may be some new vocabulary and processes, but the core concepts are essentially the same. The V3 service lifecycle just puts those processes into context while bringing forth other considerations. Some of those considerations (such as Security Management or continual service improvement) actually build on other books in the V2 library that were not as widely read as Service Support and Service Delivery.

Most organizations do not implement ITIL in its purest form. In the end, each will develop a custom framework based on a combination of ITIL (and/or other ITSM frameworks or standards) and successful internal practices. So, whether you call it ITIL V2 or V3, what really matters is that you have the knowledge, training, experience and resources to manage your services to meet the needs and requirements of your customers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Truth About The Updates to ITIL V3 Core Library

The OGC recently announced updates to the ITIL V3 Core Guidance under their continual improvement “Mandate for Change”. The update is intended to be a new “edition” not a new “version” in that the framework will be largely unchanged.

The Mandate for Change also clearly states that “new concepts are not to be added.”

I had a chance to speak with representatives of the OGC and The Stationary Office (TSO) publishers at the recent Dallas Fusion 2009 conference, Both emphasized that the project is in the early stages and that the updated books will likely not be published until 2011.

So why the need for the update? First published in May of 2007, each of the five books in the ITIL V3 Core Library was written by a pair of authors. From the start, readers and training organizations identified many inconsistencies across the lifecycle stages and processes. Some of the new roles were not clearly differentiated; others did not appear in related sections. Standard terminology and formatting was not uniformly applied. Most importantly, feedback on the Service Strategy book repeatedly indicated that the concepts were difficult to understand and apply. The updates are in response to reader and training organization feedback and is part of OGC's continual improvement cycle.

The OGC has set the following goals for the update:
  • Remedy inconsistencies between the five books
  • Align with other relevant OGC frameworks (PRINCE2, M_o_R, etc.)
  • Clearly explain roles and responsibilities
  • Standardize the use of glossary terms and definitions across the books
  • Update the glossary
  • Examine the definition and usage of Product Manager and Service Owner roles
  • Ensure that the Service Catalog Manager appears within Service Operation
  • Simplify Service Strategy
  • Redesign content according to OGC’s updated style guidelines

A Change Control Log managed by OGC’s Change Advisory Board currently contains 312 recommended revisions. A link to the Change Log is within the Mandate for Change. The Mandate also states that training organizations and others will be invited to provide additional feedback and recommendations.

As the project progresses, further details of the update together with a more precise publication date will be announced.

To read the Mandate for Change go to

Friday, August 28, 2009

Top Picks for Fusion 2009

Jayne, I am borrowing your blog to post my Top Picks for Fusion 2009. Thanks...Lisa

I’ve just gone over the itSMF conference program, and I am impressed with the schedule. There are lots of “old favorites” and tons of new names, with really interesting topics.

I didn’t list any speaker whom I haven’t personally seen present, so if I haven't picked someone, don’t let that influence you. If you like the topic, go for it! (Or contact me, I'm happy to discuss in more detail.)

That said, my Top Picks for Fusion 2009.

First, I highly recommend all of the general sessions (led again by Kirk Weisler, he is awesome).

On Monday (9/21) morning, there are two that caught my eye. Unfortunately, they are at the same time! But if either of these topics sound good to you, you can’t go wrong.

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Defining an IT Service - The Root Cause of All IT Issues
Randy Steinberg (Deloitte Consulting) and Jan Vromant (Deloitte Consulting)

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
From Rags to KPI Reporting
Pedro Hidalgo (Cook Children's Health Care System) and Beverly Wileman-Pratt (Pepperweed Consulting)

On Monday afternoon, I have another conflict. Donna Knapp, whose session was standing room only again last year, is presenting on the topic which she is most passionate:

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM
Service Desk State of the Future Report
Donna Knapp (ITSM Academy)

However, if earning ISO 20K certification is on your (even distant) horizon, then you don't want to miss this one:

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM
Achieving Global ISO 20000 Certification in 12 Months
Maria C. Metcalf (Unisys)
Rajan Kanda (Unisys Corporation)

On Tuesday morning, David will lead the breakfast discussion. I know, it’s early for some of you. Drink extra coffee, David is always a “don’t miss” in my book:

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM
Ask the Expert - Service Operations
David Cannon (ITSM Practice Principal, Hewlett Packard)

Next is one of the sessions I am the most excited to attend….The first person I ever saw present on ITIL, and still one of my all-time favorites:

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM
The Need For Trust: Building a Trustworthy IT
Ken Wendle (HP/itSMF Intl.)

