ITIL adoption is not plain sailing

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Large (IT) organizations are often likened to supertankers, slow moving, hard to turn - hardly agile. I am not sure this analogy really reflects the true nature of the complexities of leading multi-faceted groups...

I prefer to liken my organizations to a flotilla of ships sailing in a single direction, a single boat is fairly agile and can adapt to the changing environment fairly quickly.

When viewed from high above this mass is all moving in a single direction, changing course though is hard, it requires much co-ordination and effort, a hundred hands on tillers, plenty of shouting.

Its hard to captain this collection of small teams, though they are all moving well under their own power it takes serious effort for the entire flotilla to change course. The other danger is that some outliers will sail off in their own direction, maybe in the same direction the whole group is going but not in sync, making communication hard.

Post ITIL adoption.

There are different ways to picture an organization after ITIL adoption, but I like to relate it to a navy fleet, a smaller number of larger ships. These ships are still relatively agile but are easier to keep on the same page, they have an identifiable command structure and most importantly they speak the same language and communicate often.

This fleet can even have small boats using their agility to take risks, but they are acknowledged as such, the risk is managed and the can be reeled in if necessary.

This to me is one of the real benefits of and ITIL adoption, its not the shiny new tools, it's not even really ITIL per se, its the fact that the organization has a language to communicate with, that effort is expended bringing teams together under one direction, it's the hard decisions that are required to be made to get there.

The above tasks are not easy, they take effort and dedication, but when the next storm of technology, economy or opportunity appears on the horizon would you rather be captaining the flotilla or the fleet?


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