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ITIL Manifesto Update

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This article is a summary of the ITIL Manifesto session held at ITSM14. It was written by Rob Spencer, who has been coordinating, recording and agitating the discussions around this initiative after it was first discussed on twitter between Stuart Rance, Claire Agutter, Barclay Rae, Suresh GP, James Finister and Kaimar Karu.

Firstly thanks to itSMF for giving us a late-notice slot at ITSM14, to Barclay Rae and David Backham for introducing and facilitating the session, and Richard Horton for helping me communicate the ideas and progress behind the manifesto.

The session was a lively and (from my perspective as the person coordinating the ITIL Manifesto discussions) productive one. It’s important to me that I know what the community (you) want, so that in my role facilitating and coordinating discussions, I know our eventual objectives.

After Barclay’s introduction, I quickly played back the progress to date (using a variation of the Phase 2 Output Summary slides available on and Richard talked about some of the data and early analysis we’ve done based on some stats gathered from the time spent on

Then we opened for questions. It quickly became apparent that there were a lot of questions and a lot of people wanted to see this initiative done right. Here are some of the questions from the session or asked offline/afterwards, the responses we gave at the time (from memory and hastily scribbled notes) and some further thoughts.

1. What is the ITIL Manifesto?

We think that it’s the list of first principles that ITIL/we never had (but often came up with our own versions of). We think that it is part sales/promotion (for example if your CEO asks why business managers should bothered about ITIL), part check/balance, part philosophy/core beliefs about what ITIL should be, partly correcting how ITIL has been seen/positioned or even misrepresented to date.

2. What will it look like? Is ‘Manifesto’ even the right term?

We don’t know, but as a straw man I suggest that we come up with a principle for each of the key themes identified during the early stages of the ITIL manifesto initiative and then decide whether there needs to be a wrapper or summary statement on top of these. This is the structure used in similar initiatives. I suggest we keep the term manifesto for now, if this changes then we can decide this as a community before we publish it.

3. What will AXELOS do with ITIL Manifesto?

That depends on the quality of the content as well as the quality (and maybe breadth) of the community engagement. I had the chance to speak to Kaimar before the session and he remains supportive of the initiative and keen to see the products of the discussions.

4. This is about the 5th initiative on this or closely related topics – do we really need another one? Why can’t we just join this with SM Congress? How widely have you engaged?

The fact that this is about the 5th initiative tells me there is an itch that still needs scratching. That said, there’s no point reinventing the wheel. From what I’ve seen of SM Congress, it’s come up with some simple, clear statements of value plus a ton of community support. I always saw the ITIL Manifesto principles as being more descriptive than the simple “we value A over B” format of SM Congress or the Agile Manifesto (which inspired ITIL Manifesto).
The SM congress values were added to the ITIL manifesto stream for voting and got some positive feedback (you can see votes and discussions of this on the Phase 1 Output page on the wiki).
The manifesto contributions to date have been focused in the UK, but I/we have been trying to widen the engagement. In the room (and contributing from the start) we had the president of ITSMF India, and we’ve had contributions from around the world via the Back2ITSM Facebook and Google+ groups. I do agree this needs pushing further though.

Since ITSM14, I’ve been introduced (virtually) to Charles Araujo (the head of itSMF USA and leader of the SM Congress initiative (thanks to Patrick Bolger for making the intro)) and we’re starting discussions about how to establish whether or not there’s an overlap and where we can work together. I’d like to do this on a public broadcast google hangout where we can take audience feedback and questions. This will be announced on the Back2ITSM groups and on twitter via the #itilmanifesto tag.

5. How will we test this with the customers?

Good question. I think there are two groups of customers, the most important being the business colleagues who we want to understand why we’re doing this and why we use ITIL. The other customers are of course us – the ITSM professionals who will (hopefully) use it. Coming back the the question, we do need find a way of testing the manifesto with the target audience – if anyone has any ideas on this, we’d be keen to hear.

One thing the entire room agreed on unanimously was that the manifesto must be phrased in business language.

6. Where’s the material? 

On As wikia is a free (ad-supported) site, you will see adverts on the page – I’m looking now at moving this away to a more neutral platform. All of the material gathered to date is available on the wiki in both raw and interpreted/summarised variants. If you need helping finding anything specific, please let me know (contact details below).

7. What next?

I think we should focus on resolving 2 of the key questions asked in this session, namely:

  1. What is the definition of the ITIL Manifesto (and what exactly is its purpose)?
  2. How do we widen engagement and make use of initiatives which have gone before?

Either via a google hangout, or live twitter chat, or some other method. Again, keep an eye on the Back2ITSM Facebook and Google+ groups, and on twitter via #itilmanifesto. If you think you can help directly, please email me on or on twitter via @changerelease.

Rob Spencer (centre), picking up his submission of the year award at the itSMF UK 2014 annual conference.

Rob Spencer (centre), picking up his submission of the year award at the itSMF UK 2014 annual conference.

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