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Getting Started with ITIL

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Larry Klosterboer compares implementing ITIL in your organization to remodeling your kitchen. The approach you choose depends on whether you're an ITIL "handyman" or if your organization's do-it-yourself management projects tend to end in disaster.
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Implementing ITIL is like remodeling your kitchen: It will be a disruptive experience that will take longer than you expect, but the end result will benefit everyone in your IT "family." The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) represents the best practices discovered in thousands of different enterprises that all have a common need to manage the way in which IT services are delivered to their organizations. These best practices are like the models you might see in your local kitchen store—you know you want a similar output, but aren’t quite sure what steps will get you to that end result.

There are several ways to approach a remodeling project, paralleling the ways in which you can implement ITIL in your organization. The method you choose will depend on your current skill level, your budget, the size of your dreams, and how quickly you want to get the project finished. This article considers three possible approaches to remodeling your IT service management to align with the best practices defined by ITIL.

Approach 1: Do It Yourself

The most obvious approach to remodeling your kitchen is to think through what you want; sketch out a simple plan; and then start buying flooring, lighting fixtures, countertops, appliances, and all the other things you need. Once you’ve acquired everything, you rip out the old and put in the new, hopefully ending up somewhere close to your original vision. You put in all the effort yourself, and the results are completely based on your own design and installation skill.

ITIL can also be implemented this way. You can begin by reading as much as possible, enrolling in one of the excellent training courses, and sketching out a plan for your ITIL journey. Once you have the plan, you can purchase tools, develop processes, staff the necessary roles, and start to assemble your ITIL-aligned service-management capabilities. This do-it-yourself approach is likely to be the lowest-cost option for implementing ITIL.

Like the kitchen remodeling, this approach to implementing ITIL is completely based on the skills available in your organization. This approach is appealing if your staff is already skilled in service management and you have a fairly disciplined methodology, but you want to tweak your processes and tools a bit to align more closely with industry best practices. If your organization isn’t disciplined, or you have significant issues with managing services, you aren’t likely to get much stronger by implementing ITIL using your own design. As in most projects, the quality of the outcome is determined by the skills and resources available to execute the project.

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