Tag Archives: project delivery

ITIL Service Design and Project Management – a contrast in execution

The purpose of this series of articles is to continue to show how these two best practices, ITIL and project management provide synergy to improve effectiveness and drive overall maturity for organizations to meet the needs of the business.

In this third article I will focus at a high level on how service design and project management each enable the outcome of a service design to meet the service strategy.

This high level evaluation will be based on the four criteria noted below:

  1. Define service management and how it achieves value creation
  2. Identify the integration points between service design and project management
  3. Understand the service design and project management roles
  4. Sample project management artifacts to support service design

First, as we begin to delve into more of the lifecycle phases of ITIL it is important to preface with some key ITIL service management definitions and how value creation is achieved by a service.

  • Service management is “a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services
  • Services are “a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific cost and risks”
  • The value of a service is “highly dependent on the customer’s perception” and the attributes of those services

I want to pause here for a moment to highlight that attributes differentiate the value creation of services through utility and warranty.

  • Utility, commonly known as “fit for purpose”, is seen to improve performance.  This can be accomplished as a service provider progressively manages the constraints to enhance customer performance by either removing or reducing those constraints. An example, of a cost and risk constraint is when a customer would like to avoid or eliminate non-core assets and lessen over-consumed assets.
  • Warranty, also commonly known as “fit for use” which comes from the positive effect of being available when needed.  Warranty is ensured through four discrete performance variables of availability, continuity, security and capacity of a service. If one of these criteria is not met then value creation is not fulfilled. Warranty is met when the needs of the questions below are achieved:
  • Is the service available enough?
  • Is there enough capacity?
  • Is it secure enough?
  • Is it continual enough?

These two key terms (utility & warranty) are relevant because they feed the main purpose of Service Design. The main purpose of this lifecycle phase is the design of the new or changed service. The service design is delivered through a Service Design Package that meets the utility and warranty requirements through service composition.

In this second section, I will begin to draw the parallels to identify two integration points between service design and project management.

  • One, service composition is similar to a work breakdown structure. Both look at the decomposition of a service or a project into its constituent (and smaller) components.
  • Two, service design relies on the concept of balanced design. This is indicative of managing three design components of a service that are functionality, schedule and resources. This concept is similar to the project management trilogy of scope, time and budget. Both methods require these three items to be in balance otherwise the quality of the service or project is in jeopardy.

The third evaluation point is to understand the service design roles to recognize the boundaries of each responsible party. Then the project manager can drive the value of their role in through managing the needs of the team members to achieve the service design package.  Below are the key roles in service design:

  • Service design manager coordinates the deployment and designs for new or changed services
  • IT Planner produces IT plans that meet the requirements of the business
  • IT Architect designs the required technology component of the solution
  • Service catalog manager produces the service catalogue
  • Service level manager who ensure the service level management are met
  • Various managers for availability, security, continuity and capacity to ensure the solutions meet the service requirements
  • Supplier management oversees the suppliers requirements meet the associated service requirements

The role of the project manager is to provide competent leadership and communication in order to successfully manage the customer, project and teams to enable the service strategy through the service design phase.

Now the fourth point, the project manager can use project artifacts based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge sections that are relevant for service design. Depending on the complexity of the business needs I have identified below a minimum sample of project artifacts to develop the high level service strategy objectives and business case, and these are:

  • Scope Management – deliver a requirements document based on business, operational and management requirements.
  • Budget Management – prepare cost estimates, budgets including investment funding requirements for the services to be designed.
  • Schedule Management- develops the activity definition, sequence and resources required to develop the schedule.
  • Risk Management – to identify risks, analyze the risks and prepare risk responses. A key design output is a business impact analysis.
  • Procurement Management – may be required when considering and external provided service design model. This may include a tendering process to complete the evaluation of the service design model. A service design model may include insourcing versus outsourcing.
  • Integration Management – will be required as noted in ITIL by which designers utilize an integrated design approach to ensure alignment among strategy, activities, stakeholders and the other ITIL lifecycle phases.

In general, key outputs from service design include revisions to strategic plans, technologies, management and process improvements that will be fed into the service transition lifecycle via a formal change management process.

