My Windows Phone Experiment Comes to an End

Today, I bury my Windows phone. I jumped on it when it launched. I wanted something new. Similar to when I jumped on the iPhone when it launched. Sadly, no matter how much I wanted Windows phone to succeed, it failed in the long run.

Today, I got an *gulp* Android phone. It was the last phone OS I had not jumped to yet. I figured it was time to give it a try.

Galaxy S8 64GB (Verizon)

I got my new Samsung Galaxy S8+ in Orchid Gray. It is slick. It is bright. And fast. All of which I noticed in the first few seconds of turning it on. My HTC M9 running 8.1 had some of the elements… once. But over time it has dulled and slowed. If HTC would have been willing to at least allowed the device to upgrade to Windows 10 mobile, I may have stuck with it longer. Alas, they failed to stay current. As consequence, I was left behind on an island. Like a manufacturing town where the primary business has left town and all that is left are the few operations struggling to stay afloat. A few once great businesses that are no longer receiving any investments or updates. Like a Kmart in Flint, Michigan.

kmart

I have tried to hold out as long as possible. Trying to remain loyal and proud of device that makes up less than 1% of the market share. I hoped. I was optimistic. I scouted the websites of https://www.windowscentral.com/ and https://www.thurrott.com/ and others regularly for some glimpse of hope. Maybe a spark of light far off in the future in the form of a rumor to entice me to stay a little longer. But no. Nothing coming from Microsoft that gave me any hope of hanging on.

If anything, the more I read, the more I got the impression that Microsoft too had given up on their experiment.  All the news from Microsoft was about their efforts on Android and iPhone. Even in those rare occasions where they did anything on Windows Mobile, it was not for my 8.1. The abandonment was tiresome. I was all out of hope. I was out of contact. My HTC was well past 2 and a half years. It was failing. The Camera would not load. The volume button frequently decided not to cooperate. The few apps I had were hit or miss. Oh, the apps…

The first time opening the Google Play store on my S8 was an overwhelming experience. There were apps for everything. When I did a search for an app… it was there! There were no sacrifices required. If I wanted it, it was there and more.  Not like the annoying situation of a conference I spoke at recently where the guide and everything else was only available on other mobile systems. I could not even see my session’s evaluations. And in one session, the presenter bragged about a service being available “on every device!” Yeah, just not Windows phone, Blackberry, or even my Amazon Fire tablet.

One of the first apps I downloaded was the Microsoft To-Do app [see my review]. I have found Wunderlist to be one of my favorite productivity apps/programs. Since the intent is to sunset Wunderlist in favor of To-Do, I figured it makes sense to only download one of the two. Trying my best not to be stuck on another obsolete island.

After 6 years, today I officially claim end to my Windows Phone experiment.

 

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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.

Conducting a class in DC next week

Balancing ITIL study prep for my ITIL Expert exam, securing jobs, and preparing to instruct PMP and ITIL classes next week, it has been a busy week. I do promise to publish more.  Especially on my attempts on the ITIL Expert exam (Managing Across the Lifecycle).

If you are in the DC area the week of April 5 and are interested in either a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam prep class or an ITIL Foundations prep class, send me an email: neal@theitilcrowd.com

Otherwise, look for another post soon.  Cheers!

Advice on Taking ITIL Intermediate Exams

Now having cleared all 5 ITIL® v. 3 Intermediate Exams on the Lifecycle Module path, I wish to share some of my suggestions on clearing them.

One suggestion I mentioned in an earlier blog post was to look to eliminate 1 answer choice off the top. There is one answer that serves as a distractor. Often, it sticks out. Find it. Get rid of it. The distractor may have it’s own direction or something the others don’t.

What I mean by “it’s own direction”, is for example: 3 answers may have a “negative” or all “positive” response. Say, “inform the CIO the suggestion cannot (can) work at the present time…”. Whereas, 1 answer has the opposite approach. That makes it stick out. That is the one you must remove. Granted, there are not many blatant examples such as this, nonetheless there are a few from time to time.

Frequently, the distractor has its own errors. Maybe terms/definitions wrong, off topic, repeats irrelevant material from scenario, or something you can -or should – spot as erroneous.

The other suggestion I have for you: READ THE QUESTION FIRST! It took me a few exams before I started doing this, and I wish someone told me to do this from the start. The scenarios are long. They have lots of information. Potentially, more information than you need. How do you know what is important and what is not? Exactly. You don’t. Unless you read the question first.

Some scenarios are written to be used multiple times for various questions. Each question seeks out different learning objectives from the same scenario. Worrying your little head about all the fine details unnecessarily clouds your mind. This is a timed exam. No reason to waste your time.

Scroll down to the question first. Don’t even start reading the scenario – you may not stop. Read the question – usually a line to a paragraph in length. Then read the entire scenario! Now you have a frame of reference. You know what they are seeking from you. You know which data points are important. You know what to look for.

Before, I would read a scenario slowly. Taking detailed notes. Making certain I had all the information comprehended. Only to read the question and discover some of the information was totally irrelevant. Sometimes all the scenario information was absolutely important. But a few times, I had to demonstrate in the answer is comprehension of a concept. Essentially able to answer without reading the story at all. The story helped put the question in perspective and give it “meat”. But not that crucial to answering the question. If you don’t read the question first, you do not know if the story and all its details are absolutely important, certain parts important, or very little of it.

That is my recommendation. Try it out on your practice exams first. It takes some behavioral change; but an easy one to make. It pays off in your ability to answer the exam questions and the time management. My later ITIL Intermediate exams I was finishing with 20 -30 minutes remaining. Earlier Intermediate exams I was taking them down to the wire.

I shall post more suggestions. More are being included in my ITIL v3 training courses and study book materials. Alas, I do not mind sharing some of my experiences for free.

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.

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.

When Taking an ITIL Intermediate Exam – get it down to 2

There are only 4 choices on your Intermediate exam. You know that one is the distractor. Find it first and eliminate it! Search for the one that does not belong. Either because it contains an error or sticks out from the others.

There is often a pattern with the four answer choices. Two answers – or possibly 3- typically have common threads. Material may be identical, with point here or there being different. When the question was authored, the correct answer may have a few of the points or words altered – turning it into the “mostly correct” answer. Consequently, if you notice that 2 or 3 answers have the same core response and one that goes on a whole new path, the one on the off path is most likely the distractor.

Doing this first step at least guarantees you a point. Scoring any distractors – worth 0 points – hurts your score hard. Getting rid of the answer that does not belong cleared out from the start makes it a “best out of three” chance. From here, you can start weeding thru the points that are good and picking the best of what remains.