Filming in Phoenix

Time for my closeup. Putting on makeup and teaching my course. All in front of a camera.
A little odd. But it gets easier. Although, my jokes fall even flatter when there is no one there to laugh at them.
I will let you know when the sessions are completed and posted.
Until then, enjoy the World Cup!

Checked Out GoGogh Yet?

If you have not checked out GoGogh.com yet, then you should give a look.

Unlimited web based IT training for under $400.  Heck, I spent over $2800 for one project management class.  Then found that GoGogh’s $400 rate gives me that project management class AND any other one I want to take.

When you are not worried about additional costs, I took advantage of the freedom to explore other topics and material.  I would never take a C# or Oracle training class, but when it is included for Free, doesn’t hurt my curiosity to take a look around – and yes, still not too interested in those topics.

I did find some topics that I was very interested in.  Take Six Sigma for one.  Not too technical; yet very worthwhile and with diverse applications.  And while I was on it I thought, why not learn about Software Quality Assurance?  So I did.  And it still did not cost me anything extra!

Granted, the downside of not paying per usage, there is a little less ‘buy-in’ from you as the learner – shall we say.  It was easier for me to jump around the topics and take on another topic when it got too far over my head or I just lost interest.  Not issue for the topics that did interest me.  More an issue with my motivation.  But at least I can go back anytime I want.

Having the options of study has been really powerful in my quest for new employment.  On top of obtaining my ITIL V3 certifications, I know that in today’s workforce, having a diverse set of skills is important.  Even if I don’t know them fully, having basic comprehension is key. Especially in the interview.  Speaking the terms.  Knowing the terms when they are spoken to you.  Priceless.  A few GoGogh lessons gave me a quick brush up on SharePoint and Six Sigma.  Paving the way for a smooth interview.

In any case, explore GoGogh.com for what is worth.  They do have an option for taking just one class.  That is $195.  Still dirt cheap.  But why not go with unlimited for $395?  As their catalog expands,  I am certain their prices will to.  Catch the wave as it is just taking off and you could save yourself a bundle.

Happy Learning!

Doing ITIL v3 Foundations in a Weekend

The ground level of the ITIL v3 certification schema is the Foundation.  Using the construction metaphor, it lays the base for everything else to build upon.  It has to cover the bottom of everything that is to be built upon it.  ITIL v3 Foundation is about breadth, not depth.

Ergo, obtaining ITIL v3 Foundation certification is all about knowing a little about a lot.

ITIL (IT Service Management) is a broad concept with far reaching implications.  Trying to master all its points and nuisances is difficult and ever expanding.  Not a weekend’s task.  Like any good management principle, there are always new things to learn, new ways to interpret, different ways to implement to differing situations, and of course, learning by doing.

Foundations is not expecting, nor should it, full and complete comprehension.  A holder of ITIL V3 Foundation certification should not be expected to implement, consult, or direct ITIL initiatives.  This holder does have an appreciation of the concepts and comprehends the same lexicon all ITIL users speak – regardless of location in the world.  To accomplish this level of understanding, an ITIL V3 Foundations seeker must gain enough knowledge of the universal terms and enough conceptualization of the basics principles, purposes, and processes of ITIL.  Something I feel can be accomplished in a weekend.

Heavy concentration on memorization and associations, with more holistic view of the interconnectedness of the ITIL processes and functions is suitable to claim the Foundations certificate.  A person with this level of knowledge and comprehension can contribute in an excellent support and operational perspective of ITIL – whether one process or a full out rollout.

The ITIL Crowd is offering a weekend preparation course for ITIL Foundations is the Los Angeles area.  We want to help more people the opportunity to learn the ways of ITIL and how it is useful in an IT Service organization.  We do not offer the exam.  But we can show you what you need to know.  Registration and more info at: http://itilla.eventbrite.com/

See you for a weekend?

ITIL and Employment

A question that always emerges is “Does ITIL v3 certification get me a job?”

That question is a familiar one for any certification.  My PMP questions ask the same question.  I am sure it is on the minds and tongues of all certification seekers.  Well, the simple answer is, “What else do you have to offer?”

Ok, I answered a question with a question.  But, if I asked you, “Does getting a University degree get me a job?”  Certainly depends.  Depends on who you know, what industry, where you apply, what skills you possess, and numerous other factors.  It can certainly open doors.

I had a student who took my ITIL class.  Passed the Foundation exam.  Got an interview with Hotwire that week.  Was hired the week after.  Can the ITIL certification take credit for the landing of the job – doubt it.  That would be a stretch.  Although, it may have opened the door.  May have been the piece to squeeze her resume thru the pipeline and into the shortlist.  From there, it was up to her.

One thing we can be certain: holding the certification proves she posses some understanding of the IT Service Management principles.  That comprehension of the basic terms, concepts, and purpose of ITIL is the general goal of the Foundation exam.  By passing that exam, it is verification that she meant at least those minimum standards.

