Does ITIL Define Too Many Roles?

One of the common bits of negative feedback about ITIL is that it defines too many roles, making it difficult for organizations to easily establish the correct organizational structure to align with ITIL best practices.

Here are the roles currently defined in ITIL 2011:

Generic process roles (These roles exist for every process)

  • Process owner
  • Process manager
  • Process practitioner

 Generic service roles (Exist for every service)

  • Service owner
  • Service manager

Strategy specific roles

  • Business strategy manager
  • IT steering group
  • IT director or service management director
  • Business relationship manager
  • Customers/users
  • Budget holders
  • Chief sourcing officer
  • Other sourcing roles

Design specific roles

  • IT planner
  • IT designer/architect

Transition specific roles

  • Service transition manager
  • Change initiator
  • Change authority
  • CAB member
  • CAB chair
  • Configuration analyst
  • Configuration librarian
  • Release packaging and build manager
  • Deployment practitioner
  • Early life support practitioner
  • Build and test environment manager
  • Knowledge creator

Operation specific roles

  • First-line analyst
  • Second-line analyst
  • Third-line analyst
  • Problem analyst
  • Request fulfillment analyst
  • Service desk manager
  • Service desk supervisor
  • Service desk analyst
  • Super user
  • Technical manager/team leader
  • Technical analyst/architect
  • Technical operator
  • IT operations manager
  • Shift leader
  • IT operations analyst
  • IT operator
  • Applications manager/team leader
  • Applications analyst/architect

CSI specific roles

  • CSI manager
  • Reporting analyst

The information about roles is documented in section six of every core ITIL book.

Are these too many roles? That’s a common criticism of ITIL, however, two things are often not considered when this criticism is leveled.

First, not every organization has or needs every process or role described by ITIL. Second, roles in both large and small organizations are often shared. I like to think of roles like hats. I don’t have just one, and I change them depending on the situation.

ITIL gives a fair representation of the roles that might exist in a service management organization, not a requirement that a certain set of roles must exist.

Related Posts
ITIL 2011: How Many Processes?
The Theory and Practice of ITIL
Where’s the Magic in an ITIL Process?

Related Courses
ITIL® Foundation
ITIL® Lifecycle Expert Program
ITIL Exam Prep Mobile App

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