ITIL

The IT Infrastructure Library

Many ITIL projects are overcapitalised renovations

I have been discussing ITIL ROI with the Spanish ITIL community, via Antonio Valle's blog with the magnificent name "Gobierno de las TIC. Conocimiento Adquirido". I was asked the question “How is the relationship between an architectural project and a house?”.

Unless one is setting up a data centre from scratch, I don't think the architect analogy fits. An ITIL adoption is usually more like renovations.

If IT ain’t broke don’t fix it.

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Perhaps the saddest sight in the ITIL world is organisations that adopt ITIL processes when the old ones were working OK. Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen.

The Emperor has no clothes. Where is the evidence for ITIL?

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Since this is a skeptical blog, it is high time we examined the evidence. Where is the evidence for the benefits of ITIL? There isn’t any. Not the kind of hard empirical evidence that would stand up in, say, clinical trials. There is more evidence for quack alternative medicines than there is for ITIL.

The march of ITIL zealots

Today let's look closer at the recent survey I quoted previously. We will discuss the lack of decent empirical evidence for ITIL in a subsequent blog. Vendor surveys are a poor substitute (I know, I worked for one), but when they are all we have then we should at least listen to them.

Sadly I don't think I can include Evergreen in my Circle of ITIL Skeptics, but they undoubtedly take a mature and rational approach to ITIL:

Which industry standards are relevant to my organization and which are redundant?
How do I get started?

ITIL the cult

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We have seen that the ITIL movement has distinct overtones of a fad. What about a cult? A group that defines its own measure of good and bad by comparing against its own internal reference books then declares that those books hold the key to getting from bad to good sounds mighty like a cult to me.

A colleague gave me a model that I shall call the Skeptical Maturity Model for Technology Adoption. It has four phases

Is ITIL Best Practice?

“Best” is a brave word. “Best” leads with the chin.

The following is reprinted with permission. [Update: This post dates from when the IT Skeptic was anonymous. The IT Skeptic asked Rob England for permission to reprint the article and Rob kindly agreed. Since they are both me, the conversation was held in my head.]

Why chase Best Practice?

I worked with a number of clients in a previous vendor life who were struggling to “do ITIL” because they felt (or had been told) they had to. There was little or no funding, often no project. And why?

ITIL the fad

One of the big dangers ITIL faces is being taken for a fad due to the wild enthusiasms it is generating. OK the word “wild” hardly applies to service management professionals but you know what I mean. Hopefully forums like this one can restore some decorum.

Service Management is real

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the Y2K spending overhang drove new attitudes to transparency and justification. This led to new techniques (or rather new adoption of established techniques) for business alignment: service management.

Fads in IT

The IT industry is certainly prone to its fads. This is a reflection of the immaturity of the whole industry (as compared to say most branches of engineering. You don’t see civil engineers coming up with cool new ways to build bridges every few years, especially not cool new ways that turn out to be more expensive and less safe than traditional techniques).

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