Looking through a Trollian prism

Note. I have no intention of offending any of the honourable Fellows or anybody else. I will appreciate any comments leading to clarification and removing the impression expressed in this column.

It looks like those who have been in ITSM for years and made it their core competence are in a great need of someone or something to advantageously compare with.

…Let’s suppose I spent 10+ years of my life doing ITSM here in Russia – promoting the idea in the unfriendly atmosphere of local IT market, translating books, founding local chapters of itSMF, ISACA etc… On the way I obtained Service Manager certification, some Practitioners, upgraded them to v3 Expert and Intermediates and so on. Now I’m a distinguished professional, ITSM Godfather and nearly one of those who have seen Lenin alive. I have even outgrown the service management. Now I talk about governance and e-sourcing at the conferences and look at all that ITSM life through the magic prism of my self-assurance and experience.

It seems a threat is arising at the horizon. It's name is the young generation. Every young geek may just spend a considerable amount of money studying ITIL and certifying his knowledge (here in Russia it would cost you about 6.000 euro net – trainings and exams, assuming that your time is free and the books have been presented to you by a friend), so now he is a certified ITIL Expert and feels really, really cool.

And no one can tell his blue pin from mine. No one realizes that he got his pin by dumping his brain with ITIL books while mine is a sign of ages of experience. (Frankly, no one can even tell lilac pin from blue, but that’s not what I’m concerned with). And ITIL Master certification seems to fade away from reality.

Moreover, ITSM is now studied in universities and very soon it will evolve from mystery knowledge to a common practice and my authentic experience in establishing service desks won’t be demanded anymore.
Nothing to be afraid of – if I am still able to develop and grow my expertise.

But - hush! – I’m not.


They need something to differentiate them from the fellows. To be more correct, they need something to differentiate them as the Fellows. And they invent The Great Fellowship of the Prism.

The idea itself could be great: to create a universal register of different certifications, experience and achievements. It could serve as a base for benchmarking, stop stupid competition between different qualification schemes, stimulate participation in the community and – as a side-effect – differentiate the old guardians from well-educated youths. It could.

Being established by itSMF International, it could become an authoritative independent recognition program uniting various schools of service management and doing honour to Jan van Bon, Rob England and David Cannon for different, but equally important deeds. And even the above-described fictional person could get his piece of glory and differentiation and become an ITSM Prophet Honoris Causa.

So it could be a great thing. If only this fellowship hadn’t been established in USA despite their formally international cover. It is available in all Americas and EMEA and coming to Asia Pacific soon but, as far as I managed to find out, any tangible benefits one can get from the membership derive from itSMF USA and are quite vague for a potential member outside US. Except the title itself and accompanying signs of honour: a pin, a certificate and a logo which may be printed on a business card. But these artefacts themselves don’t seem to be a fair return on one’s five hundred dollars required to get certified for, say, DPSM (distinguished professional). Annual renewal costs $300 for the same rank. Of course it is much cheaper to get certified as Associate or Student, with equally unknown signs of honour and no other forms of added value as well.

I repeat: If you have a bulk of ITSM related certificates and other evidences of your professionalism you may collect them together, send copies to the Fellowship of the Prism accompanied with a bulk of money and after 10 weeks audit of what you’ve sent they will provide you with one more paper and one more pin.

Now I’ll tell you what that fictional guy would do in his fictional world instead of sending his real money to USA. He would establish his own local Prism. He would be nominated by the other old guardians to be The Very First Master of the Fellowship or The Lord of the Prism or The Partner of Honour or whatever he likes and start selling his own cardboard orders. Say, 5000 roubles per one, itSMF membership required.

Personally, I find this scenario to be very sad although quite realistic. Like The Ring in the novel, The Prism could serve for unification but being used for mercenary ends would further divide us.



Only registered users can download the attachments of this page.
Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (6 votes)

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <br><p>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.