If you are a Project Manager working in an IT environment, you may have heard the acronym ITIL? (IT Infrastructure Library, a set of books similar in nature to PMI?s PMBOK Guide) or ITSM (IT Service Management – the concept of IT as a ?service? to the business). If you haven?t heard of ITIL, you will.? Why?? Simply put: in terms of industry adoption, ITIL is one of the fastest growing frameworks in the IT industry today.
ITIL helps organizations increase IT efficiency, improve quality, and control costs.? In fact, AMR Research reports that IT organizations that have implemented ITIL best practices have saved up to 10% in IT costs without sacrificing the quality of service delivery.? That is why U.S. Computer Economics has projected that approximately 45% of all organizations, both large and small, in the US and Canada will have adopted ITIL best practices in some form by the end of 2008.
High Demand for ITIL Expertise
Companies are turning to ITIL, and the demand for individuals with skills and expertise in this area is increasing.? So much so, in fact, that ITIL certifications rank as some of the highest paid certifications in technology, along with PMI?s CAPM and PMP credentials.? In recent salary surveys from ZDNet?s Tech Republic, PMI and ITIL credentials consistently rank in the top three IT certifications industry wide.? With ITIL?s continued growth in the United States, the demand for IT Project Managers with expertise in ITIL will continue.
Focus is on Process, not Technology
The most compelling and interesting similarity between PMI?s PMBOK Guide and the ITIL books is that both are descriptive frameworks centered around process, not technology.
What this means to you is that both are extremely approachable standards.? For example, the PMP exam does not ask how you would go about creating a milestone task within Microsoft Project.? Rather, it makes sure you understand the importance of creating milestones.
The ITIL books are the same way.? In order to really understand IT Service Management as a practice, you do not need to understand servers or switches.? Rather, you need to understand things like the importance of controlling change, defining service levels, and maintaining a catalog of all your services to the business in terms the business can understand.
Both are bodies of knowledge covering simple principles that are drawn from deep industry experience.? They both detail concepts that are scalable and adaptable to each organization.? For example, the Project Plan for a small, simple project is going to look very different for a large, complex one.? In the same way, the process for managing a minor software patch release is going to have a different scale of requirements compared to a brand new, enterprise-wide software release.
Frameworks on a Similar Mission
In the PMBOK Guide, the goal is to provide project results, on-time and under budget, that meet the needs of the customer.? In the ITIL best practice set, the goal is to provide IT ?services? that provide value to the business in an ongoing and cost efficient manner.
Both the PMBOK Guide and ITIL guidance have the same mission, to elevate the profession by adding structure and rigor around what is done. ?Both strive to create a common language and deliver predictable results in a repeatable manner.
For example, in projects, there is a tendency to compress planning and/or testing under the pressure of an aggressive timeline.? However, a good project manager knows the importance of planning to alleviate rework later.
In the same way, businesses want IT to be agile and quick to make changes, while avoiding unforeseen consequences.? This is done by putting processes in place to prevent unauthorized changes to the IT infrastructure.? By having the discipline to develop and follow a formal Change Management process, IT organizations can handle more changes and lessen the risk to the production environment.
My Own Experience
I found ITIL to be a great compliment to my Project Management skill set as it covers topics in Change Management, Knowledge Management, etc. ?I really wished I had become certified when I first got involved in technology as it would have set me up with an understanding?of how IT processes work (or should ideally work) and would have allowed me to better “speak the language” early on with others in IT.
Getting certified has also given me a greater appreciation of the importance of effective Service Management. I would highly recommend that other Project Managers working in (or with) technology look into ITIL certification as a way to compliment the PMP. In today’s competitive market, it sets you apart from the pack and provides you with an expanded toolset for successfully managing projects.
Erika Flora, PMP, ITIL Expert
I’m relatively new to Twitter, but I think I’m officially addicted. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded people (if you use it correctly!) I decided to ask my “followers” (I call them my “tweeps”!) on Twitter to “tweet” me their own personal top lesson learned in 2008 regarding project management. Here are some of the responses…I’m not going to comment on them in this post, but I would love to start a dialogue in the comments section where you offer your opinion on what they’ve said, and your own lessons learned from last year!
pmstudent: Calling all project managers and project team members! What was your most important lesson learned in 2008?
kelvinzhao: 1.The corporate culture should be concerned carefully. 2. To make your plan works, find the right key man.
simon_g: That I have to learn to say ‘no’ to a client if a risk item is too high
vigilant: Your project will only go as well as it’s weakest link
rainaterror: if you successfully pm X# of projects, on time, under budget, improving UX, communicating clearly, you can do anything.
corneliusficht: not to run with scissors?
EddeBu: leaning on suppliers, in such a way that they deliver on time but don’t get annoyed.
ppolsinelli:there is no longer a substantial difference between project management and personal productivity
stacijshelton: Get a good handle on the baseline data for your intended business impact. Some clients have no clue.
JasonBailey: I learned that PMI is useless and that the PMBOK is as outdated as a Model-T.
lech: Don’t do planning with the sponsor [only]. Involve others. Think in products – never actions. Celebrate, celebrate…
NathanaelB: Write the contract as if you expect the other party to screw you over
I’m back from Denver and had a good time. I had a chance to meet and talk over lunch or dinner with some great people in project management. Some of the highlights for me include:
- Meeting the other members of the PMI New Media council. I have been a long-time fan of most of their websites, and it was great to get to know them a little bit. Here’s the team that I’m excited to be a part of:
- Hal Macomber
- Reforming Project Management
- Cornelius Fichtner
- The PM Podcast
- Elizabeth Herrin
- A Girl’s Guide to Project Management
- Dave Garrett
- Project Management 2.0
- Chalyce Nollsch
- Project Management Bistro
- Jerry Manas
- Raven Young
- Raven’s Brain
- Josh Nankivel
- Chatting for a bit with Max Wideman, Tom Mochal, Dennis Stevens, and Aaron Smith and many others too numerous to mention.
- Meeting with Janice Thomas and Mark Mullaly of the VoPM study. The council had the opportunity to ask them some questions about the study.
- Meeting with Greg, the CEO of PMI. Greg discussed PMI’s strategy going forward and we were able to ask some questions and give some feedback. I suggested PMI work with thought leaders of new methodologies such as Critical Chain, Lean, SCRUM and other Agile methods, etc. It sounds like they will be doing some of this with the Virtual Communities (at least with Agile). My hope is that PMI can lead the effort to differentiate the PMBok (which is a framework/standard) from the various methodologies out there. They would be able to demonstrate where the various methodologies mesh up with the PMBoK that way, and show that these are NOT competing models. I didn’t get the feeling that Greg was ready to go seek out thought leaders in these various methodologies more broadly, but perhaps I didn’t explain myself well either.
Thanks, Josh, for inviting me to blog with you.? I’m a little late because . . . well . . . I misplaced something vital to my work . . .? “Hey, has anyone seen my rubber chicken?”? He goes with me everywhere as I travel the world spreading the word about breakthrough leadership and execution excellence.? You might say he’s a “frequent flyer”, or perhaps even a “frequent fryer”.? One thing is for sure, he’s vital to my work, which mainly focuses on helping people overcome the biggest obstacle to their success – their own self-limiting assumptions and beliefs.? When I want to help people learn something from the rubber chicken I just hold him at shoulder height and release him.? “What causes the chicken to fall?”, I ask.? “Gravity?”? That’s not the answer I’d give.? Continue reading