The Intersection of ITIL and Project Management

Within the realm of the IT department, the Information Technology Infrastructure Library provides a set of processes for managing services within the organization. ITIL Foundation training, which prepares you for the entry level ITIL certification, typically qualifies also for PMP PDUs, so there clearly is a close relationship with project management. So where does project management fit into this set of robust and widely used processes called ITIL?

ITIL is revised and updated regularly, and the current "syllabus" is ITIL 2011. In this latest ITIL syllabus, project management as it relates to ITIL has been specifically addressed. It highlights that it is a project management responsibility to coordinate service transition projects. This is a dynamic area, where new services are being introduced regularly, and older services are updated. In addition, there are scoping issues around what services should and should not do, so there are plenty of potential conflicts to manage!

ITIL Transition Planning and Support is the ITIL process area at this project management interface. Here's how some of the ITIL processes in ITIL Transition Planning and Support work, in terms of project management processes:

These are the ITIL Project Management (Transition Planning and Support) sub-processes and their process objectives:

Project Initiation
In the ITIL framework, when Service Portfolio Management has chartered a new or modified service, a project is initiated. In this process intersection, you define stakeholders, areas of responsibility, and resources that will be available to the project. In addition, you identify and document risks, constraints and assumptions affecting the service introduction or update project.

Project Planning and Coordination
In project planning and coordination, you will call upon certain ITIL processes, such as Service Design Coordination and Release Planning, as you get into the detail of the planning. Your objective and challenge is to ensure that the service transition project is planned using PM guidelines. You will need to coordinate activities and resources across service projects. You will need to know where to draw the line with the PM processes - where they hand off to the ITIL service management processes. The idea is to do something that triggers planning activities performed by other processes - probably ITIL service management processes.

Project Control
You will need to continuously draw the line here. You know you need to perform monitoring and controlling from a project management perspective. You need to ensure smooth hand-offs between project management processes and ITIL processes, without taking your eye off progress even when it is outside your control. You also need to understand that there are monitoring and control processes within ITIL, and still need to track them. Focus on project progress and resource consumption. Be prepared to expedite progress or initiate corrective action, if required.

Project Reporting and Communication
Extending your monitoring and controlling activity, you will need to report and communicate progress, probably in multiple directions up and down as well as across the organization. You will need to provide an overall summary of any and all Service Transition projects, including status, risks, and challenges. You may need to coordinate this with ITIL counterparts who interface with customers and management other service management processes.

Project Closure
What you are driving to throughout is the ultimate hand-off - handing the results of the project over to the ITIL processes for ongoing management. When you recognize this in advance and seek out those who will eventually "own" the services that your project is implementing.

It is very helpful to be familiar with both formal PM and ITIL processes. In and ITI environment where ITIL is used to manage services, you could find yourself in charge of a project where you are responsible for implementing services, including transitioning them to a sort of "sustainment" management function provided by ITIL processes. This post highlighted the key interface points between PM and ITIL processes. The key for your project success will be in managing these interfaces well.

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