Nobody wants to get old, fat and out of touch. But over time, for most of us, it just seems to happen. Companies can be a lot like people. They too can make excuses for not doing the hard work to rejuvenate their businesses. For organizations with the willingness to get in shape and regain their corporate vitality, combining ITIL® with project management tactics can produce miracles.
At a time when countless businesses are considering outsourcing all, or most, of their IT activities, ITIL can help IT departments around the world provide real business value. ITIL can help transform IT departments from a company cost center to a competitive service provider. With ITIL’s best practices, internal IT departments can compete with external IT providers by cost-effectively satisfying the needs of the business. ITIL provides the service management framework and project management provides the structure for how to do it.
Where ITIL comes in
When successfully implemented, a company that transitions to ITIL gets the best of both worlds: the highly responsive functionality of a superb service delivery organization, coupled with the agility, mobility and flexibility that is increasingly necessary in today’s competitive marketplace.
Since the dawn of computing, IT has often been disregarded by many within their organizations frequently including, and even led by, senior executives. Why? Because despite their best efforts, many IT departments have been severely challenged in delivering real business value on time and within budget, particularly in comparison to external providers.
ITIL addresses pretty much all of the identified limitations of IT. It provides a service-oriented framework that meets the customer’s business needs in the least expensive and highest-quality way possible, and it enables the IT organization to perform competitively with the very best service providers in the world. But, in order for ITIL to be implemented and in order for ITIL to provide adaptability and change capability, a rigorous project management methodology must be implemented as well.
Project management’s role
Project management has been around for over a hundred years, but it wasn’t until Y2K that it both matured and became broadly recognized. Y2K forced IT organizations to adopt a much more disciplined approach because failure was literally not an option. The entire issue was the result of an obscure and universal oversight that left millions of systems potentially vulnerable to failure. Only through the diligent application of a very structured and disciplined methodology could disaster be avoided. The success of Y2K efforts proved the value of the project management concept.
ITIL requires project management in two specific areas. First, implementing ITIL is a project in and of itself. It entails changing not only the IT organization, but also the rest of the company, and sometimes profoundly. ITIL implementations require exemplary project management. Anything less and the implementation is at risk.
Change management is at the very heart of ITIL. Since the whole point is to ensure high-quality delivery of IT services at the lowest possible cost, change has to be managed very carefully to avoid risk to a stable and functional environment. You also need project management to contain unproductive expenditures, while at the same time remaining highly responsive to the changing business needs of the customer. This is where project management really shines.
What to expect
The biggest challenge to an ITIL implementation is acquiring qualified project managers with sufficient business acumen, a true service mentality, and ITIL knowledge, training and experience.
Managing the constraints of time, price and scope of work, while meeting quality requirements is the foundation of project management. Meeting the customer-defined needs for capability, availability, reliability and cost-effectiveness, while allowing for agility and responsiveness in the face of changing business requirements is the foundation of ITIL. Together, these disciplines truly deliver a competitive advantage.
For individuals in the IT industry, particularly in management, there is not a set of skills more valuable than ITIL and project management. Few skills can better rejuvenate a career, and few initiatives can better rejuvenate an organization, than the combination of ITIL and project management.