ITIL® Practitioner 9 Guiding Principles

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The ITIL Practitioner 9 Guiding Principles can help you navigate the difficult decisions in service management. Use these principles as a guide in all your decision making for a better chance at success. Let them show you the way!

Our resources below include a selection of case studies, animations and blog posts to help you understand how the principles can be used in practice.

We have also created a template to help you navigate the 9 guiding principles across the ITIL Lifecycle

Download the template >

Click on the links below to find out more about each guiding principle.

Focus on Value | Design for experience | Start where you are | Work holistically | Progress iteratively | Observe directly | Be transparent | Collaborate | Keep it simple

Overview of guiding principles



Focus on value
Focus on value

Watch the Focus on value animationEverything the service provider does needs to map, directly or indirectly, to value for the customer and/or the organization. It is the customer who determines what is of value to them, not the service provider.


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Design for experience
Design for experience

Watch the Design for experience animationIt is critical to retain the focus not only on business/customer value, but also on the experience that both customers and users have when they interact with the service or service provider.

Case study: Design for experience: an ITIL Guiding Principle

Blogs: Design for Experience

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Start where you are
Start where you are

Watch the Start where you are animationResist the temptation to start from scratch and build something new without considering what is already available to be leveraged. Based on the vision for the future and how that will deliver value to the customer, there is already likely to be a great deal that can be used.

Case study: Start where you are: an ITIL® Guiding Principle at Disney


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Work holistically
Work holistically

Watch the Work holistically animationNo service or component stands alone. The results delivered to the organization or customer will suffer unless the service provider works on the whole, not just on the parts. All elements should be coordinated to provide a defined value.

Blogs: Why transformation projects go wrong unless you Work Holistically

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Progress iteratively
Progress iteratively

Watch the Progress iteratively animationEven huge initiatives have to be accomplished iteratively. Resist the temptation to do everything at once. By organizing work into smaller, manageable sections, the focus on each smaller improvement is easier to maintain and ensures that real results are returned in a timely manner and built upon to create more improvement.

Case study: Progress Iteratively: an ITIL Guiding Principle

Blogs: ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principles in action: Working Iteratively

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Observe directly
Observe directly

Watch the Observe directly animationTo know what is really going on, measure and/or observe it directly. Going to the source allows a reduction in the use of assumptions which, if proved unfounded, can be disastrous to timelines, budgets and the quality of results.

Case study: Observe directly: an ITIL Guiding Principle

Blogs: Observe Directly: how to avoid the “watermelon effect”

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Be transparent
Be Transparent

Watch the Be Transparent animationThe more that people are aware of what is happening and why it is happening, then the more that people will help and fewer people will obstruct. Make things as transparent as possible.


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Watch the Collaborate animationWhen the right people are involved in the right ways, improvements benefit from better buy-in, better relevance (because better information is available for decision-making) and better likelihood of long-term success.

Case study: Collaborate: an ITIL Guiding Principle

Blogs: Them vs us: the importance of Collaboration

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Keep it simple
Keep it simple

Watch the Keep it simple animationIf a process, service, action or metric  provides no value or produces no useful outcome, then eliminate it. In a process or procedure, use the minimum number of steps needed to accomplish the objective(s). Overly complex work methods rarely maximize outcomes or minimize cost.

Blogs: ITIL Practitioner: why it’s always best to Keep It Simple

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