ITIL® Practitioner: preparing you for the real world of ITSM

ITIL® Practitioner: preparing you for the real world of ITSM

I’ve got only two words to describe what I think about AXELOS’ ITIL Practitioner qualification: it’s huge.

It’s been needed for a long time and will complement practitioners’ ITIL knowledge with guidance and focus on the essential business skills and human interaction capabilities needed for success with IT Service Management (ITSM).

As a member of the ITIL Practitioner Architect Team my only concern is whether the accompanying training will be able to fit in everything that’s necessary.

With the core of ITIL® defined and with more than enough content out there and training already in place, what will ITIL Practitioner bring to the party?

Considering that approximately 77% of ITIL training and examination is ITIL Foundation, the feedback from organizations investing in it has suggested that for Foundation-qualified people to work well, other things need to happen and a variety of skills utilized. Some of those things are mentioned in Foundation and other parts of ITIL, but are not explored in depth.

Therefore, the ITIL Practitioner programme will very much be about how to use and do things that are not clearly defined in ITIL. For example, we’re talking about organizational change management and culture change. For me there is a need to be clear on the important and critical elements required for success and to give practitioners the comfort and confidence needed to do the right things.

It’s vital to expand on such things as they are the essential success factors for creating efficiency, quality improvements and customer feedback. People can get bogged down in ‘implementing ITIL’,  and designing a beautiful ITIL process that nobody follows and which doesn’t achieve better customer outcomes; the focus needs to shift from  being best practice-centric to using best practice in order to achieve business success. Therefore, you have the need for culture and organizational change.

ITIL Practitioner: the headline themes

Overall, ITIL Practitioner is about putting Continual Service Improvement (CSI) right at the forefront of practitioners’ use of ITIL and requires practical answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the vision?
  2. Where are we now?
  3. Where do we want to be?
  4. How do we get there?
  5. Did we get there?
  6. How do we keep the momentum going?

This approach should be continual and is, in fact, the ‘culture change’ concept realized; you have established a different way of working that you revisit continually – e.g. people feel empowered to make change happen rather than being afraid to raise potentially challenging issues.

Up to now, there has been a tendency for ITIL practitioners to ignore those critical questions. Instead, they focus on processes – what they are, what they do, the inputs and outputs – as an endgame, but with little guidance to help them get there.

Practitioners need to have a clearly defined way, wherever they are in the maturity cycle, to recognize what’s really important and to act accordingly with confidence and certainty. The essential input to success is about creating a momentum and consensus around the need for change, with a clearly defined practical route map on how to get there.

The key elements also for ITIL Practitioner will involve:

  • Discovery – how you assess where you are currently.
  • Planning – taking a sensible, pragmatic approach.
  • Communication – how you interact with others and influence people.
  • Organizational change – what you need to do (for example, workshops).
  • Goals and metrics– what to measure and how.

The course – what should practitioners expect to see?

ITIL Practitioner is going to be a course for those who have completed ITIL Foundation, with the goal that people will gain a clearer view of what needs to be done to achieve business objectives. This should also be of value to all practitioners regardless of the levels of their ITIL certification - so both novice and expert will get value from this course.

This means:

  1. Investment in ITIL – protecting it, along with an additional layer of knowledge and competency that will contribute to success.
  2. Better understanding of how to achieve organizational value from ITIL
  3. Adopt and adapt – you have to know and understand the principles in a wider context in order to do it well.

Frankly, ITSM needs more of an approach that engages practitioners with innovative learning techniques and tools. So, for example, if one of the key skills is being able to run a workshop, the training should show practitioners how to prepare the content and facilitate people’s involvement in brainstorming.

The aim is to make practitioners aware of the importance of these skills while providing them with a toolkit – complete with materials, templates and checklists – that are ready and available to hand.

ITIL Practitioner will teach them what they need to know; and that should be more than enough for the real test, back in the real world of ITSM.

For more information, see our ITIL Practitioner section.

Do you currently hold an ITIL qualification? What do you think the key points the new ITIL Practitioner qualification should cover to enable successful service management?

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts from Barlay Rae

Meaningful metrics in ITSM: it’s about the business (stupid)

Getting human to human in ITSM

Tackling the rise of bimodal IT and 'two-speed ITSM'

What should IT Leaders be focusing on in 2015?

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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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