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I am sorry if this question is not 100% Programming wise, I just didn't know where to ask. Consider yourself lucky if you don't know what ITIL is. You can understand from my tone I don't like it - I find ITIL the complete opposite of how IT Company should work, being too bureaucratic and complicated.

In Germany, where I work, it seems to be very popular, and I have been asked in several job interviews if I know ITIL. Do you know popular is it in the rest of the world? Should I worry about ITIL or I can snub it?

I must also ask my European colleagues - Why do you think is ITIL so popular? Is there a strong empirical evidence that ITIL does work?
By empirical, I mean not personal experiences of the kind "We are a company that is working with ITIL...".

I can hardly imagine a multi-million dollar company like Apple or Google work with ITIL, but I can also hardly see how it can benefit small companies...

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Thomas Owens Jun 4 '15 at 14:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I have absolutely no idea what ITIL is. – Yannis Jun 4 '12 at 6:48
As long as you are in a support function and are in Europe: worry about it... – Marjan Venema Jun 4 '12 at 6:51
I think you mean to say that you can hardly imagine big companies not working with ITIL. That aside, it benefits small companies as well. We have a small service desk (~3) and somewhat larger number of consultants, all working with our customers. ITIL serves us well to keep everybody on the same page and give our customers a good experience regardless of who happens to be responding to their needs. – Marjan Venema Jun 4 '12 at 7:07
Perhaps you have simply experienced an organisation that took ITIL way too literally instead of making it work for them. As with any other methodology or "process recipe" ITIL should be taken as dogma, but as a set of guidelines to set up your processes. And every organisation of more than 2 people, especially in contact with customers, needs processes and needs to have those documented in order to train newcomers. – Marjan Venema Jun 4 '12 at 7:25
Perhaps a better fit for serverfault. – talonx Jun 4 '12 at 7:50

The money and bureaucratic complexity are not at all a problem in larger companies. They are already very, very complex simply because of the size. ITIL is an attempt to keep such organizations working smoothly rather than devolve into total chaos. Like it or not, that is pretty much impossible without a lot of bureaucracy and overhead. Economies of scale can still make the organization overall quite efficient.

I don't think you can meaningfully judge the usefulness of a standard designed to benefit organizations with thousands of employees unless you have experience managing at least a few dozen people.

It might be easier to understand through a familiar analogy: ITIL is like an algorithm with a good Big-O complexity but a really bad constant factor (like the median-of-medians selection algorithm). You wouldn't want to use it for small problem sets, but it's better on large ones.

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thanks for the time answering. However, considering that ITIL comes from the UK, is there any evidence that implementing ITIL in UK Government really made their IT better ? ruling out anecdotal evidence that they say "Yes, it works". I find really strong evidence against ITIL while googling, but not the opposite.... – Oz123 Jun 4 '12 at 8:45
@Oz123: Is that really strong ecidence more then anecdotal? If so, you already have your answer. If not, it probably only appears strong to you because it agrees with your own feelings. – Michael Borgwardt Jun 4 '12 at 8:51
that's a way to put it too. But by "strong" I mean actually, that I don't find other evidence... – Oz123 Jun 4 '12 at 9:00
@Oz123: people tend to talk about problems a lot more than about things that work well. – Michael Borgwardt Jun 4 '12 at 9:17
a good point indeed! – Oz123 Jun 4 '12 at 9:59

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