Mastering ITIL

ITIL As A Guide

With more and more IT organizations attempting to boost service levels, reduce costs, and improve security, the ITIL framework is being relied upon more often for guidance. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library is fast becoming accepted as a leading collection of IT best practices around the globe. Increasing amounts of organizations are relying on ITIL today.

In the United States organizations a reputable as Caterpillar and State farm have openly shared the fact that they have incorporated features of ITIL and IT Service Management into their own IT management strategies. Yet, there are numerous misconception that remain about ITIL, this can sometime confuse even the most gifted IT practitioners.

One may ask how it is possible to actually master ITIL, the answer is not as clear as we would like. It is possible, but it takes much more then just reading the ITIL volumes.

ITIL – More Then Just A Book

Reading the books will indeed give an organization knowledge, strategies, and views they had not had before hand. What it will not do is solve every issue or answer all of the questions within the organization.This is understandable; after all, it Is a book, not a magical tool!

The key is in understanding how ITIL can help and also how it cannot, this way the organization is armed with the information they need, and not disappointed by the information they did not find.

ITIL is a collection of IT best practices, this much should be pretty clear by now; it is provided without any certain type of prioritization or prescriptive structures. ITIL simply provides a framework and a catalog of IT operational processes that are distilled from hundreds possibly even thousands of years of experience.

Over the years the body of ITIL has continued to be enhances and organized, perhaps one of the most significant examples of this is the BS 15000, this actually divides all of the ITIL disciplines into five sections: Controls, Release, Resolution, Service Design and Delivery, and Supplier Management.

However, even with the changes in organization ITIL remains to be a bit overwhelming especially when trying to decided what volumes to begin with and what your role is.

Even so, IT practitioners that are experienced and who have created their own volumes full of lessons learned from the disasters they have experiences or just minor set backs are sure to enjoy reading the ITIL collection, they are perhaps one type of IT practitioner that will recognize the wealth of difficult lessons and processes contributed by other IT practitioners that they can add to their own collection.

Given a staff with these expectations ITIL has the potential to be a massive amount of helpful information.

When you receive your ITIL volumes you may be shock to see just how huge ITIL is. You will find that ITIL actually consists of seven volumes, and if you continue to look for ITIL information you will find an additional 34 ITIL volumes that have been placed on CD-ROM sets. Knowing this it is easy to understand how many IT practitioners soon abandon any notion of learning all ITIL has to offer.

Yet, there are those who remain dedicated to learning what ITIL has to offer, and those who do may soon find themselves confused on where to begin implementing ITIL. Many find themselves wondering what they are supposed to do first.

Thankfully there is no need to know all of the information in the ITIL volumes to gain an advantage from it, nor is it necessary to understand it all. Getting started can be simple if you begin with existing process section that you already have access to yet you want to improve upon.  Commonly this will be you key processes at the core or the center of a non specific IT operation, like change and configuration management.

With ITIL, these sections are covered in the Service Support book, this is also known as the blue book. The service support volume not only touches on change and configuration management but also contains some sections that cover incident management, problem management, and release management processes.

Some of the ITIL traditionalists might argue that the real worth of ITIL is not realized if it does not have a wholly precise service directory, a centralized service desk, and an inclusive configuration management database.

That said many organizations will still benefit from improving their current operational processes before attempting to take on the complete service view of IT, which consequentially will need an executive level sponsor for change to the entire organization.

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ITIL Process Terminology

The terminology used in ITIL is another challenge that IT practitioners face, it is much like the terminology that is used with software development. A good example of this would be the fact that for years software developers have used confusing terms much like change and configuration management to communicate how code changes are versioned, corresponded, reviewed, and released.

Are you seeing the pattern here yet? Moving on, these are very well recorded disciplines described in the Capability Maturity Model, which was developed by the Software Engineering Institute in the 1980’s.

Even so, as most IT practitioners can reluctantly attest, you can have the most talented developers working with the best change and configuration management and still have terrible service levels due to the sub-standard coordination with IT operations.

The changes and the updates that are made by your developers may even fail. This could result in large amounts of Break/Fix fire-fighting, the blame game, and a continuous counter productive association between IT operations and research and development teams.

It is said that most of downtime is the direct result of changes that are made by authorized IT personnel. In order to achieve a high availability and reliability, production changes must be managed. Without this management there is very little capability to achieve any predictable level of service. There are also various areas where changes can come from, other changes can even come from patches, maintenance releases, outage remediation, and even hackers.

Working with a full-grown Research and Development organization is a true asset for an IT operations group, especially one that has first class change management processes in place.

Situations such as these mean that the research and development team will manage the IT operations release management and change management teams to better synchronize and organize how software releases are positioned into production.


ITIL is very obviously an unrivaled collection of best practices, and it can guide IT practitioner toward improvement. That said it is important to understand that ITIL is complicated, and there is no volume that will hold your hand and guide you through the process. ITIL is just like any other tool, how well it works for you and your organization depends on the skill and dedication of the person using it.

The core of most IT operations are where change and configuration management processes can be found, this is due to its very descriptive nature. Those who wish to take on ITIL but are not open to exploring how their own processes work in comparison to ITIL are most likely to be very dissatisfied with the end results.

Editorial Team at Geekinterview is a team of HR and Career Advice members led by Chandra Vennapoosa.

Editorial Team – who has written posts on Online Learning.

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