Successful organizational improvements using ITIL practitioner

Published on Monday 6 June 2016 by in News with no comments






Conlea organized their first ‘IT Manager of Tomorrow’ event in Gdansk in Poland. GamingWorks, a partner of Conlea was invited to conduct a number of workshops at the conference.

This article reveals the results of an ABC (Attitude, Behavior, Culture) ITIL Practitioner workshop. At the start of the sesssion we revealed that our surveys of more than 1000 organizations shows that 70% of organizations do not get the HOPED for value from an ITSM (ITIL) investment. More than 50% fail because of resistance to change. Resistance to change is a FACT! Whether it is ITIL, DevOps, IT4IT, Agile, Scrum……Attitude, Behavior and Culture is still THE number1 success or fail factor, and resistance is something that needs to be surfaced, recognized and dealt with.

This is one of the aims of the ITIL practitioner initiative from Axelos, to address the Organizational Change Management aspects when adopting and deploying ITIL and ITSM best practices. ABC of ICT is also mentioned in the practitioner toolkit, as an instrument for helping to ‘Surface’ this resistance.

In the workshop two teams were given the ABC card set to assess types of resistance they recognize in their organizations and then explored how ITIL practitioner can be used to help define and agree counter measures for ensuring success.

The top cards chosen were:

  • Neither partner makes an effort to understand the other (Business & IT)
  • IT thinks it doesn’t need to understand the business to make a business case
  • Everything has the highest priority according to the users
  • Them and us culture
  • Not my responsibility
  • Throwing ITIL (IT) solutions over the wall and HOPING people will follow them
  • My tool will solve all your problems
  • IT is too internally focused
  • Plan, Do, Stop….no real continual improvement culture


These are common ABC resistance cards chosen year-in, year-out in workshops. The teams were then asked to discuss and agree a top card and explore how ITIL practitioner guidance could have ‘prevented it’ from happening, or now that it is recognized how practitioner guidance can be used to address it.

The top card was chosen based upon its impact on Value, Outcomes, Costs, Risks. The top card chosen by each team was:


Top card from team A:

‘Them and Us culture – opposing and competing forces’


Guiding principles underpinning the card

  • Focus on Value (not understanding or demonstrating business value), coupled with the business insisting ‘Everything has the highest priority’ and the card ‘IT thinks it doesn’t need to understand the business to make a business case’.
  • Design for experience – not understanding or addressing ‘User’ needs, or agreeing ‘User’ responsibilities, again coupled with the card ‘Everything has the highest priority according to the ‘Users’.
  • Collaborate (between business and IT) to recognize and solve the issues above), also coupled with the cards ‘IT is too internally focused’ and ‘Not my responsibility’.


  • Business dissatisfaction, value often not realized
  • User promises unfulfilled (this was related to another top chosen card ‘not my responsibility’).
  • Internal frustration and blame between IT teams, not understanding ‘business value’ across the whole value chain ‘more SILO related value’.
  • IT too late in the decision making process.

Which ITIL process areas would help structure a formalized, repeatable solution to this?

  • BRM was seen as an important capability for dealing with this.


What behavior to address the ‘Not my responsibility’?

  • CIO: Ensure a RACI model is defined and agreed. End-to-end including the business AND the Users, and covering Governance aspects.
  • Middle manager: Confront people on the agreed responsibilities, reward and recognize ‘desirable behavior’ and address ‘undesirable behavior
  • Show, teach, coach and if need be apply consequence management for ‘deliberate undesirable behavior’.
  • Recognize that there is a clear difference between ‘didn’t know how’ or ‘I don’t care and I am not going to’! – and apply situational leadership for these differing situations.



‘IT thinks it doesn’t need to understand the business to make a business case’


Guiding principles underpinning the card:

  • Focus on Value: Not understanding business value
  • Design for experience: Not understanding or addressing ‘User’ needs. Coupled with the card ‘ITIL is the objective, NOT what it should achieve’.
  • Observe Directly: Not checking, verifying and exploring solutions with the business, coupled with the card ‘IT is too internally focused’.
  • Collaborate (between business and IT to recognize and solve the issues above)


  • Solutions don’t deliver value or outcomes
  • Costly rework
  • Risk to business goals


Which ITIL process areas would help structure a formalized, repeatable solution to this?

  • BRM & Demand management (Strategic NEEDs vs Wants)
  • Change Management (Justification of scarce resources for changes)
  • IT incident and Problem management (priority and escalations matched to impact on business value and user needs)


What behavior to address the card?

  • CIO: define Mission, Vision and Values (including Guiding principles) related the business Value
  • Middle managers: Cascade the communication throughout the organization, challenge people on decisions ‘why did you chose that activity (e.g change, incident) to do first ‘what is the justification’? – often people choose the work THEY want to do first and find excuses for leaving other work undone.


The team was shown how the Sponsor map in ITIL practitioner also describes behavior that the ‘authorizing sponsor’ and ‘reinforcing sponsors’ (middle managers?) need to display to help deal with resistance.


  • The session was a very short session used to explore and show how the ABC of ICT can be used with various stakeholders ‘together’ to collaborate and agree on surfacing resistance and for agreeing behaviors to counter negative resistance.


  • All delegates recognized the ABC cards that are one of the reasons the ITIL practitioner guidance is required, despite the majority having ITIL certificates delegates all admitted to experiencing these types of resistance and the negative damaging impact of this resistance.


  • All delegates saw the value of recognizing ABC and the value of the ITIL practitioner guidance in helping address organizational change management issues.

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