Time flies in the ITIL world

Victims of time and hope for the future

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Today's Paradigm for IT Support

 Time creeps up on you doesn’t it? I spent many years introducing this new idea called ITIL to people, and then one day it became the established norm and we were all grown up and mature. Sometimes the leap from sleep to enthusiasm on a working morning takes longer than it used to.

Before I turn to musings on time and ITSM I need to acknowledge a more human loss that time has inflicted on us. ITIL and the ITSM community that grew around it have been here a long time, and longevity of any group has its cost. Sadly today, as I write this, one of those costs is fresh in my mind and in the mind of everyone in our little world as I learned of Ashley Hanna’s passing

Farewell to Friends

One of the joys of being in a fresh initiative like ITIL was is that we are all relatively young and keen and able to plan and build for the future. Our little community has been lucky, but more and more now, as age overtakes us we will lose people. Over the last 20 years such losses have been very few, I recall Roger Glazebrook of IBM and Pink and the tragically untimely loss of Michiel Bonn at 29 before he could realise his potential; which is why you probably never heard of him but take it from me, we were robbed of so much good input that would have come.

But this year has taken two true gentlemen from our midst: Hon P Suen (HP rather than Hon to those of who knew him from the early days) and now Ashley. Both were people you might disagree with but could never dislike, both contributed lots to the progress and to the humanity of our industry. The content created by both will survive a while yet and remind us of them. Those reminders will surely trigger more affectionate reminders of that humanity they gave freely.

High expectations come from previous success

Of course, people are not the only victim of time, and nowadays in the IT business we see fashions and innovations going stale at a rate never even dreamed off before. Service management basics remain but the way they are sought and satisfied changes. The software requirements I first pulled together as my very first task in ITIL, back in 1989 would look childish and naive now. At the time they seemed like flights of unachievable fantasy. The level of expectation we now have is a good indication of the progress made in ITSM. Of course the customers rightly still want more, but we should be proud of that, because those increased expectations are based totally upon previous successes.

I am writing this while at a conference in Brasil, I did my talk this morning on ITIL history and potential – a subject made bittersweet by hearing the news about Ashley as I logged onto facebook after my talk. But time delivers as well as taking away. I spent much of the rest of the day talking with keen young professionals with good ideas who want to contribute to our industry. The next generation is ready and willing to take things forward. That might mean some reluctant ‘letting go’ from some of us old guard, but I heard a lot of sense coming from young minds. Things are different than my day, with bright 30-somethings rich in qualifications and having sought out a wider range of experience than I would have done at that age. I ended the day with a 27 year old ITIL expert, Cobit qualified, certified project manager who asked my advice about his imminent ITIL masters submission.

Thanks for leading the way

Life gives and it takes away, but as well as remembering the past, how we got here and the friends made and lost on the way – let us also look with confidence to the future and how we can use the time left to help the next generation take over the baton. We owe that to HP and Ashley who helped a lot of people and showed us how.

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In 23 years working for the UK government, Ivor Macfarlane moved from forestry to ITSM via prison, stores and training. He has worked as a Service Management trainer, consultant and writer since going freelance in 1999 and then after a 7 year spell with IBM he is now independent again working through MacfPartners to deliver training and consultancy to customers. He was an author for ITIL (versions 1,2 & 3), ISO20000 and ITSM library and an ITIL examiner since 1991. He is well known at ITSM events having presented at many around the world (39 countries so far) and is an active contributor to social media.