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John P. Reiling, PMP: Where ITIL and Project Management Intersect

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john reilingIf you work in IT Project Management, this information will be of most interest to you. In ITILfact, you may be familiar with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which provides a library of processes for managing services within an organization.

The IT department is all about services. So where does IT project management interesect with the management of services, which is very often done using the ITIL?

ITIL’s latest “syllabus”, ITIL 2011, specifically spells out where project management intersects ITIL. In short, project management coordinates service transition projects. In other words, if there is a new service being introduced, or a modification to an existing service, it is the responsibility of project management.

There is an ITIL process called “Transition Planning and Support” that lies at the project management interface. Here’s a description of how the PM and ITIL processes interact at the interface:

  • Project Initiation:
    When ITIL Service Portfolio Management charters a new or modified service, a project is initiated. As part of the project, you define stakeholders, areas of responsibility, and required resources. You also identify risks, constraints, and assumptions.
  • Project Planning and Coordination:
    As you plan, you interface with certain ITIL processes, such as Service Design Coordination and Release Planning, but you emphasize PM best practices. Your scope planning includes drawing the line between the various ITIL services. You define tasks involving both PM processes and ITIL service management processes. You need to properly sequence the tasks and identify dependencies.
  • Project Control:
    As you monitor and control from a PM perspective, you need to ensure smooth hand-offs between project management processes and ITIL processes – especially managing dependencies.
  • Project Reporting and Communication:
    You need to report and communicate progress in multiple directions up and down as well as across the organization. Reporting includes status, risks, and challenges of Service Transition projects, and communication includes coordination with ITIL counterparts.
  • Project Closure:
    Your goal is to drive to a hand-off to the ITIL processes for ongoing service management.

Summary
If you are an IT Project Manager, you will benefit from gaining a solid familiarity with both formal PM and ITIL processes. Whether your organization uses ITIL or not, you could find yourself in charge of projects to implement services and transition them to a sort of “sustainment” management function provided by ITIL or related processes. You will need to manage those interfaces and dependencies between the project management and service management processes.

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John Reiling, PMP
PM Training Online

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