An Important Note About Yesterday's Article.

Yesterday - we made a mistake - the first one in eight months of publishing Dr. ITiL - which we would like to correct publicly here.

In the publishing process yesterday, we did not include a reference to the originator of the headings for the "Top 10 reasons for ITIL Implementation Failures". We apologise to Malcolm Fry and associates and have correctly credited this today.

However, in our opinion, the underlying content is original and actually adds to Malcolm's headings.

Dr. ITiL is not in the business of passing off other people's work. We provide a much used public service and wish to uphold the highest professional standards. We have responded directly to yesterday's comment and have re-published the article with the correct acknowledgements.

(Click on the Comments below to read the full story).


The Top 10 Reasons in this article are accredited to Malcolm Fry. This article was inspired by Malcolm's insight and provides further comments in support of overcoming the Top 10 reasons why ITIL implementation Fail.

For futher information on Malcolm Fry - please visit:-

Top 10 Reasons for ITIL Failure

About Malcolm Fry

Implementing ITIL takes dedicated effort, active executive sponsorship and a little bit of magic from those executing the programme to ensure that everybody's on board, bought in and proactively helping to embed new processes, procedures and toolsets.

It's quite a challenge - but the rewards are worth it!

Today, Dr. ITiL looks at the often quoted "Top 10" reasons for ITIL implementation failure and offers some 'front-line' pragmatic advice on how to overcome them. Note: These reasons originated from Malcom Fry and have entered the public domain and seemed to have 'stuck' as the most quoted reasons for failure, based on Google searches.

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1. Lack of management commitment

- You need senior commitment from the start since ITIL implementation is really large scale transformational change; people, working practices, meetings, reports, tools, management information - it's all going to change dramatically - so make sure the people at the top "feel the value" that ITIL is going to deliver.

- Deliver some 'quick wins'

- Solve some 'nagging' issue that the CEO/Senior Management have never really managed to 'crack' using just one concept/best practice from ITIL

- Look for a "MUST DO" reason to obtain executive sponsorship - BS15000 and ITIL are now often included in Service Contracts to ensure that the client/customer will deliver to a high standard

- Let the CEO know how many other Fortune500 / FTSE 250 companies are now heavily investing in ITIL

- Let the senior management learn more about ITIL without their learning experience being embarrassing or expecting a decision from them - 'there and then'

- Give them the web link to

2. Spending too much time on complicated process diagrams

- Just as the technical guys can create 7 different auto-fail-over options for your server recovery programme, ITIL boffins can blind people with wonderfully complicated process maps, linkage points and 'swim lanes'. Be aware of who is 'selling' ITIL upwards. Put the right people in front of the CEO

- As your implementation programme develops - ensure that it remains pragmatic and focused on your defined deliverables

- Start process diagrams simple and high level - the underlying detail is easy to add - but it must remain true to the higher level

3. Not creating "work instructions"

- The typical hierarchy is (a) Policy Document, then (b) Process Document, then (c) Procedure Document and then finally (d) Work Instructions

- Work instructions are sometimes overlooked but are critical to ensuring that different people can execute steps within a procedure consistently, accurately and to a high quality

- Creating and changing Work Instructions is a bit of an art, but there's bound to be someone in your organization that actually enjoys writing them...and gets them done quickly too. Find them!

4. Not assigning process owners

- Assign an owner to each process and keep them separate if possible

- Empower the owner to really "own" their process - make sure they are passionate about it's implementation, delivery quality and continuous improvement

- A process owner should be like the owner of a famous restaurant - always delivering high quality, fussing around customers to ensure they received a great experience and improving everything based on customer feedback

- Some people like owning processes, some do not. Find the right people

5. Concentrating too much on performance

- Handling large volumes through processes is fine - but how well are you handling them?

- Quality delivery is important once the excitement of handling the initial volumes through the process are over

- The recipients of service will not be impressed by numbers - only the quality dimensions of what they receive, like timeliness, accuracy and completeness.

- Allocate some resource to measuring the quality of process outputs

- Target aspects of your ITIL implementation with the delivery of quality in mind from the outset - this will save re-work and expense over time

6. Being too ambitious

- Eating the Elephant in chunks is the order of the day!

- But the chunks must be tackled in a logical order - not a scatter gun approach. Keep control over who's doing what, and when, by setting up a small pragmatic ITIL implementation Center (similar to a programme office). The office should be empty most of the time because all you really need is a structured plan and buy-in from all concerned

- Remember ITIL implementations can be delivered in phases of maturity as well as the delivery of each process. Start by getting the most 'bang for your buck', revisit to tweak the detailed items later.

- Standing back and taking a holistic view of what you delivered and how it's operating after a few weeks will prove very valuable indeed. This technique should be built into the overall delivery plan for ITIL

7. Failing to maintain momentum

- Running out of steam mainly happens because management 'gets bored' or another corporate fire needs putting out somewhere else

- Implementing ITIL is not seen as 'sexy' because it's process and procedure orientated

- Recognize that momentum will fall away and try to time the delivery of key items to help push the momentum along

- Have a breather; allow some time for reflection between major phases of your programme, then build a groundswell of momentum by announcing the start of the next phase - building on the success of the last phase

- Internally, it may be advisable to be seen to use ITIL to complement another major initiative such as Sarbanes Oxley or Six Sigma. Partnering ITIL with other objectives will help embed it further in the organization

8. Allowing departmental demarcation

- Set shared goals across the organization to help prevent demarcation

- Sometimes passionate process owners can get too precious about their patch. Use the defined interfaces and hand-off points (as described in the Red and Blue Books) to show you where to set shared goals. This will reduce the likelihood of conflict

- Rotate process managers every 3-6 months. This allows managers to build up an insight and detailed appreciation of other processes and will remove demarcation points since the manager knows that they may be moving into a certain process area in a few months

9. Ignoring solutions other than ITIL

- Use other best practices and corporate frameworks to give ITIL a boost and help embed it into the organization such as COBIT, Sarbanes-Oxley and Six Sigma

- People performance and Supplier performance are also important

10. Not reviewing the entire ITIL framework

- "If I had my time again", said one ITIL Implementation Consultant, "I would have started with a fresh piece of paper and wrote the words Configuration Management in the center. Everything else is built around that configuration heart. It pumps and feeds the other processes. What we have done here is to rush out and implement a helpdesk, then Incident, then Problem, then some Change...then we realized...Configuration Management is the key to everything. Sharing information across the processes provides a massive ROI for any ITIL implementation. As things stand we now have to spend a lot of time re-working things to retrospectively re-fit Configuration Management"

- ITIL is wider than just Service Management (you knew that right?) it also includes:- Security Management and the ICT infrastructure management books. Learn the wider boundaries about what ITIL can offer before embarking on a major implementation exercise.