Together with value streams and practices that have replaced “processes,” the seven guiding principles are the foundation of ITIL 4. These principles can be used by IT companies regardless of strategy, management approach, and type of service provided. As the authors of the library emphasize, each of the principles is universal and fundamental. Together they embody the core ideas of ITIL and ITSM.
ITIL 4 book meets the realities of modern business and offers more flexible approaches than previous versions. The processes in ITIL 4 are non-linear, and the end result of each of them can initiate new processes for continuous improvement of the service.
In this case, the client is considered not as a consumer of the service simply receiving the result, but as a partner. This helps him to influence the quality and functionality of the services provided.
In The ITIL 4 Foundations book [PDF attached], the first of seven books in the new library, ITIL 4 guidelines are presented in detail. They are based on well-known techniques: Agile, Lean, DevOps, etc. That is, guiding principles help to integrate best practices into a unified management approach to IT services.
Value is a key concept in ITIL v4 Foundation book. This is what the customer receives as a result of using the service.
The value of a car-sharing service or an application for ordering a taxi is that the client can get to his destination on time and with convenience. At the same time, he is spared the risks of using his own car, such as breakdowns or inappropriately run out of fuel.
The principle is primarily concerned with creating value for customers (service consumers). But any service also affects the company's values, which are manifested in different forms: in profit, user loyalty, business growth, cost reduction. Everything an organization does, directly or indirectly, must be related to value, which affects all stakeholders.
Therefore, the service provider, firstly, needs to decide who are the direct consumers for him, who are the other stakeholders: partners, investors, contractors, etc.
The second point is understanding what exactly is the consumer value. For this, among other things, the company must know why the consumer is interested in its service, how this service or service helps the consumer to achieve his goals, what are his risks.
Another component of value is the experience that consumers get when interacting with a product and a supplier: User Experience (UX) or Customer Experience (CX). The experience can be objective (the client got what he wanted for the promised price) and subjective (the client does not like the design of the application interface). The customer experience needs to be managed.
ITIL Foundation PDF: an example from the book
Headquartered in London, a car rental service enters the Asia Pacific market. Preliminary research shows that Western customers traveling to Asia are primarily concerned about the safety of driving in unfamiliar conditions and lack of knowledge of local traffic rules.
The company is developing special software - an intelligent driver assistant that monitors the situation on the road, evaluates the condition of the car and knows the specifics of the rules in a particular country. After the introduction of the assistant, the number of accidents, accidents and serious injuries decreases significantly.
In this case, the main value for the consumer is safety. The main values for the company are increasing customer loyalty, reducing repair costs and insurance premiums.
Sometimes, in an effort to optimize the product, the owner proposes to abandon all previous developments and create a completely new product. For example, not to modify the mobile application code (refactoring), but to completely rewrite it. But this approach often leads to unplanned time, financial and labor costs. So you can disrupt working processes, lose tools and employees who could improve the product. If the existing developments can still be used, use it.
Assess your surroundings. Collect accurate analytics to avoid unwarranted decisions, missed deadlines, over budget, and quality degradation. Based on this data, it is already possible to decide which of the existing functionality of the service has value and will be reused.
Project managers and project managers don't have to be afraid to ask “stupid” questions to executors - for example, developers or designers. Sometimes the opinion of a person who is not immersed in context is helpful.
Projects should be broken down into a series of iterations. This makes it easier to focus on each of them and manage. The main task of the project and the tasks of its iterations, for example, to improve the service, is a constant assessment for compliance with current requirements. This allows you to adapt to changing circumstances and not lose focus on the main value.
At the same time, in order to correctly understand the progress and status of the project, the reevaluation should be based on feedback from users of the service. The more channels and methods for getting feedback, the better.
Sometimes the developer or provider has an outdated or specific vision of the service that does not correspond to the actual needs of the user. The results of the next iteration help clarify new requirements, redefine priorities, and initiate work that will improve the service.
This is where feedback is needed to help you better understand:
Analyze the feedback received to identify possible risks and problems.
Through a combination of iterative approach and feedback, the team becomes agile, responds faster to customer and business needs, detects and responds to problems earlier, and improves service quality.
