Top 20 (OK, 50) ITIL Adoption Mistakes


In a “spare” hour this afternoon I needed to create a list of the Top 20 ITIL adoption mistakes for a Forrester client. An hour later (I made sure I time boxed myself to avoid scope creep … oh dear, scope creep could be included below too) I had 50. Quite scary really.

Anyway, IMO it’s an interesting list and most likely incomplete. What it is, however, is something that could potentially be used as a tick list for organizations starting out with ITIL or considering a change of IT service management (ITSM) tool. Please take a read and let me know what I missed (or if you think I am making bits up).

Understanding and Vision

1.       Believing the ITIL hype or, for my American friends, “drinking the Kool-Aid”. It’s about improving the business not adopting ITIL

2.       Not understanding what ITIL is, i.e. that it is only a framework. There is no such thing as ITIL-compliance. Oh and ITIL does not equal ITSM and vice versa

3.       Not understanding that it isn’t about “doing ITIL” but rather that it is about “using ITIL”

4.       Thinking that either ITIL is a silver bullet or that it is “the only fruit”. What about ISO 20000, COBIT, USMBOK, Six Sigma, and CMMi?

5.       Not fully understanding the breadth and depth of the changes it will require across people, process, and technology

6.       Not understanding the level of resources (including cost) and commitment needed to adopt it

7.       Not understanding the criticality of people to success

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Giving Back To The IT Service Management Community


No, this isn’t about the returning of your ITIL books to ITIL’s makers (just think how much they would cost to post) but more of the reaping of the knowledge and experience held within the ITSM community (ITIL’s creators, publishers, trainers, consultants, software vendors, ITSM practitioners, and ancillary roles such as analysts) for the benefit of all.

This is by no means a new idea. Various conversations have taken place over the years to create lower-level, more granular, and ultimately more practical best practice information that is freely available to ITSM practitioners. Whether it is in the form of blogs, white papers, discussion threads, podcasts, special interest groups, or “free” training and events, such information is invaluable to the IT people “at the coal face” who don’t want to have to “reinvent the wheel” nor to have to read through a set of ITIL books which IMO isn’t really designed for the hectic work lives of ITSM practitioners. Practitioners just don’t have the time even if they have the inclination. They will also struggle to find really practical help and assistance from such a "sea of text."

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