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Resurrecting a failed ITSM implementation

(George Spafford, TechTarget) Organizations are eager to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of IT services. The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) has much to offer with its IT Service Management (ITSM) philosophy and reference processes. The challenge that groups face when implementing ITIL is that the process must be tailored to the needs of each organization, and it is critical that it's done correctly. As a result, many ITIL projects either stall or outright fail. Herein lies a challenge: How can these projects recover?

First, recognize that recovery takes work - hard work. When an ITSM implementation fails, it risks being viewed as another management fad that hasn't lived up to the hype. This makes recovery much more difficult, because in order for the next attempt at ITSM implementation to succeed, employees must believe it will be successful. Moreover, the next time around must be successful. Three strikes are too many for a failed ITSM implementation.

For groups that have either stalled or failed (and most stalled projects become failed projects), the following suggestions can help you understand what happened and potential corrective action.

Candid feedback
The first step is to understand what went wrong, and there are two methods here. The first is to honestly ask those involved, "What went wrong?" and "How can we prevent this from happening again?" Some groups do so internally and are successful. Candor is critical, and unless people can talk freely, the discussion won't be effective.

The other method is to bring in an external group to assess your organization's current state. The assessment will review processes as well as identify problems that occurred during the failed ITSM attempt and gaps between a company's current state and its future goals. From this analysis, an implementation roadmap should be created.

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