I am a loyal Toyota Way girl, and I always love to hear anyone from their organization present their unique perspective to IT Service Management:

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Release & Deployment Management; What the Books Didn't Tell You
Dave Howard (Toyota Financial Services)

This could be the best practitioner roundtable offered:

3:15 PM - 4:15 PM
IT Service Management: Lessons Learned from the Field
Rob Harper (Motorola)
Troy Olson (Cox Enterprises)
LaTanya Burton (National Institute of Health)
Doris Holley (National Institute of Health)

One of the originators of the Visible Ops Methodology, Gene is a genius, with loads of great information packed in. He talks fast, and thinks 4x’s faster, so have a shot of caffeine before entering the room!

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Top Process Improvement Lessons Learned at Largest Internet Companies
Gene Kim (Tripwire)

On Wednesday morning, another of my all time favorites:

8:45 AM - 9:45 AM
Planning Business Manager and Customer ITIL® Induction
Malcolm Fry (FRY-Consultants)

A bit later in the morning, there is another note worthy Practitioner session. Jeremy is a very accomplished speaker, and what a great title they have going:

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Knowledge is Power -- Supplanting Unconscious Incompetence
Jeremy Hart (First American Corporation) and Craig Davis (First American Corporation)

So, those are just a few highlights. There are really so many juicy topics to pick from, I couldn't list them all. It’s going to be a jam-packed few days of learning!

See you in Dallas.

Lisa Schwartz

Thursday, August 20, 2009

ITIL Credit Profiler Has Been Updated

The Credit Profiler for the ITIL Qualification Scheme has now been updated. The update aligns the Profiler with the recently published policy on overlapping content and credit eligibility.

The ITIL V3 Qualification Scheme assigns a credit value for each of the V3 certifications. Credits are also available for V1 and V2 certifications. Learners who achieve 22 credits can apply for the ITIL Expert certification.

The ITIL Credit Profiler helps learners:
  • Calculate the number of credits that a candidate has already achieved through his/her current certifications
  • Enter potential courses to balance the knowledge required to become an ITIL Expert or meet an individual's learning objectives.

The Credit Profiler can be found at

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

All Virtual Learning is Not the Same.

I recently delivered ITSM Academy's first courses in our new Virtual Classroom. It was a great experience - the learners were highly engaged and the pass rates were as high as our physical classroom delivery. I am excited about the possibilities that virtual learning brings and will be working with our team to rapidly expand our online course catalog.

There is certainly a growing interest in web-based ITSM learning. Sparked partially by financial and logistical travel constraints, the opportunity to gain both knowledge and certification from the comfort of your computer is very attractive. The good news is that the capabilities of training organizations such as ITSM Academy to meet this need is growing with the interest.

If you are considering online learning, it is important to understand that the terms "e-learning" or "virtual learning" are often used interchangeably to represent a range of uniquely different approaches. By definition, "e-learning" is "electronic learning"and can include:
  • Instructor Led or Virtual Classroom courses: The learner is scheduled to attend one or more "live" interactive sessions with an instructor using a collaboration tool. Sessions will include audio, video and web-based activities. Supplemental materials may be available 24/7 such as recordings, quizzes and ancillary materials.
  • Self-paced or On-demand courses: The learner takes the course independently at his/her own pace, the courseware is available 24/7 and an instructor may be available for questions via email or other electronic communication. The courseware can be anything from interactive animations to previously recorded sessions.
  • Instructor-guided courses: This is self-paced learning with an instructor guiding how and when modules and assignments are to be completed. There are no live sessions, but the instructor is an active participant and there may be a class forum for threaded discussions.
  • Blended courses: Combines elements of Self-paced and Instructor Led online courses.

What is the right e-learning approach for you? As always, the answer is "it depends!"

Instructor led training is highly interactive and attempts to simulate the group dynamics of a physical classroom. There is immediate access to a "live" instructor so that questions can be posed, discussed and answered. Sessions are scheduled for specific dates and times, but usually do not consume an entire day. The sessions can be supplemented with recordings and offline work. Instructor led training may take longer to complete, but has a finite timeline. It is best to schedule the sessions on your calendar as if you were in a physical classroom. It can be applied to all levels of certification as long as the number of required contact hours is met. This is ITSM Academy's approach to virtual learning.

Self-paced learning is often referred to as "e-learning". It is very flexible, but requires commitment and discipline since it has an open-ended timeline. It is best to create a realistic learning path of no more than two hours in one sitting. As a result, self-paced learning will take longer to complete but can accommodate an individual's availability. It is best suited for foundation level training. Contact hours and progress are typically managed through a Learning Management System. The Qualification Board is currently reviewing the e-learning guidelines for Intermediate courses and it is unlikely that total self-paced learning at the advanced levels will be sanctioned.

