Posted by: buzina | July 5, 2010

OGC/APMG open up the SW Assessment scheme – more bullshit?


Some may remember the reaction by many IT service management professionals to the OGC’s endorsement of Ken Turbitts the software assessment scheme announced by Ken Turbitt in March 2009.

One of the most hilarious parts of making a prescriptive set of tool requirements out of a set of non-prescriptive best practices was that the criteria of the assessment were kept a secret. So the only thing such a badge would tell a prospective buyer is: This company paid money to receive this badge of honour and they do have a few clients that are not afraid of publicly stating that they use this product.

Right now this has changed, since at least the mandatory part of the assessment scheme is publicly available at the itil-officialsite (Thanks again to the itskeptic for alerting me to it). It does not state if there are other criteria lists used, so I am going to assume that this is all there is.

I did not have time to scan through all of the 22 listed processes yet, but just reading the first (incident management, staggering 25 questions that need to be in the tool, automated & documented), gave me an urge to write this blog post. If this list is all there is to making a proper “ITIL-Tool”, than I wonder why the vendors charge so much for them.

Each criteria criterion is described in the fine detail of a maximum of 2 sentences or 3 bullets in a list, making the total list of requirements less than 2,5 pages long (changing the layout a bit would fit all on one single page). Questions like

Does the Incident record contain a field or fields to relate a CI record(s) to the Incident?

or

Does the Incident record contain a field or field(s) to assign an initial incident priority according to pre-established or manually overridden conditions? (CI type, Business Services impacted, level of service disruption, security breach, Service Request)?

do not provoke confidence about the quality of this assessment. It ommits a huge amount of requirements you would list for a tool to be usable and it also omits a huge amount of questions about following proper ITIL guidance (e.g. no mention of major incidents, of urgency and impact, recovery within incidents, links to problem- or change management and many other things).

Sorry, but I have to cry bullshit once again. Nobody in his right mind with at least a grain of experience in assessing software or implementing IT service management processes will ever use such a useless list of questions. So as expected in the previous series of this post, it is just a clever simple plot to wrangle some more cash out of the ITIL market without producing anything more substantial than 2 sheets of paper.

You may say that there is no real harm done, just a few bucks taken from the software vendors, so what? Next time I am sitting with a customer asking me why we need all this fuzz for implementing some simple processes that the tool he just purchased brings along out of the box, you ask me again. With this lousy scheme my customer can even say: Hey it has the formal approval of the “owners of ITIL”, so this must be the rigth way.

I will now go and “develop” my Excel based tool for accreditation, dirctly after a short period of proper mourning for the IT service management practice.


Responses

  1. […] OGC/APMG upon up the SW Assessment scheme – more bullshit? « Buz World on July 5, 2010 at 12:24 […]

  2. […] OGC/APMG upon up the SW Assessment scheme – more bullshit? « Buz World on July 5, 2010 at 12:24 […]

  3. […] OGC/APMG upon up the SW Assessment scheme – more bullshit? « Buz World on July 5, 2010 at 12:24 […]

  4. […] OGC/APMG upon up the SW Assessment scheme – more bullshit? « Buz World on July 5, 2010 at 12:24 […]

  5. The singular of ‘criteria’ is ‘criterion’.

    • I stand corrected. Additionally singular criterion describes this “catalogue” much better.

  6. It’s not Ken Turbitt’s Software Assessment Scheme. My company is just a Licensed Assessor. The scheme and criteria is fully owned, audited, approved by APMG on behalf of the OGC.

    One process can (and has) taken over 7hrs to be assessed, even with the limited questions you have access to. Remember it covers the Application, the User Documentation and the Process automation.

    I recall everyone tore apart PinkVerify when it was created, and 10yrs on it heavily used and requested. At least this one is OGC licensed and even Pink use it!

    Some positive ITSM news would be welcome sometime.

    • Thank you for your comment. I find it hard to be positive about opening up a criteria list that should have been open from the start.

      I also find it hard to be positive about a criteria list that claims to make a tool “ITIL v3 Compliant” that leaves out large chunks of ITIL v3 related requirements. Similarily seeing that the list omits any kind of usability, flexability or quality related requirements, makes it much worse.

      I recall everyone tore apart PinkVerify when it was created, and 10yrs on it heavily used and requested. At least this one is OGC licensed and even Pink use it!

      I do not find it positive that this one is OGC licensed. It does not make it better. When customers were evaluating SW only using Pink I could say: Yes, this is a start of a catalogue that this company set up, remember they made this catalogue to make money out of the SW vendors. With an OGC approved list I can not do the same (esp. since nowhere anybody states that this seal of approval is just a preliminary selection criteria).

      If you want to have positive news and/or positive feedback, you have to open up towards the community. I do engage in itSMF work (I lead a regional forum) and I do this in a positive, open and non-profit way.

      Btw. if it is not your scheme, than why was it, that you stated in your initial article on Business & Technology News

      Well it’s a new service Sharon Taylor and I will be offering to the market shortly.

      Maybe I should have also attributed Sharon Taylor, but I have not read anything regarding the scheme from her yet (probably I missed it).

  7. Currently Sharon and I co-own SMCG, which explains her involvement. Delivering a new service you have become licensed for, does not mean you own the service, it simply means you deliver one you are licensed to deliver!

    I always thought that choice is good in most markets and now Vendors and customers have a choice of PinkVerifed Products or OGC “Process Compliant Products”, or both! Who knows, maybe ISACA and ISO will join in and add yet more choice into the market.

    • Hi Ken,

      I will update the article to include Sharon (SMCG front page shows the video of you, so sorry if I jumped to a conclusion).

      Choice is good. So OGC & APMG did the right thing and published the criteria. This allowes customers to have a choice and the community to offer support of this choice (in my blog and others you can find information about the shortcomings of the criteria, in yours the will find praise. Your opinion on this may be influenced by the fact that you earn a living out of it).

      But what OGC & APMG & SMCG (so you and Sharon) did is not exactly pro-choice. Who decided that a SW assessment scheme was needed and who developed it? Who drove the tendering procedure? Who authored the catalogue – and who reviewed it?


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