Fusion 11 – “Implementing” ITIL

Monday I attended the Fusion 2011 breakfast session covering the updates to the ITIL library recently released as part of the 2011 refresh. Several of the authors delivered the session and provided an overview of some of the more significant changes in the ITIL core books.

Interestingly, the most significant point made during this session wasn’t related to the ITIL 2011 refresh. It was a point made by David Cannon during the questions and answers segment, and I strongly believe it’s worth restating.

A participant asked David, lead author of the Service Strategy volume, if there were any plans to release an ITIL compliance scheme. David gave one of the clearest answers to this that I’ve ever heard, roughly paraphrased below:

When someone asks me how many companies I know that implemented ITIL, the answer that I give is not a single one. ITIL is developed by investigating what many organizations do in specific situations. Saying that everything described by ITIL could apply to one organization is simply not realistic. There is guidance in ITIL that many organizations find simply does not apply to their situation. As service management professionals we should strive to adopt and adapt aspects of the best practice that are a fit.

David went on to give a great example about “implementing” all of ITIL is similar to asking directions to an airport from a GPS device, and then following all of the options given (e.g., highway-only, avoid toll roads, avoid highways, etc…). The point is the outcome we’re trying to achieve, more so than iterating through every possible method of achieving the outcome.

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