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Success Factors for ITSM Governance Structures

success factors ITSM governance structures

Setting Your Business Up for Success

A great many IT teams approach ITSM and ITIL initiatives from the perspective of tools and processes, with an “if we build it…” mentality. This can often prove challenging, however, as buy-in from the executive level through to the entire organization cannot hope to rely upon everyone “getting it” or “seeing value” in the process or the tools. This can lead to a wide variety of problems, stemming from a general undermining of ITSM, and a compromising of faith in the team or organization as a whole. So, the question is: How do you approach ITSM and ITIL governance structure in a way that promotes buy-in on all levels of the organization? How do you reap the greatest degree of value from your ITSM initiatives? The answer is: through appropriate governance, tailored to fit both the initiatives and processes that it governs and the organization as a whole.

Communications, Training, and Education

Whether you are using ITIL v3 or another ITIL governance structure, the success of your governance structure depends greatly upon organizational communication; comprehensive and ongoing education; and effective training that is applied, practiced, and evaluated. Considering communication – as a primary contributor to the success of any ITIL governance structure, it is extremely important that communication should flow both ways through your framework, so that a feedback loop that amplifies positives and diminishes challenges can be established.


One primary area of consideration to factor in when designing an ITIL governance structure for your organization is the unique and specific culture of that organization. In the end, the nature of the culture of the IT team and of the entire organization will deeply influence the efficacy of any governance structure, no matter how well designed it is, from a process standpoint. The nature and volume of changes to tools and processes, as well as the nature of strategic application of initiatives can have enormous influence on the successful implementation and adherence to an ITIL governance structure. The other primary cultural factor that can affect the adoption of and adherence to ITIL v3 governance throughout the entire lifecycle approach is the existing leadership of your organization.    

Executive Support and Buy-in

Implementation of a successful ITIL governance structure depends greatly upon support throughout the organization, but especially from the top tier. Without some level of executive support, IT initiatives often fail on entry for perhaps obvious reasons—lack of buy-in and dedicated organizational resources. The success of any major initiative, especially in the realm of governance, therefore, depends upon landing executive support. Leadership is in a unique position to not only compel participation and compliance, but also to sell the necessity of governance as it relates to the wide range of organizational goals and hoped-for outcomes. Governance initiatives that begin at the executive level, or ones that can at least obtain executive support, can marshal stakeholders and more directly sell themselves.

Getting the Governance Structure Your Organization Needs

The success factors required to implement ITIL v3 governance are simply understood and yet challenging to align. Getting organization-wide adherence (at least) or complete buy-in (ideally) involves getting executive buy-in; a carefully planned and executed launch; and consistent training, education, and management. But in the end, the results will always be well worth the effort, time, and expense.
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Jason Yeary
Jason Yeary is a technical expert for SolarWinds Service Desk customers and a former service desk manager in the healthcare industry. He is ITIL 4…
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