Many IT best practice models exist. Gartner Consulting has its TOP model, KPMG its World Class IT model, and so on.
In addition to these proprietary approaches we have those that are in the public domain, in particular the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and derivatives, such as the Hewlett-Packard Service Management Reference Model.
ITIL was developed by the British Central Computing and Telecommunications Agency, currently known as the Office of Government Commerce.
A common characteristic of these various best practice models is that they are rooted in the ethos of total quality management, founded on the work of W Edwards Demming in the 1950s.
In an IT context this primarily means improving processes in a bid to eliminate bugs in the delivered solution. Obviously this is a good thing. But at what price?
From a commercial standpoint the definition of a quality product/service could be about the 80/20 rule of using our limited resources, money and time to target the delivery of products and services that will realise 80% of the potential full benefits of a fully functional defect-free solution for 20% of the cost. Or, better still, 90% for 10%.
This is an extract from the book Value-Driven ITManagement by Iain Aitken, which was published recently in the Computer Weekly Professional Series. To order this book, telephone Elsevier Customer Services on 01865-474010 or e-mail email@example.com