About the ITIL Service Owner

There's a lot of rubbish on the Web about ITIL (not on this blog of course). Take Service Owner. Actually there's a lot of rubbish in ITIL about Service Owner, or rather a lot of ambiguity and not a little outright contradiction. So it's hard to blame other web authors. But really, look at this:

The Service Owner ...acts as the counterpart of the Service Level Manager when negotiating Operational Level Agreements (OLAs).
...Often, the Service Owner will lead a team of technical specialists or an internal support unit.
IT Process Maps (charge an eye-watering fee for their maps - you'd like to think they are accurate.)

...is responsible for all Service Level Management activities
...Assist with actions to negotiate, agree and maintain OLAs within ...IT support areas
ITSM Community (never an authorative source of anything)

Service owners do not represent the provider side of Service delivery, but are more aligned to the customer / business side of delivery... they work with the Relationship mangers [sic] to “expose” the services to business customers and help them choose the right level of service they want Infosys blog

They can't all be right.

What's that? What's wrong with ITIL's Service Owner? Riddle me this:

Are the ST and CSI "Service Owner" roles the same thing? The books don't cross-reference each other. So you have two definitions ST 6.1.2 and CSI 6.1.4. They're different. Take your pick.
Are the ST and CSI "Service Owner" roles meant to be the same thing as SS Product Manager? I don't think so....

At what point does the Service owner own the service? Some websites would have you believe s/he owns the design of the service. ITIL SD ain't sayin'. ITIL ST talks all about roles in transitioning a service without mentioning where the Service Owner comes in. ITIL CSI only talks as if the service has always been there and the Service Owner takes charge. Except that ST uses the mysterious word "initiation":
Responsible to the customer for the initiation, transition (into production) and ongoing maintenance and support of a particular service

Why does SD Appendix G (Example Service Catalogue) use the term Service Manager rather than Service Owner?


Why not use the same model as product producers?

Product and service companies have a long-term general model for organizing.

IT, ITIL, seems to want to do it's own thing. We're special.

Product Management is a fairly defined concept with fairly defined roles and responsibilities. I know of no reason that IT shouldn't use that model.

Any more than IT shouldn't use so many operating models from manufacturing, ship building, aircraft building, etc.

But, ITIL didn't.

There are existing ISO/ANSI standards for a great deal of the materials that have been included in ITIL (without mention of those standards). Some of it faithfully adapted, some not.

My personal favorite is the adoption of UCC and Contracts Restatement 2nd as the Quality standards, without attribution.

Perhaps there was not enough general guidance from the overall Product Manager - OCG and the Architect? Who knows?

Like all things, I'm sure it will be fixed in the next release... LOL...

Alas, some have come to view ITIL as the "all things to all people IT" good practice. It just keeps growing.

Cary King
Minerva Enterprises
Managing Partner

Get over IT! (Jeff Kaplan)

One of my all time favorite quotes, and a real eye opener at the time, from Jeff Kaplan's excellent Strategic IT Portfolio Management:

For some reason, senior leaders treat the IT department differently from every other department and then complain when it does not perform like the others. We have to stop treating IT and the IT discipline as if it were a different animal. It is not. Information technology is just like every other technology. The IT department is just like every other department (except that we have neglected its management practices). As you read this book, you will see that IT investment management has many parallels in other management disciplines. IT service development activities parallel those of commercial R&D organizations. IT service delivery and operations activities parallel those of corporate manufacturing and customer service departments. IT governance activities parallel corporate governance activities. IT is dynamic, but so are other disciplines, such as finance and logistics. IT is complex and uncertain, but no more complex or uncertain than engineering and demand forecasting. Get over IT! In concept, the fundamental management principles of all the disciplines are identical. We just need to do a little translation.

Charles T. Betz

It is not in the OGC Change control log

Good observation, Why haven't I noticed something that stupid. Just checked if it is in the official Change Control System and it is not there.

I'm more and more convinced that you should refer to FakeItil when thinking about uses for the V3 books. It is like the shiny newly painted house where the paint starts flaking. Wherever you probe, you find the wood is soft.


Because the roles in ITIL v3 are inconsistent?

Because noone bothered to make a proper model of the concepts that ITIL is representing? Because all the authors were busy cashing in the added value that being an author of ITIL v3 gave them in the market? Because still noone found all the errors, inconsistencies and contradictions that ITIL v3 contains?

I remember your role table (thanks by the way for that one) showed that the number of roles increased strongly between v2 and v3 and that still the roles given do not cover all of the responsibilities described in ITIL.

Maybe the real reason is, that people like us start to discuss a lot about such issues and this gives ITIL an additional marketing boost.

More reasoning:

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