Many 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:
- 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:
- Focus on Value
Everything in ITSM should deliver value to the customer and the customer decides what is valuable to them.
- 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.
- Start where you are
Don’t automatically start from scratch. Always consider first what can be leveraged from what is already available.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Work together creatively towards a common goal. Shared effort will create shared commitment and results will benefit from considering different perspectives.
- 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.