IBM wrote ITIL. In fact Alasdair Meldrum did

Just when I say that all the hype is in CMDB and that ITIL in general is ticking along fairly soberly, along comes someone to prove me wrong. Two people actually: someone hyping their own significance; and what passes for a journalist on the web these days uncritically lapping it up.

I refer to a recent article Expert offers roadmap for the ITIL data center about how "Alasdair Meldrum ... literally wrote the book on the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)." The reaction from those I spoke to in the ITIL world was WTF* is Alistair Meldrum? Apparently

Alasdair Meldrum [is] European Program Director for the Uptime Institute and an independent consultant... Meldrum was manager of the U.K.-based team at IBM Global Services that wrote the ITIL framework for data center best practices. Almost 20 years ago, the U.K. government approached IBM for the best practices document and the rest is ITIL history.

While the significant input from IBM into ITIL Version 1 is generally acknowledged:

  • it is also established that "significant" does not mean they were anywhere near the sole contributor, though one might be led to think so at times. Given that there were 40 books in ITIL version 1, one might better focus on who didn't contribute.
  • it might come as a shock to all those who contributed to the original IBM material that there was only one author - their manager.
  • that was version 1 of ITIL, back in the mid 1980s with content that dated from even earlier. Back from when there were only "eight practices" apparently.
  • I have my own views on IBM's commitment to ITIL in the intervening years. Somewhere within the vast IBM empire I have no doubt the ITIL flame has been kept alive all these years. I am refering to the organisational focus, which until recently compares poorly with arch rival HP. Most vendors were absent through the early days of ITIL but most vendors aren't now loudly claiming paternity.
  • the OGC have made their own call on IBM's potential contribution to version 3: they didn't get picked as an author.

We can only hope this was a misquote like the unfortunate Malcolm Fry incident. Given the current state of web journalism it is all too possible. After all my years of criticising print journalists, I now realise they were not as bad as it can get. Also clear to me is the essential role that sub-editors perform.

Of course it could also be that Mr Stansberry is very clever and subtle, and has given Alasdair enough rope to hang himself. Maybe.

*WTF: Who The Heck


I'm just waiting for Al Gore

I'm just waiting for Al Gore to claim ITIl - or for these folks to claim they started the Internet - as far as I can see if the name is not in the book then they did not do it! I too was interviewed in reading UK by the poroject when at EDS for my views on SLM and Cost management - hmmmm hey - "I too wrote ITIL"!

Frankly - its not something I would like to claim given the condition of the version 1.0 books they were way behind what we were all doing to manage data centers at the time and have remained behind.....


The actual original delivery also involved Digital (remember them?). I was part of the original team (European Automated Operations Expertise Centre) who came up with many of the original concepts that are still in ITIL V3. use of the Deming cycle (We actually sued QFD as well, which is another Deming invention). I just did my V3 certification and I instantly recognised the concept of the process have inputs and outputs. Indeed, the original idea is that any process should have a useful out, or it wasn't worth doing. Also the idea of fixing processes before you automate. To give the polite version, "If you have a pile of dung and you automate it, all you have is automated dung"

The guys that came up with these ideas were Hari Singh, now retired, and Julian Tominey, who now works at Barclays Bank.

ITIL original authors

Did you also see this thread from some of the original authors and editors? i'm sure a lot of ideas from a lot of people were moving around what was a smaller community back then. thanks for bringing some more to our attention.

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