Tuesday 17 July 2012

Five important ITIL concepts you need to know

Our organisation is in the process of adopting some more-or-less ITIL-aligned processes. I think our scenario is pretty common: a long time ago, someone senior decided "we want some ITIL". A whole load of people got trained and took their Foundation exam, came back to their desks, carried on handling tickets in a system that calls incidents 'problems', and forgot most of what they'd learnt. Life went on. Some time later we bought a more ITIL-aligned toolset, and have been very slowly carefully implementing it over a number of months. (A large number of months.) People are adjusting to the new processes and terminology at different rates. Sometimes it gets pretty frustrating, but we're getting there.

I'm working my way towards ITIL Expert qualification and I spent some time on the project to bring on board the new toolset, so I've explained the difference between Incidents and Problems, or between Standard Changes and 'normal' Changes more times than I can recall. That pretty much makes me the go-to person for ITIL questions in my group.

So... a couple of weeks ago a colleague asked me for a quick summary of ITIL basics he needed to know. Luckily the conversation took place on Instant Messenger so I have a record of it. These were the points I came up with:
  1. ITIL Service Management is all about doing what the business needs, not slavishly following process for the hell of it.
  2. If nothing else, in an operations role, you need to have a really good grasp of Incident vs. Problem management and why separating them is helpful.
  3. Only manage stuff at a level of detail where the benefits exceed the cost of managing at that level.
  4. Question the value in everything (see points 1 and 3).
  5. Learn to think in terms of Services, not just products and technologies.
This is in the context of a Service Operations team; for other groups in IT the priorities might be very different. But for a list I came up with off the top of my head I'm quite pleased with it.

What do you think? Do you disagree? What would be your top five?
Creative Commons License This work by TechieBird is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.