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MALC: Capstone? Or headstone for serial qualification hunters?

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Capstone? Or headstone for serial qualification hunters?

Do the new higher level certifications announced recently represent a pinnacle of an ITSM professional’s achivements?

Update to ITIL® Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) and ITIL Master Qualifications

1st May 2012 saw the announcement that the top two tiers of the ITIL qualification pyramid are now updated to ITIL 2011 and live.

For most of us, the Foundation Certificate and the Intermediates are a realistic aim for a competent grounding in the theory of ITIL.

The exams take the form of multiple choice questions and scenario based questioning.

Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC)

  • MALC is the final module of the Intermediate Service Lifecycle and/or Capability modules that leads to the ITIL Expert certification.
  • The new qualification is aligned to the 2011 edition of ITIL and has increased in difficulty from the Intermediate Qualifications.
  • The exam paper is longer with more questions and more is based on case study.

Where the Intermediate qualifications look to provide either broad management/leadership focus or more detailed ITIL practice execution, MALC pitches itself at business, management and organisational leads.

Maggie Kneller, MALC project manager, said:

“The new MALC takes a managerial, strategic perspective of ITIL across the lifecycle.

“It has been our aim to produce a MALC syllabus and examination which is deserving of its position as the final ‘capstone’ leading to the prestigious ITIL Expert certification.”

ITIL Master

Hot on its heels was the announcement of the ITIL Master qualification going live.

  • This qualification differs from other core qualifications as the assessment method is through written submission and candidate interview.
  • Candidates have to explain how and why they have chosen to adopt, adapt and implement core ITIL concepts within the workplace, across the entire service lifecycle.
  • This can be based on projects conducted in the past (and maybe using earlier versions of ITIL guidance) or can be used to formulate and implement a future service improvement program.

Sharon Taylor, ITIL Chief Examiner said:

“I am very excited that the ITIL Master programme is now a reality for the many ITIL Experts who have been anxiously awaiting its launch.”

Richard Pharro, CEO of the APM Group said:

“The ITIL Master Qualification enables the most experienced IT service managers and practitioners in the industry to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and capability; defining how to approach real-world situations, apply appropriate ITIL concepts and create solutions which demonstrate continued effectiveness and benefits to the business.”

Rob England (aka ITskeptic) commented:

“The ITIL certification edifice grows higher and heaver.”

In his blog he queries who these qualifications are aimed at?

Capstone or Headstone?

We probably have all come across incredibly well qualified consultants who know ITIL better than it knows itself.

But as Rob points out in his blog, to even take the MALC qualification, you have to amass the requisite Intermediate points.

Alas for practitioners, there is no other way of attaining the ‘capstone’.

I am looking to work through the Intermediates as soon as it is financially viable, because it speaks to the experiences I have garnered at the coal face.

My comfort zone is the Service Lifecycle, but the options allow me to spread my wings and try the Service Capability modules for much more detailed process implementation knowledge.

Reading the account of someone who was on the pilot programme, it does present a challenge and focuses on aligning real experience to the complete lifecycle.

They have senior management experience, backed up with practical knowledge as a Service Manager.

Perhaps the benefits of climbing to the top of the pyramid is that it might prevent serial multiple-choice exam-sitters to get the top qualifications without ever having been involved at any level of a Service Management deployment.

I would be very interested to know from a recruitment perspective if search mechanisms pick up anything beyond the word ‘ITIL’ or maybe the Book titles when CVs are scanned.

More info here:




1 Response to " MALC: Capstone? Or headstone for serial qualification hunters? "

  1. Stephen Alexander says:

    I know more than 1 person who went through some sort of crash course of all Service Lifecycles in about a 2 month time period and came out “ITIL Experts”

    They had previous to that little to no ITSM experience. They had never performed or been part of an ITIL assessment, lead any ITIL based initiatives, or in a working capacity, worked closely with any ITSM experienced practitioners or consultants. Yet, here they are…ITIL Experts.

    In my own experience, having taken all the Lifecycle exams (and passed), I don’t think really it is all that difficult.

    The “expert” title you get at the end of it all is a bit much. Perhaps it should be something a bit less…lofty. I think doing something like PMI – where you also need documented proof of experience, and a test just to get the “Professional” certification would be better.

    In my opinion, “expert” shouldn’t be a title you get from a test – but something conferred from peers. Not all Medical Doctors are called experts and they go through a lot more effort and I wouldn’t doubt know a lot more about their field than the average person who is an “ITIL Expert.”