ITIL v3 closer to the real world? No way

I enjoyed a recent blog post ITIL® v3 One Year On from John Griffiths at Fox IT, except for one point. ITIL v3 closer to the real world? No way.

I agree with just about everything John says

Version 3 has given managers and practitioners of Service Management a lot more to consider...The Service Strategy book is likely to be a ’slow burn’ where the value and relevance of it will take a little while ...Once they have arrived at the base camp by successfully completing the foundation course, the view up the mountain shows the summit to be somewhat higher than it used to be...

but there is one point where I utterly disagree

There is also a consensus that the ’ideal world’ of ITIL has been repositioned closer to the ’real world’ into which people have to implement

On the contrary I think ITIL has become more idealised. More consistent, more complete, broader, more ambitious, more idealogically correct, yes. But closer to the real world? No way. The red and blue books of ITIL V2 were the cut-the-crap, get-to-the-nub-of-it, useful pragmatic ITIL. Service Strategy won't be the real world for years to come. Parts of ITIL V3 are off in la-la-land.

Shameless plug here: wait until you see what the IT Skeptic thinks is real world ITSM.


ITIL and the real world

Hi there, its the original author responding to the IT skeptics comments. First of all, thanks for making me aware that you exist! I'm signing up.

The gap between ITIL and the real world has always been pretty broad, but the point I was trying to get across in my original article was the fact that in pre v3 ITIL it sold itself as the only game in town. At least under v3 it acknowledges the existance of things like COBIT, CMMI and Six Sigma. Again whether these are seen as useful additions is another debate altogether. By coming down a little off its pedestal I think ITIL can claim to be a little more real world.

Let the debate continue..........

ITIL gives one patronising nod to the other systems

Acknowledging the existence of something is a long way from playing nicely with it. ITIL gives one patronising nod to the other systems, then proceeds to totally ignore them in the detail.

  • ITIL and ISO20000 use differing terminology and differing processes
  • ITIL CSI 7-step is not even a process and not even consistent within itself which is why it bears no resemblance to any other pre-existing CSI process out there
  • COBIT and ITIL are closely correlated (except that COBIT points up some embarassing white space in ITIL) but ITIL makes no attempt to index that correlation


ITIL goes its own stubborn weay and cheerfully reinvents the wheel

Yes, but...

If I ever emulate the Skep and write a book or screenplay about ITIL ("What is it Skeppie, is something basically wrong with the precepts ITIL is based on, and is Sharon Taylor stuck down a mind* shaft of her own making? Oh well, lets throw another roo steak on the barbie**. Oh sorry Skippy, was that your Shelia?") I think "Yes But" would be a good title. I think in this case it would be "Yes" ITIL recognises there is other guidance out there "But" it doesn't recognise that the other guidance has more credibility than ITIL.

* Freudian slip

** Yes I know roos are Australian and in a final finesse can I point you to Terry Pratchett's T shirt site?

Because despite

I suspect he couldn't give a XXXX about ITSM.

By what measure?

"...the other guidance has more credibility than ITIL."

By what measure? By the client/market research I read, there's been quite a bit of dissatisfaction with much of the above. Whether the measures are business leader awareness, adoption rates, investment dollars or market buzz, the message is fairly consistent: CMMI and Six Sigma have been trending downward for years.

The results just haven't been there and business leaders have caught on. Remember when Six Sigma was roasted by both Dilbert and Fortune Magazine? That's when you know its a tipping point.

The data points on CobiT are sparser and therefore harder to interpret but even an optimist has a tough time giving an assessment better than "flat line."

Relative credibility

Well as an ex auditor I would say COBIT certainly has a lot of credibility when used as an audit tool, and six sigma is good when used to do what six sigma does best. The dissatisfaction comes when they are used as silver bullets with a relatively shallow understanding. I've seen a COBIT "implementation" where senior management decided they would only use those parts that confirmed what they were already doing, and ignored the control objectives that you could drive a bus through. Result - no benefit. Likewise the IIA audit standards have credibility within the profession, but have less hype attached to them.

The issue with ITIL is that by not making best use of existing methods and ideas it wastes pages that would be better used to develop and communicate the core ITIL content.

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