What Exactly Is ITIL Lite

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					What Exactly Is ITIL Lite
I often hear people use the term "ITIL Lite." But what exactly does it
mean? The phrase is often used within the context of trying to gain the
benefits of ITIL without making the necessary difficult choices and
sacrifices; thus, deviating from the core principles of IT Service
Management. In this sense, ITIL-Lite is the shortcut taken whenever the
organization is not able (or at least does not believe it is able) to get
the requisite level of buy-in to fully implement the best practice
concepts as defined in the Library.
In most situations, the following scenario exists: someone (usually a mid
level manager) within the organization that has achieved some level of
ITIL certification (usually Foundation) has the revelation that the way
forward is with Service Management. Unfortunately, due to having just
enough knowledge to be dangerous, a grandiose implementation plan is
hatched. After all, how can anyone argue against the "common sense" of
Service Management?
On paper, everything looks great; finally, a solution to all that ails
Sometime shortly after the project is launched (assuming it was launched
as a project,) the realization sets in that people don't always embrace
change simply because it is the right thing to do. After all, ITIL looks
very good on paper but it's "really just theory" and "it doesn't work for
very complex organizations". Or, maybe, "our IT organization is very
Somewhere amid the haze of chaos which inevitably ensues from unplanned
organizational changes, the brilliant concept of ITIL-Lite emerges. If
ever there was the hope of a successful application of the ITIL concepts,
all is now lost.
This genius is crafted as a compromise between what is viewed as the
theoretical ideals of the "ITIL Methodology" in the "uniqueness multi-
layered complexity" of the IT organization in question.
The promise, of course, is that all the required hard work and discipline
associated with realizing the benefits of Service Management can be
bypassed without sacrificing the quality of the outcome. What's missed
here is the point that this is contrary to best practice. Best practice
is best practice because it has been proven. It is not based on
conjecture or theory but on the examples taken from those that worked
diligently to put in the time and effort to define objectives, create
buy-in, and deliver the value promised to the organization.
In doing so, they realized that it's not possible to simply skip
activities and levels of maturity in exchange for expediency and achieve
the same level of quality.
As a practical matter, neither can you cherry pick the most palatable
elements of best practice. But alas, eventually the realization sets in
that it just doesn't work that way. The ITIL model is an integrated one.
There is purpose and thought behind every activity and process flow. This
is a lesson most organizations who attempt an implementation without the
right amount of planning learn in the most disappointing of ways.
Often, even the generic "improvement in quality" or "increased value" is
never realized. This is mostly due to the fact that it was never very
clear why it was being done in the first place. No one really ever knew
where you were supposed to end up. This is best known among Service
Management professionals as the classic case of "ITIL for the sake of
ITIL." The objective of such an undertaking is never explicitly
identified before undertaking this effort.
If you don't know where you're going, anywhere will do. And that's just
where most organizations end up. After all of the hype, time, cost and
effort associated with such an endeavor the let down has far reaching
effects. One of the greatest dangers lies is the resulting loss of faith
in ITSM as a really effective and realistic set of best practices.
Eventually, the consensus becomes that Service Management just doesn't
work for most organizations. Over the next couple of weeks, I will
continue to explore some of the causes of these issues for IT
organizations as well as the implications for the Management Consulting
The follow up topics will include:
* Lack of appropriate level of management buy-in

* Process implementation pitfalls

* No internal implementation knowledge

* Mistrust of consultants

* Unaware of the limits of the knowledge of most consultants

* ITIL for the sake of ITIL
* Inability to differentiate practice from Best Practice

Danielle J. Baker
Master Certified ITIL Service Management Specialist with advanced
knowledge and practical experience in leading the end to end design,
delivery and management of customized ITIL based best practice solutions
for Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries.