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 their 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 responds to the realities of modern business and offers more flexible approaches than the previous versions. The processes in ITIL 4 are non-linear, and the final result of each of them can initiate new processes for continuous improvement of the service.
In this case, the client is seen not as a consumer of the service simply receiving the result, but as a partner. This helps them to influence the quality and functionality of the services provided.
In the ITIL 4 Foundations book [PDF attached], the first of the 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, the guiding principles help to integrate best practices into a unified managing approach to IT services.
Value is a key concept in ITIL v4 Foundation book. Value is what the customer receives as a result of using the service. The value of a car-sharing service or a taxi-booking application is that the client can get to his destination on time and with convenience. Apart from that, they are spared the drawbacks of using their own car - such as breakdowns or running out of fuel.
The principle is primarily concerned with creating value for the service customers. However, any service also affects the company's values which are manifested in different forms: profit, user loyalty, business growth, cost reduction. Everything an organization does, directly or indirectly, must be related to value which ultimately concerns all stakeholders.
Therefore, the service provider needs to determine who his direct customers are, and who the other stakeholders are: partners, investors, contractors, etc.
The second point is determining what the consumer value is. To be able to do this, the company must know why the consumer is interested in its service, how this service helps the consumer to achieve their goals, and what their risks are.
Another component of value is the experience that consumers gets 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.
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 develops 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 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 the owner proposes to abandon all previous developments and create a completely new product in an effort to optimize their product. For example, they may completely rewrite a mobile application instead of modifying it. This approach often leads to unplanned time, financial, and labor losses. You can disrupt working processes, lose tools and employees who could improve the product. If the existing developments can be used, use them.
Assess your surroundings. Collect accurate analytics to avoid unwarranted decisions, missed deadlines, cost overrun, and quality loss. This data allows you to decide which of the existing functionality of the service has value and can be used.
Project managers don’t have to be afraid to ask executors – for example, developers or designers - “stupid” questions. Sometimes the opinion of a person who is not as immersed in the context is helpful.
Projects should be broken down into a series of iterations. This way makes it easier to focus on and manage each of them. The main task of the project and the tasks of its iterations, for example, to improve the service, is a constant assessment of compliance with the current requirements. This allows you to adapt to changing circumstances and not lose the main value out of sight.
At the same time, reevaluation should be based on the feedback from users of the service. This allows you to see the progress and status of the project clearly. The more channels and methods of getting feedback, the better.
Sometimes the developer or provider has an outdated or specific view of the service that does not correspond to the needs of the user. The results of the next iteration help clarify new requirements, re-establish priorities, and initiate work that will improve the service.
This is where feedback is needed to help you better understand:
Through a combination of iterative approach and feedback, the team becomes agile, responds faster to customer and business needs, detects and responds to issues earlier, and improves service quality.
Working with user reviews gives you an opportunity to respond to the requests quickly. 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, so the development team focuses on adding this feature.
However, this works only if the application has no problem quickly adding new features. It should be noted that it is important to exercise revision and reassessment with moderation. Excessive analytics, contemplation, endless meetings can lead to "analytical paralysis", where all efforts will be focused not on the project, but on the analysis of the current situation.
Also, don’t try to do everything at once: any new "feature" can be released in the form of MVP (minimum viable product) and gradually expand its functionality.
Collaboration between departments is better than isolation. It is appropriate to recall an important condition of digital transformation here – namely the need to get rid of the “silo” or “bunker” approach, when a department works in a vacuum: it is focused only on its own 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 knows about a planned change, rumors and speculation appear. The silence leads the rest of the team to resist the change. 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 is often forgotten. If an action, process, service, or metric isn't delivering a useful result or adding value, don’t hesitate to discard of 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 the data on how long the entire booking process takes.
As a result, the developers simplify the application interface and increase its work speed simply by removing the function of collecting optional data. 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: a new process is perceived by the 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 what and how the organization does. Let individual teams or groups know how their work is influenced by others and how they affect others themselves.
Strike a balance between competing goals - leadership goals and implementer goals. Let's say the manager 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. You need to find the 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 find complex solutions. However, automation should not be introduced for the sake of automation alone: 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. ITIL, Lean, DevOps, Kanban and other practices are suitable for optimization.
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. However, 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 is improving feedback, it should be done in a holistic manner, so that each iteration implies the achievement of a specific result. The same principle applies to feedback: it is the key to collaboration that allows you to improve the service, make it more convenient for the client, and ultimately increase its value.
When making decisions, companies should be guided by a value focus and other principles that are appropriate for a specific scenario. The ITIL 4 guiding principles are recommendations that can be adopted and adapted to suit oneself: in the end, they are all based on reason and common sense.
Read more about the seven guiding principles in the ITIL 4 Foundation PDF book by Axelos.
“This book provides succinct content necessary for updating knowledge in modern ITSM with full support for all contemporary agile frameworks and for taking an ITIL Foundation exam. I enjoyed reading and listening to this book.”
“This book will provide a good backbone for your Foundation studies and get you up to speed on ITIL 4, a major upgrade from version 4”
“I used this book to prepare for the ITIL exam. It’s an easy read with some examples to help understanding. I recommend this book for ITSM practitioners.”
“Great intro to ITIL v4! Great detail, helpful concepts, and practical application all contribute to the effectiveness of this book in bringing ITIL v4 to life”
“Is great! Colored and the quality is good. I didn't expect anything better. 9 out of 10 :)”
“My company uses ITIL a lot and this was a great book to get me familiar with processes, terminology, and functionality. I am preparing for the test and that along with some practice tests will get me there”
The exam is taken remotely and online. If desired, you can take the exam from the testing center. I rented from home. This has its pros and cons. From the pros: you don't need to go anywhere. Of the minuses: you take on all the risks associated with breaking the network.
