Agile Vs ITIL: Which One Is The Best Option?

Agile and ITIL are two methodologies for service management. They are commonly taken as two opposite terms. Yes, they are in some fields, but they also have some similarities. In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between these two concepts and try to find the best one through comparison. Before comparing them, we should first know what their basic concepts are. So, we will first try to know what ITIL and Agile are actually.

What Is Agile?

Agile is a set of methodologies used in software development. Agile is not a framework or software but provides a base for frameworks and tools. It is a mindset that is helpful in software development and service management. According to Jaynee Groll,

“Agile Service Management (ASM) ensures that service management processes reflect agile values and are designed with “just enough” control and structure to enable the delivery of services that enable the ability to do something when and how they are needed or desired.”

The agile mindset is a natural outgrowth of the ‘Agile manifesto,’ published before a Utah conference in 2001. It was later developed as ‘Agile Alliance.’ Its main concepts or principles are as follows.

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiations
  • Responding to change over following a plan

What Is ITIL?

Information technology infrastructure library is commonly said as ITIL. ITIL is a framework to standardize the selection, implementation, and development of IT services in a business. It is one of the IT governance frameworks that provides a systematic framework for IT governance. ITIL’s main goal is to improve IT services’ efficiency, accuracy, effectiveness, and predictability.

ITIL was started in the 1980s when data centers were decentralized and worked on diverse architectures. This caused a decrease in the credibility of IT services. The United Kingdom’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) recognized the importance of considering IT as a service and developed a well-defined methodology in 1989, which is called ITILv1. In 2000 CCTA was merged into the Office of Government Commerce, and this office released the ITILv2 in 2001.

ITILv3 was released in 2007 and updated in 2011. In 2013, The U.K. Cabinet Office and Capita PLC formed an organization named Axelos. The purpose of this organization is to “make individuals and organizations more effective by providing practical guidance, content and qualifications distilled from real-world experience and developing practices.” Axelos released ITILv4 in 2017. ITILv4 is the most updated version of the information technology infrastructure library.

Differences Between ITIL and Agile:

Agile and ITIL are two different concepts. They have many basic differentiations between them. Some of these are so opposite that they seem like rivals. It seems that they are in competition with one another. Some of these differences are as follows;

Agile is a philosophy, it provides guidelines for your work. It is a mindset that helps you to make decisions but it is not a framework that tells you all the details to accomplish a task step by step. On the other hand, ITIL is a framework that gives you predefined descriptions that tells you how you could accomplish your task. It includes step-by-step instructions and procedures.
ITIL has a reputation for rigid and complex processes with so many unnecessary and complex steps and requirements. In contrast, Agile seems to offer a simple and speedy process.
ITIL provides better planning for a standard and predictable change. Its complete planning makes the process too easy, but for non-standard unpredictable changes, this rigid planning could become a danger. Agile provides flexible guidelines for planning for non-standard changes. It is because Agile believes in flexible planning and a non-standard unpredictable change demands flexible changes in the plan according to the scenario that comes forward. That’s why it seems that ITIL is a good option for standard changes, and an Agile mindset is suitable for non-standard changes.
Agile focuses on individuals and interactions over processes and tools, whereas ITIL mainly focuses on process descriptions and systems that run the process.
Agile stated that the right person should be in the right place, whereas, ITIL stated that the customer has nothing to do with that who is providing him services so there is no need to focus on the person but focus on the service.

Similarities Between ITIL And Agile

From the above comparison, we came to know that Agile and ITIL are not good friends, but they are surely not enemies. It is because there are several things which are similar between them. Following are some similarities between them.

The main goal of both Agile and ITIL is the same, both of them focus on the improvement of IT services. It means ways could be different, but the destination is the same.

Both of them believe in a simple, quick, efficient, and safe process. The difference is in parameters like how simple or how quick.

ITILv4, the most recent update, has more space for working with Agile. It adds some more similar concepts.

With many similar concepts, Agile and ITIL could provide a better combination for organizations

Which Is The Best One?

By comparison, we came to know that there are many differences between Agile and information technology infrastructure libraries. Due to these differences, they seem to be two opposite concepts. Indeed they are opposite in many fields, but there are also many similarities between them. Despite differences, they could not only work together due to their common goal towards solving a problem but also reap greater benefits.

Now the question came: which is the best one? Its answer is you have no need to choose one from them, but you could use them together. It sounds quite difficult, but it is possible. Due to so much difference, they could be quite competitive and have friction between them, but this could be avoided easily. That’s why we suggest you not choose one from them but implement a combination of both of them. A combination of these two concepts could give you a better result.

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