Book Review – Building an ITIL-based Service Management Department


Building an ITIL® – based Service Management Department


Malcolm Fry


IT Service Managers tasked with building a service management department


This book discusses how to build a well-constructed Service Management Department (SMD) by following nine steps. It discusses:

  • the preparation needed before embarking on the project to build a SMD;
  • how to define departmental parameters;
  • identifying ITIL fundamental and non-fundamental tasks which will form the building blocks of the department;
  • how to group these into packs of tasks which will determine the departmental structure;
  • how to construct the department;
  • creating the organisational plans and charts;
  • resourcing the department.

The book provides guidance on preparing a phased implementation plan and templates to assist along the way.


Intermediate – advanced.

Karen’s Comment:

I have a few issues with this publication but that is not to say that it does not have a place on the desk of anyone tasked with implementing a service management department or service management office as it tends to be referred to today.

The publication is based on ITIL 2007 but that should not deter from its value.

It is statements such as “It is the responsibility of the change manager to ensure that changed services remain conformant” under a discussion about service adherence to a standard or legislation that I have issue with. In my world, the responsibility lies with the service owner and not the change manager.

When defining the departmental parameters, the author provides an example of a mission statement, which I believe, is a mission statement for the project and not for the SMD as intended.

I would also challenge some of the grouping of tasks, which drive the departmental structure. For example, I would not put incident and problem Management into the same department as history shows that the problem management resources get absorbed into incident management and the former disappears.

However I must point out that the author does say: “You may not agree with some of the Associated Fundamental Task Packs or their contents; indeed, you may want to take a completely different approach. Keep an open mind – the AFTPs here are examples to help you, rather than concrete recommendations”.

So there is acknowledgement that there may be disagreement with the suggested groupings.

The book does provide a structured approach, which will help anyone tasked with building a SMD focus on requirements and ensure that key aspects are not overlooked. It provides numerous templates to help build the department and checklists to validate that the correct decisions have been made.

I would recommend this book to anyone attempting to build a SMD but advise that they are not influenced by the examples in the book but come up with their own departmental structure following the 9 steps outlined in the book. The author does state that this should be the case and I would just be increasing awareness of that statement.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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