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Which ITIL Process to Implement First?

Which ITIL process should I implement first?

There are close to thirty ITIL processes. This is a common question that I get posed whenever I talk about implementing ITIL. It’s a good question no doubt as the ITIL processes raises plenty of questions that are on the similar lines – Did the chicken or the egg come out first.

Many organizations opt to implement the Incident Management process as incidents hurt them the most. Incident disrupts services, thereby leading to outages and hence productivity – leading to loss of business and perhaps penalties.

But think about it! An incident is raised against infrastructure or application in the system. If the infrastructure or application is not identified and recorded, then how does one go about resolving it. Perhaps by experience. Well, the experience of individuals does not count in ITIL. The service management framework looks at continuity and does not depend on personnel to get the job done.


So is incident management is not the process to implement first? Yes. ITIL framework does not tell you what you need to start with. It gives you a lifecycle of processes, and according to the framework, you should probably start implementing the service strategy processes – which in the real sense is not practical.

Enough of the suspense, which process to implement first?

I would start by implementing the configuration management process. It is the mother of all processes although it reveals itself only in the Service Transition phase.

Configuration management lays out the entire layout of your infrastructure and application. It provides the foundation that you need to start building your pillars, walls, and roof. Without it in place, whatever you build will be based on assumptions and sound advice from so-called ITIL consultants.

I can give you a handful of processes that are dependent on configuration management for its existence. For starters, the incident management process needs to configuration management to identify the component (configuration item) for resolution. Problem management needs to know the component to identify the root cause. Change management needs configuration management to control the changes going into the infrastructure and applications. Capacity and availability management requires CI information and monitoring and managing it. Service continuity management exists to provide backup solutions for critical components in the environment. Service level management gets the organizations its bread and butter based on accurate reporting of the individual components – and hence reporting the levels of service.

I have just given you a glimpse of how some processes require configuration management. The story goes on for a full-fledged novel to be published.

If you are in a position to implement ITIL from the scratch, say configuration management without skipping a beat.

Abhinav Kaiser

Abhinav Kaiser is an author and a management consultant. He has authored Reinventing ITIL in the Age of DevOps, Become ITIL Foundation Certified in 7 Days and Workshop in a Box: Communication for IT Professionals. He works as an agile/devops coach in one of the top consulting firms. He advises businesses, organizations and enterprises in the areas of DevOps, IT service management and agile project management frameworks.

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