The examiner can speak with a strong accent.
The wording of the questions is relatively complex, in no preparatory test have I come across such questions that were on a real exam, with the exception of questions on terminology. Synonyms are also used in the formulations. For example, the book says "... reduce incidents ...", and on the exam "... decrease interruptions ...". Therefore, it will be difficult without knowledge of English.
AXELOS company does not plan to translate the book and the exam into other languages. There is even a petition on this occasion, which has already been signed by 775 people.
Some of the exam questions are not about the key features or definitions that are highlighted in bold text or a bright highlighter in the book, but about what is written deep in the paragraphs. Therefore, when preparing, it is important to read and analyze the chapters in full.
There are 40 questions in the exam and 1 hour and 15 minutes are given to take. This is more than enough. In practice, passing the exam does not take more than 30 minutes.
A few days after the exam, you will be sent a link to an electronic certificate (in my case, in 3 days), if desired, you can order a printed copy.
The central element of the service value system in the ITIL 4 Foundation PDF is the service value chain. This is an operating model that outlines the key activities necessary to respond to demand and facilitate value creation through the creation and management of products and services.
As seen in the diagram, the ITIL v4 service value chain has six value chain activities which lead to the creation of products and services, and as a result, value. The six value chain activities are Plan, Improve, Engage, Design & transition, Obtain/build, and Deliver & support.
These activities represent the steps an organization takes to create value. Each activity transforms inputs into outputs. These inputs can be demand from outside the value chain or outputs of other activities.
All the activities are interconnected with each activity receiving and providing triggers for further action. To convert inputs into outputs, the value chain activities use different combinations of ITIL v4 practices. Practices are sets of resources for performing certain types of work. The value chain activities will draw on an internal or third party resources, processes, skills and the competencies as necessary. For example, the engage activity might draw on supplier management, service desk management.
Relationship management and service request management in ITIL v4 PDF to respond to new demands for products and services or information from various stakeholders. Regardless of which practices are deployed, there's some common rules when using the service value chain in the ITIL v4.
To carry out a certain task or respond to a particular situation, organizations create service value streams. These are specific combinations of activities and practices. And each one is designed for a particular scenario. For example, your service desk following up on a ticket to fix a WiFi access point or a WiFi router, which is basically brought down the guest VLAN.
Once designed, value streams should be subject to continual improvement. The value streams in ITIL v4 PDF are designed specifically to resolve issues, and will provide a complete guide to the activities, practices, and roles involved.
It's important on the ITIL v4 exam to remember the service value chain activities:plan, improve, engage, design & transition, obtain/build and deliver &support. improve, engage, design and transition, obtain/build, deliver and support.
Welcome to ITIL 4
About this publication
IT service management in the modern world
1.2 About ITIL 4
1.3 The structure and benefits of the ITIL 4 framework
1.3.1 The ITIL SVS
1.3.2 The four dimensions model
Value and value co-creation
2.1.1 Value co-creation
2.2 Organizations, service providers, service consumers, and other stakeholders
2.2.1 Service providers
2.2.2 Service consumers
2.2.3 Other stakeholders
2.3 Products and services
2.3.1 Configuring resources for value creation
2.3.2 Service offerings
2.4 Service relationships
2.4.1 The service relationship model
2.5 Value: outcomes, costs, and risks
2.5.4 Utility and warranty
Organizations and people
3.2 Information and technology
3.3 Partners and suppliers
3.4 Value streams and processes
3.4.1 Value streams for service management
3.5 External factors
Service value system overview
4.2 Opportunity, demand, and value
4.3 The ITIL guiding principles
4.3.1 Focus on value
4.3.2 Start where you are
4.3.3 Progress iteratively with feedback
4.3.4 Collaborate and promote visibility
4.3.5 Think and work holistically
4.3.6 Keep it simple and practical
4.3.7 Optimize and automate
4.3.8 Principle interaction
4.4.1 Governing bodies and governance
4.4.2 Governance in the SVS
4.5 Service value chain
4.5.4 Design and transition
4.5.6 Deliver and support
4.6 Continual improvement
4.6.1 Steps of the continual improvement model
4.6.2 Continual improvement and the guiding principles
General management practices
5.1.1 Architecture management
5.1.2 Continual improvement
5.1.3 Information security management
5.1.4 Knowledge management
5.1.5 Measurement and reporting
5.1.6 Organizational change management
5.1.7 Portfolio management
5.1.8 Project management
5.1.9 Relationship management
5.1.10 Risk management
5.1.11 Service financial management
5.1.12 Strategy management
5.1.13 Supplier management
5.1.14 Workforce and talent management
5.2 Service management practices
5.2.1 Availability management
5.2.2 Business analysis
5.2.3 Capacity and performance management
5.2.4 Change control
5.2.5 Incident management
5.2.6 IT asset management
5.2.7 Monitoring and event management
5.2.8 Problem management
5.2.9 Release management
5.2.10 Service catalogue management
5.2.11 Service configuration management
5.2.12 Service continuity management
5.2.13 Service design
5.2.14 Service desk
5.2.15 Service level management
5.2.16 Service request management
5.2.17 Service validation and testing
5.3 Technical management practices
5.3.1 Deployment management
5.3.2 Infrastructure and platform management
5.3.3 Software development and management
End note: The ITIL story, one year on
Appendix A: Examples of value streams