Instructor-guided courses are found primarily in academic settings where a course extends over several weeks and there are required (and perhaps graded) assignments. This method works better with longer or more advanced topics.

Most ITSM virtual classes today lean heavily towards Instructor-led or Self-paced with some elements of blended learning. Blended learning will continue to evolve and may be driven by the more prescriptive guidance issued by the ITIL Qualification Board.

ITSM Academy has chosen the Instructor-led method for our Virtual Classroom with blended elements. I strongly believe that quality ITSM training is so much more than memorizing a bunch of concepts. Instructor-led virtual learning encourages learner participation, ensures completion and creates a group dynamic. It is the discussion, debate and practical application of those concepts that creates true value for our learners. Can you achieve certification through the other methods? Yes. Will the learner experience be the same? No.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ITIL V3 Credits

Since the 2007 introduction of the ITIL V3 certification scheme, there has been some confusion regarding the “value” of V2 certifications as credits towards ITIL Expert™ designation. There has been similar confusion about blending credits from the ITIL V3 Lifecycle and Capability schemes.

Recently, the Qualification Board issued an updated ITIL® Qualification Credit Administration
Policy. The Qualification Board has reviewed the content of similar V2 and V3 courses and revised their initial position based on the percentage of overlap.

Regarding the blending of V3 courses, this policy clarifies that those individuals aspiring to ITIL Expert™ may apply credits from related Lifecycle and Capability courses such as Service Transition and Release, Control and Validation. The courses have a different focus and the overlap is not significant enough to be considered duplicate learning. So, you can now apply credit from both:
  • Service Transition (3pts) and Release, Control & Validation (RCV) (4pts)
  • Service Operation (3pts) and Operational Support & Analysis (OSA) (4pts)
  • Service Design (3pts) and Service Offerings & Agreement (SOA) (4pts)
  • Service Design (3pts) and Planning, Protection & Optimization (PPO) (4pts)

That’s great news for organizations and individuals wishing to study a process from both the management and operational perspectives.

The application of V2 credits is a little muddier. In short, there is too much overlap between the V2 Practitioner and equivalent V3 Capability courses. So you cannot apply credits from both:

  • IPRC and RCV
  • IPAD and SOA
  • IPPI and PPO

Instead, you can apply credits from one course or the other. There is a grandfather clause in the policy – if you did take and pass both V2 and V3 related courses before May 1, 2009, you may apply for credits for both courses before August 1, 2009.

The only exception to the rule is IPSR and OSA – it was determined that there is sufficient new material in OSA to allow for credits for both courses and taking both courses earns a total of 7.5 credit to be applied to ITIL Expert™

Those possessing V2 Practitioner certifications can still apply their credits (3.75 each) in a couple of ways:

  • To claim credits instead of one of the V3 Capability Courses (credits will vary depending on whether the V2 course was a clustered or single process practitioner course)
  • To apply 12 V2 Practitioner credits and be eligible to take the Service Manager Bridge and Managing Across the Lifecycle courses to earn the ITIL Expert ™ designation

The policy does contain a grid of courses that are compatible and incompatible in the V3 scheme. The caution is that an individual would still need to have balanced knowledge of the entire Service Lifecycle in order to succeed in Managing Across the Lifecycle, the gateway course to ITIL Expert.

It is important to note that the Credit Profiler has not yet been updated to reflect the new policy. It is expected to be revised in the near future.

The full policy and Credit Profiler are available at

Friday, April 17, 2009

V2 Service Manager

I am getting ready to teach what is likely to be my last V2 Service Manager class. It's a bittersweet time - I have fully embraced V3 and the logic of the service lifecycle. To my mind, V3 puts V2 in context and introduces some interesting concepts such as the Service Knowledge Management System. I am enjoying building the V3 intermediate courses and initial feedback from our learners has been very positive.

But I will still miss Service Manager - it has always been my favorite class to teach. For those of you who have gone through it, you know that it is likely one of the most challenging and stressful courses ever taken. Despite this, most learners confess that it was an incredible and enlightening professional experience. Service Manager teaches ITSM leadership at a level that is still unsurpassed. The exam is extremely difficult, but it does provide an opportunity to showcase your advanced knowledge and application of ITSM in a mock environment. When you receive that red pin, you know that you have truly earned it.

So I am looking forward to this next class and welcoming new Service Managers. For them, V3 does not yet exist but, once done, they have a continuing path. That's exciting!

