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ITIL and Prince2 - Change Using Project Management

By Maarten Bordewijk Is there a relationship between a model describing the management of services in a Business As Usual environment, and a model describing how to manage projects that deliver new or changed services? Let's take a closer look at this question.
Jun 6, 2005

ITSM Watch Staff

By Maarten Bordewijk

Not too long ago an item featured on this website announced: ITIL and Prince2: on the rise. This article mainly focused on the fact that educational institutions saw an increase in demand for training in these areas.

As an educator I have been confronted for the last four years with this and other questions such as; "is there an overlap between these two models?" Is there a relationship between a model describing the management of services in a Business As Usual environment, and a model describing how to manage projects that deliver new or changed services?

In the area of Service Management another framework, the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF), has a very well described relationship with its sister the Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) for managing IT projects.

Decisions made to change the existing managed IT Infrastructure can be the start of a new project managed using MSF. New service solutions will be implemented after a "go" decision in the Release Readiness Review and will be operated and supported with the processes described in MOF.

Where MSF and MOF come from a single source (Microsoft), Prince2 and ITIL also come from a single source, the OGC (The Office of Government Commerce). The question now is: do they also integrate neatly? The OGC books are at first glance not very detailed on this matter. The ITIL Service Support states on page 16: "Within ITIL when we discuss project management if we need to draw on a particular method we will use PRINCE." This promises a lot, but can we really find guidance on how to do this?

It makes the most sense to look at the ITIL Change Management process for relationships to project management. Paragraph 8.1.3 in the book states: "In order to be able to define clear boundaries, dependencies and rules, Change Management should be integrated with processes used to control very large organizational programs or projects" Added is a flowchart that gives a high level picture of the interfaces.

The chapter on Release Management also mentions a relationship, but again not very detailed. It says that Release Management should assist project management in planning and implementing a release.

Now, the very nature of ITIL is that the detail of how to use it is often not described. So, we shouldn't be too surprised. Nevertheless we could expect some more clarification. I will try to give some guidance using an example from our own practice.

A desktop services management organization has been providing office automation services to a particular customer for two years. In this time some minor releases have been rolled out. The support is organized based on ITIL; projects are managed by a group of internal technical consultants in a Prince2 framework.

A new version of the operating system has become mainstream, has some important new features in addition to security improvement and seems to be stable enough to justify a change to the existing standard. A full release comprising the operating system, the office automation suite and hardware, is considered.

The idea is to maintain a stable environment so that customer satisfaction will not be impaired and Service Level reports are expected to improve. Also, the support organization expects to be able to create an environment that is easier to manage if new tooling is rolled out at the same time. On the other hand, functionality for the user will not be changed very much.

Given the size and impact on the core service provision, it is decided to raise a Request for Change. The Change Manager assesses this request as a major change. Senior management and the Change Advisory Board agree and the CAB suggests to appoint a project manager and to ask this person to put together a Project Brief. This is where Prince2 comes into the picture.

One of the internal consultants is appointed as Project Manager. The added value of the project, described in the Project Brief, will have to be confirmed by the Project Board. I recommend giving the Change Manager a role in this board. Most appropriate role is the Senior User who will look after the requirements of the user community that in our example is not only the business user but especially the system managers.

The IT Director plays the Executive role in the board. In other types of projects this can be a Business Manager, e.g. a project to implement an Internet Banking application. Such a project will likely be initiated by the business. The Change Manager should still be a Senior User. In projects where IT is only seen as one of the (many) spin-offs of a business project, the Change and Release Manager could be appointed as Team Managers responsible for the IT elements of the project.

After the "Go" from the Project Board, in the next phase the Project Initiation Document is put together. In this PID a detailed plan is included. ITIL Release Management plays a major role in this element. Especially for issues like what can (not) or should (not) be rolled out at the same time and when and which test and or pilots should be performed.

The Change Manager coordinates the building of the change and informs the Change Advisory Board of its status. With a role in the Project Board this is guaranteed. Before implementation (roll out) of the products (new applications, servers and documentation etc.) of the project the PB decides: "go or no go." The CAB puts forward its recommendations to the Change Manager. In this CAB System Management, Support processes, Release and Configuration Management are represented.

Both ITIL and Prince2 have a mechanism for evaluating the change or project. The Post Project Review in Prince2 is the same as the ITIL Post Implementation Review. A successful review can therefore lead to the end of the project. Such is the case in our example.

Integrating these two de-facto standards gives IT organizations the ability to not only manage a stable environment but also accept (major) changes to this environment.

Maarten Bordewijk - senior management trainer at Getronics PinkRoccade, Netherlands in the Educational Services business unit. Maarten has been the IT Service Management trainer for the ITIL and MOF frameworks since 1999. Engagements are often education and consultancy/coaching in Service Management implementation projects for customers in UK, Netherlands and Russia. Prior to 1999 Maarten was an IT consultant in front and backoffice environments.

This subject was also discussed in more detail in an article in the Dutch magazine ITBeheer (April 2005)