Certifications, standards or just codswallop?

Recently, I attended a 1 day course on Information Technology Infrastructure Library or ITIL. It’s just an awareness course, so I only learned what it is, what it’s used for, why it should be used and so on. Basically ITIL is a set of best practices for doing IT work.

Truth be told, I didn’t want to attend the course. Due to management targets and budget considerations, I was “strongly encouraged” to attend the course (it is the end of the financial year…). Ah well, so I did. Man, did I have to rearrange my coding deadlines… One never knows how much 1 day of coding means, till one loses that 1 day…

Anyway, I learnt what ITIL is, and what the associated ISO 20000 is too. ITIL, as my instructor mentioned, is “documented common sense“. Also, an organisation (or process) can’t be certified in ITIL, as there might be some recommendations that conflict with each other within your business scope. An individual can be ITIL certified though.

Businesses can be ISO 20000 certified. The process of certification, as I understand it, is tedious. You need documentation of processes, and you need proof that you’ve been following the standards and your own documentation. And the first thought that came to my mind was Evidence Based Scheduling and FogBugz. I talked with the instructor and he agreed that, having a system that’s part of the workflow, and that it captures proof as it goes, is the best solution. And you need at least 3 months worth of proof.

I can see 2 benefits to certification. Boost in credibility (people trust companies with certifications?) and actual improvements in financial bottom lines (whether it’s cost savings or profit).

Frankly speaking, I don’t know why I’m attending the course. That I’ll push for a more structured IT environment back at work, following ITIL recommendations? That I can be part of the certification process team? I’m a messy person. What do they think I can do?

Ok, the course wasn’t a complete loss for me. At least I learnt about the certification process. Still, I keep wondering, could the entire thing be condensed into the Joel Test?

At the team I’m working at, we’d maybe pass 3 out of the 12 points on the check list. If we can’t pass that, we can’t pass ITIL, and we certainly can’t pass ISO 20000. I’m just saying…

[Vincent is currently preparing to go to the land of the rising sun, and hopefully see sakura blossoms. Comments and responses will be slower. I’ll be taking over for a while, and remember, I’m just a blog.]