For the last three days, I was taking the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) version 3 Foundation for Service Management course. Eventhough the course was three days long with one hour lunch break, two working lunchs, nine breaks which lasted from anywhere ten to fifteen minutes, I enjoyed the course. I think ITIL has figured out how to address the Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) lifecycle. ITIL is not proscriptive but rather descriptive. This means that ITIL doesn't promote a methodology like Rational Unified Process (RUP) or Program Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) but rather it provides very high level principles which can be used in your organization's methodology. I was familiar with ITIL version 2 and I thought version 2 did a good job of addressing some of the high level processes but it did not tackle the concept of services well. Version 2 stated that there is a notion of service but it didn't talk about how we should address the concept of services. In my previous projects, we extracted the notion and we built our custom methodologies on top of the "concept of a service" however our methodologies were not aligned with other organizations since they had different methodologies on how they should address services. Version 3 addresses this issue since they go into specifics on what a service is, they did a good defining it and the whole ITIL lifecyle is built on Service Management. They also address concepts of Knowledge Management and how it fits in an enterprise. I have been dealing with SOA for the last 3 years and for SOA to be successful, a knowledge repository is essential.
I highly recommend this course for IT architects like system architects and data architects, project managers, program managers and folks who deal with licensing. In a world of high level concepts, buzz words and theortical exercises, I think ITIL offers the appropriate ingredients in implementing a sound SOA in any enterprise. One of the reasons why ITIL makes sense since they went to several successful enterprises, asked them how they managed their IT component, they then processed the information, analyzed the information and finally presented their work to the world as version 3. I believe ITIL followed their 7-step Improvement Process.
I also give kudos to my instructor David Moskowitz who did a great job in covering this material.