trial ITIL versus a placebo
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If there is an eccentric company owner out there who would like to contribute to business science by conducting a controlled experiment on your company, please contact me. I would like to trial ITIL versus a placebo.
Instead of using ITIL as the framework or guidance for process improvement in IT production, I would use a placebo body of knowledge. Examples might include:
- today's process is brought to you by the letter "A"
- Madonna's lyrics
I think astrology is the most mindless example there, so it would serve admirably as a placebo. We would
- assess the organisation's maturity against astrological principles
- train all staff in the basic principles of astrology
- review existing processes and categorise them using the twelve zodiacal signs
- hold workshops and interviews with key stakeholders to understand how processes are not meeting current business needs, and how they might be improved using the principles of the assigned zodiac sign. For example Libran processes need to get better at decision-making
- use experienced worldly external consultant astrologers to advise on process redesign
- reorganise the IT department assigning people to process areas based on their birthdate
- run an organised funded program to get everyone enthused about the potential of astrology and to ensure everyone knows how the processes work and what their role is
All the steps but the last are just ritual practices with no more real meaning than throwing I-ching or dealing tarot or polishing a crystal ball or reading a zodiac chart. Just as a reading is really performed based on someone's experience and wisdom and a cold read of the subject, so too the astrologer's advise to the company would probably make a fair bit of sense.
But the doozy is the final step. We could use Texas boot-skootin' as the framework for all it matters. What matters is that we actually pay attention to staff, ask them what they think, get their buy in, fire them up, and run a concerted program to get everyone to understand how things really work and to get everyone on the same page, i.e. we build a new consistent culture.
I contend that is the real value of an ITIL program and it doesn't have a danged thing to do with ITIL. Most companies are too humour-challenged to use any of my proposed bodies of knowledge as the basis of a change program, but they could certainly use MOF or SM-CMM or ITSMBOK or eTOM and get much the same results.
ITIL will still win most beauty contests just because it is a standard which gives it an inherent advantage, but my point is there is nothing mystical about ITIL that couldn't be replaced by something else tomorrow.