As a reminder, in my first article I distinguished between the two approaches, lifecycle and waterfall, ITIL and project management. The second article focused on the synergies within Service Strategy and project management. To review those blogs the links are noted below:

 Peter Tarhanidis
PA Consulting Group


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Building a projects culture at a leading UK financial institution

Continuing our series of real life track record articles illustrating how delivery reliability is built on a systematic improvement of the basic project management processes, I elaborate this week on the most basic (and most common) issue – that of building a projects culture, the all-important foundation in our hierarchy in the diagram below.

During a period of intense change and faced with an increasing number, size and complexity of projects, this leading UK financial institution needed to enhance and standardize its project management capability.  PA helped the client design, develop and implement a dynamic, company-wide PM approach.

What we found

  • Development projects often failed to achieve projected benefits, despite substantial investment
  • Projects were often approved without clear objectives, timescales, deliverables, costs or benefit delivery plans
  • A common approach to project delivery had been identified, but its shortcomings had not been corrected and it was difficult to ensure its consistent application
  • No formal appraisal process or training program to understand and build capability amongst project personnel
  • No process to capture, disseminate and apply lessons learned

What we did

  • Developed a comprehensive Project Management Handbook (and training regimen) to document key techniques and define company-wide procedures for the control of projects
  • Implemented a capital-based control philosophy (based on a size-complexity matrix) to target assurance efforts and reduce the reporting burden
  • Established a central project office to monitor and coordinate the portfolio of projects undertaken across the bank
  • Adapted the appraisal process to monitor and incentivize the development of project delivery capability & experience
  • Established a program management center of excellence to capture lessons learned and oversee development

What was achieved?

  • Standardized and improved tools and processes encourage the development of a project-based culture, including effective project management principles
  • Targeted assurance processes increase ability to deliver projects on time, realize planned benefits, and maintain greater focus on business need
  • Increased performance incentives lead to the voluntary adoption of company-wide project standards, with improved results
  • Project personnel are trained in standardized processes that incorporate best practice, specialized business needs and individual considerations
  • PM center of excellence maintains and revised company best-practices to avoid deterioration of benefits

Establishing (and reinforcing in some cases) the projects culture helped to get everyone in this organization onto the same page while at the same time this elevated overall delivery perfomance relatively quickly to a high level and they continue to hone that as new challenges present themselves.

John Hall
PA Consulting Group

Can Change Leaders Resist Change?

During large organizational transformations we often focus on managing stakeholder resistance at the staff level, recruiting mid-manager stakeholders to help drive organizational change. Sometimes, due to the leadership role that mid-level managers play, their potential resistance to change is underestimated and/or overlooked, when in fact they may unknowingly be a primary source of resistance.

 Mid-level managers often wear two hats. They are both change leaders as well as change stakeholders.   As change leaders, managers are expected to drive change, embody it through role modeling and maintain a positive work environment for their staff, while managing a full range of staff emotions and resistance. As change stakeholders, managers are enduring the change. They are impacted by changes to their organizational structure, ways of working and organizational processes. In this way, managers will also undergo the range of emotions that staff experience during organizational change.

 Managers often resist change for the five reasons listed below. The behavioral indicators of their resistance generally involve passive behavior and a failure to engage, rather than more active and observable forms of dissent.


The duality and pressure of a mid-level manager’s role may cause them to feel more resistant than staff.  Managers can only become effective change leaders when they have reflected upon and addressed their own source of resistance, but how do we help the managers manage their resistance?

Beyond the encouragement of active involvement and two-way communication, mid-level manager resistance can be effectively managed by a key support system – other managers. At the onset of an organizational change, establishing formalized change leader support meetings will provide a forum for managers to:

  • Identify and discuss areas of resistance, indifferences and/or concerns
  • Provide honest feedback about the expression of resistant behaviors
  • Openly discuss opportunities to change behaviors.
  • Act as a support system to help managers resolve their resistance and provide support through the change

 Providing mid-level managers with a safe space for open communication without judgment of emotions or behaviors will help them develop a unified front and become more effective change leaders.

 Teneka Polite

Change Management Consultant

PA Consulting Group

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