6 ITIL Newbie Mistakes to Avoid

ITIL Newbie Mistakes
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So, you’ve studied hard and successfully passed your ITIL 2011 (or even ITIL 4) exams. And you’re now back at work and want to make a difference by putting your newly minted IT service management (ITSM) qualification to work. The world is your oyster.

But hold on a minute. You’re not the first person to be in this position. Many have gone before you – it’s likely that over a million people have ITIL qualifications – so why not take the time to understand the mistakes that are commonly made by people, and their organizations, once ITIL qualified? Such that you can simply avoid these newbie mistakes.

Take the time to understand the mistakes that are commonly made by people, and their organizations, once #ITIL qualified with this article by @Joe_the_IT_Guy. Click To Tweet

6 Common ITIL Newbie Mistakes

Despite the title of this article, sadly these six common newbie mistakes are not limited to newbies:

1. Acting as though ITIL is a “silver bullet” for all your organization’s IT woes.

Sadly, the paint-by-numbers application of ITIL best practice isn’t going to solve all of your issues, nor is it a “quick fix” for the more complicated of issues. While ITIL will provide significant value to your organization if used right, simply copying best-practice processes is usually not enough. So, approach ITIL with the right mindset – where you realize that it won’t fix everything (and quickly) but that taking a pragmatic and realistic approach to adopting the ITIL guidance will make a significant difference to your service delivery and support capabilities (and the resulting business outcomes).

Sadly, the paint-by-numbers application of #ITIL best practice isn’t going to solve all of your issues, nor is it a “quick fix” for the more complicated of issues, says @Joe_the_IT_Guy. Click To Tweet

2. Thinking that ITIL adoption is the endgame.

Sadly, this is inside-out thinking. Instead, it’s about improvement, and improving the business in particular. Who cares if you’ve a shiny new change management process (or change enablement practice if you’re all ITIL 4 now) if it’s not creating value for your organization? This mistake not only applies to the initial ITIL adoption activities but also any ongoing continual improvement – please ensure that any improvements actually make a difference at a business level.

3. Treating ITIL as a one-off project.

ITIL isn’t something that you “implement” over the next six months, check off (as complete), and then move onto something else. Instead, ITIL requires continual improvement – and there’s an ITIL 4 practice for this. Over time, your organization will need to reassess and improve its mix of ITSM people, processes, and technology to ensure that its IT service delivery and support capabilities are what are needed to achieve business goals. Any improvements could be driven by business needs, guidance changes, external factors such as regulations, or other things.

ITIL adoption isn't the endgame, it's about improvement, and improving the business in particular – @Joe_the_IT_Guy #ITIL #ITSM Click To Tweet

4. Only focusing on process improvement.

Of course, process improvement is great but, to adopt ITIL and to continually improve operations and business outcomes, there’s a need to also focus on technology and – most importantly – people. It’s why ITIL 4 changed from 26 ITSM processes to 34 practices. You’ll need to rise above the processes to take a more holistic view of your ITSM capabilities and the available improvement across people, processes, and technology.

5. Not realizing that ITIL adoption requires senior-level buy-in to succeed.

For ITIL to truly succeed, senior management must understand its value to the organization. Such that suitable resources are made available for change, and help is at hand to deal with any resistance to change. Remember, just because you’ve bought into the power of ITIL best practice guidance, it doesn’t mean that others have.

FACT: For #ITIL to truly succeed, senior management must understand its value to the organization. Click To Tweet

6. Not appreciating the effort that ITIL adoption will actually take.

It all looks so easy written down in the ITIL training course collateral. But is that relatively short ITIL adoption window you’ve agreed to introduce new ITSM technology and five new ITSM processes/practices really viable? And it’s not just the “implementation” timeframe. For example, have you:

  • Painted an overall vision – including short, medium, and long-term goals – for your ITIL adoption “project”?
  • Considered how new ITSM processes will link with existing processes (both inside and outside of IT)?
  • Created a clear and concise communication plan for both IT and end users?
  • Thought about what training is required – again for both IT and end users?

Of course, there are going to be more than six common ITIL adoption mistakes, but I think that these are six of the most important ones to avoid. So, what would you add to my six mistakes? Please let me know in the comments.

Joe The IT Guy is a native New Yorker who loves everything connected to IT service management (ITSM). He's a passionate blogger and twitter addict, and is also the resident IT guy at SysAid Technologies.

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2 Responses

  1. I’d like to add: Not knowing where you are, or where you want to be as a very common mistake. How many if the ITIL Foundation participants has been sent to a training without knowing why they are there? Sadly, quite a lot.
    If you enter into a work to adapt and adopt to ITIL it is a good thing to know why, about where you are and what you do want to achieve. Pragmatism is definately a key to ITIL.

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