ITIL the cult

This article has been podcast

We have seen that the ITIL movement has distinct overtones of a fad. What about a cult? A group that defines its own measure of good and bad by comparing against its own internal reference books then declares that those books hold the key to getting from bad to good sounds mighty like a cult to me.

A colleague gave me a model that I shall call the Skeptical Maturity Model for Technology Adoption. It has four phases

Is ITIL Best Practice?

“Best” is a brave word. “Best” leads with the chin.

The following is reprinted with permission. [Update: This post dates from when the IT Skeptic was anonymous. The IT Skeptic asked Rob England for permission to reprint the article and Rob kindly agreed. Since they are both me, the conversation was held in my head.]

Why chase Best Practice?

I worked with a number of clients in a previous vendor life who were struggling to “do ITIL” because they felt (or had been told) they had to. There was little or no funding, often no project. And why?

What am I skeptical about?

I was asked this question on this forum. Here's my answer:

Skeptics are skeptical about everything :p

Seriously, I need to look at what I have written more closely to see if I am causing confusion somewhere. What I was trying to communicate is that I am a big fan of service management (it is "real"); I even think ITIL is entirely appropriate where there is a business driver for it; in fact I regard ITIL as gold-standard best practice for ITSM. Well, let me call it "gold standard generally accepted practice". We'll discuss "best" soon.

ITIL the fad

One of the big dangers ITIL faces is being taken for a fad due to the wild enthusiasms it is generating. OK the word “wild” hardly applies to service management professionals but you know what I mean. Hopefully forums like this one can restore some decorum.

Service Management is real

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the Y2K spending overhang drove new attitudes to transparency and justification. This led to new techniques (or rather new adoption of established techniques) for business alignment: service management.

Fads in IT

The IT industry is certainly prone to its fads. This is a reflection of the immaturity of the whole industry (as compared to say most branches of engineering. You don’t see civil engineers coming up with cool new ways to build bridges every few years, especially not cool new ways that turn out to be more expensive and less safe than traditional techniques).

Who is the ITIL Skeptic?

[Update: the word is long since out that the IT Skeptic is Rob England]

Many people in my home city will figure it out easily, but I prefer to remain nominally anonymous because of the greater editorial freedom it gives.

Is ITIL another Y2K?

[This article has been podcast]

There certainly are some strong similarities.

Acknowledgements

There are not many, as few people take any contrarian position regarding ITIL.

Dean Meyer was one early influence.

So too was the IT Architect of a major retailer. In fact he was the one who started all this: thankyou Alan.

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