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REVIEW: "Implementing ITIL", Randy A. Steinberg

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKIMITIL.RVW 20070228 Implementing ITIL , Randy A. Steinberg, 2005, 141206618-2 %A Randy A. Steinberg RandyASteinberg@aol.com %C Suite 6E, 2333
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2007
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      BKIMITIL.RVW 20070228

      "Implementing ITIL", Randy A. Steinberg, 2005, 141206618-2
      %A Randy A. Steinberg RandyASteinberg@...
      %C Suite 6E, 2333 Government Street, Victoria, BC V8T 4P4
      %D 2005
      %G 141206618-2
      %I Trafford Publishing
      %O 888-232-4444 FAX 250-383-6804 sales@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1412066182/robsladesinterne
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1412066182/robsladesinte-21
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/1412066182/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience i- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 489 p.
      %T "Implementing ITIL"

      Chapter one notes that there are problems in how information
      technology (IT) works in supporting the enterprise. Steinberg does
      mention that there should be better integration of the various parts
      and functions of IT service, that IT service management (ITSM) should
      be performed better, and that the Information Technology
      Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a framework for improving ITSM, but
      does not, at this point, define either ITIL (and never does explain
      ITSM). Nine general principles for success are listed in chapter two.
      The precepts are sound (such as targeting the "Pareto" processes that
      are going to give you the best results for least effort), but vague:
      there are almost no details on how to accomplish this wonderful state.
      Chapter three provides a generic and rather terse outline of a general
      project management cycle, under the heading of a process for
      implementing ITSM over a period of a year. Modification of the
      culture of a corporation is a massive and difficult task: the
      suggestions in chapter four have some interesting and useful detail in
      regard to communications, but disregard the challenges involved. A
      catalogue of roles for large teams and projects is given in chapter
      five: this is probably too large for most ITSM ventures.

      Chapters six through eleven outline the general stages in a project
      cycle, albeit with idiosyncratic names for most phases (and missing a
      few steps, such as requirements definition, testing, post-
      implementation assessment, and maintenance). The material is
      reasonable, although quite terse and vague. A great deal of space is
      devoted to forms, checklists, and questionnaires. These would
      probably be quite useful as templates for those involved in an ITSM
      improvement project, but would have to be refined for a specific
      situation. "Vision," in chapter six, is basically the project concept
      or initiation phase. "Assessment" is given a separate chapter
      (seven), but seems to be part of the concept definition. Planning is
      in eight, and implementation in nine. "Initial wins" are described,
      in chapter ten, as small, quick projects that provide some early
      "high" returns on the efforts. The text outlines a management cycle
      for small projects and so duplicates a good deal of material that was
      presented earlier. There is also a list of initial win projects,
      although the value of most is questionable and they would have to be
      carefully reviewed for a specific environment. "Control work," in
      chapter eleven, is partly implementation of small projects, partly
      overall project documentation and management, and lots of workflow
      model charts: the content is rather a mixed bag.

      Chapter twelve finally gets around to some details of ITIL: the text
      does, rather briefly, present the topical areas (known, in ITIL
      parlance, as processes) of the management of incidents, problems,
      change, release (of software), configuration, service levels,
      availability, capacity, continuity, finance, the service desk, and
      security. A poorly explained and formatted two-dimensional chart of
      the information flow between processes makes up chapter thirteen.
      Various software utilities and their bare-bones functions are listed
      in fourteen, while fifteen mentions miscellaneous documents related to
      the ITIL processes. Chapter sixteen has a terse catalogue of roles
      and job descriptions for the processes. Guiding principles are
      defined, in chapter seventeen, in a way that is very similar to vision
      or mission statements, albeit with somewhat more detail.

      (ITIL is a decent overview of the provision of IT services, but note
      that it has gaps. For example, incident response is seen only in
      terms of customer service, without any relation to security. Security
      management has solid and important directives on management, a
      holistic approach, policies, and audit, but when it comes to the
      actual provision of controls, the advice is to have proper ones,
      without much detail on what those might be.)

      The title of the work is somewhat misleading. The largest part of the
      book has to do with generic project management. ITIL does get some
      presentation, but not until the book is more than half over. In
      addition, the work is poorly structured and written. The end of
      chapter sixteen, as one example, talks about roles for "ICT," but ICT
      is not defined until the end of chapter seventeen (and then only as
      "Infrastructure Control"). The material is not complicated, but the
      writing is frequently unclear, and it is only the simplicity of the
      basic concepts that prevents the reader from getting lost. (Sometimes
      the writing is completely off the wall. "Fix just one IT service
      problem per day and within 90 days you will have made 107 service
      improvements" is clearly self-contradictory.)

      For those who have not done much in the way of project management,
      there are some helpful guides that will get you going (although you
      will need to check in other references such as Scott Berkun's "The Art
      of Project Management" [cf. BKARPRMA.RVW] or "Applied Software Project
      Management" by Stellman and Greene [cf. BKAPSWPM.RVW] in order to deal
      with the missing bits). For those not familiar with ITIL, chapter
      twelve is a reasonable introduction. For those working to improve
      ITSM within their enterprises you will probably need a bit more help
      than is provided herein.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2007 BKIMITIL.RVW 20070228


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