How does 'Focus on Value' relate to the rest of the ITIL Practitioner Guidance?

How does 'Focus on Value' relate to the rest of the ITIL Practitioner Guidance?

The ITIL® Practitioner guiding principles are not independent of each other. You don’t start with focus on value then, once you’ve finished that, start thinking about a different principle. All nine guiding principles work together to help ensure you do the right things to create value for your customers. The guiding principles also interact with every other aspect of ITIL®. They are tools to help you think about how to implement processes, how to manage lifecycle stages, and how to plan and manage improvements.

It’s hard to think about all nine guiding principles at once, so here are some ideas to help you use different combinations of the guiding principles to solve your problems.

Stuart RanceFocus on value, collaborate, be transparent

In the animation above, the solution to the problem didn’t just come from focus on value. It was also important for the Project Manager to be transparent, to acknowledge that things had not gone well and show the customer that they understood this. Then they needed to collaborate with the customer, and to engage the whole of the IT team in this collaboration.

Focus on value, observe directly, collaborate, work holistically, keep it simple.

This combination of guiding principles encapsulates the most important aspects of a Lean approach to IT Service Management (ITSM). By directly observing the end-to-end holistic workflow, you can map out the entire value stream. Then you can work collaboratively to create value by avoiding waste and simplifying processes.

Focus on value, progress iteratively, work holistically

Agile projects use this combination of guiding principles to create value at each step along the path to the project’s goals. This creates value for customers quickly, and incrementally. But you have to ensure that each step creates real value, so keep an eye on the end goal, not just the current step.

Focus on value and the CSI approach

The animation shows us what can happen when you don’t focus on value at the beginning of an improvement project, but a focus on value at the start isn’t enough. Whether you are working on a small project or a large continual service improvement (CSI) initiative you must focus on value during each step of any improvement project.

The ITIL CSI approach uses a series of 6 questions to facilitate continual service improvement, and you should focus on value when you are answering each of them.

  • What is the vision? This should clearly identify how the organization creates value and how required improvements should contribute to this
  • Where are we now? Baseline assessments should measure what value is currently being created.
  • Where do we want to be? Measureable targets should include measures of value from a customer perspective
  • How do we get there? Improvement plans should ensure that every improvement is designed to create value for customers
  • Did we get there? However you measure the results of improvements, and whatever aspects you choose to look at, you must include a way to measure value
  • How do we keep the momentum going? To reinforce and build on your successes, make sure that everyone involved understands the value that improvements have created.

Key takeaways

In conclusion, here are some ways you can focus on value in your own IT organization.

  • Know how your services create value from the perspective of your customers. Understand what they see as value, how IT services contribute to this, and how they perceive the IT contribution. Talk to them about value on an ongoing basis not just once at the beginning of a project
  • Foster a focus on value in all your staff. Make sure the training you offer reflects this. Teach staff to know who their customers are and to understand the customer experience
  • Focus on value during normal operational activity as well as during improvement projects. Don’t leave value to the people working on exciting projects and new things. Everybody involved in IT services contributes to the value that the customer perceives and everybody must make sure that they maximize the value they create
  • Include focus on value in every step of any improvement project. Everybody involved in the project needs to understand what value you are trying to create, how that value will be measured, and how they should be contributing to that value
  • At least once every day, stop whatever you’re doing and ask yourself ‘If the paying customers knew that this was what they were funding, how happy would they be?

See our ITIL Practitioner and ITIL sections for more information.

Read Stuart's first post on Focus on Value, ITIL Practitioner - Focus on Value.

Read our blog ITIL Practitioner - Design for Experience, to find out about this ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principle.

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