Final Stab at CSI

I did it! I finally cleared all the ITIL® v. 3 Intermediate Lifecycle certification exams! CSI (Continual Service Improvement) was the one causing me headaches. Failed it before. But now have passed it with distinction. That would make all 5 certifications passed with distinction.

Now only Managing Across the Lifecycle exam remains. This is the capstone that pulls all the ITIL principles in place. Upon passing that exam, I will finally reach the designation of ITIL v. 3 Expert!

I’ll keep you posted.

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Reading Kotter’s Change Book

As noted in another post, I failed to clear the Continual Service Improvement -CSI- of the the ITIL v3 Intermediate certification exams. The only one remaining in my goal to clear all the Intermediate Lifecycle modules. All the others I have passed. Not only passed; but with distinction. Alas, for some strange reason this CSI exam eludes me.

Determined to pass this one soon, I am trying to find inexpensive ways to enhance my preparation. Very little resources are out there to prepare oneself for the CSI exam. I have taken multiple practice exams (oddly have passed each one on the first attempt) and have read the CSI core publication. I will read the core book a little more closely once again and take extensive notes. In the meantime, I thought I might complement my studies with a side book.

The CSI book stresses the 8 Steps to Transforming Your Organization theorized by John Kotter. Hence, I thought: let’s read it straight from the source. Grabbed a copy of Kotter’s “ground-breaking” book Our Iceberg is Melting Sadly, this has been the lamest professional book I have read since… Who Moved My Cheese. Maybe because they take the same lame ass way of presenting the data. And yet people eat this stuff up. I think it belittles people’s intelligence. I guess I might be in the minority when I think professional books should be… more professional?

Only 147 pages. With pictures. Then add ample white space . And 16 point FONT! I think the entire book is no longer than my entire blog.

What was most annoying, was the feeble attempts at using an analogy, but not sticking with it. He went from penguin actions to human actions. If you are going to use an analogy, then stay in the analogy. This book was so disconnected. Î guess I should not be too harsh. I am working on an ITIL v3 Foundation book using an analogy/story. I might have to take other’s criticism.

But it is a short read. Don’t waste any money buying it. You can finish before you leave the bookstore. Keep the change. The lesson on the ‘change’ is worthy. Knowing the 8 steps is good. At least for those considering sitting for the CSI certification exam. I have also produced a GoGogh podcast/radio show on the topic. I will link it once it is up.

I have also received the new book by Chip and Dan Heath entitled, Swith. The topic is also change management. I have higher hopes for this. I really enjoyed their last book, Made to Stick. I’ll give you my review once I am finished.

Until then, I need to re-read the CSI publication in preparation for my exam Monday.

I love the smell of exams in the morning!

Another sunny morning. Another ITIL Intermediate exam. This time – ITIL v3 Intermediate Service Design.

I mentioned in a earlier post that I was attempting the CSI first. The last time I took the CSI exam, there was an error. The accreditation organization was evaluating the prospect of giving me an adjustment – which would have changed my score to passing. Alas, that was not accepted.

In the meantime though, I thought it best to study and prepare for the only other exam waiting in my Lifecycle path at the Intermediate level: SD.

I was holding Service Design for last because I assumed it would be the most difficult. I assumed wrong. My more extensive background in management – most importantly project management – made this exam little more straight forward. At least more than the ST or CSI exams were.

This exam I finished in about an hour. One of the faster times in my experience. Only had one question that I battered back and forth for considerable time. In the end, I still could not come up with a favorite. Since I cannot pick two, I finally flipped a coin and went with it.

The moment you declare the exam over, it is a scary moment. Actually, it’s the seconds before. When you still are technically active and knowing that as soon as you hit that button your fate lies in the hand of the scoring process. And that result comes instantly. My suggestion, is to go thru each questions one more time. Make certain every question has been answered and everything looks in order. Not necessarily changing answers. But the satisfaction that I reviewed things one last time. I think it is more of cognitive closure than anything else.

My results from this morning’s ITIL v3 Intermediate Service Design certification exam was: PASSING – with distinction! Thus far, all my Intermediate exams have been Passing with distinction, save for that crummy CSI exam. I have a rematch with CSI scheduled for tomorrow.

The breakdown of my SD exam was: 85%
6 – Most correct answers
1 – Partially correct answer
1 – Least correct answer
0 – Distractors
Total points = 34

The smell of exams come again in the morning!

Another Go at CSI

Tomorrow, I retake my CSI Intermediate ITIL exam.  As posted earlier, my previous attempt missed by 1 point.  Time to give it another go.

Not certain what else I can do to prepare at this time.  My plan is strictly to re-read the core CSI publication once more.  Having taken the exam once already –  not to mention the other Lifecylce Modules: Service Operations (SO), Service Transition (ST), and Service Strategy (SS).  I am familiar with the question types.  Familiar with the topic.  Now it is making certain I align it with their thinking.

With luck, this time I will not have a repeated scenario with an unaligned question.

Taking the CSI Intermediate ITIL Exam: Take 1

Alright, got the disappointment off my chest.  Now to give you more beneficial feedback on taking the ITIL v3 Continual Service Improvement Exam.

Cold, rainy Seattle morning.  Time was set to take the CSI Exam at the local community college.  Don’t think I spent enough time preparing.  At least not like I prepared for the other exams.  Overconfidence – maybe.  Hell, I have already banged out 3 other ITIL Intermediate exams over the course of the last 3 weeks – how hard could it be?  Harder than I thought.

Continual Service Improvement intertwines with all the other core publications of ITIL.  It is the quality and betterment that drives the entire IT service lifecycle.  Although the shortest core publication; it is the farthest reaching.  Mainly due to the fact that it extends even beyond the core publication and the foundational knowledge found within the other core books.

I found this exam to pull from outside best practices and references more than the other exams.  CMMI, COBIT, ISO standards, Quality Management, PRINCE2 and other project management practices, etc seemed to seep in this exam.  They don’t inform you that you must be proficient in these other knowledge areas, but it definitely helps.

Many of the questions seemed to seek your ‘next best action’ or ‘best course of action’ or ‘where do you start’.  Subjectivity is nothing new to these exams.  It is only ‘best practices’ after all.  And it is whatever best practices or mode of action the authors of the exam feel it is best.  Granted, there is a lot of supporting evidence -primarily what is written in the official manuals – but everyone’s experiences and perspectives are different.  So take this as caution when you take the exam.  Understand what you think they want you to do.  Not necessarily what may be the case in your niche workplace.  They are looking for application to the scenario at hand.

My final word of advice would be to take this exam last, if you are pursuing the certifications on the Lifecycle Module path.  If you are mixing and matching between modules, just skip it

This post was originally entered on my previous blog.