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Future of ITIL workshop – a little insight

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The following comment piece is contributed by Stuart Rance of HP and Stephen Mann of ServiceNow.

Yesterday a number of ITSM professionals convened in London to talk about the future of ITIL. From the get-go, it was stressed that the purpose of the meeting was to provide input to AXELOS’ thinking and not to make decisions.

Who was involved?

It was a passionate group of people that represented: ITIL authors, examiners, consultants, service providers, vendors, penguins, and AXELOS. The attendees were:

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AXELOS CEO, Peter Hepworth and ITSMPenguin

And of course ITSMPenguin. Everyone had opinions and ideas to share and it was a good mix of people.

Some attendees travelled a long way to attend: Anthony from Houston, Sharon from Canada, Jayne from Florida, and Rob Stroud would have attended from New York but for personal reasons. Even though most of the attendees reside in the UK, they work for global organizations and as such have global experience and global views. Not withstanding this, we all agreed on the need for more input across geography, culture, industry, and language.

If you wish to provide your input please respond to this blog (in the comments section) or email AXELOS direct.

Community input

You can already see much of the input from things people have already shared with the ITSM community:

Scope and content of ITIL

The discussions included the scope, content, and structure of both ITIL and the ITIL exam system. And started with people suggesting ideas for strategy and principles for ITIL going forward. It was surprising how long this took (shouldn’t we already know this?) and not unsurprisingly everyone agreed that ITIL should be driven by business and customer needs.

Other suggestion related to:

  • Having a visible set of values
  • Separating architecture and structure from narrative and examples
  • Collaboration with a wide community of practitioners, examiners, trainers, consultants, vendors, and industry bodies across geographic and industry boundaries
  • An emphasis on relevance to end-user organizations
  • Quality being more important than time to market.

From a content perspective, AXELOS introduced the concept of what it calls the “Onion Model”, shown below, that encompasses the previous feedback on how there is a need for different types of content and, importantly, community input to the ongoing development of ITIL.



  • The centre has the very stable ITIL core
  • The next layer has modular content such as role or industry-specific information
  • And then further layers have more practical content such as templates, guides, and case studies
  • The very outside layer is community owned and community driven with AXELOS and the community curating and promoting this

Content is able to move inwards as it becomes accepted best practice.

                                       Training and exams

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The workshop group

We discussed the importance of people, culture, and organizational aspects. In particular the need for more practical guidance about how IT organizations can benefit from the experience of others, and how they can start to gain value from ITIL within their own organization.

There was a lot of passion around training and exams. An interesting point was the absence of guidance on the development of skills such as negotiation and management as part of effective IT service management. Everyone recognized the need to make the exam system more valuable to both individuals and employers. But there was a consensus that that any change requires more input, more time, and needs great care not to disrupt the status quo. Again, if you have an opinion as to the future of ITIL exams, please respond to this blog or email AXELOS direct.

Next steps

Following day two of this workshop (a second blog will follow), AXELOS will continue to seek out global community input.

If you want to follow what’s happening, please look for their communications on Twitter or Google+

As always, thoughts and comments are encouraged.

Stuart Rance

Stuart is an independent service management consultant, trainer and author; helping clients use service management to create value for themselves and their customers. He is a regular speaker at itSMF and other service management events, a senior ITIL examiner, a Chartered Fellow of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT (FBCS CITP), a Fellow in Service Management at prISM (FSM), and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Stuart was the author of the 2011 edition of ITIL Service Transition and co-author of the ITIL V3 Glossary. He has also written many service management pocket guides for itSMF UK and for the official ITIL portfolio.

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10 Responses to " Future of ITIL workshop – a little insight "

  1. itsmreview says:

    All arrows point towards the onion. Everything flows towards the mothership. What is the mothership giving back in return? what’s in it for the every day community members?

  2. Robert says:

    I should like to know if the question of leadership in the development of service management practices was addressed. The onion model looks like it places leadership outside and the ITIL core is only an inevitably out of date and partial compilation of practices. In a world that moves much too fast for such a way of working, I would hope that the moving forces behind ITIL take a leadership role, be a shepherd rather than a sheep.

  3. JGander says:

    I agree, and was about to make the same comment. Why do the arrows only feed in?

  4. Chris Evans says:

    I am slightly more optimistic in that at least there is now the beginnings of a visible workflow for ITIL and I can see how a good idea MIGHT make it into the core at some point. Previously it seemed like an unassailable fortress.

  5. Chris Barrett says:

    A bit of clarity on the onion may help here.
    This is a content development piece – using open collaboration as a principle and therefore involving all community members. The core represents the ITIL (or PPM) material that has longevity and provides content for the syllabus and examinations. Further out are guides, case studies, roadmaps. Further out still are ideas, white papers, blogs, discussions and wild ideas.
    Content moves towards the core through adoption, proof, metrics etc. This is ITIL by the community for the community. Useful content and contacts at all levels and available to all. Recognition where approriate, links out where appropriate – there are no walls.
    The impact on the end user / practitioner was a key consideration throughout the workshops – that flip chart stayed on the wall. And the need to fulfil a leadership role was reaffirmed in many sessions.
    An AXELOS review of the sessions will follow early next week. In the meantime many thanks to all contributors – those in the room and those who fed in through a number of channels.

  6. Peter Lijnse says:

    Great info… thanks for posting. I think the onion model clarifies the intent… I just have this tendency to cry around onions.

  7. Paul Wilkinson says:

    Thanks for this. Positive news I am looking forward to seeing what is next. One obseravtion. You mentioned ‘not unsurprisingly everyone agreed that ITIL should be driven by business and customer needs’ – this being said I was wondering why there were no ‘end-customer’ organizations involved. It was also stated that changing training needed to be done carefully so as not to upset the status quo? who’s status quo training organizations or customer organizations? I agree this needs carefull attention but please involve some end customer organizations in the discussions. They are best able to tell you the current value they get and how they see their future investments in skills development.

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