No guru, no method, no teacher€¦.. no job

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One surprising consequence of the launch of the latest version of ITIL is that it has pitched ComputerworldUK against its sister site Techworld.

Dave Cartwright, Techworld’s technical editor, has written a fantastic rant about ITIL, Why I bloody hate formal methodologies”.

It is not just ITIL that gets it. Dave’s second barrel is aimed fair and square at Prince 2. Instead of project management methodology, Dave suggests CBS: common bloody sense.

Amusing though he may be, Dave is plain wrong. No guru, no method, no teacher was the title of a so-so album by Van Morrison from 1986. I could never work out whether it was about an escape from religion or a call to step into the mystic – albeit one of Van Morrison’s own devising.

The trouble with Dave’s position is that it is a cry for the mystic to hold sway in IT.

Leave aside the guru bit – I’ve always been wary of anyone setting themselves up as a guru and even more wary of those who need them. Think about method and teachers.

Nothing is more methodical than IT. Programming is methodical and so should be installing a system.

What ITIL, Prince and the like are really about is applying methodology to delivering business systems – specifying the requirements, building something end users want, controlling cost etc. This can’t be done through common sense alone – though it can’t be done without it.

Think about teachers. Dave has had plenty, I am sure. I am also sure that in his career as an IT manager, CTO and consultant, he has been an invaluable teacher, but you can’t teach without analysis and methodology.

One thing Dave is right about, though, is that those who don’t get on board the ITIL bandwagon “will miss out on the jobs”.

Look at where the industry is going. Look at the new-found enthusiasm for methodologies. Look at the proliferation of business process management products.

None of this is the result of a conspiracy against highly skilled, if maverick IT managers. It is because everyone knows something had better change. The scale of project failure and IT waste is so high.

No guru, no method, no teacher …. No job. You know it is right.

Catch up on all of the implications of ITIL v3. Tune in to a special webcast on 4 June and hear a panel of experts discuss the release.

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