How can ITIL, CMM, COBIT and their other friends be implemented together effectively?

by

I’m in a conciliatory mood this week – first about IT and “the business”, now about various groups within IT. This noodling started while I was out to dinner last night with Michael McGaughey, my favorite ITIL expert. I started picking his brain on something that’s been bugging me lately: how ITIL can be implemented effectively in companies that also want to use CMM, COBIT or various other frameworks like PMBOK, Six Sigma, ISO 9000. I met Michael almost ten years ago when we were trying to help a very large IT organization solve this very problem and I was curious for his perspective on how things have evolved since then.

We agreed that not only is the integration of these frameworks a big challenge for many organizations today, it is actually getting harder. Each of these frameworks is expanding its reach and claiming to be the overarching framework for the IT function. I see more and more companies trying to use the best practice framework trio of ITIL (for operations), CMM (for application development), COBIT (for governance), etc. Each of these frameworks are fine (they are best practices for a reason), but assuming that simply implementing the trio or some other combination will define and improve all IT processes is a fallacy. These combinations have a lot of overlaps and gaps. At least the frameworks I’ve mentioned so far are all geared towards a rigorous process culture; throw Scrum or XP in your development shop and try to make that work with your ITIL operations shop!

Ask your favorite CIO why they’ve chosen any of these frameworks and you’ll get a wide variety of vague answers, generally centering around increasing the maturity of their processes and establishing necessary controls. Most often, CIOs relegate the implementation responsibility to the manager of each department. They agree with their Operations VP to implement ITIL, or with their Application Development VP up a maturity level or two. This delegation is the fundamental flaw: process improvement efforts cannot be relegated down the chain and executed in silos. Most process improvement comes from silos working more effectively together!

IT must have a top-level process model. All the frameworks I’ve mentioned only support the definition and improvement of these processes. This process model should also be used to define responsibility within the organization. This model can also be used to define where various tools can be applied to support IT processes. One of the points Michael brought up last night was the general lack of understanding in the industry about which tools support which ITIL processes. IT organizations need an internal “technology strategy” so they stop making decisions in silos that are costing the organization money and decreasing overall efficiency.

IT often preaches that the rest of the business needs to take an enterprise process view to make improvements, technology and otherwise. It is time for IT to take some of its own advice!

READ MORE

Why Does Change Management Keep Getting Put in Time Out?

Why Does Change Management Keep Getting Put in Time Out?

Buzzword Soup, Anyone? If I use words like “Transformation” or “Change Management” in a meeting, everyone nods like they get it. But in reality, there are usually as many understandings of those terms as there are people around the table. In today’s soup of ambiguous...

read more
Moving Forward From the Home Office

Moving Forward From the Home Office

It’s been almost 20 years since I’ve gone into an office five days a week. In that time, I’ve progressed in my consulting career from a Senior Manager, to a Principal, to a VP, to a Managing Partner, to a CEO. I barely remember what it’s like to “go to work” and to...

read more
The Leadership Dog Years

The Leadership Dog Years

As a business leader, I feel like I’ve been living in dog years — so much has happened that this year feels more like seven. In the spring, our company — like many others — had to throw out our annual plans and quickly pivot to new ones. In the summer, we increased...

read more
Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

Shifting Perspectives: 3 Learnings From a 3-Day Training

About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them...

read more
Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

In my previous post, I told the story of how I got back into consulting after becoming a mom. All of the diverse experiences I had during that journey have helped me to find my work-life balance by… Defining Boundaries “Go home,” my first boss said 12 years back —...

read more
How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

How I Got Back to Work After Being a Full-Time Mom

I Landed My Dream Job Throwback to 2014, I had completed my MBA, landed my dream job as a consultant, and was hoping that my new consulting career would exponentially ramp up my career growth for the next 5 years. This would position me to take on critical decision...

read more
Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

read more