Methodologies for IT Service Management and Project Management


I’m a big fan of standard practices, common ground and professional methodologies, that help me to help organizations achieving their strategic goals. Two major categories here are IT service management (ITSM) and project management (PM). However unfortunately there is no single golden solution that works in every scenario. You should spend some time and learn about the good practices in the industry and check what and how you can implement these in your organization.

You don’t need everything and you don’t need to adapt 1:1 of what you see in the book but these methodologies are a great point to start from. A little while ago we have shared a huge list of acronyms and what the acronyms mean but I think that is not enough. That is why I have prepared you this list of methodologies along with a compact explanation of what makes them special and how they differentiate from others ways of managing services or managing projects. The list can be found right below in alphabetic order.


The Application Services Library is a public domain framework about practices and standard processes within Application Management. Managing applications is primarily focused on producing and maintaining information systems and applications. ASL has the potential to be connected to ITIL, BiSL and CMM at some points.


The Business Information Services Library is also a public domain framework. The framework describes a set of standard processes that is targeted to support business information management at a level of strategy, management and operations. BiSL is also related to ITIL and ASL frameworks.


The Capability Maturity Model was developed to improve existing software development processes. It targets to transform development operations from an ad hoc practice towards a more formal and better defined processing with metrics to assess and manage in order to be able to optimize the processes altogether.


The letters stand for Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology and the number indicated the version of which five is the latest from 2012. The value-add of COBIT is that it allows you to link business goals to IT goals, providing metrics and maturity models in order to measure the success of the activity and assess the achievement by also identifying the associated business and IT process along with their owners in an organization.


DevOps is the latest methodology I have come across. It provides guidelines on a successful and efficient cooperation between software developing teams and IT operations. DevOps utilizes elements from agile and lean development practices such as Scrum and cooperates them with IT service management frameworks such as ITIL in order to achieve a holistic management platform.


Granular Configuration Automation is a dedicated field within configuration management. Its focus is on the discovery of IT assets, their visibility and the overall control of the IT environment’s configuration at a most granular level as possible. The framework aims to improve the stability of environments by analysing granular data and turning it to manageable information.

ISO 20000

ISO numbered standards and practices are often a compromise of miscellaneous frameworks. In this case we are talking about the first international standard for IT service management. It’s based on the earlier BS 15000 and is intended to supersede same. Next to components of ITIL, the ISO 20000 also contains fragments of the Microsoft Operations Framework and COBIT.

ISO 21500

In the ISO 21500 you are provided with the international standard of project management. It seems to include the best parts of all breeds and is heavily simplified in comparison with other project management methodologies. It is not yet widely adapted but I am sure there will be an uptrend for the ISO 21500.

ISO 27005

This ISO is a standard for risk management within the space of information technology with a focus on information security more than purely functional or operational risks. It is designed to assist the satisfactory implementation of solutions by assessing risks and mitigating them.


The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of good practices that provide a good foundation to develop processes that support the delivery of services. You can consider it a framework to start from but you don’t need to implement everything 1:1. Adopt it but make sure you keep everything in a meaningful and value-adding way. You don’t need to account for a particular activity that does not add value in your particular case.

ITIL consists of five core parts which are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement. Each one of these parts will provide you with subsets of processes that will allow you to work a service through its complete lifecycle in a professional way for an optimal service availability.

I consider ITIL to be the core of how to deliver professional services. You may add extensions or amend it but if you keep all ITIL disciplines in mind you are in a good state to manage and deliver your services. If you are looking for a new occupation in the industry, having at least a formal ITIL foundation certificate will put you ahead of your competition.


Spelling this out it means ‘Management of Risk’. The M_o_R framework will help you with risk management in organizations. It will offer means to identify, assess and control risks. The outcome of effective risk management is to account for likelihood and impact of a particular risk and to account for a mitigation of the risk altogether.


MoP is a methodology for portfolio management. A portfolio consists of programmes and projects that have to be steered appropriately in order to be successful and achieve their goals and to accommodate the vision statement of that particular endeavour. MoP is often placed with senior execs and practitioners responsible to plan and implement changes.


