Thursday, March 5, 2015

DIKW - A working example

"If it isn't being measured, it isn't being managed".

At my current place of employment we are establishing metrics, as none exist.  We have a couple systems that will provide us useful information:  an employee time recording system, a system to initiate a request for our services and a service desk system for capturing incidents, problems and requests (redundant, I know).

DATA -  Upon review of the time recording system, we discovered that many people are not using it and each team that does use it, uses it in a different way.  There is no consistent data available.

Realizing that bad data is worse than no data, we created a Standard Operating Procedure for entering data and trained all the teams on how to do it correctly.

So now we have three solid databases for use in the Data portion of DIKW.

INFORMATION - data sitting in a database isn't much use to anybody.  So we've established a list of which data elements will provide management value.

Our next step was to create infographics (high level) and reports (detail level) to distribute on a weekly basis so management can "see" what is happening.

KNOWLEDGE - getting the INFORMATION to management enables them to make (hopefully) intelligent decisions and take action on where problem areas are.

If time reporting shows an inordinate amount of time spent on "administrative tasks" instead of project work, a manager now has the KNOWLEDGE required to coach the employee into providing more value to the organization.

WISDOM  - repeated KNOWLEDGE-based actions eventually will allow managers to realize longer term strategies based on what has been going on.  The manager will also learn to identify consequences of the actions over time.

Using the "administrative" time reporting example above, perhaps a manager will require more project work.  Ok,  a reasonable expectation, but if the employee isn't assigned an adequate number of projects, they may incorrectly overstate hours reporting on projects.

Obviously, this doesn't do anyone any good.

With WISDOM, a manager may sit down with the employee and evaluate how many projects an employee has been assigned to, how many hours are required and add additional work to fulfill capacity.

This provides a better chance for success for the manager, the employee and the entire team.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More study guides

One from the University of North Carolina [here]

Another from itSMF International [here]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Online Study Guide

I just came across a new 21 page online study guide / outline.

Although this is a sample only, it has some useful information.

It's from Thought Rock and you can access it [here]

Friday, December 17, 2010

ITIL Certification Popularity

In an article from IT Business edge titled "IT Certifications Around the World — Differences in Numbers and Popularity" ITIL Certification was listed as one of the top eight certifications identified.

The article (slideshow) indicated ITIL has wide acceptance in Europe and Canada.

The author advises you to "open your global mind" when seeking out your next certification.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Exam Strategy: Exam Tips

It's been a while since I've posted.

My goodness. A looooooong while.

Exin, one of the exam administrators posted a list of exam tips.

These would be valid for almost any certification exam.

You can see them here:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Post Exam Thoughts

Some thoughts a couple weeks after passing the exam ...

1) My opinion is that the exam is not that difficult. However, I have to mention that I have worked in the IT Service industry for probably 20 years. I've seen a lot of these items and they just made sense. The PMP and CSQE exams also helped to a minor degree as there was some overlap - not a lot, but some. I would think that most people, spending 4-8 hours per week on self-study (no classes or training) should be able to pass this in 1-2 months.

2) I felt pretty comfortable going into the exam. When I took the PMP, CSQE and Novell's CNA exams, I didn't think I would pass any of those although I did pass them all. Perhaps it was the confidence I received in getting through Brainbench earlier. Perhaps I'm just getting used to taking certification exams.

3) I really liked taking the Brainbench exam as a preliminary step. In addition to "priming" me for the exam, it identified a couple weak areas for me to look at.

Scoring 76.6% on the Brainbench exam equated to 70% on the ITIL exam. Purely unscientific mathematical analysis would therefore state that the minimum Brainbench score should be 3.26 to pass the ITIL exam at 60%. This is not a hard-and-fast rule or an absolute rule to succeed, but merely the correlation I had. One sample is not enough data, but it may give you a general idea on where you need to be.

4) Most of the exam questions related to where items fit into the ITIL processes. I didn't necessarily memorize these as much as I tried to understand and make logical sense of the processes. SD has a couple seemingly out of place processes, but the rest fall in line. You should also be sure to understand Deming's PDCA cycle, RACI and ITIL's DIKW information categories. That's Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Responsible-Accountable-Consulted-Informed (RACI) and Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom (DIKW).

5) I retook the free online Taruu exam a few days before the ITIL exam and once again scored 26/40 for 65%. I'm providing this as a baseline, not an absolute formula for success. On this sample exam, I felt that there were many questions with two right answers.

6) I've posted a number of times over the past 15 months that I was going to register for the exam. It wasn't until I finally registered that I re-focused my studies and got the job done. Having an actual target date was a big motivator and led me to conclude this effort. You can see that I've dropped out of studying for months at a time.

7) I tried getting a study partner to go through this with, but she dropped out after a couple weeks. Maybe next time I'll try to find 2-3 study partners.

8) I received my certificate in the mail a couple days ago. My mail person semi-folded it to get it into the mailbox and the lapel pin distressed the actual certificate as well. It's not too bad, just a bit "distressed". I scanned a copy so I'll always have a backup. Within one week of passing, I also updated my resume, sent an updated copy of my resume to my employer and updated my resume on

9) It would have been nice to have been able to talk to somebody about the exam, but I don't know anyone that's ITIL certified. I guess I could have contacted somebody on the LinkedIn or Google forums. Thinking back, I probably should have done this. Hopefully this blog will help to fill the void for some of you guys ...

I don't know if I'll pursue additional ITIL certifications in the future. I don't have any problems with it, I just may want to branch out a bit more. I've mentioned on my CSQE blog that I wanted to look at some technical certifications like Linux or Web. Maybe even security. Security knowledge would never hurt you. I will not invest time in Microsoft certifications as they are rendered useless every 3 years or so. That much I know for sure.

On the other hand, I'm starting to consider the possibility of having too many certifications. A lot of certs will make it look like that's all you do. There shouldn't be any issues in certain industries like education, healthcare and pharmaceuticals where certs are required to show competency. It seems to me that if hiring managers have the certifications themselves, then they tend to value them. Same story with a masters degree for IT people - if the hiring managers have them, then they are valuable, if not, then they really don't matter. I think I'll touch base with a couple Human Resources folks that I know to get their opinions on this.

If I come across any good ITIL-related information, I'll add some new posts in the future. I'll also add a link to the next cert I pursue ...

Good luck in your pursuit of ITIL Foundations. I hope this blog provided some value.

-- Dan

Friday, January 8, 2010

Exam - Mission Accomplished.

I took and passed the exam this morning.

I arrived about 40 minutes early before my scheduled time. They took me right at that time and, after validating my 2 pieces of ID, allowed me to take the exam.

I was given a mylar sheet for notes and an erasable marker and that was it. This allows you to do a "brain dump" when you start the exam. No cell phones or electronic devices allowed in the room. You don't need to bring any pencil or paper.

There is 1 hour and 15 minutes allowed to complete the 40 question exam and I finished in 32 minutes. There is a timer on the top of the screen showing you which question you are on and how much time is left on the exam.

The exam allows you to mark questions for follow-up. When I finished all the questions, a summary page came up showing me which questions I marked and which ones I didn't answer. I marked about 7-8 for follow-up because in the second pass many questions somehow become clearer.

There were many questions on where each process or activity fits within the core processes.

I felt that the book I used to study with [here] was not too beneficial to me personally. I would recommend another source of study material.

My score was 70 and 65 was needed to pass. I should have taken this a year ago when I was studying harder. After almost a year off, I studied for the past 1.5 - 2 weeks.

Well, on to the next cert.