Tuesday, 28 June 2011

ITIL 2011 Edition

As I write this the ITSM community is eagerly awaiting the release of  ITIL 2011 Edition due on 29th July.

Many of us have no real idea what to expect from it except the crumbs of information provided by the FAQ and the self-congratulating review page.  This is in stark contrast to the approach taken by ISACA who ensure that drafts receive a wide audience before publication, a point picked up on by several blogs.

As you would expect Rob England has a few thoughts on the subject, and so does my colleague  Stephen Mann from the ITSM Rest of the World Podcasts. Like most of us they have not seen any of the content, so their comments refer mostly to the process around the revision.

It seems like only five minutes ago that v3 was launched with much hoo-hah, but like Stephen I wonder what change it has really brought about at the coal face. Also like Stephen I have still to see what I consider an ITIL v3 implementation in the wild - I think his blog post accurately reflects the reality that many who claim to have moved on to a v3 paradigm are still struggling to effectively deliver in areas that date back to v1.

I can't help feeling cynical about the new edition. However it is being dressed up this new version has been required because there were major mistakes in the way v3.0 was delivered, such as a lack of consistency and accessibility. Hopefully those two issues will largely have been addressed in the new version, and if so it is to be welcomed.

So what are my concerns going forward? I have three major ones:

The first is that ITIL continues to lack a central set of principles and propositions to guide ITSM design and delivery. Until it does so it will remain, as Ian Clayton would put it, Inside-Out rather than Outside-In. If the only answer to "Why should we do it this way?" is "Because ITIL says so" then ITIL remains broken.

Secondly I'm concerned that the ITSM/ITIL industry will hype up the significance of the changes to promote yet more training and ancillary publications of dubious value.

Thirdly I suspect the world portrayed in the ITIL books will continue to be a long way removed from the reality that most of us recognise in our workplaces. When I look back to the v1 books - and I do - I find them grounded in real life as it then was.

In the run up to the launch I intend to cover all three of these points in more detail. You can also expect to hear them, and more, debated on the podcasts.


  1. Jim, well said. Some might think it's unlike me to miss an opportunity to 'bash ITIL', but they would be the same that missed my point first time around. ITIL V3 was rushed, incomplete, and an iconic representation of how many in It approach and deliver on projects. As a customer it failed me. Why? Because as you say it continued an insular, inside-out, and frankly stale approach.

    What we received was a flash of an outsourced ankle approach harking back to the 1980s and something that failed to position and prepare the ITSM professional community for the resurgence of cloud computing.

    Now we face ITSM going down with ITIL because our industry lashed it's boat to the ITIL mast. Cloud is a shout for help. Cloud needs service management methods -no it uses service management methods that are proven by non-IT use. What ITIL represents is a dated view authored by those who seldom have to make the sort of decisions facing their readers.

    Your reversal of the refresh language says it all. How can that project be regard as successful. What was the measure - number of certs or books - just about as useful as the number of incidents so often pushed.

    Our industry faces partial extinction, we are led by dinosaurs. We need a voice, a say. And the chance to lead. Who will give that to us. I now hear there are some in the ITSM alternate universe who plan to explain to the business c-levels what service excellence is all about and why ITSM has value.
    Well you had your chance and you flunked. I you want to speak excellence hang out with some of the businesses that ae renowned for it, Dillards, Nordstrom, Disney, Amazon...

  2. Sorry was using my iPad an noway to go back. My rant continues. ITSM is irrelevant. Who in their right mind would waste time trying to convince a c-level person in this economy of it's value. It's inside-out thinking. Who are twe in IT to think we know better than the business in how to deliver excellent service.
    Our job in IT is to realize our value is proportional to how we help our customers succeed. Our business is our customers success. Not running IT. If the business could flick a switch and get IT as a utility they would. ITSM promised to move the ball in that direction. ITSM should have anticipated cloud and prepared IT organizations to exploit it as a valid tactical innovation.

    Yet, thanks to the ITIL cottage industry we are now poorly prepared to the extent many are abandoning the original principles of ITSM, which was to apply service management principles to the challenges of IT.

    Time for another adult beverage...