This blog (abridged from my original 3000-word version) isn’t meant to be a review of the new ITIL Practitioner Guidance publication, although you might feel it sails close, and instead talks to the content that stands out for me, i.e. the stuff that will really help the reader.
The new book is probably not what you might have expected, i.e. ITIL process help. Instead it covers much of the operational, management, and organizational “glue” required not only to adopt ITIL, and/or to improve ITSM maturity, but also to be a well-functioning IT service provider.
Standout #1: Let’s Start with the ITIL Practitioner Authors
Straight off the bat, the authors instilled me with a certain level of confidence. I can’t speak for Kevin Behr and Lou Hunnebeck, who I don’t know personally, but the quartet of Karen Ferris, Barclay Rae, Stuart Rance, and Paul Wilkinson would not get involved with (nor attach their names to) any publication, ITIL or otherwise, that doesn’t take the ITSM industry forward.
Standout #2: The Acknowledgement of Enterprise Service Management
Well sort of. There’s a very small section, okay a paragraph, called “Service Management Versus IT Service Management.” It doesn’t actually mention enterprise service management explicitly, nor does the book’s index, but rather that “The core principles of service and services, value, outcomes, costs and risks are relevant to all kinds of service providers, not just those delivering IT services.”
Standout #3: ITIL Practitioner’s Nine “Guiding Principles”
It’s definitely a new concept for an ITIL publication and I’d bet it’s down to the book’s authors not wanting to just write “another 200 pages of consultant-waffle” (where more words are somehow seen as better, well at least for the author’s wallet). Without even thinking about it, or maybe even realizing it, the principles elevate the reader from a focus on ITSM processes to a focus on better outcomes – whether they be for the business, customer, end user, or the IT organization itself – hopefully moving ITSM forward from “the things you should do,” such as incident management, to “the things you should achieve.” And the guiding principles show their intentions very quickly, with the first being “focus on value.”
Standout #4: That CSI is Front and Centre
Continual service improvement (CSI) is the last, and I bet least read, of the five core ITIL publications in ITIL 2007 and then 2011. However, there’s just over 20 pages of CSI content here, not counting the later toolkit elements, which make it very easy to consume and put into practice.
Standout #5: There’s a Deep Dive into Metrics
The ITIL Practitioner book will hopefully open a few eyes, elevating ITSM metrics from “They are something we have always done but we can’t remember why” or “Yes, we’re very proud to say that we use all the ITIL best practice metrics” to an activity that makes a difference, or, more specifically, an activity with a focused purpose (or set of purposes).
Standout #6: That the “Continual Improvement of Metrics and Measurements” Is Included
If I wasn’t already excited enough about the CSI and metrics content, it’s great to see the acknowledgement, and advice, that metrics need to change (or even to evolve) over time – even if it is a very short section. Not doing so is one of my top 13 ITSM metrics mistakes, which I wrote four years ago but it’s just as relevant today as it was then.
Standout #7: The Organizational Change Management (OCM) Chapter
The 20-plus pages of OCM advice, with tips and links to the later toolkit chapter, should be essential reading for any professional (so not just ITSM professionals) involved in changes that will impact people either directly or indirectly. It all makes so much sense, for instance the simple list of key activities for effective OCM.
Standout #8: Practical Advice and a Practical Toolkit
The book is filled with practical advice. This includes, for instance, an early section that defines the words that make up ITIL’s definition of a “service.” However, the ITIL Practitioner Guidance publication goes even further with its practical help; with the final toolkit chapter dedicated to a collection of worksheets, assessments, templates, and summaries to help ITSM professionals across four of the areas covered in the book.
So there you have my eight stand outs from the ITIL Practitioner Guidance publication. You should check out the original blog for more insight into the book's content, access to related ITSM tips, and a better understanding of how the book will help you adopt ITIL/ITSM best practices – including many of the sometimes fuzzier things that are encountered around them.
See our ITIL Practitioner section for more information.
For the full, 3000-word version of this blog please visit Joe the IT Guy’s ITSM and service desk blog.