MALC: Capstone? Or headstone for serial qualification hunters?

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:

UK IT Conference Season Starts With Service Desk & IT Support Show

Laura Venables "Our 2012 line-up of big name exhibitors and illustrious expert speakers has already generated a lot of positive feedback from pre-registered visitors"

Spring has sprung and the IT conference season engine for 2012 has officially started. Actually, Las Vegas and Orlando got going in January/February, but at least we’re civilised enough to wait until the clocks go forward before we dust off our conference venues.

April is special of course as this is the month that we see the Service Desk & IT Support Show return to London’s Earls Court from the 24-25 April, with over 80 suppliers demonstrating 250+ products and services.

This is the UK’s biggest showcase for the IT Service Management and IT support industry and this year the central exhibition will also benefit from a comprehensive two-day free education programme, which combines eight keynotes, 40 seminars, breakfast briefings and roundtable discussions.

New Faces

A full exhibitor list is available here. Looking over the attendees we can see that there are plenty of the “usual suspects” and that’s always a good thing. Even better is the news that there will also be nearly twenty completely new faces taking part this year.

New names at the show include:

“The support from the industry this year, as always, has been fantastic. Our 2012 line-up of big name exhibitors and illustrious expert speakers has already generated a lot of positive feedback from pre-registered visitors,” commented event manger Laura Venables. “I’ve been working on the show for five years now and it’s a testament to its continuing success that, with less than two weeks to go, we’re still getting significant exhibitor interest from some top ITSM providers.”

Further info:

Barclay Rae: The Service Desk Inspector

Barclay Rae, The Service Desk Inspector
Barclay Rae, The Service Desk Inspector

ITSM Industry stalwart Barclay Rae has been working with SDI to produce some short, digestible video clips sharing news, rants and opinion on all things service management.

Barclay’s latest feature is the “Service Desk Inspector” whereby Barclay visits real organizations and offers his advice:

“Programmes will follow real organizations as they work with our ‘inspector’ Barclay Rae – an experienced ITSM consultant – to tackle their biggest service delivery challenges and improve overall performance.”

UK readers of a certain age might remember ‘The Troubleshooter’ or similar fly-on-the-wall documentaries digging into business issues. Barclay  follows a similar theme and does a sterling job. It is great to see some real life ITSM coverage with all of the ITIL framework and IT geekery stripped away.  Kudos to Mirus IT Solutions for being so candid and opening their business kimono for the entire world to see.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Vendor Booths at Conferences Need a Shakedown

Vendor Booths at Conferences Need a Smack Down
Time for a new model?

I was lucky enough to attend the first day of the ITSMF conference in London yesterday. Having spent most of the day in the exhibitor lounge I can’t really comment on the speakers and content, but the whole event was very well organized and it seemed to have a great atmosphere, great networking and great people.

I have previously attended this event as a vendor so it was interesting to see the other side of the fence. Getting people to your stand is an age old problem but the disconnect between vendor booths and delegates seems to be getting worse, especially for tool vendors. This is not a criticism of the ITSMF conference per se, but conferences generally.

Exhibitor Booth – A Twenty-Year Old Concept?

The rest of vendor marketing seems to have moved along with the times with the introduction of email, web seminars and to a degree, social media. But with the exception of electronic swipers and polluting hashtag streams – has the conference vendor booth concept really progressed in twenty years?

The ITSMF team did a good job of delivering a compelling agenda with varied content and speakers. But most of the exhibitor lounge seemed to be disconnected from the delegates like awkward boys and girls at a teenage disco. We’re in the same room, we have shared interests but I’m not sure where to start…

In dating terms the current exhibitor booth model is like a nightclub – your luck in finding a suitable date is strongly dependent on serendipity; who is there at the time and who you happen to bump into. Whereas exhibitor booths should be closer to speed dating – aligning customers with problems with pain with solutions.

I don’t claim to have an answer for this issue, but one idea that springs to mind is breaking the traditional vendor hall into themes as chosen by delegates prior to the conference. So for example some key themes might be consumerization of IT, doing more with less / accountability and maturing your operation.

Exhibitors could populate ‘zones’ dedicated to certain subjects and delegates with an interest in that topic could immerse themselves in what the industry has to say, and offer. For exhibitors – If you don’t feel confident speaking about the key concerns of the industry – what are you doing at the conference?


I believe the disconnect can be boiled down to permission. The marketing guru Seth Godin refers to permission based marketing; the tectonic shift between outbound and inbound marketing. I strongly recommend Seth’s book for anyone trying to grapple with modern marketing, it is very readable and accessible (The much hyped clue-train manifesto remains half-read on my bookcase gathering dust next to ‘A brief history of time’).

Outbound marketing refers to ‘if you throw enough at the wall something will stick’; cold calls, leaflets, advertising. Inbound marketing refers to getting found by prospects and ‘earning their way in’ by providing value.

Let’s start a conversation based on something I know you are interested in, have a brief discussion, then we can both walk away from the show knowing we have something of interest to talk about in the future. I have your permission, a topic of conversation and a common interest. I don’t think swiping my badge in exchange for jelly beans whilst you tell me about your latest release constitutes value.

An intangible part of the conference process is networking, catching up with old colleague in the industry and having a bit of fun. Daft toys , in nothing else, are a bit of fun and good ice breaker. However if I were a marketing manager looking to justify my attendance at such a show it has to be based on hard economics.

These conference are important. Many people in the industry get great value from them. Exhibitor booths are an important part of the financial model of a conference – either the exhibitors need to up their game or the model has to change.

#Back2ITSM – 4 Reasons to Get Involved

Learning from others - where have they been, what did they find?

Forrester Analyst Stephen Mann is on a mission to progress the ITSM Industry by getting more industry stakeholders to share their experiences and give their peers a leg-up.

I’d like to share my views on this subject for the benefit of industry practitioners who perhaps, feel a bit uneasy about contributing in this way towards an industry.

Perhaps they might feel it is a huge time drain, perhaps they might be asking – “Why should I share my valuable experience, intellectual property, my crown jewels that I’ve worked hard to build – with others?”

With 400+ free to access ITAM articles available over on the sister site The ITAM Review I would like to think I ‘Do my bit’ in my own small way for that industry and I would like to share my experiences of this process. My hope is that other practitioners might see the benefits, pick up their pitchforks and also contribute towards Stephen’s #Back2ITSM campaign.

  1. Connect – Contributing has connected me with all sorts of people and opened all sorts of doors. I’ve received great value from this personally and professionally.
  2. Learn – I love to write. Every time I write I learn, this pushes me further ahead and opens up new opportunities. I appreciate that not everyone enjoys writing – pick your medium. Write, Tweet, Present, Video, Podcast, Networking. Choose a medium that works for you.
  3. Marketing – Let your expertise do the talking. People recognise your expertise which opens up new opportunities.
  4. A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships – Progress and development of an industry helps everyone.

My point is that although #Back2ITSM is an altruistic campaign, it can really benefit you personally and I urge you to chip-in where you can. If you don’t know where to start try this – ITSM Practitioner Health Check – to help assess where the Industry needs help.

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