Working with user reviews is the ability to quickly respond to their requests. Let's say you're making a travel app that's constantly improving. Gradually, the App Store accumulates user requests for the application to automatically calculate the distance traveled. The development team is concentrating on adding this functionality.
However, this works if the application has no problem quickly adding new features. It should be noted that it is better to apply revision and reassessment without fanaticism. Excessive analytics, contemplation, endless meetings can lead to "analytical paralysis", when all efforts will be spent not on the project, but on the analysis of the current situation.
Also, do not try to do everything at once: any new "feature" can be released in the form of MVP (minimum viable product) and gradually increase the functionality.
Collaboration between departments is better than isolation. It is appropriate to recall here an important condition of digital transformation - the need to get rid of the “silo” or “bunker” approach, when a department works as if in a vacuum: it is focused only on its tasks and is unaware of the company's values. This is often not the department's fault, as its processes and interactions with other departments are limited.
Another component of the principle is transparency. Processes and results of work should be visible and understandable to all participants. The more people know what is going on in the project and why, the easier it will be to connect and help. When, for example, only a small group of employees know about a planned change, rumors and speculation appear. The silence leads the rest of the team to resist, also behind the scenes.
Determine the range of stakeholders within the company. These can be developers, external and internal suppliers, analysts, CRM managers - all those who are somehow involved in the creation of the organization's value.
Some contributors may need to be more involved in the project. Others - act as reviewers, consultants, or approvers. So, in software development, advanced companies involve several teams in cooperation at once: developers, testers, product owners, customers, users.
A holistic approach to management is the understanding that the various activities of an organization are aimed at creating value.
No service or element used to provide a service is standalone. To follow this approach and deliver consistently good results, try to perceive any process as part of the value chain and take a holistic view of the associated processes, resources and practices.
The principle of using the minimum number of steps to achieve a goal is considered obvious, but it is often forgotten. If an action, process, service, or metric isn't delivering a useful result or adding value, ditch it.
The car rental app collects a lot of data, including information about the time it takes a user to fill out each form in the app to book a car. Research has shown that this data is of little use, and the real value is data on how long the entire booking process took.
As a result, the developers, removing the function of collecting optional data, simplify the application interface and increase the speed of its work. In the process of creating or optimizing an IT service, it is best to start with the simplest model possible, and then gradually add new elements, actions or indicators - if they are really needed.
It also happens in another way: the new process is perceived by employees as a waste of time. However, this new stage is important on a corporate scale and indirectly affects the value of the service. Therefore, employees must have a holistic view of the work of the organization. Let individual teams or groups know how their work is influenced by others and how they themselves affect others.
Strike a balance between competing goals - leadership goals and implementers goals. Let's say the management wants to collect a data set in order to make a strategic decision. Analysts believe that this process can be simplified, and the solution itself requires less information. And here you need to find a middle ground: get rid of everything that does not affect the final value.
Automation tools and technology help you complete repetitive, routine tasks by engaging people to solve complex solutions. However, automation should not be allowed for the sake of automation: sometimes human participation is necessary to assess the key stages of the whole automated process.
Before automating, processes need to be optimized - within reasonable limits, taking into account financial, technical and other constraints. For optimization ITIL, Lean, DevOps, Kanban and other practices are suitable.
An example of automation in IT is the use of continuous integration and code delivery (CI / CD) methodology, when every change to the code is automatically tested at every stage of the build. But automation also implies a more traditional approach - for example, reducing the amount of paperwork in a service center by introducing biometric collection of customer personal data.
In addition to knowing the ITIL guidelines, it is important to understand that they are interrelated. For example, if a company seeks to progress in an iterative approach and improves feedback, it should be done in a holistic manner, so that each iteration implies the achievement of a specific result. The same with feedback: it is the key to collaboration, which allows you to improve the service, make it more convenient for the client and ultimately increase its value.
When making any decisions, companies should be guided by a value focus and other principles that are appropriate for the specific scenario. The ITIL 4 guiding principles are not commandments, but recommendations that can be adopted and adapted to suit oneself: in the end, they are all based on expediency and common sense.
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