We Don't Need ITIL Projects
March 19, 2011

Matthew Burrows

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Why do organisations have ITIL projects rather than targeted improvement projects which happen to use ITIL as one of the inputs/influences?

It's fairly common to find organisations who say that they are implementing ITIL, and I almost always find that this is increasing the risk that the project will fail to deliver on the expectations people have for it. How can you adequately manage and communicate with your stakeholders if they don't understand the objectives of the project? ITIL shouldn't be the objective.

You are unlikely to say to a potential passenger "let's get in the car" unless you actually have an agreed common understanding of where you are intending to go. And they would probably be reluctant to get in the car unless they wanted to go to that destination. The destination is key, because if you didn't intend to get to the destination then you wouldn't need to get in the vehicle. An agreed destination (or goal) needs to be communicated to your passenger (a stakeholder) in order for them to be supportive and comfortable. Of course, they may have their own views - maybe the use of the car doesn't seem right to them if you could walk there in 2 minutes - but assuming you have chosen the right method of transport, you still need to get agreement of the need for the journey or else there is a risk your passenger won't come with you.

ITIL isn't the destination, it's something that you might want to use to help you on the journey - but where are you going?

If you're asked to implement ITIL, or to support an ITIL implementation project, then feel free to ask what the objectives of the project are. Challenge the objectives if it isn't clear what business value you are going to get from using ITIL.

I'd like to see organisations with projects that have clear business outcomes and objectives in mind, and to focus on those rather than on one of the tools they might have in their toolkit for helping them reach that destination. To me, this is another part of a good BSM approach, and something we should be encouraging.

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