In a recent Tweet, I said:
The frameworks in common use today are fine the way they are. What needs to alter is our expectations and the manner in which we use them.
When I wrote this, I was specifically thinking about the I.T. Infrastructure Library (ITIL), but it’s important to remember that this thought applies to any framework, methodology or body of knowledge.
I could just as easily have put COBIT, MOF, PMBOK, Agile or whatever other framework or methodology one might be fond of there. Even the USMBOK! <gasp!> 😉
Some of you who know some of my other work may be surprised to see me writing “nice things” about ITIL. If you are surprised, then you have completely missed the point or misunderstood what I’ve been attempting to say the whole time!
ITIL is neither bad or wrong — it is incomplete and inconsistent. We can see evidence backing my assertion in the form of OGC’s mandate for change. After all, if it were complete and consistent, there would be no need for the ITIL refresh, would there? 🙂 Is this a problem? Yes and no. The degree to which it is depends upon how you use it.
I said in another blog entry:
If the release of ITIL v3 helps IT organizations to recognize these key themes and take actions designed to start functioning as effective providers (and consumers) of services, then I believe that ITIL v3 will have made an important contribution to the discipline of IT Service Management.
Does this statement mean that:
- I believe it has covered all the areas that it needs to for people to be able to execute on an ITSM initiative and be successful? No.
- I think that organizations should not use ITIL? No.
- I think that “adopt and adapt” is a viable strategy for “implementing” ITIL? No.
It’s highly likely that you’re always going to find gaps in content, introduce new concepts into the frameworks, alter methodologies, etc. Even with reasonably successful frameworks (like PMIs Project Management Body of Knowledge [PMBOK]), there are regular updates and refreshes to ensure that they remain relevant to the profession. Things change and we need to deal with that. Bottom line is that this has nothing to do with a specific framework or its content.
The real problems come from how we try to use (or abuse) them and/or what we results we expect to drive from that. Mere adoption of a framework isn’t going to make our problems disappear, allow for an exponential rise in productivity or have our people become more capable. These are signs of (actual or potential) abuse/misuse. By recognizing these signs, we can start down the path to understanding how to use them properly.