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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.

Comparative ITIL PMBOK® Guide
Publications
  • Service Support
  • Service Delivery
  • Planning to Implement Service
    Management
  • Application Management
  • ICT Management
  • Security Management
  • The Business Perspective
  • Software Asset Management
  • A Guide to the Project Management Body
    of Knowledge®, PMI, 2004
Emphasis
  • Body of Knowledge (BoK) for Managing
    operations; on-going and repetitive
  • Body of Knowledge (BoK) for managing
    projects that are a temporary endeavor
Maintenance of
BoK
  • OGC owns; maintenance through ITSMF
    and practitioners
  • First published in the 1980s
  • PMI owns; maintenance through PMI and
    practitioners
  • First published in the 1980s
Objectives
  • Make field of IT Service Management
    (ITSM) into a profession
  • Address points of pain in IT operations
  • Establish common language for ITSM
  • Descriptive rather than prescriptive
  • Improve IT process capability maturity
  • Make field of project management into
    a profession
  • Address points of pain in delivering
    projects
  • Establish common language for Project
    Management
  • Descriptive rather than prescriptive
Certifications
  • Foundation (entry level)
  • Practitioner (intermediate)
  • Service Manager (expert)
  • Certified Associate (intermediate)
  • Project Management Professional (expert)
  • Individual rather than organizational certification
Ability to Sit
Examination
  • Examination for intermediate level and
    above requires accredited and approved
    coursework
  • Accreditation of Foundation Course
  • Providers assures quality of training coursework
  • Must meet in-course assessment
    requirements
  • Must meet relevant work experience
  • Examination for all levels requires accredited
    and approved coursework
  • Must prove relevant work experience
  • Must meet education requirements
Similarities
  • Both originated from empirical observation, were elevated to the conceptual, and are being
    re-applied to the practical
  • Both use notion of frameworks to organize and present concepts
  • Both recognize the importance of people and culture
  • Both have achieved global acceptance and have become de facto standards
  • Both are emerging professions
  • Both have been accepted as the embodiment of Best Practice in their respective disciplines
  • Management processes within each are tightly integrated and are their main value
    proposition
Code of Ethics
  • No
  • Yes
Domains
  • IT only
  • Any domain

About the Author

Larry Cooper is the CEO of ITSM Canada, an Authorized itSM Solutions® provider and a VAR for Touchpaper’s ITBM Suite of products. Mr. Cooper has spent more than 28 years in IT in the public and private sectors where he has held roles such as a Software Developer/Programmer Analyst, Manager of Operations, Lead for Business Process Re-engineering, various Project Manger roles on projects upwards to $100M, and A/Director, Business Technology. He has written and been published in books and industry articles on a variety of technology, IT Service Management, and Project Management topics. He holds three project management certifications including a PMP, an IT Service Manager certification, and is an EXIN-accredited Master’s level trainer. He resides in Ottawa, Canada with his wife and two children. He can be reached at Larry.Cooper@ITSMCanada.ca.

This article was originally published in Global Knowledge’s Business Brief e-newsletter. Global Knowledge delivers comprehensive hands-on project management, business process, and professional skills training. Visit our online Knowledge Center at www.globalknowledge.com/business for free white papers, webinars, and more.

© Copyright 2008, Global Knowledge. All rights reserved.

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