October 21, 2018  
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IT Management Best Practices: Adoption and Maturity of 35 IT Organizational Disciplines

Much of the mission of the IT organization is to automate and improve business processes throughout the enterprise. But the IT organization itself also has its own need for process improvement and automation. The best-run IT organizations not only focus their process improvement efforts on those of other departments, they also seek to optimize their own IT management processes internally.

In this study, we examine the growth and maturity of 35 IT management practices which we have grouped into six major categories: IT governance practices, IT financial management practices, IT operational management practices, IT security and risk management practices, application development practices, and innovation best practices.

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Detailed Description

This study, now in its 14th year, is designed to increase awareness of what are best practices in IT management, provide benchmarks IT leaders to compare their own adoption and maturity levels against other organizations, and justify investments in implementing best practices.

Each year, we ask IT organizations in our annual survey to what extent they are engaged with a selected list of practices. Survey participants have five response choices:

  • No activity
  • Implementing
  • Practicing informally
  • Practicing formally but inconsistently
  • Practicing formally and consistently

These responses enable us to determine how widely a best practice has been adopted, how formally and consistently it is being practiced, and how quickly it is likely to grow. By comparing current-year responses with those from prior years, we also can assess the growth trajectory of a best practice.

One of our goals is to be sure we cover both widely adopted and newly emerging best practices. We have added IT participation in business strategy, IT leadership for digital transformation, IT R&D budget, and innovation/ideation portal to our list of best practices this year. We have also reorganized some of best practices into categories that we feel better represent their current scope within the enterprise. While the boundaries between these best practices categories can overlap, the categories provide an opportunity to discuss the selected practices within context of related practices. Perhaps most importantly, we feature a major findings section that allows us to talk about the larger trends we see in best practices as a whole. As usual, we present findings about individual practices by category at the beginning of each section.

Table of Contents

IT Management Best Practices

  • Introduction
  • How We Measure Best-Practice Trends
  • Understanding the Practice Profiles

Major Findings

  • Top Five Most Practiced
  • Top Five Least Mature
  • Top Five Most Mature

IT Governance Best Practices

  • IT Strategic Planning
  • Executive IT Steering Committee
  • IT Project Portfolio Management 
  • Project Management Office
  • IT Change Control Board
  • Organizational Change Management

IT Financial Management Best Practices

  • IT Personnel Time Tracking
  • Service-Based Cost Accounting
  • Chargeback of IT Costs
  • Showback of IT Costs
  • IT Service Catalog
  • Benchmarking IT Spending

IT Operational Management Best Practices

  • IT Policies and Procedures
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
  • IT Asset Management System
  • Bring Your Own Device
  • User-Satisfaction Surveys
  • IT Performance Metrics

IT Security and Risk Management Best Practices

  • IT Security Policies
  • Data Classification and Retention
  • IT Security Compliance Audits
  • Security Incident Management
  • Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Disaster Recovery Testing
  • Business Continuity Planning

Application Development Best Practices

  • System Development Life Cycle
  • Agile Development
  • Software Change Management Process
  • DevOps
  • Post-Implementation Audits

 Innovation Best Practices

  • IT Participation in Business Strategy
  • IT Leadership for Digital Transformation
  • IT R&D Budget
  • Innovation/Ideation Portal


  • Benchmarking IT Management Best Practices
  • Methodology and Sample
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