Who Left ITIL in Charge of Legitimizing IT Practitioners?

There is an excellent blog post by Terry Doerscher over at planview.com that asks the question "Who Left ITIL in Charge of Legitimizing IT Practitioners?". It is a great read. So who did?


The Application Development Side of the IT Department

I just wanted to add my two cents to this interesting discussion.

For five years as an ITIL Consultant, one of my jobs was to do an assessment on IT Departments for some very big clients.

Assessing Release Management was sometimes a bit of a joke. Questions such as "do you know where you can find an authorized version of the latest software release?" seemed pretty basic. Most app dev folks would consistently give a puzzling look when I would say that the DSL actually looks for the software manuals as well as the physical CDs.....

Overall, in my experience I think ITIL has always been something that the operational side of the IT house wanted and needed.

I think we should all remember it is simply a framework and guidance. It will never be bang on prescriptive.....That's what keeps all us consultants in business.

I am interested to see in V3 if there is any need for ITIL on the APP DEV side. Something tells me their house is much more in order than the operational side simply because of the nature of their work.

Positive Handoff...

I came to ITIL/ITSM from the app dev world. From my experience, I found in each organization that I worked in, that there was a pretty adolescent view of proper controls that generally correlated to a low level of maturity.

In some cases this was purely process, in others it was more a matter of relevant experience. On more than one occasion, I had to build my portion of the release management because there wasn't a means in place to reliably repeat a build for a given version of software. In these cases, I directed that we create the full chain of dependencies, capture all of the associated artifacts and a complete a full environmental refesh and software build.

This (by necessity) included manuals, scripts, ISO images, software licenses, etc. In some cases, we physically scanned important pages of manuals, if there were concerns about the ability to replace the hard copy materials. In others, we just noted where the tangible artifacts would be stored.

I also used this for disaster recovery and business continuity purposes. I never wanted to be caught without a backup plan. Until this was successfully completed and I was assured that our results were repeatable, I would not authorize any software was allowed to be released to ops (and the field). It's amazing the things that you learn when you do this!

In each case, I (initially) took a significant amount of grief for it from my teams (and a number of others related to it), as the common opinion was that it was just make work or of no importance. It was, at least initially, a significant amount of work for seemingly little benefit... only because this wasn't defined or accomplished up front. Given it was my tail on the line, I was able to make the call and make it happen.

What the team learned from doing it made the team stronger and more capable. As a result, I never had a situation where I could not go back and properly support my users or ops teams. Even in a few cases where we had to go back over a year and several releases to track where an issue was introduced. We were able to do it because of the release discipline that I introduced.

Ensuring a positive handoff and bringing release discipline into the conversation is critical. You won't get that, if you're not properly managing the dev side and you don't address this from a lifecycle perspective. If the person responsible for service delivery isn't actively working to see that the app dev manager is on board with where you're (collectively) going, it's likely that you'll end up paying a very high price later. I firmly believe that service management can be the linkage between these two domains.

Does an app dev team need to adopt ITIL? I don't think so. If (as an organization) you're going to go the ITIL route, I think you'll need to build a level of awareness. If establishing this awareness does nothing more than open a discussion about where you're going together, it's already provided value. Getting people to really communicate *is* the (not so) secret ingredient that has it all work.


Not just IT service management practitioners

Heck, it's not just ITIL service management. With ITIL version 3 the three "architects" and eleven authors of ITIL set themselves up as experts to redefine quality management, security, asset management, and other functions.

Cary King
Minerva Enterprises
Managing Partner

really get laughed out of town

The one where we will really get laughed out of town is Application Management. Where is IT Operations' credibility in the App Dev space?

Once upon a time

Back when ITIL began it actually had a good chance of developing credibility in App Dev in the UK, after all back in 1990/91 when I first came into contatc with it CCTA was still hands on with both PROMPT/PRINCE and SSADM. Certainly when I was at the Civil Service College when we were developing and running the first ITIL courses in the UK the majority of the tutors came from the projects and system development world, along we me as the audit representative. At the time we probably saw ourselves as bringing civilisation to the heatherns in Ops.

It is possible to engage with Apps Dev in a very positive way as long as ITIL restricts itself to where it adds value. My practical experience has been that this includes:

Specification, clarification and review of NFRs.
Testing for service
Service transition
Pre implementtaion approval
Management during warranty/handover periods
Integration of Apps and Ops support.

