Improving ITIL 2 – Lose 20 processes

This the second part in a series of considering ITIL core problems.

Version 3 brought us a great number of processes. Actually it was not clear in 2007-2011 how many and which were the “best practice” processes. This was clarified in the 2011 Edition. Now ITIL has 26 processes and 4 functions. With weird logic one of the functions is Application management which was a V2 ITIL book containing a set of processes.

1. Access Management Process SOP – 4.5
2. Application Management Function SOP – 6.6
3. Availability Management – AM Process SDE – 4.4
4. Business Relationship Management – BRM Process SST – 4.5
5. Capacity Management Process SDE – 4.5
6. Change Management Process STR – 4.2
7. Change Evaluation Process STR – 4.6
8. Demand Management Process SST – 4.4
9. Design Coordination Process SDE – 4.1
10. Event Management Process SOP – 4.1
11. Financial Management for IT Services Process SST – 4.3
12. Incident Management Process SOP – 4.2
13. Information Security Management – ISM Process SDE – 4.7
14. IT Operations Management Function SOP – 6.5
15. IT Service Continuity Management – ITSCM Process SDE – 4.6
16. Knowledge Management Process STR – 4.7
17. Problem Management Process SOP – 4.4
18. Release & Deployment Management Process STR – 4.4
19. Request Fulfillment Process SOP – 4.3
20. Service Asset & Configuration Management – SACM Process STR – 4.3
21. Service Catalog Management Process SDE – 4.2
22. Service Desk Function SOP – 6.3
23. Service Level Management – SLM Process SDE – 4.3
24. Service Portfolio Management – SPM Process SST – 4.2
25. Service Validation & Testing Process STR – 4.5
26. Strategy Management for IT Services Process SST – 4.1
27. Supplier Management Process SDE – 4.8
28. Technical Management Function SOP – 6.4
29. The 7 Step Improvement Process Process CSI – 4.1
30. Transition Planning & Support Process STR – 4.1


Why did the authors create so many new processes? One possible solution was that all author teams were told to produce 200 pages of text. Service transition is 274 pdf-pages, Service Operation and Strategy are both 276 pages and the common material is about 78 pages. They needed the new processes to fill the pages!

This list of processes itself is a potential catastrophe. The large number of processes creates a large group of process managers who all have the power of slowing things down or stopping any changes. ITIL version 3 also described some 40 strategies and policies. Additionally to this babble of process managers and process owners, there are service managers and owners plus the normal line management. ITIL does not describe who coordinates all these process and service managers. This mess is the caricature of good management practice. It represents a huge effort in planning internal bureaucracy with no value to the customer.

The NOKIA case is a good example where the process model may lead. This is not verified but I think this is a credible version of how Nokia lost the mobile phone business.

Nokia and Ericsson got a head start in mobile phones thanks to Nordic Mobile Telephony NMT which was set up by the national telecommunication companies in the Nordic countries. Nokia became market leader with innovative design and very efficient production. Nokia’s production machine was a great example of process matrix management. Processes were managed centrally; local management around the world in low cost countries just applied the processes. All factories round the world worked in the same way.

Then Nokia decided to apply the same successful model in product design. It set up a complex matrix organization for product development. The result was the catastrophe we have seen. Nokia had the capability to make touch screen phones and many people there understood that Symbian was outdated. The matrix organization was unable to react to market changes. There were simply too many managers who could prevent a change.

All ITSM practitioners should understand that processes are a great tool for managing routine work but they are not the solution for complex cases. Manufacturing and design are fundamentally different.

Small is beautiful and simplicity has value. Actually even ITIL V2 described too many processes. Jan van Bon is on the right track with his six processes in the ISM Method.

So it means that ITIL needs to lose 20 processes. It is also quite important to describe the relations and responsibilities of different managers and owners. ITIL is much more valuable to the practitioners if it is simple and compact. This does not mean that it would be easy and trivial to apply. Managing IT systems and services is not simple.

Yksi vastaus

  1. Nice articles and good comemnts.I would probably prefer more of sharing life after ITIL experiences.Would really appreciate if someone throws some light on that avenue.


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