When I attended my initial ITIL® trainings, (it was version 2 at that point) to some of the questions raised by the students (us), the trainer used to (often with a quirky smile) respond ‘It depends!’ – some, with follow-up explanations and others, without.

 I kept hearing the same phrase in answers from many other trainers, consultants, experts, authors and practitioners all along.  I felt some of them using that as a trump card to brush off difficult questions (and quite frankly made a mental note of the same tool for future use!). It is another thing that even the person(s) on the other end also started understanding the trick very soon.

On a serious note, ‘it depends’ is a genuine answer (or prelude to the answer) to many questions regarding ITIL® (or any frameworks similar). Examples:

  • Some “Evergreen” questions in LinkedIn groups and other forums such as: “is password reset an incident or service request”, “ Is Server reboot a change” etc etc…
  • “Which ITIL process should be implemented first? ” or “ which order the processes need to be implemented?”
  • “What categories should Incident tickets have” or “how many levels of priorities a ticket should have”?
  • “What details a Service catalogue should have”

And so on…

It depends…” is not THE answer to the above questions, but it is a good prelude (which sets the perspective right) to the answer, which SHOULD be followed up with a clear explanation on “what it depends on…” and more importantly “why…”. A right combination of these will make the answer the best. (more…)


This is one of the most frequently discussed and debated topic.

Still, I am amazed at the number of organizations or teams who still talk in those lines – even when ITIL in its third ‘Avtar’!

Why would any organization want to ‘implement’ ITIL ? Every body knows and undertands that ITIL is not a tool or an application to be ‘implemented’. But still we want to ‘implement’ ITIL. Organizations expect an external consultant (read ‘expert’!) to come and ‘implement’ ITIL for them.

Nice thought, huh ? One expert comes, implements the ITIL best practices, you thank (err.. pay!) him or her and thats it!

For those who thinks this sentence is a bit of exaggeration, here is one of my real life experiences:

  • One of the client where I had a presales visit and discussion(fortunately or unfortunately didn’t get a chance to work there) wanted us to do this: Plan, implement ITIL best practices, handle the process management for some time, transfer to them and leave (In Build, Operate and transfer – BOT – model!) He was very clear that they don’t have resources with the required skills and time (!!) from his team to work on that initiative.
  • Another client, where I worked, there were two teams working in tandem : One on ITIL ‘implementation’ and other on ISO/IEC 20000 certification. Each of these teams has their own plans, directions, activities; and whenever they talked to each other, there were sparks flying (Okay.. here I exaggerated a bit ;-)).  The cracker of a moment occurred, according to me, in one of the meetings where I asked about how they are following a particular process. One team member asked me very seriously: ” Are you asking about our ITIL process or ISO/IEC 20000 process?”. I had to use all my skills to convert a chuckle or a frown (depending on how I wanted to take that) into a smile and say:    ” I want to know about ‘your’ process!”