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10 October 2013 | Ken Turbitt Blog
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Where Does the ITIL Lifecycle Start?
This week Ken looks at ITIL v3 lifecycle in operation and explains where it should start...

Now I often hear discussions, sometimes arguments, about where does the lifecycle start? It’s a bit of the chicken and egg scenario. If one was starting with a new organisation from start-up, then it would have to be starting at the strategy level, to understand the purpose, goals, objectives of the new business and a business plan would be needed anyway to obtain funding. The likelihood of such a large scale start-up is pretty remote, most organisations that want to adopt and adapt to ITIL will already be in place, often for many years.

Below we have the lifecycle process model with ITIL v3 (and the 2011 update).


ITIL Lifecycle Process Model


In this instance my view is that the starting place is actually the Continual Service Improvement phase because we need to assess where the client is in their maturity, what they can report on, what service measurements are in place, what, if any, Return on Investment they have measured and received to date. Going through the 7 step improvement stage will also help highlight areas of service that are good and areas that need improvement. Once you have this, then you can go back to the start of the lifecycle and align with the strategy, perhaps even influence improvements to it, in particular with the Service Portfolio.

So often I see that the link between Service Portfolio and Service Catalogue is non-existent or weak at best. Normally kept by different departments which appears to mean no collaboration or communication to ensure that one feeds into the other (new services being planned and needing to come on-line and old services being retired). All too often we see the Catalogue team only being informed of a new service, when the change request has gone in. If only it were that simple, there are so many elements to consider from the Service Catalogue Management perspective, fulfilment teams to understand and agree the end to end process, including the escalation and exception handling process. How this can be automated within the SRM tool deployed. Which process steps cannot be automated and need manual workarounds, or integration points to other supporting tools and suppliers services. The Portfolio team and the Service Catalogue team need to work closely together on all new (and retiring) services to ensure a cohesive plan and risk analysis is known, understood and actionable. 

How many of you see this ITIL v3 lifecycle in operation, now that it’s been documented in the marketplace for 6+years? How many see the “packages” between the lifecycles being developed and delivered? I see it informally in many cases, but rarely formally and fully documented. I’d be interested to hear your views.

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!


11th October 2013

Ken suggests that services should start in the Continual Service Improvement cycle.

I fundamentally disagree.

It seems to me that approach glorifies the status quo of the services currently
offered - from IT's inside-out point of view.

I conceive that our customer - "the rest of the business" - needs
support for their programs that raise revenue or cut costs.

Let's assume that IT is operating as a business-within-a-business and acting as
the agents and stewards for the business in acquiring and delivering IT related

Peter Drucker, the management guru, wrote that, "The purpose of business
is to create and keep a customer."

IT Services should be, therefore, initiated as part of a "sales and
marketing" process of defining solutions that meet the customer's needs.
Services that "customers" "buy."

It is a defining part of any business to decide what products and services it
offers and what it doesn't offer. It is, therefore, in the Service Planning
process, perhaps as an extension of Governance and IT architecture, that
services are identified for development.

Development and management of a service is an investment that should come out
of a decision to support the customer. Selection of products and services to
offer comes out of a marketing, sales and budget process.

"No decision has been made unless carrying it out in specific steps has
become someone’s work assignment and responsibility" – Peter Drucker.

Cary King


 ITIL® is a registered trade mark  


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