The IT Skeptic looks at ITIL Lite
The IT Skeptic was pretty scathing of Malcolm Fry's first ITIL V3 Complementary Publication, Building an ITIL-Based Service Management Department. Personally I wouldn't buy it (again). Malcolm's second "official" V3 book ITIL Lite is different. It is worth buying just for Chapter 2: "a simple but effective approach to ITIL process engineering". I got several great ideas from it and the overall methodology is a good one. But ITIL Lite has several fundamental assumptions that many will disagree with. These assumptions will mislead an already confused user community, and I think they spoil the rest of the book.
Note that ITIL Lite is plastered with the ITIL swirl logo, "OGC Portfolio Product", "OGC Official Product" and "A product from the official publisher of ITIL", all on the front cover alone! I think it doth protesteth too much. The reason it has the word "official" on the cover three times is because it isn't. A glance inside shows that it is copyright TSO, not the Crown. This is precisely the bullshit that was so rightly criticised in the recent complaint ruling by the OPSI as misuse of the word "official". If OGC ever fire TSO from their contract, guess who gets to keep this book.
Anyway back to the book itself.
The first and most fundamental assumption that I believe is profoundly wrong is one the whole book is based upon: that ITIL V3 is "implemented" - it is even part of the subtitle of the book. Sure it gives lip-service to CSI at the end, but the whole book is structured as a waterfall build of ITIL, just as if it were a software application.
The second invalid assumption is also a biggie: that ideally you would "implement" all of ITIL V3, and that ITIL Lite is a compromise approach from that ideal, where one almost apologetically "filters" (Malcolm's word) out parts of it to get something simpler. [Update: to be fair to Malcolm, ITIL V3 itself seems to have the same mindset: that ITIL is a monolithic shift in IT process, done because you do. He's only sailing with the mothership.]
The third bad assumption is also a cracker - in fact on reflection maybe it is the worst of them all. That is that you do ITIL for its own sake, that you "adopt" ITIL as you adopt a religion or a dress code. Business reasons for improving service management process are not touched on at all. The book starts with a whole chapter about "Why ITIL Lite?", but how about "Why ITIL?". Another chapter talks about filtering out the bits of ITIL V3 you don't want. Not one single criterion looks external to IT, at what the business drivers may be. It is all geeky inward-looking analysis. The next chapter on templates has a promising term "reasons" but again these are all internal to IT. That chapter is all about selecting groups of ITIL processes, called templates, driven by NOTHING to do with a business outcome.
You don't "do" or "adopt" or "implement" ITIL. You set out to achieve a business outcome, whether it be improved customer satisfaction; reduced risk of mis-handling a major incident (usually because you just did); bolstering support before release of a major new system; meeting reduced budget targets; cutting staff; reorganising to staff a big project; improving service levels; introducing cost-allocation etc etc.
At some point in that journey of improvement you introduce elements selected from ITIL to assist in increasing maturity of the relevant processes, as determined by the plan to meet the specified business outcome. Those bits of ITIL will form one part of a much larger project, or not, depending on ITIL's usefulness for that outcome.
Which leads me to the fourth assumption in this book which I take issue with: an ITIL process as a unit of work. You don't decide whether or not to "do incident Management". You decide which bits of Incident Management and assorted other processes need improving in order to meet the objective of your current improvement exercise.
This is how the world works when we professionally spend our employer's money in order to maximise value to the owners of that money, and it runs contrary to all four of those assumptions.
So buy this book, read the excellent Chapter 2, and ignore the rest as the kind of old-school monolithic IT-self-centredness that ITSM is supposed to cure.