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How ITIL® Practitioner will help your business get the best from ITIL

How ITIL® Practitioner will help your business get the best from ITIL

Lou HunnebeckMany individuals, and even organizations, are convinced that there is real value in the guidance documented in ITIL®, but they struggle to know how to use that guidance to best advantage. ITIL describes a lot of best practices that could be followed, but as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it!

The widely-anticipated ITIL Practitioner qualification planned by AXELOS for release at the beginning of 2016 has a number of components that will make the guidance of ITIL something IT Service Management (ITSM) professionals can really follow and benefit from sooner rather than later.

The idea behind this qualification is help people, particularly those at the beginning of their journey, take the ITSM best practices already documented in ITIL and apply them to their own real-world situation. To do this, the qualification will focus on three important elements:

  • Using the Continual Service Improvement (CSI) Approach as an organizing framework for adopting and adapting ITIL
  • Essential skills in three competencies that are critical to success
  • Nine core principles that should guide all efforts if the true value of ITIL is to be achieved

The CSI Approach provides a simple framework of steps that can be followed for efforts both large and small, ensuring that the right things are done for the right reasons and that goals are set and achieved.

Three critical competencies

The three critical competencies represent skills that are essential to making something work. A tennis player might have enormous potential, but if they cannot consistently serve the ball, they will never succeed. Each of the defined competencies is a critical success factor for adopting and adapting ITIL in an organization and achieving outstanding ITSM. They are:

  • Communication
  • Organizational Change Management (OCM)
  • Measurement and Metrics

Nine guiding principles

Experience has shown that, whenever people or organizations are trying to improve quality by doing things such as improving processes or make other changes, following clear principles will deliver better results. The nine guiding principles defined for ITSM are exactly that – principles that should guide the work as a person, team or organization proceeds through the CSI Approach, using the three critical competencies. They are neither too specific to one particular area nor so general that practitioners won’t know how to apply them. These principles have come from the combined knowledge of a highly experienced group of practitioners that have used them in real-life situations – and seen the impact of not using them too!

The nine ITSM guiding principles are:

  1. Focus on Value
    Everything in ITSM should deliver value to the customer and the customer decides what is valuable to them.
  2. Design for Experience
    Services (as well as processes) should be designed from the outset to create a satisfying end-to-end experience for the customer or end user.
  3. Start where you are
    Don’t automatically start from scratch. Always consider first what can be leveraged from what is already available.
  4. Work Holistically
    No service or component stands alone. Services are complicated systems that have to be considered, designed, deployed, managed and improved with an awareness of the whole.
  5. Progress Iteratively
    Resist the temptation to do everything in one go. Break the work into manageable pieces that each deliver something useful and keep going. A lot of small efforts combine for great change.
  6. Observe Directly
    Base your decisions on information that is as true and correct as you know it can be. Whenever possible, go to the source of the activity and observe it directly.
  7. Be Transparent
    Be clear and honest about what is happening and why so that rumors will not compete with the truth and people can participate and speak from a position of knowledge.
  8. Collaborate
    Work together creatively towards a common goal. Shared effort will create shared commitment and results will benefit from considering different perspectives.
  9. Keep it Simple
    Do only what is needed to consistently deliver the desired outcomes. Eliminate that which is wasteful.

In the US Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson wrote: “all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

In other words, change is hard! People don’t like to change the things they know, even if the things they know aren’t working very well. Change is often the biggest obstacle in any organization.

Adopting an ITSM approach will lead practitioners to introduce new services and processes – all of which require people to change their behaviours and routines. By following the 9 guiding principles and applying the three critical competencies, the required changes can be done in way that works. We can create not just the promise of service management benefits, but the actual benefits themselves.

See our ITIL® Practitioner section for more information.

Read Lou Hunnebeck's previous AXELOS Blog Post, ITIL® Practitioner: The Challenges with Testing Practical Skills.

Do you or your organization employ ITSM frameworks to manage services? Do the competencies and guiding principles outlined above help you practically apply ITSM best practice in your business? Are there any you disagree with or are there any that you think could be added to the list above? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Current rating: 1 (1 ratings)


6 Jan 2016 NK
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Very useful article: A good guidance for the beginners. All the time I'm following the nine ITSM guiding principles guidance and the Three critical competencies whenever I wanted to raise any suggestions for improvements at my working place. An excellent way to approach towards improvements and to manage changes in the organization.
11 Feb 2016 Public Anonymous User
Really pleased to see real practical guidance on how CSI can be applied in the ITIL environment. I always felt CSI within V3 was the poor relation and arguably an unconscious blocker to CSI....the V3 approach assumes a level of ITIL maturity that for many organisations has not been achieved , which may not be achieved for some time, if at all. Many organisations perceive they are not ‘Ready’ for a CSI implementation.....being the 'last' book subliminally reinforces this perception. So great to see the Practitioner guidance bring CSI alive at the working level for ITIL practitioners with emphasis on making use of what you've got, starting where you are and focus on small incremental improvements that over time will add value.
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ITIL® Practitioner Guidance

ITIL® Practitioner Guide

The ITIL Practitioner Guidance accompanies the qualification and provides a practical guide to putting ITIL theory into practice.

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