Here we go again. Announced this week – Axelos – the company who owns ITIL is being sold to PeopleCert. Industry response varied greatly, but nearly eclipsed another significant announcement. 

IT Revolution quietly published A Framework for Incident Response. How these two relate and what it means is the subject of much industry chatter presently. The words of the unnamed author of the IT Revolution article makes a clear and precise statement: “ITIL IS NO LONGER SUFFICIENT FOR INCIDENT MANAGEMENT”

What’s the message? 

I’m a big believer in the clear and obvious: IT Revolution has established that DevOps requires supplemental guidance for Incident Management.

Just not ITIL’s Incident Management. The framework says “As complexity has increased, the ITIL framework has not evolved to deal with the messy reality”

Something completely different

This is, of course, a fair criticism of ITIL. Particularly where many organizations to this day stubbornly hold onto ITIL2&3 implementations. 

The IT Revolution Incident Response framework is quite good, and emphasizes a comprehensive business-capability approach that includes specific cultural elements necessary.

But don’t take the bait. While the criticism is fair and valid and the offered guidance is good – it’s a bit of a slight-of-hand for a much more important shift. Whereas industry luminary Gene Kim has maintained that DevOps and ITIL are not in competition, the overriding message from DevOps thought leadership has been dismissive of ITSM generally, and ITIL specifically. 

The DevOps’ annual manifesto State of DevOps report never misses an opportunity to cast ITIL. by name, as problematic and unhelpful. Dr. Forsgren drew much laughter at DevOps Enterprise Summit 2018 when she declared “CABs are useless” from the mainstage. (Oddly Jez Humble, who shared the stage immediately named  multiple valuable uses for CAB.)

DevOps is insufficient

Remember, I’m a fan of clear and obvious.

After many years of “DevOps and ITIL are not in competition” and a steady stream of ITIL-bashing, IT Revolution introduces its own “framework” for “incident management”. I emphasize these two key terms because these are the very words ITSM uses to describe its guidance in this capability area.

Without a critical analysis, you may be tempted to accept at face value that ITIL is insufficient and the antidote is a non-ITIL framework for Incident Response.

But the clear and obvious implication is: It’s not ITIL that’s insufficient. It’s DevOps that’s insufficient. 

To be clear: IT Revolution has declared DevOps insufficient – starting with it’s clear and obvious lack of guidance in handling the “messy reality” of modern Incident Management. DevOps requires additional guidance to compensate for lack of key capabilities required for effective management of technology in the modern organization. 

This isn’t the voice of ITIL or ITSM, or outdated ITSM trainers, consultants and practitioners. This isn’t sour grapes. This is the message from center of the DevOps world. 

In the estimation of its caretakers, DevOps is insufficient and requires external ITSM guidance to “deal with messy reality”.

Just not ITIL. 

The road ahead

Having established DevOps’ insufficiency in areas traditionally covered by ITSM, and IT Revolution’s move to close that gap by developing its own ITSM framework(s) – it’s safe to expect additional frameworks and guidance from IT Revolution.

But let’s call it what it is – a move to establish a non-ITIL, DevOps-centric ecosystem of guidance covering all capability areas for effective management of technology.

That’s not a bad thing.

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