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ITIL: Dangers of Treating “Everything” as an Incident

ITIL: Dangers of Treating “Everything” as an Incident
By Bob Faerman

Whether or not formalized processes are in place, most IT groups do recognize that there are distinct differences between activities that ITIL would formally classify as incidents, fulfillments, problems, and the projects that are undertaken to improve an architecture or add new functionality. The user community, including senior management, also realizes that the restoring service (incidents) is different than a request for something new (fulfillments), though some grey area may exist between problem management and projects. So why do IT groups attempt to track them all in the same queue, as incidents?

Perhaps the reason is as much financial as anything else, mixed with a misunderstanding of some of the risks of mixing different activities into dissimilar groupings. Most popular software tools license an individual module for each ITIL process, thus to implement service management properly for incident management, request fulfillment and problem management would require the purchase of at least three modules with integration between them. Read the Complete Article

Defining an IT Service Portfolio

Defining an IT Service Portfolio
By David Blumhorst

Back in my CIO days I received a call from the VP of Sales who was travelling in Helsinki at the time. That I had a 24×7 global support team was not relevant – he was a VP and felt entitled to call me at 2 AM in California with his urgent problem – to wit: “Dave – email is down and I’m working on a critical RFP! Do something!”. Of course my next call went to my support team, which promptly informed me that no, the Exchange server was up and running. After a few moments of groggy contemplation, I shot back:

“Bob in Helsinki doesn’t care if the problem is the Exchange server, the router, his Internet connection, the Outlook client, or any other piece of the puzzle – all he wants is his email – and it’s your job to figure out why he’s not getting it”. Read the Complete Article

ITIL-igence For Project Managers

ITIL-igence For Project Managers
By Tom L. Barnett

Pssst! Do you manage your projects with ITIL? Here’s some insight on how project management and ITIL can best work together in an IT organization and what that means for PMs. Hint: It may not be what you think.

I constantly hear project managers talking about how they implementing ‘ITIL,’ about how they are ITIL-Foundations certified, and how they use ITIL processes in their project delivery.

Okay – maybe they do or maybe they don’t.

It may be a case of ‘talking past each other’. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of best practices and processes for delivering and supporting a sustainable IT service. It is a core framework for consistently delivering an IT service to your clients. Especially with the most recent release of ITIL Version 3, the framework continues to evolve and grow in the direction of encompassing more of the complete processes needed to run IT business. Read the Complete Article

ITIL Implementation Tips

ITIL Implementation Tips
By Rex Gibson

In just 20 years ITIL has come to guide the IT service management practices which underpin the performance of successful organisations worldwide. Not surprisingly those organisations which have not adopted ITIL are looking to do so – and those that have are looking to extend or enhance their ITIL processes. This article looks at what determines whether an ITIL project succeeds or fails.

The experiences of more than 10 organisations were presented at the 2008 itSMF Conference in Birmingham. The projects ranged from application of specific ITIL tools such as Service Catalogue through to trans European ITIL adoption by a major financial institution with the goal of achieving ISO/IEC 20000.

1. Start Right

First and foremost understand where you are now and develop a vision of where you want to be. Use customer surveys and ITIL maturity assessments to objectively define gaps. Develop a vision which is meaningful for your organisation and which can be clearly articulated and communicated. Read the Complete Article

Agile and ITIL: A Powerful Combination

Agile and ITIL: A Powerful Combination
By Joe Pearson

I’ll admit I don’t think that agile methods can address all ITSM needs. For example, a high-volume Service Desk probably should not be run as a self-organising team that values individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Large parts of day-to-day service management are repeatable activities that need process standardisation – and the ITSM profession has been struggling to promote process control for decades. And there should be enough commonality in request handling and configuration management needs that in-house tool development is not the right option for most companies.

But everyone requires process development. You can’t just take the processes from the ITIL books and use them. And most commercial toolsets require substantial amounts of customisation for an effective implementation. In these areas, practices like frequent iterations and focused teams including users and specialists can surely have value.

There’s something worth investigating here, and I propose to examine principles and practices, see where they can be applicable, and what kind of coherent approach we can build. Read the Complete Article

Differences between ITIL and PMP

Differences between ITIL and PMP (#3 in the series PMP and ITIL – Framework Methodologies With Valuable Synergy)
By Paul T Rice

The differences between the ITIL framework and the project management framework are inconsequential when compared to the overall effectiveness of combining the two. Similarities aside, project management is not specific to IT. The PMP framework, focusing on effective execution of projects, can be applied to any area of any organization. Unlike ITIL, the project management framework does not operate on a lifecycle approach, but is organized into nine key knowledge areas: project integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement management.

