Owning ITIL® - a skeptical guide for decision makers

Right now Amazon.com are discounting the book to $27 - that's 20% off! - I have no control over how long they will do this for so don't miss it!
(Note: while you are there, Amazon will offer you a bundled package with another of my books, the satirically funny Introduction to Real ITSM.)

British readers may prefer to buy Owning ITIL® from amazon.co.uk for £25 and free delivery. See also Amazon.de, .jp etc

Now on Kindle!

This page is about the book Owning ITIL® written by the IT Skeptic (Rob England). The resource page for owners of the book is here.

Owning ITIL®

This book is essential reading for all decision makers (IT-literate or not) who are presented with an ITIL® proposal or who are asked to oversee an ITIL project, or who find something called “ITIL” or “Service Management” in their budget. It tells you what the ITIL industry won’t.

For everyone else involved in ITIL projects, this book is just as essential to help you through the ITIL minefield.

Every IT department in the world is at least pondering ITIL. As the ITIL projects proliferate, this book is for the executives who must fund them or manage them, and for those who ask those executives for money.

The book explains, in lay-manager’s terms, what ITIL is.
It reveals what ITIL is good for, what it is bad at, what to expect from it.
It describes how to ensure an ITIL project succeeds, what to look for in the business case, and how to measure the results.

It does these things in business terms, written by an independent and critical observer.

Read the book to get an understanding of ITIL and a context for the recommendations. Or just read the recommendations which have been picked out for your convenience. The busiest managers can use the checklists at the back as ITIL survival tools.


  • Executive Summary
  • About ITIL
  • What is ITIL
    • ITIL books
    • ITIL movement
    • ITIL industry
    • The ITIL hype
    • Service management
    • Alternatives to ITIL
    • The Future of ITIL
  • What to Watch Out For
    • Best practice as a given
    • ITIL the Cult
    • Because everyone else is
    • Don’t expect evidence
    • You don’t ‘do’ ITIL
    • Measuring ITIL with ITIL
    • If IT ain’t broke don’t fix it
    • CMDB can not be done
    • Vendor references
    • Compliance with other methodologies
    • The benefits of ITIL
    • Questionable business cases
    • ASP or ISP
  • What to Ask From ITIL
    • Cultural Change
    • Return on investment
    • Artefacts
    • Metrics
  • How to Succeed With ITIL
    • Don’t do it
    • Do it as a project
    • People Process Technology
    • Cultural Change (again)
    • Executive commitment
    • Resourcing
    • ITIL is an approach not a project
    • Integrate
    • ITIL2 vs. ITIL3
    • Do a Service Catalogue early
    • Restrain Configuration Management
  • Tools
    • They all work
    • Process drives requirements
    • ITIL compliance
    • Get tools services
    • What tools?
    • IT is a customer of IT
  • Conclusion
  • 14 questions to ask about an ITIL project proposal
  • 14 questions to check on progress of an ITIL project
  • 14 questions for a post-ITIL-implementation review
  • 14 questions for an ITIL environment health check
  • Index
The book is available NOW, from Amazon.com or from amazon.co.uk oder amazon.de

Also available on Kindle.

After you read it, please give me feedback

Owning ITIL was translated into Russian by Cleverics and may still be available from them.

What readers are saying

Score: 10 out of 10... This is a wonderfully irreverent, but totally authoritative, book... It is a slim manual that seeks to debunk the language and meaning of ITIL and relate it to the practical implementation of IT service management... It’s a gem of a book that offers a good perspective on what the ITIL v3 manuals take 5 volumes to cover. BCS (British Computer Society)

After reading it (twice), I realized what I had my hands on. This was a book for anyone just starting to research ITIL all the way to those of us who have been forced to drink the kool aid for a long time... I would highly recommend this book for EVERY IT and Management person today.
It's not about BEST PRACTICE, it's about REAL PRACTICE, and it gets NO MORE REAL than "Owning ITIL" Christopher Dancy

Wish I had this two years ago Twitter comment from a reader

Unbeatable. If you are interested in Service Management (if you are an IT professional, you should be), this book is a must. Enlightening, easy to read, loaded with experience and qualified opinions. The author puts the challenges, the hype, the misunderstandings and the real requirements on the table. You don't have to agree with the author in order to benefit (or enjoy) this book. Helge Skrivervik "Mellvik"

