ITIL 4 Strategist – Direct, Plan and Improve: combining strategy and execution

Hands of IT service management professional typing on laptop emitting icons of connected cogs with smartphone, notebook and pen, glasses and coffee cup on the sides

The new ITIL® 4 Direct, Plan and Improve (DPI) module, leading to the ITIL Strategist qualification, provides essential knowledge and capabilities that a service management professional should acquire beyond Foundation level.

The module – which is applicable to both ITIL Strategic Leader and Managing Professional streams – supports anyone involved in directing or planning action based on a defined strategy and in continual improvement. This material is not about leadership skills existing only at the top; wherever a person is in their organization or career, there is something they need to plan, direct and improve.

Who should certify in DPI?

Almost anyone can benefit from DPI certification. It will be helpful both to people already in a leadership position as well as those who want to give more and be more.

DPI is about helping people understand both their actual scope of control and the scope of their influence, helping them to inspire others to collaborative action rather than impelling them to comply.

Strategy, outcomes and value

The basic skillsets in DPI are critical to gain alignment between strategy and operational execution. Following the ITIL 4 guiding principle, Focus on value, helps people to agree on what the most important things for the organization are, both internally and externally – to co-create value for customers and other stakeholders. This allows design of strategies to address the prioritized outcomes. When the strategies are implemented and supported by strong governance mechanisms, then plans are aligned with outcomes.

Breaking down silos

Human beings like to know where they stand, what’s expected and where the boundaries are. And while they may think it’s much easier to work inside their silo, business practices in reality need to cross boundaries. DPI, therefore, includes many techniques that prevent taking a myopic view.

ITIL 4 talks about value chains and value streams, naturally crossing boundaries rather than focusing on siloed working methods. DPI looks across the value chain as an entire system with different pieces flowing and working together; enabling people to understand where they fit and their contribution to the system.

A Comprehensive Service Value Chain

The idea of focusing on outcomes makes it natural for an organization to incorporate elements of other frameworks or methodologies in concert with ITIL, entwining various methods in an operating model that will maximize value co-creation. DPI espouses principles that should help people recognize that they don’t exist in isolation but are part of a community. The idea that adopting exclusively either this method or that method has never been wise but, with ITIL 4, a more inclusive approach is more easily and obviously embraced.

Not just what, but how

The other key elements of DPI essential for success are the practical techniques and methods discussed. It includes guidance on how to do such important things as defining policies, putting in controls, selecting assessment methods, building business cases, driving continual improvement and more. Theory isn’t enough; practitioners have to execute and DPI will help people learn how.

A module for the modern IT and service management professional

The DPI module, with its universal capabilities, offers value to professionals well beyond service management. The skills it contains will support individuals no matter who they are or what direction they want to take in their career. It will help them in their journey to a more holistic way of looking at the world. Ultimately, it will guide them to see more opportunities for themselves in their organization than perhaps they did before.

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts by Lou Hunnebeck

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Current rating: 4 (3 ratings)


25 Nov 2019 Stephen Embrey
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Thank you for the information. When will hard copy manuals be available, and what is the official go-live date for training to begin?
25 Nov 2019 Xavier I
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Looking forward to reviewing this document and applying this knowledge in real time use cases.
28 Nov 2019 Hatim Tinwala
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