Imaginary ITIL

The role of CSI in ITIL

There was recently a discussion of CSI’s role in ITIL. An article commented that ITIL treats CSI as a separate process while many other models integrate it with other processes as it should be done. Most people in the discussion disagreed, writing that CSI is an integral part of all processes. Stuart Rance listed these sentences as proof of this integration. I find it relevant that not a single sentence points to CSI.

1.1.2 Scope

ITIL Service Transition provides guidance for the development and improvement of capabilities…

2.3.2 Management systems
A systems approach to service management ensures learning and improvement through a big-picture view of services and service management.

3.1.14.3 Best practice
Compare the number and impact of incidents and problems between deployments in order to identify improvements…

6.4.2 Generic process owner role…
…accountabilities include:
Reviewing opportunities for process enhancements and for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the process

8.1.5 Risk and value
… integrated plan should result in…
An integrated improvement plan to ensure that planned changes to each process will work correctly with planned changes to other processes

 So, I went through the V3 version (I cannot copy-paste from the 2011 edition, so it is worthless and anyway nobody reads it) and copied everything the books say about CSI outside the general parts which describe the overall structure of ITIL.

Here are the references I found from ST and SO books. I have not copied all the references as many just repeat the same message.

 

What does ST book say about CSI.

It mentions many times that ST processes provide input for CSI.

  • Monitoring the Service Transition performance to provide input into Continual Service Improvement.
  • The proposed solution should be documented to enable knowledge gathered during the build and test stages to be handed over to the Service Operations and Continual Service Improvement to be retained for future releases.
  • Lessons learned and improvements are fed into Change Management for a post implementation review and into Continual Service Improvement for future transitions.
  • Improvement ideas for Continual Service Improvement to address potential improvements in any area that impacts on testing.
  • There is a great deal of intelligence that Continual Service Improvement can take from evaluation to analyse future improvements to the process of change and the predictions and measurement of service change performance.
  • …notification is passed to Continual Service Improvement, via the SKMS, which CSI will make extensive use of.
  • Continual Service Improvement will also inherit the new or changed service into the scope of their improvement programme, and should satisfy themselves that they have sufficient understanding of its objectives and characteristics.
  • Working closely with CSI to feed failure information and improvement ideas resulting from testing exercises
  • Relevant to adaptability and accessibility of the service as designed, to be fed back, via CSI, to Service Design

It tells that CSI need to make improvements via ST processes

  • Changes to a service will be brought in via Service Design, Continual Service Improvement and the service level management process.
  • When CSI determines that an improvement to a Service is warranted, an RFC should be submitted to Change…

There a few references to the CSI book

  • The Continual Service Improvement publication provides relevant information on measurement and service improvements.
  • Further detail on J. P. Kotter’s ‘Eight steps to transforming your organization’ is described in the Continual Service Improvement publication. These are iterative stages, and at each communication event, people’s understanding needs to be checked.

And finally there are two sentences which hint at some kind of cooperation between Service Transition and CSI.

  • The application of continual improvement methods to optimize the service levels, assets and configurations
  • Overall planning and management of Service Transition delivery including Continual Service Improvement
  • Service Transition will set up and maintain (working through CSI) an approach to dealing with an ongoing influx of tasks (Service Transitions) that must be delivered, scheduling, combining and sharing resources as appropriate.

 Service Operation also mentions CSI several times.

SO provides input to CSI. The text makes clear that CSI does the thinking, for example finds the solutions.

  • initiated within Service Operation and carried forward by Continual Service Improvement.
  • Again, Continual Service Improvement will be able to identify the cause of the inefficiency, evaluate the optimal balance for that service and formulate a corrective plan.
  • What and when to monitor for operational health should be determined in Service Design, tested and refined during Service Transition and optimized in Continual Service Improvement, as necessary.
  • Opportunities to improve services or processes should be captured, if raised, and forwarded to the team responsible for Continual Service Improvement.
  • The Review will also be used as input into continual improvement and the evaluation and audit of the Event Management process.
  • Although Service Operation is concerned with both types of reporting, the primary concern of this publication is Performance Monitoring, whereas monitoring of Service Quality (or Output-Based Monitoring) will be discussed in detail in the Continual Service Improvement publication.
  • This needs to be defined in Service Design, and refined over time through Continual Service Improvement, but the measurement itself takes place during Service Operation.
  • XXX Management is involved in the Continual Service Improvement processes, particularly in identifying opportunities for improvement and then in helping to evaluate alternative solutions.
  • Operational Monitoring and Continual Service Improvement
    • This section has focused on Operational Monitoring and Reporting, but monitoring also forms the starting point for Continual Service Improvement. This is covered in the Continual Service Improvement publication, but key differences are outlined here.

There are references to methods that are or should be described in the CSI book.

  • Service Reporting and Measurement, which are covered in the Continual Service Improvement publication.
  • Correlation Engines have to be continually tuned and updated through the process of Continual Service Improvement. (Not mentioned in CSI)
  • Proactive Problem Management which is initiated in Service Operation, but generally driven as part of Continual Service Improvement (see this publication for fuller details). (Does not exist)
  • Further details of how detected trends should be handled are included in the Continual Service Improvement publication. (Does not exist)
  • Ongoing assessment and updating of these skills is done during Continual Service Improvement
  • Involvement in projects, not only during the Service Design process, but also for Continual Service Improvement or operational projects, such as Operating System upgrades, server consolidation projects or physical moves.
  • Complaints of this nature should be taken up through Continual Service Improvement processes and should not simply involve Service Operation automatically increasing service upon request.

And there is one comment about some level of integration.

  • Formal Problem Management and Incident Management processes, integrated between Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement.

Imaginary ITIL

The text makes it crystal clear that CSI is an activity outside the operational processes. These provide input for CSI but that is the heart of the cooperation. Only one role has anything to do with CSI and that is the Transition Manager.  I know this is wrong, so does everybody who commented on the discussion. Continual Service Improvement should be a part of everything, not a separate process.

So people read into ITIL their own thinking and create models that do not exist in the books. That is Imaginary ITIL. It is better ITSM but it is not what ITIL says.

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