It was a great pleasure to translate Rob’s book. He proved again that ‘talking seriously’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘talking tediously’. And I’m sure that besides the pleasure the book brings real value from owning ITIL to a reader. Roman Jouravlev, translator of the Russian edition

If you are feeling a bit giddy from ITIL training and over-dosing on ITIL PowerPoint slide decks, Owning ITIL provides the perfect antidote that will not only bring your ITIL transformation project down to earth but also greatly increase its likelihood of success.
I view his opinions, tweets and books much like Edward de Bono’s Black hat; valued contributions to ensure arguments are balanced. It was also refreshing to read a book on ITIL with most of the jargon stripped away...
My only criticism of the book is a lack of feedback from his consulting clients or industry stories (even if only anecdotal) as a result of his suggestions. The author berates the ITSM industry for lack of tangible evidence of implementing ITIL and whilst there are over a hundred excellent recommendations in the book it would have been good to see some real life feedback...
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and believe it should be mandatory reading before anyone cuts a purchase order for new software. Martin Thompson - ITAM Review

The Pros: Very easy to read and not too long. The references to other literature will help me through the minefield of complimentary guidance/opinions etc. I came across plenty of things I've done (both right & wrong) and potential mistakes that I might be able to avoid moving forward at work. Sometimes I had a wry smile, other times I has an "oh crap, we did that" moment. Just enough humour, while not being condescending or insincere (or maybe I have a thick skin). Some of the book is ageless (not so) common sense and some of the book is very current. Some of the current stuff will become out of date soonish but that's OK.
The Cons: if it is read cover to cover, the first half of the book is a bit Michael Moore - Stupid White Men... pleading with the reader to stop reading because all of these ITIL folks are complete shysters. IMHO the book is written from a V2 perspective, which is ok as that is what most people will be trying to address over the next few years, but it does omit how to tackle the business service VS IT service debate (but does discuss that it needs to be had). Make the recommendations stand out more - they are (mostly) bloody outstanding.
So it was a few hours well spent reading this book. 4/5 stars.
Tom Rankin (email to the author)

The fundamental difference between the author's point of view and mine (reflected in this review) is that I don't see "ITIL... (becoming) something of a cult," or "a movement." I don't see ITIL becoming something it isn't. Quite simply, ITIL is documentation of good/best practice for IT. This doesn't lend itself to "cult" or anything else... Bottom line: The book author is The IT Skeptic. Read the book to understand a skeptical point of view. Don't accept it as your only guide to make competitive decisions to meet today's situations, challenges or demands. David Moskowitz

Well I enjoyed it. If I have an issue it is that the horizon between Rob's most skeptical moments and his most practical real world comments aren't clearly distinguished. I THINK I know him well enough to detect the irony, but I'm never sure....and I think I know when when he is making a point knowing that the ensuing argument will further our mutual general understanding. James Finister

Just finished reading "Owning ITIL", and thought it incredibly clarifying and brilliant in it's ability to cut to the quick. Thought it important enough to purchase 4 more copies for managers at our org to read. email to the author


Hello, Congratulations! Will


Congratulations! Will there be a digital version of the book for Adobe Digital users (like me) ?


Looking forward to reading it


I've enjoyed reading your work for a long time and I'm looking forward to this book.

It would be lovely if you offered your subscribers a discounted price if they ordered through your site, you being such a nice guy, and all. Not that it isn't worth the money (I purchased your other book). I'm writing a book, myself -- authors should get paid.
And supporters should be encouraged.



Discount: possible but there is a recession on - I gotta eat :)

Digital: maybe later. (a) I hate all the IP protection issues (b) it requires an entire reformatting of the book

Amazon uk

Will it be available from Amazon UK or do we have to pay the large overseas charge from the States to get this great and wonderful book?

Amazon competes with Amazon

it takes time to (unreliably) filter through to Amazon UK, sorry. Another month. Amazon USA and Amazon UK seem to be such separate companies that they almost compete. The book is published by Amazon USA and for sale on Amazon.com but that doesn't help with Amazon UK - they won't list it. I have to publish via their competitor Lulu to get it on the UK site. Extremely frustrating.

You don't need to know that - you just want the book. One option is to order from Lulu - shipping is less for European orders: they ship from UK and Spain. Inconvenient I know because you have to register with Lulu like you do with Amazon, and you can't combine books (unless of course you buy more of mine or the thousands of other books and videos and CDs on order at Lulu).

My apologies for the inconvenience.

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