ITIL's Greatest Hits Volume 3

I could not help but notice a few others....

Strategy - I don't believe the V3 portfolio is anywhere near the market space, as for value, my outcomes, utility and warranty - hhmm
Design - Its still active - check out last Friday's admission from APMG and the ITIL qualification Board as to the "Intermediate" credentials
Transition - Enuf said, it was rolled out (sorry - released and deployed), but only a few inner circle folks actually had the presentation deck and some of those rather over sold what we were to receive - you know who you are (governance best practice?)
Operations - I still don't know how to report an incident, check for a known error, and eliminate problems ONCE and FOR ALL!
Continual Service Improvement - I'll say but a few words - service improvement plan, performance measures, governance... and this is our only chance of avoiding another release of ITIL.... continual, gradual improvement.... where is the plan?

Service transition

Service transition was the wasted oppourtunity in ITIL 3. A lot has been going on in developing service transition in the real world (my experience suggests that financial services are particularly keen on it) yet the book ignored a lot of what organisations had found to work or not work in practice, whilst coming up with a solution that is not easy to translate into a real world organisational/functional structure.

Scorned lovers?

Can't help but ask. If ITIL is so flawed and despised, why do you focus so much on it? Reminds me of the scorned lover who can't talk about anything else.

For the good of the community? Sure.

Another "visitor" from outer space

Dear Anon,

Just so we are clear.

I have never had a love affair with ITIL. ITIL did not scorn me, nor do I despise ITIL.

I will admit I took ITIL on its very first US date (by commissioning the first Service Manager class). I will also admit to co-founding the US's ITIL fan club (in the form of the itSMF USA). I even invented and deployed its current dating network (in the form of the the "local interest group" concept), which now gives ITIL the chance to get a date in 40 or more US cities.....

Ok, another admission, I also took ITIL V3 on its first Mexican date (by running the ITIL Expert class there recently and getting all the 10 candidates, including myself, through at the first attempt).

To ensure you and our fellow readers understand my relationship past and present with ITIL, it has been akin to a marriage broker, and sometimes marriage counselor throughout these thirteen or so years. During this whole period I did not lay a hand on ITIL's person. I did write about some of ITIL's inner most secret infidelities in my 2005 expose "I Think Something's Missing from ITIL...?", but we never kissed. We have always been, and remain - "just good friends".



Like others, I comment so much on ITIL because it is the dominant force in the industry I choose to work in. It is flawed, both in its content and perhaps more importantly in its governance. As a major influence it must be held accountable for the impact, of all kinds, it has on me, my peers, and the industry. For the mostpart this has been very positive, largely through being a catalyst for debates such as those hosted by this website.

Discourse and debate is one way of providing CUSTOMER feedback. I would much prefer to submit my comments and suggestions to a public forum managed by the owners of ITIL but unfortunately they seem to discourage this, and we all lack an official channel. I feel I have earned some right to comment on ITIL's "utility" anyway. I hold almost every credential available today, STILL teach, and stand up in front of folks regularly to explain how to get full value out of any investment they may have, or plan to make in ITIL.

At least when I do say something I put my name on it to allow others to correct or support me.


The problem is ITIL's over-reaching, as illustrated in Terry's article (and the Linda Tucci story he cites). The age old question of professional IT credentialling is raised, with the implication being that ITIL will finally be the generally accepted mechanism for doing this. Eventually (so the coverage implies) the ITIL certifications will rise to a level demonstrating your competence to "design" (not run) systems for a large bank.

Any organized initiative positioning itself as a professional gatekeeper (i.e. credentialling body) of such scope should receive stringent scrutiny. As a member of the software engineering community familiar with the contentious IEEE/ACM debates on professional licensure & certification, I am skeptical of ITIL playing a role here. I don't think it has the positioning or credibility with the enterprise architecture or software engineering communities to do so.

Charles T. Betz

intellectual courage

I think there is cause to question Ian's motives but only if you want to descend to ad hominum attacks. How about you have the intellectual courage to take on his content instead of getting personal? I think Ian always has some valid points that deserve answering. I normally edit personal attacks but I know he's big enough to ignore you. Now put your money where your mouth is and show you know half as much about Service Management

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