Gaining certifications help prove you have the skills and knowledge base that particular certification exam is seeking to verify.  Not much differ than a university degree does.  If anything, it provides evidence that you are motivated to prove your competency in a standardized format.  Gaining certification requires seekers to go out on a limb.  They must prove that they have learned the skills; and more importantly – learned them in the research backed, correct way.

Certifications are not easy.  Although, on a resume, they are a quick check mark to show with certainty you have skills and/or knowledge.  Bullet points on a resume can be manipulated and reflect so many perspectives.  Certifications at the bare minimum give some standardized recognition.

So to answer your question, “Yes – to a point.”  Get a certification to back up your claims.  Then fulfill them.

New “The ITIL Crowd” website almost ready

The ITIL Crowd has many projects going on concurrently – beyond this beloved blog.  Beyond instructionally designing ITIL, PMP, BA, and general management or general interest courses, we are facilitating marketing plans.  One major piece is of course developing a website that fits our personality.

The site is not complete.  It is not yet live on own domain.  Nonetheless, we are excited to show off what we have accomplished thus far.  Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Link to the temporary FLASH based site: http://www.wix.com/theITILcrowd/theITILcrowd

What’s a fair price for a PMP or ITIL class?

Reading a new book by William Poundstone titled “Priceless” It is really a great read.  That is if you are interested in the psychology of pricing and spending.

This has made me ponder the true value of ITIL v3 and PMP certification classes, as well as the other general training courses I conduct.  I have conducted these certification courses in person (CBT), online instructor led sessions, and pre-recorded self-paced online courses.  Each time the price is/was different.  Same instructor.  Often times the same material.  Maybe a different delivery method.  Maybe a different location.  But same general content.  Yet different prices.

I have seen the full spectrum of training costs.  Some astronomical.  Reaching many thousands for a day or two.  There are PMP, PRINCE2, and ITIL classes out there selling for $3,500 for 4 days without batting an eyelash.  It must sell.  They hold the classes and don’t offer much in the form of discounts.  At least when I tried.

Then I have seen training classes for as little as $350.  That’s one less zero!  Pretty big jump.

Makes me wonder, is the $3,500 class 10x better than the cheap session?  I am certain there are levels of quality, organization, and intangibles between the offerings.  Ten times?!  Maybe not that drastic.

The format and presentation of the material is a definite distinguisher.  Alas, I have seen student course material from a $2,600 course that was nothing more than a binder with screenshots of the presenter’s powerpoint and a bunch of lines underneath.  And the Powerpoint were nothing more than bullet points!  Obviously – at least to me and others with instructional design educations – this was an ‘expert’ telling you whenever s/he knows and what is already covered in the books.  Sure, they add personal ‘war stories’, but is that worth extra $1,000?  It’s rhetorical; don’t answer that.  Just amazed that this form of “instruction” is so prevalent – especially in IT.

With so many options out there, it can definitely be overwhelming for those seeking a good training option.  Prices and options and offerings run the gamut.  The services revolve around the same general objective – to get you to pass a certification exam or learn something new.  Telling which one is better. Or which one best fits your needs.  Or most importantly, knowing the ‘value’ equals the ‘price’.  Not an easy task.

Judging by the decrease in many course offers over the recent years, the inflated prices at the top of the spectrum are becoming more reasonable.  Although, the ‘cheap’ options may be too cheap to successfully run a training operation.  Then again, it might be right-pricing the whole PMP, Prince2, ITIL, etc playground.

What I plan to try out for the ITIL Crowd is maybe opening the door for people to name their own price.  Making it a price that more closely matches the true value.  I will start this only for corporate clients for the moment. Got a budget or price in mind – run it past me: neal@theitilcrowd.com.  Name your price. You never know, the price may be right.

What are the most popular ITIL Intermediate exams?

The ITIL v3 certification structure does allow some flexibility in your pursuit of obtaining the ITIL Expert designation.  Not a perfect laid out option tree; but a few options nonetheless.

At the Intermediate level, you can take the Lifecycle Stream.  More focused on Managers.  Or you can go the Capabilities route.  More focused on Practitioners.  There are combinations where you could mix and match.  The numbers don’t add up as nicely.  But it is possible.

You gather 3 credits for each Lifecycle module.  4 for each Capability module.  Consequently, I was wondering what the more popular route was and what exams were the most taken.  My pokey research is limited.  What I gathered is unofficial – and possibly dated.

Preliminarily, it appears that the streams have a fairly balanced number.  This could be due to focused pathways or picking and choosing between the streams.

Not surprising, Service Operations (SO) is the most popular exam to take.  Service Operations is what most in IT are used to.  What they do daily.  Safe.  Familiar.  Which makes it the easiest.  Pair that with the next easiest  – in terms of familiarity – Operational Support and Analysis (OSA) – and you have knocked out 7 Intermediate credits.  Not a bad start.  Eight more to go.  You can go with 2 more Capability exams or 3 more Lifecycle exams.