This particular set of principles, processes and techniques is designed to assist with the management of value. Say what? This means both monetary and non-monetary values really. They designers of this method believe that the subjectivity of values increases the need for it to be actually actively managed and therefore provide you with techniques on how this can be achieved.


That stands for Managing Successful Programs and provides you with a structured framework that includes principles and processes to support your programme management in an organization of any size. Similar to ITIL for IT service management, MSP can also be very flexible in how it is implemented in your scenario.


The NIST is the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the USA. They offer three risk management frameworks with the primary subjects of computer security (NIST SP 800), cybersecurity (NIST SP 1800) and computer systems technology(SP 500). As far as I know they are not agreed on an international level but they are in a very practical state and prove useful.


This methodology consists of six primary layers which gives it its name and those are Ownership, Business Process, Application, System, Hardware and Infrastructure. OBASHI is a way of building the visual big picture of your organization  across people, processes and technologies. Further it allows you to better manage change, risk, costs, data and performance by highlighting the dependencies of the mapped out items.


No, this is not a typo on the famous Star Wars droid C3PO but means Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices. The P3O model gives you tools to improve or enable structures in management that could possibly include all types of change in an organization. Having a P3O in place provides you with benefits such as an advanced clarity in ongoing projects, programmes and portfolio. It also supports the PMs by providing them with standards to work with.


This stands for Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model and consists of references for a structured approach to the management of portfolios, programmes and projects. It provides you with a hierarchy of Key Process Areas (KPAs) which enable organizations to better assess their capabilities and plan for improvement against the priorities of each KPA – Quick wins over long term gain.


The PMP is a certification that stands for Project Management Professional. The PMP practices are internationally recognized and are listed in the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). Project management as per PMBOK includes five primary parts of a project which are Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring/Controlling and Closing.


Or in full writing also known as ‘PRojects IN Controlled Environments’ is a methodology for project management created by project managers for project managers. It reflects exactly the practices and experiences that experts in the field could gather throughout their career in order to deliver successful projects and now that wisdom is available for you to tap into.


Based on the growing demand for cyber resilience in IT operations and service management, this framework was designed to be an addendum to ITIL with a focus on information security and measures how you could prevent and protect yourself from cyber-attacks. We have just recently featured an introduction article on this particular methodology as it was launched not long ago.


Applying the Rapid Problem Resolution method you will be able to follow a structured diagnosis procedure and easier find the root cause of IT problems. Its core disciplines are Discover, Investigate and Fix. On top of that it provides you with supporting techniques to better engage and solve root causes in a sustainable way in order to increase overall service availability.


Systems Performance Engineering or Software Performance Engineering is a methodology within systems engineering that provides a guidance on required skills, activities, practices, tools and deliverables respective to each single step of the system development lifecycle. Following the provided red thread it is a lot more likely that the solution will be designed, implemented and operationally supported to meet all non-functional requirements. The results of that can be validated as post-deployment check within the IT Service Management realm.

Six Sigma

One of the few methodologies that actually are not via acronym. Six Sigma provides you with a structured, data-driven approach to reduce the number of defects in a production or service delivery. It combines mathematics and cultural adoptions guidelines in order to build a team that strives to improve and innovate their services and production.


A methodology most commonly used for the ongoing development of solutions. It consists of elements for agile project management and product management. Unlike other methods, in Scrum everything is focused on small iterations and having small versions reviewed  and released to the user base.


The Tudor IT Process Assessment is a methodology to assess processes and gather data around them in order to further optimize same. Following the practices of TIPA one is able to determine the process capability compared to other recognized good practices. The goal here is to the practices then in order to measure the current status of the processes and an appropriate suggestion for process improvement can be made.


YaSM or ‘Yet another Service Management Model’ was created to combine important complex methodologies into a single leaner standard. It consists of elements from ITIL, ISO 20000, USMBOK, CMMI-SVC and COBIT and can therefore be adopted easily. The process structure is straightforward and very much streamlined with all unnecessary complexities removed.

Now that were a lot more than I originally anticipated to introduce but I think all of these have a reason to exist and a particular field where they excel. What do you think? What are your favorite practices and what do you not approve of? I would love to hear from you, so drop us a comment below. Many  thanks for reading!

Photo credit: Don Solo

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isak
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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