Having said all this, I would also recommend that existing Service Managers plan to take their Service Manager Bridge Courses. It's a great opportunity to refresh your skills and fast-track to ITIL Expert. The exam is not as difficult and results to date have been excellent. But most important, it is a chance to become better Service Managers by applying the same level of strategic thinking and leadership to V3.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

V3 Qualification Scheme Book of Rules

An official description of the V3 Qualification Scheme has been published. Framed as a "Book of Rules", this document is much more detailed than previously release information.

It begins with clear definitions of each of the players in the ITIL market (APM Group, itSMF, OGC, TSO, Examination Institutes, Accredited Training Organizations). As the ITSM industry has evolved, there has not been enough quality communication about the roles, responsibilities and relationships between these parties. Even for vendors, this has often been confusing.

Most importantly, this document clarifies the credit program as well as the purpose, contents and requirements for the different course types (particularly the Intermediate Courses). Bridging and common questions are addressed. There are also suggested options for courses that can lead to ITIL Expert designation.

This is the most comprehensive description of the scheme that I seen to date and is certainly worth the time to read. You can download the full document at

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Foundation Bridge Class Moves to Two Days

Based on the advice of the Foundation Syllabus Review team that met in late 2008, the required syllabus hours for V2/V3 Foundation Bridge course will be increased to 9.5 hours, effective May, 2009. The result will be a two day Foundation Bridge course instead of the current single day. I am extremely supportive of this decision because it will better meet the needs of our learners, both from a certification and knowledge perspective. We want individuals and organizations who have already invested in ITIL V2 education to explore and leverage the new processes and lifecycle context from ITIL V3. However, we want them to gain that knowledge in a meaningful way, not just as a means to pass an exam. Now they can.

While our pass rates for Foundation Bridge have been very high, we have been concerned about the standard of the one day course. At ITSM Academy, we have never been "all about the certification". The one day structure crams a lot of information into a short span of time, with little to no time to assimilate the materials or study for the exam. The two day course allows for a better pace, a night to study, and an opportunity for practical advice, dialogue and exercises. Learner feedback repeatedly recommends spreading the material over more time.

Similarly, the one day Bridge course has not effectively prepared learners for Intermediate courses. Our instructors have noticed that learners entering the Intermediate courses (Lifecycle or Capability) with Foundation Bridge certification have not been as prepared as those who completed the full V3 Foundation course. The two day format will allow more time for assimilation and improve a learner's success in advanced courses - while also respecting their V2 Foundation knowledge and existing certification.

So, if our learners can have a better experience, get certified and come away with actionable V3 knowledge, why wait until May? At ITSM Academy, we have decided to move to a two day Foundation Bridge format, effectively immediately. And the best news is that, for a limited time, we are happy to offer the higher quality two day course at the one day price.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Continual Service Improvement

The first certification course focused on Continual Service Improvement (CSI) will rollout on March 2-4 at ITSM Academy. This three day course is part of the ITIL V3 Lifecycle stream and is culled from the ITIL publication of the same name.

With so many Intermediate courses to release, our Curriculumn Development team examined what process education was already available in some form and what critical aspects were not yet being well covered. While there are many courses available that cover the common processes of Incident, Problem, Service Desk, Change Release and Configuration, there has been a lack of formal education on CSI.

Our experience with ITSM implementations indicates that organizations usually have or gain the skills necessary to implement and execute key processes. What seems to be lacking is the knowledge of how to define, measure and use process data to sustain and improve service quality. Continual Service Improvement is a running theme throughout ITIL, MOF and ISO/IEC 20000. In the famous line from Nike - there is no finish line!

So we have decided to begin our Lifecycle series with the stage that encompasses the entire Service Lifecycle - CSI. It is our hope and intent that in doing so, our learners will enter other Capability and Lifecycle courses already equipped with the core CSI skills needed to manage, execute and improve any process or lifecycle stage.

For more information about the CSI Lifecycle Certification course, please visit

Friday, January 23, 2009

Welcome to Jayne Explains

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first posting of Jayne Explains, the blog of Jayne Groll, President of ITSM Academy. Consider this a virtual water cooler around which I will attempt to explain the latest developments in IT Service Management as well as upcoming happenings here at ITSM Academy. I hope you will find this a valuable and positive ITSM resource.

There is nothing plain about the economic challenges facing us. This is not the time to abandon process development. This is an opportune time to demonstrate that the need for managed, efficient, effective and quality IT services has never been more critical. . I strongly encourage you to leverage the guidance in best practice ITSM frameworks to identify quick wins that can potentially lower or justify costs.

