I read an interesting comment by AXELOS Head of ITSM Kaimar Karu that “…the ITIL of the future is from practitioners, for practitioners.” As a result, I keenly awaited the release of the ITIL® Practitioner Guidance so that I could use it to assess and improve my ITIL practices. This was reinforced by the ITIL Practitioner Global Summit on 25 February 2016, where industry experts from across the globe shared their perspectives on the adoption and adaptation of ITIL.
In the way we migrated from the pre-ITIL® era, where we created processes based on our own experience, to ITIL-based service management set-ups, where we adopted and adapted best practice guidance, I see a similar opportunity now of leveraging the recently-released ITIL Practitioner Guidance, to further enhance the value of our investments in ITIL. It provides additional guidance to put ITIL theory into practice and also supports the contemporary needs of the ITIL user community.
The publication begins by re-emphasizing an adopt and adapt approach and states that “...blindly following book examples or practices without considering their appropriateness to the situation is a certain way to fail. ITIL is not an instruction manual.” It also re-emphasizes the four key components of service definition, namely value, outcome, cost and risk. These components are not new but often not implemented in true spirit, resulting sub-optimal value creation.
Instead of providing process-specific guidance to implement ITIL processes like incident management or problem management, it provides overarching guiding principles which are in addition to the existing body of ITIL knowledge and vital for the cultural shift involved in moving from a focus on technology to a focus on services. These guiding principles distil the core message of ITIL, specifically, and IT Service Management (ITSM) in general, facilitating improvement activities of all types and at all levels. These are the ‘how’ that guides the ITIL practitioner as he or she addresses his or her own needs and circumstances.
These guiding principles also reflected in many other frameworks, methods, standards and bodies of knowledge that may be used in an organization, such as Lean, Agile, DevOps and others, allowing organizations to effectively integrate the use of multiple ways of working required to effectively support different aspect of business needs which requires use of these frameworks. The requirement for multi-framework environments is explicitly highlighted so that people avoid taking a purist approach.
In many organizations, Continual Service Improvement (CSI) is a nice-to-have rather than a need-to-have, despite being a separate core publication. The ITIL Practitioner Guidance brings CSI to the fore and makes it a core of improvement journey and supplements it with guidance on creating hierarchical and balanced metric.
The guidance also covers communication principles and organization change management practices, which are often the key to motivating individuals and groups across the organization when attempting to adopt or improve specific initiatives and absence of these can result in suboptimal value creation for the organization.
The Guidance provides a toolkit of worksheets, assessments and templates which will be of great use to the ITIL practitioner and which can be modified to suit specific organizational needs.
I strongly believe the ITIL Practitioner Guidance will benefit both the consulting and customer community in developing a holistic and practical approach to adopting and adapting the ITIL framework.
The above observations are a partial list of features I picked up while qualifying as an ITIL Practitioner, and are not intended as an exhaustive review of the published guidance.
See our ITIL® Practitioner section for more information.