Common Misconceptions About ITIL

ITIL is a standard to adhere to

There is a common misunderstanding that ITL is a strict set of procedures and processes that must be followed, otherwise it’s not ITIL.

Despite what some may think, there is no ‘ITIL standard.’ ITIL doesn’t make any steps towards enforcing a strict regime of procedures and rules. ITIL is simply a supporting framework. Think of it as a scaffold, you build your business around it, and it helps support your efforts.

So, while ITIL provides a stable structure around which you can manage your projects, it’s not rigid. You get to pick what aspects of ITL you follow, and which you don’t' The very basis of the ITIL framework is built on the idea of flexibility and adaptability, it encourages practitioners to tailor the library of ITL best-practices to suit their unique needs. If something works, great! Use it. If not, tailor it or drop it.

ITIL is a ‘destructive’ methodology rather than ‘prescriptive.’ It doesn’t give users any answer as to how they should solve problems, but it does provide you with the tools you need to come up with your own solutions. When faced with an issue, just think: "How can I fix this by selectively applying ITIL principles and methods?"

ITIL is just for the IT industry

Although it’s in the name, ITIL is more about service management in general. Its’ principles can be applied outside the IT industry.

ITIL helps people communicate in a common language with shared understanding regardless of their role or area of work. ITIL helps people understand service delivery processes, optimize workflow and ultimately provide customers with faster, more valuable services.

ITIL is incompatible with other practices

ITIL is often viewed as a ‘heavy’ framework (i.e. one that dictates every aspect of service delivery). In reality, you’re free to adapt the framework as is needed.

Some think of ITIL as being ‘on the other end of the scale’ when compared to Agile practices – Agile is lean, easy and quick. ITIL is heavy, laborious and filled with protocol. This is entirely incorrect.

If you look at the ITIL themes of strategy, design, operations and improvement, you’ll see they’re not that far removed from agile principles. Here are just a few ways that ITIL can work with other management frameworks such as Agile and DevOps®.


  • ITIL works well with Kanban and can be blended with Agile practices to streamline important processes.
  • The typical IT workflow (development, updates, technical updates, maintenance) can be broken down and streamlined using Scrum.
  • User stories are a great way to supplement project planning.


  • DevOps works great with ITIL. DevOps handles the creation of services and the ITSM side of ITIL handles the maintenance.
  • DevOps helps create great products. ITIL helps implement them in a way that doesn’t hinder routine business practice.

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