Book Review: “Owning ITIL” by Rob England (a.k.a The IT Skeptic)

Rob England, The IT Skeptic

Rob England, The IT Skeptic

According to the blurb on the back cover, ‘Owning ITIL’ by Rob England, is aimed at ‘all decision makers who are presented with an ITIL proposal or asked to oversee or own an ITIL project’.

I believe it has a much wider remit than that, and recommend this book to the readers of The ITAM Review whether or not you are referencing ITIL in your role or responsibilities.

The author uses the pseudonym ‘The IT Skeptic’ and has built a reputation for sniffing out the wheat from the chaff in the Service Management industry.

I particularly liked the section ‘What to look out for’ which reminded me of an interview I conducted with a vendor last year.

During the interview I asked the question “How does ITAM fit into Service Management and CMDB?”. Whilst responding to my question the vendor stated, off the record, that it depended on what the customer wanted at that given moment. If they wanted CMDB we’ll sell them a CMDB, if they want ITAM we’ll sell them an Asset Repository.

Having products closely aligned to the latest fads might work well as a strategy if you are selling t-shirts outside a Lady Gaga concert – but I would hope for a bit more depth, leadership and strategic guidance from a vendor. Rob England is excellent at smelling this rat.

Whilst this is obviously not representative behaviour of all service management vendors I think Rob’s role is critical as a balance against some of the hysteria around ITIL, standards and frameworks in general. I believe his friend Chokey the Chimp would have a field day with some of the SAM whitepapers in our industry.

Owning ITIL by The IT Skeptic

Owning ITIL by The IT Skeptic

If you are feeling a bit giddy from ITIL training and over-dosing on ITIL PowerPoint slide decks, Owning ITIL provides the perfect antidote that will not only bring your ITIL transformation project down to earth but also greatly increase its likelihood of success.

I view his opinions, tweets and books much like Edward de Bono’s Black hat; valued contributions to ensure arguments are balanced. It was also refreshing to read a book on ITIL with most of the jargon stripped away.

My only criticism of the book is a lack of feedback from his consulting clients or industry stories (even if only anecdotal) as a result of his suggestions. The author berates the ITSM industry for lack of tangible evidence of implementing ITIL and whilst there are over a hundred excellent recommendations in the book it would have been good to see some real life feedback.

The history of ITIL and comparisons with other standards also makes interesting reading. Many comparisons could be made to the current development of ISO/IEC 19770. Let’s hope it does not suffer the same fate.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and believe it should be mandatory reading before anyone cuts a purchase order for new software.

Owning ITIL on Amazon

ITSkeptic.org

@theitskeptic

Thanks to Kylie Fowler for the recommendation.

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