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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. It was the first real replacement for the waterfall method where the same things were done sequentially—once—so you’d better get it right, as you had only one shot at it.

Iterative Development Model

According to the ITSMF, for a large enterprise, it can take anywhere from 12 to 36 months to implement ITIL. That sounds an awful lot like the timelines that cause many projects to fail.

So is there a better way to do it? The answer, of course, is yes. The rest of this white paper examines the application of the ideas introduced thus far in breaking an ITSM implementation project into more manageable chunks that reduce project risk, maintain focus and momentum, control scope, and ensure the right skills are brought to bear at the appropriate times.

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

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 for free white papers, webinars, and more.

© Copyright 2008, Global Knowledge. All rights reserved.

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