As previously mentioned, rather than analyzing the breakdown of each project, the ITIL framework examines the whole picture – a key difference. By taking a larger view of services in the organization as a whole via a lifecycle approach, ITIL sets out to examine service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement. Read the Complete Article

Implementing ITIL® using the PMBOK® Guide in Four Repeatable Steps – Conclusion

Implementing ITIL® using the PMBOK® Guide in Four Repeatable Steps – Conclusion (#9 in the series Implementing ITIL® using the PMBOK® Guide in Four Repeatable Steps)
By Lawrence Cooper, PMP, CPM, ITIL Service Manager

While the King advised Alice that she should “Begin at the beginning and go on until we come to the end; then stop,” we have seen that, in the case of implementing ITIL using project management best practices, we have many project beginnings and ends—both during and after implementing ITIL.

This series provided the reader with an overview of the PMBOK® Guide as well as the key process areas and functions within the IT Infrastructure Library.We compared and contrasted the two bodies of knowledge and illustrated that they share many common traits in their goals and objectives for their respective domains, noting, however, that while project management is domain agnostic, ITIL is IT-specific. We established a foundation for discussion by looking at why many IT (not just ITSM) projects fail and how an iterative approach to both deployment and project management itself can help with the mitigating risk in ITSM deployment projects. Read the Complete Article

Project Management and ITIL – Managing Delivery Risk

Project Management and ITIL – Managing Delivery Risk (#6 in the series Implementing ITIL® using the PMBOK® Guide in Four Repeatable Steps)
By Lawrence Cooper, PMP, CPM, ITIL Service Manager

Those of us with a software development background are familiar with the iterative development model. The basic premise behind the model (see the figure below) is that you plan a little, do requirements a little, design a little, implement a little (in code), deploy a little, test a little, evaluate a little, and then repeat the whole cycle many times until done. Developed by Professor Barry Boehm at the University of Southern California in 1981, this model was the precursor to the Rational Unified Process and Unified Modeling Language now in wide-spread use.

The beauty of this simple model was that, from a project delivery risk perspective, it greatly enhanced the development team and client’s ability to decipher complex information system requirements into more manageable chunks. Read the Complete Article

Project Management and ITIL – IT Project Failures

Project Management and ITIL – IT Project Failures (#5 in the series Implementing ITIL® using the PMBOK® Guide in Four Repeatable Steps)
By Lawrence Cooper, PMP, CPM, ITIL Service Manager

Anyone who has ever worked on a very large IT project likely has experiences with massive project failure. Some of the more common causes are listed below:

  • Project timelines beyond 6–12 months generally result in a project going over budget and failure to deliver on the promised benefits—detailed project planning is hard to do beyond 6 months
  • Failed projects usually suffer from a lack of focus and momentum after about the 5-6 month mark
  • Poorly defined scope (and requirements) and scope creep because of unclear goals objectives
  • No change control system to handle scope changes
  • Lack of executive commitment and user interest due to the long timelines involved
  • Failure to communicate and act as a team
  • The wrong skills or not enough of the right skills

These project failures continue to this day because organizations fail to heed the lessons they should have learned by now. Read the Complete Article

Project Management and ITIL – A BoK Comparison

Project Management and ITIL – A BoK Comparison (#4 in the series Implementing ITIL® using the PMBOK® Guide in Four Repeatable Steps)
By Lawrence Cooper, PMP, CPM, ITIL Service Manager

The table below provides a side-by-side comparison of the Project Management and ITIL Bodies of Knowledge (BoK). As can be seen, they are similar in age (20+ years) and rely on the active involvement of practitioners to update them to reflect current best practice. They also share remarkably similar objectives. The key differentiators between them are that project management can be applied to any domain, whereas ITIL has application only within the IT domain. Also, the PMBOK® Guide contains a code of ethics for professional conduct that can result in suspension or loss of accreditation for ethical breeches, whereas ITIL does not.

While the PMBOK® Guide certainly has a wider sphere of influence and the Project Management Professional (PMP®) is a very widely recognized certification in the IT industry and elsewhere, the past several years have witnessed a strong surge in ITIL awareness and interest within the IT community. Read the Complete Article

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