The ones not really getting any love are Service Strategy (SS) and Continual Service Improvement (CSI) on the Lifecycle side; and Planning, Protection, and Optimization (PPO) on the Capability side.

Again, not surprising.  They are bigger picture.  More theoretical at points than the others.  Often not want many in the IT field do regularly.  Plus, they incorporate material and subject matter outside of daily IT operations – i.e. Quality Management and Marketing.

Curious what path you took.  Please share your thoughts, if you may.

ITIL v3 Expert – Wait Another Day

Went to take my final ITIL v3 certification exam today.  Unfortunately, I waited too long from the time the exam was arranged and when I finally got myself to the testing center.  Testing window expired.  Between tackling a couple weeks of instructing PMP classes, wearing makeup, and other work related activities, I did not get there in time.

Haha, seeing if you were paying attention.  Yes, you read that right.  I had to wear makeup!  Not something I do often. Nor do I plan to make it a regular work activity (not ruling out personal use, but a seemingly unlikely occurrence).  I had to wear a dab of makeup for a filming session this past week.  With the lights, cameras, and reflecting white skin – some of that shine had to be calmed down.  The application of makeup was the answer.

When the final production is edited and posted, I will direct you to it.  Filming yourself instructing a course is far different than presenting it live to an audience.  Being an energetic presenter, I am moving around the room and drawing on the board.  Can’t do that in a filming session.  Actions had to be dialed down.  Once I got accustomed to that – not forgetting to mention “talking to a camera” – things went pretty smoothly.  I may have another opportunity soon.  I am looking forward to it.  Not that acting is anywhere in my career horizons!

Anyway, life and work gets in the way.  My pursuit of finalizing my ITIL v3 Expert status waits another day.  Should be all ready to go next week.  May need to review my materials.  Maybe that it is a good thing.  Have not looked back over them in a few weeks.  Not that it changes.  Best to keep it fresh in the mind though.

PRINCE2, SCRUM, CPLP – certifications, oh my!

As a Project Management Professional – PMP® – I am curious about the other certifications for project management recognized worldwide.  I have gathered a few of the materials for PRINCE2 and CompTia Project+.  Both seem fairly close to the PMBOK® (which I was a contributor for) and the PMP Exam items.  Although, I am not too surprised, since they are all based on generally accepted practices.

Naturally in job searches and in presenting myself/courseware, the more verification via certification the better.  Although, I am pondering whether or not gathering more certification revolving around the same basic concept is worth pursuing.  Does more = better?  Diversity valued?  Overload?  Extensive  knowledge about all approaches better than one (or none) with track record of work experience?

I am leaning on the side of “knowledge is power”.  Although, this verification of knowledge is costly.  Counting the THOUSANDS of dollars spent on acquiring PMP and 6 ITIL certifications, do I really need to cough up more?  Haven’t I spent enough?

Yes, it is a costly game played.  Alas, so is formal education.  I certainly spent a great deal more in my undergraduate and Masters degrees.  I spent many more thousands just in my first quarter of my Doctoral work at Seattle Pacific University than I spent achieving various certifications.  Maybe that is something to be said for certifications – cheaper, faster, and often more relative.  Certainly more cost effective.  I enjoyed pursing my Doctorate.  But the sticker shock was too great.  No student loans.  No short term pay back period.  No reason for me to continue my formal studies.

Consequently, that brings me back to my original point – do I pile on the certifications?  Potentially adding the proverbial alphabet soup after my name.  Adding related certifications is a lot like learning a new language.  The first one is the most difficult.  The ensuing one gets assimilated  faster and with more ease.  And the pattern continues; save for occasionally interchanging a wrong term or syntax from time-to-time.

Once I claim my ITIL v3 Expert designation – as soon as I clear the MACL capstone exam – I plan to tackle more certs.  The practice CompTia Project+ exam I took was a breeze.  It was so similar to the PMP.  The PRINCE2 does not seem much of a stretch.  Especially considering the language comparisons with ITIL.  Add on the M_o_R – seemingly another reasonable certification with my production and research of Risk Management topics.  Hm, but where from there?  SCRUM?  CBAP? PMP-Risk? 6 Sigma? COBIT? MOF?  CPLP? Doesn’t matter.  There are certainly enough to keep me busy!  I’ll do my best to document my travels.

Have Course Published at GoGogh

Want to hear my voice?

What to learn something?

What to earn PDUs – if you are a PMP?

I have produced a course for the Training website: GoGogh.com

You can see my course and the others offered.  My bio and list of podcasts (Radio Shows) are listed too.  I have more courses and podcasts in the pipeline and should appear soon.

If you would like a discount on your GoGogh subscription, use the code: gogogh46

Off to Phoenix next week to film a course at their headquarters.  That one is on the PMP Exam prep.  Look for it soon!