The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

Services Management – The life-cycle of a Service

– Linking Projects and Services with the Enterprise

The resulting product of a delivered project becomes a service, if the enterprise is well engaged in services management the service is directly linked to a business imperative, strategic driver or capability.

The PM is the driver of the first link in the string of business value realization from the project delivery, to stewardship of the maintenance and operations of a service adopted by the enterprise which will eventually deliver business value to the customer or client. The better the PM understands the full life-cycle of this service, the more accurately they can design and implement it into the enterprise and realize value.

Linking Project Delivery in the early stages to business value can be challenging at best, due to changing strategic goals of the enterprise. Also, understanding the full life cycle of the delivered service, including the total cost of ownership and the end-to-end life-cycle of the service can be a difficult task to assume and communicate.

Much has been written about IT Service Management (ITSM) across the blogosphere, and it is certainly not a new concept. I am sure we have many Service Management experts as readers of this blog, but for those new to Service Management here is a short intro and connection to the PMBOK and the PM profession.

In its simplest sense, “IT Service Management is a set of process that detail best practices based on ITIL standards to enable and optimize IT services in order to satisfy business requirements and manage the IT infrastructure both tactically and strategically.[i]

What that means however, is that understanding how Services Management works as part of the enterprise a PM can articulate to the stakeholder an appreciation for not only the delivery of a service, but also how that service will manifest itself as part of the business capabilities used by the enterprise and how it relates to realizing business value.

IT Services Management is governed by the ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library), which is inherently rooted in an IT centric view, but the principles can be applied much more broadly, and it is with this lense that the PM can derive benefit from its teachings.

You might wonder if the PMBOK® and ITIL then “play well in the sandbox” together. The answer is that the two for the most part overlap and complement each other.

The PMBOK® defines project management as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities in order to meet or exceed stakeholder needs and expectations.[ii]” The emphasis is on projects as a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service.[iii]

Figure 1: PMBOK® Knowledge and Process Areas

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a framework of best practices for quality IT service management was originally developed in the late 1980’s. Since then, ITIL has been readily adopted and accepted as a global framework for IT Service Management.

The ITIL Framework has evolved from its process-centric view to a strategic view. ITIL covers 25 processes and 4 functions that are directly defined with more of each possible in any given implementation, in its current form, see Figure 2.

Figure 2: ITIL V3 Framework

As described above, ITIL is a set of standards that enable and optimize IT services in order to satisfy business requirements, it helps an enterprise manage and operate its services that enable them to leverage these services in connection with business capabilities to derive competitive advantage.

I believe that the PM and PMO’s role in understanding ITIL is to connect the development or services with the service strategy, design and delivery principles of ITIL to help overlap and connect the two.  The effort to understand both frameworks enables the PM to understand the end to end lifecycle of the service and its connection to the enterprise and the eventual business value as well as total cost of ownership, which will be discussed in more detail in a later post.

To learn more about ITIL, check out “Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle (Official Introduction)” on Amazon.


[ii] A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, pg 6

[iii] Ibid


About the Author

Gustav Toppenberg is a Sr. PMO Manager in Cisco's Communication & Collaboration IT group. Gustav is currently responsible for leading the PMO and driving project and operational excellence in his team. During his career at Cisco, Gustav has led several projects in change leadership, acquisition integration, and globalization strategy. He is also part of Cisco IT's transition to a services-oriented organization (technology, process, and culture), enabling a client-focused, value-driven, cost-effective alignment between IT and business. Gustav is a native of Denmark and serves on the board of directors at the Danish-American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco and the NorCal chapter of ASP (Association for Strategic Planning). He has a background in strategy consulting, program/project management, and global change management. Gustav has an interest and passion for the convergence of business and technology; he is a natural change leader and constant disruptor. He continuously seeks to occupy the gap between business and technology, thereby leveraging technology solutions to strengthen competitive advantages in business. Gustav is an MBA graduate of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, ranked the #1 U.S. Business School for International Business by the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News and World Report. You can contact Gustav at "Some of the individuals posting to this site work for Cisco Systems, Inc. Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not those of Cisco."
Creative Commons License
Note: This work and all associated comments are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Leave a Reply