Sysop News

Top 10 types of resistance to ITIL improvement initiatives

18 January 2010

1. No management commitment
Managers giving 'lip' service to the importance of ITIL, or managers not 'Walking the talk'. Managers who don't address the issues of 'Saying Yes, but meaning No'. Managers who withold or withdraw resources. Managers who become frustrated at the lack of results and withdraw commitment. It is clear management commitment needs to be consciously addressed and fed with quick wins and progress to ensure they remain committed.
2. Saying 'Yes', but meaning 'No'
People promise to deliver new procedures or designs and fail to do so, other work is more important. Or in live operation people say they will follow a procedure or update a tool but don't.....
3. ITIL Never work here
A general resistance to changing the way people work. A lack of belief that ITIL is necessary or it will make a difference. Often people are not told or convinced of the need to change, or there is a denial that change is necessary. Once people are confronted with the fact that ITIL will happen the resistance is centered around lack of time or resources. The pressure of existing workload demands and perceived lack of staff become even more strained because of ITIL demands, causing increased frustration and resistance.
4. Plan, Do,Stop......No continual improvement focus
Too often ITIL projects are simply that! ‘projects’. The results are not embedded into a continual improvement cycle to ensure as business needs change or new IT solutions are deployed that ITSM remains aligned and that processes continue to deliver value and protect against escalating costs and risks.
5. ITIL is the objective not what it should achieve
Very often we communicate to the organisation 'what' will happen but not 'Why'. ITIL is the goal not what we want to achieve using it. 'Other people are adopting ITIL we should too....', 'We are going to 'Implement' ITIL.....', 'That is what it says in the book!...'. Often ITIL initiatives are too large or too complex and are not 'fit for purpose'. People try 'Implementing' too much too fast, setting unrealistic ambitions and goals.
6. IT thinks it doesn't need to understand the business to make a business case
A survey within IT organizations reveals 'IT has too little understanding of business impact and priority'. Partly this is compounded by the fact that IT is still too 'internally focused'. Often there is a business case or set of metrics and measures however they are generally 'internally focused' and have too little customer or service focus. There is no real relationship with business 'value', 'outcomes','costs' and 'risks'. IT may argue that the measures do......go and ask the BUSINESS if they agree that these are indeed the measures, value and outcomes they require.
7. Never mind following procedures, just do what we normally do
People do not like to change. If they see no reason or value they may resist. If there is too little management commitment this type of resistance will rapidly grow. This type of resistance can be displayed at all levels including the business and users if they perceive ITIL as a barrier.
8. Unable to specify the VALUE required by the business
We still do not fully understand the Value and outcomes we need to achieve using ITIL. 70% of ITIL initiatives are still unable to measure or demonstrate value. IT is not seen as an added value partner and does not know how to gain the trust of the business. Whenever we ask at an ITIL conference who knows what the definition of a Service is according to ITIL less than 5% of the hands go up........although 90% are busy 'Implementing' ITIL. The question is 'what are they hoping to achieve with ITIL?
9. Throwing (ITIL) solutions over the wall and HOPING that people will follow them
Despite the more than 15 years of ITIL, the training and certification offerings and the annual itSMF conferences with the 100's of presentations and cases many organisations still do not know how to adopt and apply ITIL. They still fail to engage and involve people in designing their own processes and procedures. They still think we can 'Implement' or 'Install' ITIL.
10. Everything has the highest priority according to the users
Is it any wonder! If we have spent more than 15 years 'playing with ITIL' and most companies do not understand business impact and priority or the value they expect to deliver to the business using ITIL. In this age of technology and highly developed processes, it is all too easy to forget that Service Level Agreements are agreed by people - mutually consenting to an arrangement that benefits all.