ITIL – pragmatic and simple

As you may (or may not) know, I have been working professionally for many years with the IT organizational framework called ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library).

As mentioned before, my main focuses when helping my clients is:

  1. 100% responsibility
  2. Simplicity
  3. Immediate relevance

As ITIL can be seen as almost the opposite of the above, Brendan Martin and myself have been working hard to reduce ITIL to something simple, that is immediately relevant for an IT department or vendor, and that embodies the concept of 100% responsibility. Through numerous successful projects, we have now summarized our approach in a simple and straightforward document.

From the abstract:

“The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a best practice framework for service management . ITIL is a trademark owned by the Cabinet Office (part of HM Government). The framework was originally intended to serve the delivery of Information Technology within a company, but can also be used outside of IT and for delivery of services between companies. It could be argued that ITIL focuses on the implementation of processes to facilitate service management.

This article provides a pragmatic view of ITIL – a simpler and more straightforward implementation of some of the core ITIL processes.”

Get the article at or get the PDF directly from

I have sent out the following message to several ITIL-related LinkedIn groups totaling more than 80000 members:

“Those who have been wrestling with the ITIL books may appreciate the simplicity presented in this article:

I expect objections ranging from “It isn’t this simple” and “Organizations are too complex for this approach” to “You don’t implement ITIL, you implement Service Management” and possibly “You can’t give this away for free“. The ITIL professional communities tend to be rather elitist, self-protective of their revenue stream, closed-data-minded and complex.

But since I believe in simplicity and that information should be free, I decide to share this freely.

23 thoughts on “ITIL – pragmatic and simple

    1. I passed this link to some the IT guys that I know in the IT department at an international company. They have a director, a middle manager, and about 4 more crew in their home office department. My email was met with snide and suspicion. A meeting was hastily called and I was summoned — called on the carpet — to explain my intentions. I’d like to think that reaction was an anomaly, however, it matches with my own previous unhappy experiences and with Geir’s post. All this without reviewing the article. If they do review it back to me, I will let you know.

  1. Geir, it’s ironic that your philosophy of life would evolve into the opposite of your years-long business involvement. And what do you do? You make lemonade from lemons. It’s a great example of that. 🙂

    The idea of sharing information is instinctively appealing to me but I have to say that it seems kind of unfair to you to just give away the knowledge you worked hard to gain and which you earn your living at. Is it really any different from Pepsi or Coke giving away their recipes? I mean, other than the altruism of it.

    1. Og, it.s a huge difference. When you give away a bottle of Coke, you don’t have it anymore. When you give away an idea, you have multiplied it. And I believe I owe it to the world to give my knowledge freely as the world has inspired me to enhance the knowledge already created by others. Evolution of mankind depends upon knowledge being free.

      1. I didn’t mean give away the bottles of Coke – I meant give away the recipe.

        1. p.s. I hoped to get a response to the above as I’m interested in clarifying your idea for myself.

          1. Me too. It is a new vector of thinking for me. I want to open the door to real possibilities because the extant “political sciences” (oxymoron) are going nowhere. Somewhere there needs to be a better idea and a better way of living other than the eat and be eaten philosophies in use.

    2. Do you feel that it is important for a can of coke to only be made and sold by coco-cola company? But Geir is providing a new view away from my ingrained capitalistic patent oriented culture. This is the most interesting point to me. My knee-jerk reaction is same as yours Marildi.

      Have you ever noticed on Star Trek that nobody owns anything? Well maybe a few curios collected on their adventures. And the Starship Enterprise is always immaculately clean as are their uniforms? The show never mentions budget cuts or fuel expenses or salaries, retirement, healthcare. One surgeon and a nurse seem able to cope with a thousand crew. And there are no janitors. Everyone’s job is important and interesting and adequately remunerative. Obviously they are operating on a new paradigm and I would like to know what that is.

      1. I have a strongly favorable response to the idea of sharing knowledge! But I’m not sure how to always apply it in real-life examples. If someone spent years and years to develop a recipe, like Coke (not the best example), shouldn’t they be the ones to benefit from the time and expense?

        Obviously, the drug companies, as another example, make up for their sometimes years of research by demanding very high prices before any generic brand can be sold. This is all by law, as a protection for the invested research, and even though I have very little use for pharmaceuticals period, I can understand the principle (although it no doubt is being abused).

        I don’t think Geir is going to lose anything because there’s much more to his expertise as a consultant that companies need than the basic principles that are in this article. In fact, it’s probably good promotion for his service, at least as concerns larger businesses. But there might be other types of examples, better ones than the recipe for Coke, that I’m not sure how to evaluate what is fair.

        1. I gain much, much more by freely sharing my knowledge than I could ever hope for by holding the cards tight to my chest.

          Read the book 🙂

  2. It seems that the healthier condition is to give away for free the knowledge and just charge the services.

  3. Simplicity

    “I get the ball, I pass, I get the ball, I pass, I get the ball, I pass, I get the ball, I pass.” Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona midfielder sharing his secrets on how to be the best football midfielder in the world.

    “I’ve never been afraid to fail.” Jordan, basketball genius sharing his secrets on how to be the best basketball player in the world.

    “For me, my role is about unleashing what people already have inside them that is maybe suppressed in most work environments.” Zappos magician Tony Hsieh sharing on how to become an amazing boss at an amazing company.

    The world is sharing. Our work is being amplified. Some ITIL´er takes our work and improves it. They raise the bar. Creativity.


  4. Why are you reducing ITIL to ‘something simple’ – this in itself implies you may be missing the entire point – ITIL is a set of references and opinions to be read and the best aspects harvested into a service management initiative and approach. At the center of any objectives in its use is the customer, their outcomes, and the experience they have achieving them.

    The goal is for IT to become ‘invisible technology’ or the provider thereof. By invisible I mean being able to enable and support a customer’s exploitation and use of technology to achieve their outcomes, efficiently, consistently and so on…

    Focusing on ITIL seems to encourage the ‘inside-out’ thinking that fails the customer. ITIL is complex and enormous when viewed as something to be achieved in its own right. Looking at it differently as I’ve suggested immediately eliminates that common problem…

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