The Seven Critical ITIL Success Factors / Enabler PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Noel-Davies   

The following list represents these seven Critical Success Factors / Enablers:


1. Leadership: Executive and senior level support, sponsorship and active participation

2. Resources: Access to necessary project and on-going process resources (time, people, funding)

3. Knowledge & Skill: The level of communication, information, knowledge and skill related to ITSM

4. Integrated Tools: Availability of integrated ITSM tools to support process workflow and automation

5. Ability to Deploy: The political capability to deploy new policies, processes and tools across organizational silos

6. Ability to Affect Behavioural Change: Changing organizational behaviour/culture and ensuring compliance to new practices over the long term

7. ITSM Program Momentum: Sustaining momentum, priority and funding for the ITSM programs

Consider the analogy that these seven enablers are the heart of your ITSM initiative with seven valves that pump the lifeblood through a healthy ITIL program. Each enabler needs to be healthy to run the marathon and cross the finish line; however, that being said, not every company is running a marathon and many have a much more modest ITSM goal.


 Even so, each value needs to have some capacity even at a limited level for success. If one or more of these valves is blocked or partially constrained, the reality o heart surgery may be required to keep the program alive.


Enabler – Constraint – Blockage

Before we look at each of the critical success factors in detail, it would be helpful to clearly define what is meant by an enabler or constraint. Consider that any improvement initiative has certain critical success factors that are required to make the goals and deliverables of the initiative achievable. We often take those factors for granted and do not give them much consideration until they run out or their lack of quality places the initiative at risk.


Making the naive assumption that these critical factors are present in enough quality and quantity is often a fatal mistake. Understanding what these factors are and managing the risks related to their absence is key to knowing if you have sufficient means to achieve your ends.


To illustrate this concept, consider the analogy of getting to work on a Monday morning, assuming that you commute to work in your own mode of transportation. To get from home to the office parking lot, you require several enablers to be in place though you probably did not give them much thought as you were sipping your morningbeverage .


The 7 Enablers:

1) Car: A car or some form of transportation is the most obvious enabler; however, a car alone will not make the journey possible.

(ITSM Project Equivalent: An approved project, IT Management Tool)


2) Fuel, Money: The car needs fuel and you need money (more and more these days) to fill the car with fuel.

 (ITSM Project Equivalent: Resources: The very real People, Time and Budget required for the project)


3) Directions: A car with a full tank of gas without a vision or goal of where you are headed is not much use unless you are out for a joyride.

(ITSM Project Equivalent: A clear vision, strategy and roadmap plan over a realistic time frame)


4) Roads: We often assume that the road will simply be there when we start driving; however, in many countries this is not an assumption we can safely make. Even in the countries that have a mature infrastructure the occurrence of unanticipated accidents, road construction and detours can often remove the assumption of a good and quick road from our path.

(ITSM Project Equivalent: Agreed and documented, process, policies, metrics and on-going governance structures)


5) A Driver’s License: You may think that a license is not required to drive, but consider that your driver’s license represents governance, policy and rules of the road by which all drivers must adhere to, the resulting lack of which would present a chaotic and dangerous environment in which to drive.

(ITSM Project Equivalent: ITIL Certification as some element of proof that your team or the consultant you hired has based a minimum level of education in order to understand the problem if not the answer)


6) Knowledge & Skill: You need to know how to drive your car! You gain knowledge from time spent in a driver’s education class and even some guided road trials. But real experience and “skill” comes from having driven your car in all types of weather in different climates and geographic regions.

(ITSM Project Equivalent: Contrary to some people’s opinions certification and fancy lapel pins are not enough! You need people you can rely on for answers that have been in the trenches and have the ITSM lessons learned battle scars to prove it)


While most of us don’t think of them on a daily basis, these enablers are critical to actually achieving our goal of getting to work on time. If even one of these critical factors is limited in quantity or quality, the likelihood of succeeding at our or mission of getting to work is at risk.

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