Axelos empire building with ITIL 4

ITIL 4 book cover

February’s updates to ITIL, taking it from version 3 to version 4, strike me as largely cosmetic, and overly ambitious.

Although the diagrams have changed, the core ITIL processes haven’t, and the grab at incorporating agile methods, business process management, enterprise architecture, knowledge management, and security management strike me as overreach.

Each of those disciplines is a separate domain of professional practice in its own right.  While it’s certainly true that ITIL practitioners should know about these practices, it strikes me that Axelos is aiming at creating proprietary ownership for the subject matter and certification rights.

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There are NO certainties

INN500 – PRINCE2

WEEK TWO: Reading notes on situational leadership.

Thompson & Vecchio provide both the proof that management formulae are fallible, and that people will persist with a quest for certainty that appears to be promised by reductionist assumptions.

To propose a formulaic approach to management or leadership in the first place implies that individual judgement is somehow to be avoided or mistrusted. It is an idea that is vaguely distasteful for suggesting that human analysis, synthesis, and judgement can be replaced by a simple connect-the-dots formula, like cooking the crap that goes into McDonalds burgers.

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PM: theories of flexibilities

INN500 – PRINCE2

WEEK TWO: Reading notes on organisational and personal flexibility.

The Lee-Kelley reading required me to step back to consider again, and this time in more detail, the need to temper readings dated before the key events of 2001 (9/11) and 2007 (global financial crisis) with significant qualifiers.

Debunking neutrality

The key dates are for the origin of changes in attitudes towards more authoritarian structures in Western states, and for the unarguable proofs about the essentially hypocritical and corrupt nature or private organisations. Writing about management theory and practice in the public and private sectors after these dates as if these events had not transpired or altered known and significant dynamics of organisational practice is fantasy that should not be taken too seriously.

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Nulla ratio situalis

INN500 – PRINCE2

WEEK TWO: Reading notes on absurdity.

Confronted with Graeff’s (1997) barely readable critique of situational leadership theory, I can’t help but wonder at the utility of seriously pursuing any proposition that human abilities, aptitudes, and qualities can be reduced to quanta on a scale – curvilinear or not.

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Forward to the past with Bass on leadership

INN500 – PRINCE2

WEEK TWO: Reading notes on transformational leadership.

Not all academic papers lose value with age, but Bass (1990) on transformational leadership certainly has. Mostly because it would be hard to find anyone with eyes and ears these days who doesn’t know that a large component of contemporary business works on institutionalised dishonesty about ends, about care for employees, about paying taxes, and about exploitive practices. Maybe Bass genuinely didn’t know about these trends, which emerged in the 1980s with Thatcherism and Reaganomics, but it is now too late to pretend such things aren’t built into many organisations.

The same applies to public sector organisations, where the senior executives are demonstrably more interested in a career-neutral inertia than is necessary to allow less senior leaders to actually transform moribund structures.

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