Getting Started with ITIL? Here are 5 Tips to Help

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Very few companies have adopted all the elements of ITIL v3/2011’s 26 ITIL processes and its four functions (if any). And now ITIL 4 has 34 management practices, it will be even unlikelier. But this is okay because ITIL is designed to be adopted and adapted – with organizations using what they need to support their IT service delivery and support. So, if you’re adopting ITIL, especially when getting started with ITIL, then please bear this in mind.

There are also many other key aspects of ITIL adoption to be aware of and, to help your organization to get started with ITIL, I’ve provided the following five tips below.

From incident management to problem management, managing changes to exploiting knowledge, here @Joe_the_IT_Guy shares his five top tips for successfully getting started with ITIL. Click To Tweet

ITIL adoption tip #1: Establish a best-practice-based IT service desk

While different organizations adopt different parts of ITIL, most will create an IT service desk capability. It can be a quick win, and very often it’s a case of simply improving upon things that your IT support team already does.

Having a formal IT service desk is a solid base for managing your IT incidents and service requests as efficiently and effectively as possible. It will provide swifter resolutions along with:

  • The better management of employee/customer expectations
  • The ability to prioritize issues and requests
  • The opportunity to exploit knowledge management
  • Better insight into both operational and service performance.

ITIL adoption tip #2: Identify the root causes of IT issues using problem management

A number of your IT incidents will be recurring and rather than repeatedly wasting time and effort on fixing every one of them again, and again, and again, ITIL suggests that problem management is used to eliminate the root cause of the recurring incidents.

When starting with problem management, look to your biggest pain points. For example, review recent major incidents to understand what caused them. If necessary, find a fix – which can be either an interim workaround and/or permanent resolution.

When starting with problem management, look to your biggest pain points. For example, review recent major incidents to understand what caused them, says @Joe_the_IT_Guy #ITIL #ServiceDesk Click To Tweet

Also, engage in proactive problem management activities. For example, using trending or talking to support team leads about what keeps them up at night. Then work on these problems to identify and address the root causes.

ITIL adoption tip #3: Aim to manage your changes better

In the absence of any effective change controls, change might be driven by technical rather than business objectives (and without taking a bigger picture view). This can lead to unwanted clashes, outages, and rework. Introducing formal change management capabilities – or change enablement as it’s called in ITIL 4 – is the first step in better protecting your production environment while still delivering the speed of change required by your organization.

Here, it’s important to make it easy for people to do the right thing (rather than to circumvent the agreed change enablement practices). Introduce standard changes for high volume, low-risk changes that can be considered pre-approved. Use delegated authority as a means of getting approval for changes that do need a considered decision. And use a change advisory board (CAB) to discuss the high risk and/or high impact changes – but again, make it easy for people to present changes to the CAB and for CAB members to remain focused only on the changes that need their attention and input.

ITIL adoption tip #4: Exploit knowledge whenever possible

When getting started with ITIL, there’s a need to understand how knowledge management will assist across various IT service management (ITSM) disciplines, especially the IT service desk. Plus, that it’s not simply the introduction of knowledge management technology but a people change that will require organizational change management tools and techniques to be successful.

So, when looking to exploit knowledge, spend at least as much time working out how to encourage the required people change as you do in creating the architecture and tooling for knowledge management. Failing to do this will likely leave your organization with something that, while fit for purpose in technology terms, will never be fully adopted by its people.

When looking to exploit knowledge, spend at least as much time working out how to encourage the required people change as you do in creating the architecture and tooling for knowledge management – @Joe_the_IT_Guy #ITSM Click To Tweet

ITIL adoption tip #5: Continually improve your operations and outcomes

Continual service improvement (CSI) – or continual improvement as it’s now called in ITIL 4 – is increasingly called out as an important cornerstone in ITSM, or ITIL, adoption. Because the sooner your organization start embeds continual improvement into its capabilities, the easier it will find it to improve on the status quo. Create a continual improvement register – where people can record, prioritize, and manage identified opportunities for improvement to services or operations – to facilitate this.

So, that’s my five “getting started with ITIL” tips. What tips would you add? 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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One Response

  1. In many cases, I recommend to start with service catalog. It is almost impossible to manage incidents, service requests, problems and changes if you have no clear view and understanding about your services and how you co-create value.

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