ITIL 4 Enterprise Transition White Paper
- White Paper
- Service management
March 26, 2020 |
8 min read
- White Paper
- Service management
After years of Agile mania, the market is becoming more pragmatic. It has become clear that speed and agility are important, but they must not come at the expense of quality and value.
The true Agile experts know this, but they have not been able to stop the misapplication of Agile values and principles. Defining the right level and type of quality requires an understanding of what stakeholders consider valuable.
For example, the mark of quality for a marketing application would be different from that for a life-supporting medical application. The market is now demanding balance. Speed is important, but so is stability and compliance. ITIL® 4 understands this and offers a well-adjusted perspective.
ITIL 4: What's new?
A focus on the concept of value and value co-creation is central to ITIL 4, as it was in previous iterations. In ITIL 4, the service value system (SVS) has replaced the service lifecycle, with a greater focus on practices and the importance of the four dimensions of service management, which are:
- organizations and people
- information and technology
- partners and suppliers
- value streams and processes.
The four dimensions are interdependent and must be considered together. For example, it would be illogical to design the incident management practice without accounting for:
- organizations and people, such as the competency of support staff
- information and technology, such as the functionality of the service management tool
- partners and suppliers, such as understanding how suppliers provide second-line incident resolution
- value streams and processes, such as knowing when to invoke the critical incident workflow.
ITIL 4 is very different to previous iterations of ITIL. Previously, it was difficult to see the connection between ITIL and Agile principles; these are now embedded within ITIL 4. Additionally, ITIL 4 clarifies its relationships with other frameworks and methods, including DevOps, Lean, and CI/CD.
A key element that connects ITIL to Agile frameworks and philosophies and aids the practical application of ITIL are the seven guiding principles:
- focus on value
- start where you are
- progress iteratively with feedback
- collaborate and promote visibility
- think and work holistically
- optimize and automate.
These principles underpin the practices and support the organization in focusing on value co-creation. The difference between value creation and value co-creation is subtle but important. If the service consumer is incapable of realizing the benefits of a service, then value has not been co-created. For example, a service provider might create value by delivering a banking application that is functional, robust, and user-friendly, but if the consumer does not know how to access it, it will not co-create value.
Moving to ITIL 4
So, what should an organization that has adopted previous versions of ITIL do? On a high level, it is not about transitioning from an outdated to an updated version of ITIL. It is about adopting and using the principles and tools described in ITIL 4 in a way that creates value for the organization. Nevertheless, the following sections outline some general recommendations that refer to the guiding principles. They are divided into three steps: before you start, getting started, and getting things moving.
STEP 1: BEFORE YOU START
Employees need to become familiar with ITIL 4 and have balanced discussions about it within the organization. A group should be established to be responsible for driving internal awareness and building knowledge. As the awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement (ADKAR) organizational change model indicates, the first two steps of any change initiative are to create awareness and desire.
I have seen several ITIL implementation projects, which I generally think are bad ideas. The first pitfall is in the term ‘ITIL implementation’. ITIL is a best practice that supports organizational effectiveness and efficiency. It is not something that can be implemented/
When hosting a dinner, you usually do not discuss the cookbook that you are using: the dinner is not about implementing a cookbook. Also, you probably would not limit yourself to one cookbook, but use many cooking resources. The purpose of the dinner is to enjoy the company and eat well. The guiding principle ‘focus on value’ applies here.
Value co-creation comes later and requires continual adaption and improvement. I have seen organizational change projects fail to deliver the expected value because, in many organizations, success is defined as the project being delivered on time and within budget rather than delivering measurable change and improvements.
Organizational change projects must continue after they have officially ended in order to realize value. The guiding principle ‘optimize and automate’ applies here.
STEP 2: GETTING STARTED
ITIL 4 can support change. The next step is to decide where and how to start. If you have worked with ITIL before, then you might already have a few ITIL-based processes in place. It is likely that these processes, owned and managed by different people, are running independently. The overall objectives of these processes might also be unclear, and the processes themselves might be more of a hindrance than a help.
In ITIL 4, processes focus on the SVS and the practice library. The incident management and change enablement practices are two examples of ITIL practices. The practices, with the guiding principles ‘focus on value’ and ‘think and work holistically’, are particularly useful for planning for organizational change.
Before deciding where to start and which practices to work with, you need to define your vision for the future. You should also have a clear view of your current state. The guiding principle ‘start where you are’ applies here.
Identifying and analysing your organization’s value streams is a key to understanding how you can add value. Value streams clarify how value is created for a specific service.
One value stream for an IT organization could be ‘creating an application’.
The stakeholders for that value stream include the users (who will use the application), the information security department (who will ensure that the application complies with security laws and policies), and the financial sponsors (who will expect to see a business case).
It is important to understand the different stakeholder views and how the value stream realizes value in relation to an organizational change initiative.
The practices should be a means to support the value streams. For example, the change enablement practice might aim to create maximum flow while maintaining control within the ‘create an application’ value stream.
STEP 3: GETTING THINGS MOVING
Having identified value streams and analysed how the practices should support value co-creation, the challenge may be that some work items are quite big or not entirely within your control. At this stage, I recommend considering the guiding principles ‘keep it simple and practical’ and ‘progress iteratively with feedback’. It might be tempting to design the entire change enablement practice at once, including process documentation, role descriptions, and tool configuration, before implementing it. Resist that temptation. Practices and processes are an ongoing journey: the key to success is to continually adjust the direction in response to change.
The only way to know how to adjust the direction is by involving and engaging stakeholders. This is easier said than done. Often, stakeholders are involved but not engaged because you are not communicating effectively with them. The guiding principle ‘collaborate and promote visibility’ applies here.
When it comes to promoting visibility, there is a lot to learn from the Agile community. Use agile methods and techniques that promote visualization, such as Kanban, but also think outside the box. What do we want to communicate? How can we visualize this in the best way possible? Use whatever works for you and your organization.
ITIL 4 is a useful toolbox packed with relevant models and practical advice for producing and managing services. As with any toolbox, use the tools that you need to help you co-create value.
Author: Ola Källgården, Olingo Consulting
Ola is passionate about striking the right balance between order and chaos. He bends and twists frameworks, models, and philosophies to make them more useful. He has experience in IT roles such as developer, business analyst, project manager, organizational change manager, and management consultant. Apart from guiding and coaching clients on behalf of Oligo Consulting, Ola is a public speaker and an acclaimed and accredited ITIL and DevOps trainer.