Time is valuable, so many of us are cash rich and time poor these days. We value simplicity and loathe the complex. Things need to be done yesterday, if not before. 

I can only see this getting worse as we are pressured to deliver the proverbial "more with less."

To elaborate, and it's a little tongue in cheek, Flash only had 14 hours to save earth. Twitter only allows us 140 characters to express ourselves. Shorter industry analyst pieces seem to be in vogue and, thankfully, in demand. BUT trying to tell someone how to get started with ITIL in 30 minutes is a bit of a challenge.

Well I'm up for it, and here is my starter for 10 …

To begin:

  • It’s about adopting not implementing ITIL
  • Take an adopt-and-adapt approach. Use what you need rather than everything. It’s a framework not a standard
  • It should be people then process then technology


  • Do not underestimate the importance of people and their behaviors to ITIL success
  • ITIL is culture-based. A way of thinking as well as a way of working … IT delivered as a service (ITIL v2) … the Service Lifecycle (ITIL v3)
    • Too many organizations adopt ITIL without subscribing to its concepts
    • Many organizations stick with the common/core processes, never moving from these reactive processes to the more value-adding proactive processes
    • Many organizations say that they “do” ITIL v3 when all they “do” is a subset of the ITIL v2 processes and have bought Service Catalog technology and/or sent staff on an ITIL v3 course
  • ITIL should be adopted based on business need and IT pain points and drivers
    • It should not be an ITIL Project. Rather a project that improves IT service availability, or reduces IT costs, or improves IT QoS (or a business improvement project)
  • Stakeholder support and buy-in is critical (Senior Management and employees) … communication and education as well as training
  • Keeping momentum on the ITIL journey is difficult. I wrote about this in a former life as “The elephant in the ITIL adoption living room”


  • You will probably be doing a lot of ITIL already (it’s documented common sense)
  • Common starting points are Incident and Change, or Change and Configuration
  • CSI is often overlooked. It can be a great starting point …
    • Establish high-level objectives
    • Conduct an initial assessment
    • Create plans to close gaps
    • Measure achievement
  • Most take a phased approach over “big bang”
    • But have an awareness of the process adoption roadmap such that linkages between processes and technologies can be planned for
    • For instance, Service Catalogs are still in vogue but you also need Service Level Management, Service Portfolio Management, and IT Financial Management to support true Service Catalog Management
  • Many I&O organizations overstate their level of ITSM maturity, e.g., Problem Management is reactive not proactive
  • I&O organizations should take stock of what they currently do before adding in vogue processes/technologies … Service Catalog Management, Automation, etc. (Back-to-Basics ITSM).


  • Technology should come last
  • There is functional parity in ITSM tool marketplace. Look for softer differentiators and of course price
  • Tools will have out-of-the-box ITIL processes BUT these might need to be tweaked to fit internal ways of working
    • Go with standard processes if you can though
  • RFIs/RFPs are often flawed as these are merely ITIL tick lists that cover far more than many I&O organizations will ever use
  • Tools that offer everything for a single price are great BUT be careful not to do too much too soon (like gorging in an all-you-can-eat buffet)
  • SaaS is a good fit for ITSM
  • Most I&O organizations will change ITSM tool every 5 to 6 years. Plan for this now – will you want to archive or port ITSM data? CMDB CIs and relationships for instance.

No doubt that there is a lot to cover when talking about starting out on the ITIL journey.  But, what did I miss? What would you change or challenge? Let me know.

UPDATE: Two popular ITIL-related blogs:

  • http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann/12-02-01-itil_adoption_5_steps_that_can_help_with_success
  • http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann/12-01-26-we_need_to_talk_about_itil 

Please check out my latest blog … http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann