ITIL 2011, How Many Processes (Part 2), or Thank You ITIL 2011 Authors!

Recently we made a blog post that gave a count of the processes described by ITIL 2011. We expected that post to potentially be controversial. We weren’t disappointed.

A comment was made via Twitter. It said, “@GKonITIL: ITIL 2011: How Many Processes? #itil 26 + 2 – 2 = 26 but FM has 3 subprocesses, and COM has 4. I’m lost…”

First, I don’t know what “COM” means in the message, but it’s not important for this discussion. Second, although I’ve heard a number of people say it exists, I don’t see where in the strategy book it indicates that the financial management process has three sub-processes. It’s kind of like bigfoot in that regard; I’ve heard many people claim they’ve seen it, but it’s nowhere to be found. In fact, in only one case in the description of the financial management activities is the word “sub-process” mentioned, and that’s on page 239 of the Service Strategy book when it indicates that billing is a sub-process of charging.

If I wanted to I could get lost in a discussion about a sea of subordinate sub-processes. Rather than do that, I’m going to thank the ITIL 2011 authors for what they did in section 4 of the ITIL 2011 edition books. The authors were wise enough to clearly indicate what is a process by enumerating and describing it in section 4.

Section 4 of each core book in the ITIL 2011 Edition covers the processes described in that book, and by virtue of organization, the processes within that stage of the lifecycle. While sub-processes may be a useful boundary that the ITIL 2011 Edition authors sometimes use (most notably in capacity management), it is clear that sub-processes are part of the mechanism of a greater overall process.

In other words, no reading of the book indicates that sub-processes are somehow equal to processes. In fact, the term “sub-process” is not even an explicitly defined term, and it’s definitely not implicitly defined as “equal to a process”.

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