Service Management will continue to evolve in 2009. Here are some highlights:

The long-awaited ITIL® V3 Intermediate Certifications will release throughout the year including the Lifecycle (implementation) and Capability (practitioner) streams. Managing Across the Lifecycle, the gateway course to ITIL® Expert certification will also be introduced. APM Group has released an online Credit Profiler to help learners build a relevant and balanced ITIL training program leading to the ITIL® Expert certification. The Credit Profiler is free and can be accessed at While the Credit Profiler asks for “passed” courses, you can also use it to simulate different educational scenarios.

Interest in Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) V4.0 is growing as either a standalone ITSM framework or as a strong complement to ITIL V3 and/or ISO/IEC 20000. MOF has a grassroots, prescriptive approach that I’ve dubbed “service management for the masses”. It is applicable to every company, regardless of platform and, the best part is that the intellectual property is free! If you haven’t looked at MOF, I highly recommend checking it out at There’s a good overview document as well as detailed guidance and free templates (job aids). Microsoft has set up a community forum. Microsoft and EXIN have partnered to offer a MOF training and certification program.

ISO/IEC 20000 is also beginning to gain momentum in the US, particularly in the government sector. More organizations are considering ISO/IEC 20000 certification while others are using the standard as an auditable benchmark for their ITSM programs. itSMF USA has chartered an ISO/IEC 20000 Special Interest Group (SIG) that will be conducting virtual meetings throughout the year in a webinar format. itSMF USA will also be hosting six regional Road Shows this year centered on ISO/IEC 20000. EXIN has introduced an tiered ISO/IEC 20000 certification scheme.

We will take a deeper dive into these and other topics in future posts.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year,

Jayne Groll

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lifecycle vs. Capability Courses

Now that the ITIL V3 Intermediate certifications are available, I am getting more and more questions about the differences between the Lifecycle and Capability courses. While the content may appear similar, the focus and target audience for each stream is, in fact, very different. And while Foundation provides a good overview of ITIL V3, it is in the Intermediate courses that the processes and stages come to life.

For those who are familiar with the ITIL V2 certification scheme, you can translate Lifecycle and Capability into Service Manager and Practitioner. For those unfamiliar with V2, Lifecycle courses are for those individuals working "on" ITSM implementation and Capability courses are for those individuals working "in" the daily process activities.

Let's start with the Capability courses. The four Capability courses focus on executing and improving existing related processes. The syllabus is more prescriptive and covers a detailed view of the inputs, activities, concepts, metrics and outputs of each process. The target audience includes process managers, line managers and those who will execute the daily activities of one or more process. Capability courses are essentially upgraded equivalents to V2 Practitioner courses

  • Operational Support and Analysis (OSA) = Support and Restore (IPSR)
    (Incident, Problem, Request, Event, Access, Functions)
  • Release, Control and Validation (RCV) = Release and Control (IPRC)
    (Change, Release, Configuration, Evaluation, Validation, Knowledge)
  • Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA) = Agree and Define (IPAD)
    (Service Portfolio, Service Level, Service Catalog, Financial, Supplier, Demand)
  • Planning, Protection and Optimization (PPO) = Plan and Improve (IPPI)
    (Security, Availability, Capacity, Continuity, Risk)

The five Lifecycle (Service Manager) modules are more strategic in nature and focus on implementing an entire stage of the Service Lifecycle. Lifecycle courses emphasize stage and process relationships, roles, responsibilities and implementation considerations. There is very little time spent on process activities. The target audience includes process owners, Lifecycle stage managers, ITSM implementation teams, consultants, stakeholders and anyone else involved in an ITSM project.

The big advantage of the Lifecycle stream is that it is modular. In V2, the only option for advanced implementation certification is within the Service Manager course. With the modular Lifecycle stream, your organization can get "just-in-time" implementation education and certification while building credits towards the ITIL Expert. So, if you are planning to implement Service Operation and Service Transition this year, your project stakeholders can take the Service Operation and Service Transition courses this year. I would however, recommend, that at least one individual from each organization take all of the Lifecycle courses to gain a big picture view of the entire Service Lifecycle.

The Lifecycle and Capability streams both culminate in Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC). The MALC certification exam is the final step to achieving ITIL Expert. MALC looks at the dynamics of the Service Lifecycle with a strong emphasis on organizational change.

Can you mix and match courses from both streams to earn enough credits for the ITIL Expert? Yes - but if you are interested in achieving ITIL Expert, you will need to ensure sufficient broad-based knowledge to succeed in Managing Across the Lifecycle. The Credit Profiler mentioned in my last blog is a good tool for ensuring that your knowledge is balanced and your credits are building.

So, the choice between Lifecycle and Capability courses really depends on where you are in your ITSM journey and what you are trying to achieve in the short term.