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Implementing ITIL: Some Common Errors

An increasing number of corporations are undertaking ambitious ITIL projects to gain IT Service Management benefits. But a keynote speaker at this week's ITSMF USA conference urges organizations to be aware of implementation pitfalls.
Sep 30, 2004

Beverly Wileman-Pratt

Corporations undertaking ambitious efforts to implement ITIL in order to gain IT Service Management benefits typically are looking at multi-year projects where the benefits appear to be on the far-off, long-term horizon.

But in his presentation at this week's ITSMF USA 2004 conference in Long Beach, Calif., keynote speaker Randy Steinberg said if they approach ITIL projects the right way, organizations should be able to implement all 10 ITIL processes concurrently and see results within a year.

Steinberg, a senior consultant with technology integration services provider Covestic, said the "primary mission" of ITSM is to "protect corporate investments in IT solutions and infrastructure by ensuring that they will be deployable and operable on a day-to-day basis."

In his keynote address, Steinberg outlined nine common implementation errors that can slow down or derail ITIL projects:

1. Running the implementation as an IT project instead of an organization change project. Most IT organizations have evolved into stovepipes, he said, each following their own Change and Problem Management processes and each seeing their world based on their individual experience.

2. Improper balance between strategic efforts and short-term wins. As you plan your ITSM strategy, make sure you balance short-term wins while you are building your process foundation.

3. Sole focus on one or several ITIL processes instead of all service support and delivery processes. You need an overall view of where you want to be, Steinberg said, while planning and implementing processes and activities to ensure successful operations and relationships.

4. Over-designing the ITIL process solutions. Spending too much time detailing the solution could make the relationship of a process obsolete as you mature in your implementation.

5. Scoping the implementation to one processing location. Build a "Local Center" coalition team and include representatives from your different sites at the manager, supervisor and ITSM staff levels.

6. Lack of implementation governance. Review new ideas, determine if they are useful, research and add them in and then let everyone know about it, Steinberg advised.

7. Too much emphasis on process maturity as a goal or end state. Continually measure your progress and monitor your performance throughout the implementation, Steinberg told attendees.

8. Treating the implementation as a one-time project. Implementing IT Service Management is a continuous improvement program -- you begin, you measure, you refine and you continuously improve.

9. Staffing the implementation effort with people in the wrong positions. Ensure you choose staffers whose skill and passion match their roles.

Steinberg, who spoke to more than 1,000 attendees, concluded by recommending a combination of both strategic and tactical approaches to achieve real business benefits.

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