The Plan and Optimize Phase of the IT Service Lifecycle

Picking up from the last posting where I detailed our overall approach to the IT Service Lifecycle and briefly discussed the purposes of each of the four phases, today I wanted to drill into a bit more detail into the Plan and Optimize (P&O) phase.  And while names have changed since I originally talked about this phase, then called IT Business Planning, the general purpose and goals of the phase have been in a state of natural evolution since.   


As we think about P&O phase, it's important to think about what the business needs from IT in order to be successful.  Generally speaking, IT must provide services that are compelling, valuable, predictable, reliable, compliant, adaptable, and cost-effective.  And for IT to successfully meet those varied goals requires a great deal of careful planning, tight alignment to business objectives, and the optimization of limited resources to deliver on the overall IT strategy.


Plan & Optimize 


Plan and Optimize Graphic


Goal of Plan and Optimize Phase

The goal of the MOF plan and optimize phase is to provide guidance to IT groups on how to continually plan for and optimize the IT service strategy to insure the delivered services have the following attributes and outcomes.

  • Services are valuable and compelling

  • Services are predictable and reliable

  • Services are compliant

  • Services are cost-effective

  • Services can adapt to the changing needs of the business

To effectively plan and optimize an IT strategy, MOF incorporates service management functions, SMFs, that define the processes and activities required to continually improve and align IT services to the business.   Although each SMF can be thought of as a set of stand-alone processes, it is important to examine the SMFs in context of the larger lifecycle phase to insure service delivery is complete and at the right quality and cost level.


Business Alignment SMF

The Business Alignment SMF ensures an organization’s IT offerings and performance align to the business goals and objectives.  The Business Alignment SMF incorporates the following processes:

  • Business Relationship Management

  • Portfolio Management

  • Demand Management

  • Service Level Management

These processes provide the business a predictable method for surfacing new requirements as well as understanding what future offerings are planned, what is currently being delivered, and the current performance of IT services.     


Reliability SMF

The Reliability SMF ensures an IT service or system is dependable, requires minimal maintenance, will perform without interruption, and allows users to quickly access the resources they need. The Reliability SMF incorporates the following processes:

  • Availability Management

  • Capacity Management

  • Service Continuity Management 

While these characteristics are necessary for ongoing day-to-day operations, they become even more important during times of rapid business change and growth and during unexpected events. 


As for Policy Management and Finance Management, we're still working out the details on those two but I will fill in the blanks as soon as I can.  Tomorrow, look for a post on the Operations and Support Phase, as I move about the circle in reverse.


Please do continue to provide your feedback to the team, either through e-mail or via comments below.  We are still in the writing phase (as Policy and Finance can attest) and we're anxious to hear your opinions and best-practices.


Jason Osborne

Frameworks PM




Comments (8)

  1. jasono says:

    G2G3 is working to update the Simulation in terms of both content and delivery.  IT McKinley Pro will be available as online simulation that training organizations can use to enhance their MOF training deliveries.  When I have more specific information about this, I will post it here.

  2. Cleber Marques says:

    Hi Jason and MOF team,

    I am happy for the turn of the posts, very good this new approach, I wait that of here more details are revealed forward. I have two points to comment:  

    1. I think would be interesting rename Business Alignment SMF to Business Integration SMF. Because in my vision the IT department in the organizations should be much more than just aligned with the businesses of the company, the IT department should be part of the business, in other words, IT department should be integrated with the businesses.  

    2. Where did they go to OMRs? we needed to have milestones for revisions, this is a very important subject when we passed of a quadrant for the other.  

    My congratulations your work is being great

    Kind regards,

    Cleber Marques

    Projeto MOF Brasil

  3. Peter Ramirez says:

    Hi Jason,

    Has this MOF model been used within Microsoft’s own business IT groups? How successful have they been? Were there challenges in integrating the goals of the IT departments with the business, just like what Cleber has mentioned?

  4. Khalid Hakim says:

    Business Alignment/Integration – this was the former itSMF CEO argument: in ITILv2 we used to talk about alignment, but in v3 we are addressing integration.

    It really depends on the organization framework adotpion maturity level. We still have customers at the basic of the basic 🙂

    So, can we say: "Business Alignment/Integration" instead of "Business Alignment"?

    You need to Plan for the alignment first, through which you will have everyone on the same page. Then you will need to integrate with Business, which yet requires another planning session.


  5. Gary Roos says:

    Alignment / Integration – all good thinking, related concepts but fundamentally different and obviously a good discussion starter.

    But as you think about these two concepts, here is a question to consider – At what level does IT integrate with the business, and at what level does IT align with the business priorities? How does IT operations fit in this?

    I have opinions but I am curious to better my understanding, would love to get some feedback.

  6. Krzysztof Skubis says:

    Two questions:

    1. How this new MOF approach is related (if it is) to MSF v.4, please?

    2. Is this already official , i.e. can I publish this information on externaly available websites?

  7. Cleber Marques says:

    Hi Jason,

    I’m anxious for news about MOF, let me say to you a great news: I’m the first MOF Foundation Certified in Brazil.

    See you

    Best regards,

    Cleber Marques

    Projeto MOF Brasil

  8. Anonymous says:

    Will the recently launched MOF simulation (McKinley IT PRo – I think from a company call G2G3) be updated to include all the new MOF 4.0 elements?… as we would like to use this to support our training efforts

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