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ITIL Must Embrace the Collective

Oct 26, 2006

The IT Skeptic

There is no European, African, Asian or Australasian representation among the contractors (although the new Metrics for IT Service Management book did originate out of South Africa). Although the authors will approach those in their networks across the community and around the world to contribute, one cannot help but feel that sample will be somewhat skewed.

Contributing to this cultural bias is the OGC adoption of the cathedral model rather than the bazaar for ITIL contribution. Like the building of a cathedral, content is assembled by an elite masonry who then hand it over to the masses. The content is not subject to the cut and thrust of the “great babbling bazaar.”

Surely ITIL would be more representative of generally accepted practice, and more likely and timely to include best, if there existed any of the following:

  • A user feedback mechanism in the books (there is just a marketing survey on the back page and assorted advertising).
  • A user feedback/contribution mechanism on the OGC website.
  • The new itSMF international website asking or encouraging the public or members to contribute.
  • An official forum for users to debate points.
  • A voting mechanism for disputed points.
  • I can find none of these. One would think the list of feedback mechanisms above represents a minimum for any "representative" body. The ideal would be an ITIL that is continuously incrementally improved by contributions solicited from the general user base and adopted by consensus. This would represent the new best practice in defining content.

    Right now the OGC provides zero mechanism to meet this expectation. They persist in developing ITIL within a closed community of Western business consulting practitioners. Sooner or later someone will succeed in providing for a Web 2.0-style ITSM community and ITIL will be free, in both senses of the word.

    In failing to adapt to the new paradigm, the OGC is falling behind best-practice in what it does. It risks ITIL being marginalised by some body of knowledge that delivers a wider point of view, such as OpenITIL. The corporate business consultants need to let ITIL go before it escapes.

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