Embarking on your ITIL initiative can be daunting. Often, the breadth and scope of ITIL can leave I&O departments struggling to create a solid road map — Where do I start? Can I pick and choose ITIL principles? Do I even need ITIL? Without answers, any one of these questions can put up a roadblock on your journey to smooth service management, so here are some tips to put you on the right track:

Pre-Race Checklist

  • Make sure you take the time to define and understand exactly what problem you're trying to solve — many companies who skip this step end up regretting it.
  • Before you can decide where you want to go, you need to know where you’re coming from. Measure your ITSM maturity level, and then define where you want to go and how much you want to improve.
  • Once you know your ITSM baseline and the problem that you want to solve, you can figure out the best place to start in the ITIL v3 framework.

Start Your Engines

  • Keep in mind that technology or domain silos don’t work, and process silos don’t work either. Switch to a hybrid model for best results.
  • When determining who your process heads should be, incident and problem management should NOT be rolled together under one person. Incident management is about fire-fighting, and problem management is about root cause analysis — two very different competencies. 


  • One of the best ways to start down the ITIL highway is by building a service catalog. Take the time to define the services you want to offer — if you seem to have too many, then break them into families of services with items in each family. If you have thousands of services, it’s too many!
  • Don’t forget to use the tools you have at your disposal to help you automate — throw away the spreadsheets. Forrester’s ITSM Support Tools Product Comparison Tool can help you select the right tools for your organization.
  • Remember that ITIL is NOT a religion, so don’t follow it like it is — use only the parts of it that make sense for your own organization.