If you’ve recently completed your ITIL Foundation certification, first of all, congratulations! Anytime you achieve something it’s important to take a moment to reflect on your accomplishment. You’re now part of an elite group of ITIL certification holders so welcome to the club.
So now you’ve got the certification under your belt, you might be thinking: what now?
Well it’s important to remember that learning is a journey and a never-ending process. In fact, that’s something that ITIL very much advocates. But to give you my advice on where to go and what to do next, I’ll start by telling you my journey.
My ITIL journey
My ITIL journey started in 2009. I was working on a contract that was going up for re-compete and our government customer wanted to become more aligned with ITIL processes. To make sure we met their needs, I encouraged our business to send all senior leaders, including myself, to get ITIL training.
Following our certification, I was then asked to give an overview of the course to those who couldn’t attend. I started educating my fellow colleagues about ITIL, looking at what it is and how applicable it is to what we were doing. Although we were calling existing functions different names, we were essentially on an IT Service Management (ITSM) programme. It was during this process that I decided to continue my ITIL journey to become an ITIL Expert and then later to become an accredited ITIL trainer.
Which path to take?
In my mind, after completing ITIL Foundation you have three paths: path one, do nothing; path two execution, and path three, continue your education.
For the sake of being productive, let’s examine paths two and three - options that can be handled separately or accomplished in unison.
The path of execution
This focuses on doing something to show your leadership and demonstrate to colleagues what you have learnt from your certification. While most people will naturally see the importance in demonstrating the new skills they’ve acquired and the additional value they can now add to those above, people often forget to show their peers and more junior members of the team. However, getting buy-in from across the board is crucial and is especially important in making new approaches stick. As the saying goes, you’ve got to ‘go the Gemba’ (the front line) and have visibility where the work is actually happening.
Following this path, the next stages, I’d advise are:
- Assess where your organization is in the lifecycle stages. At which stages can you add value? Are there things you aren’t doing that might help?
- Look for quick wins: where can you make a difference? Where can you show leadership the immediate return on your training?
When following the path of execution, it’s always important to remember that ITIL is non-prescriptive. There is no magic ‘ITIL pill’ that makes you compliant so it’s important to look where you can make improvements along the way.
Through this approach, I’ve managed to make some real differences within the businesses I’ve been part of. One example was where we brought in a CSI register on a $4.6-billion programme that had a global presence with 2,000+ employees. By working closely with the ‘gemba’ and developing ideas collaboratively, we were able to come up with a range of possible improvements and see where we could receive the most bang for our buck follow the changes.
Continue your education
The other path you could take is to continue your ITIL journey through education and/or certification. To begin taking this path, I’d suggest reading more about ITIL and the various routes you can take.
You could also check out online videos and read through the various blogs on AXELOS website (like this one!). Or, you could be mentored by an ITIL Expert or SME in ITSM.
Which path should you take?
Understanding which path suits you professional and personally is something that is part of the journey. I did a combination of lifecycle and capabilities classes that helped me prepare for the Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) exam. I also talked to my organization about what they needed and the roles and requirements I could help fulfill through either a lifecycle or capability route.
My advice would be to follow a mixture of lifecycle and capability modules if you can. Capabilities gets into the depth and details, whereas lifecycle is a higher level and strategic overview. I was fortunate enough to have the option of exploring both areas alongside my day job, but it does depend on your daily pressures. Ultimately, I’d say follow what fits with your reasons for moving forward, what your organization needs and what interests you.
Don’t stop the journey
But whichever route you choose, the key thing to remember is: don’t stop.
Now you’ve achieved ITIL Foundation, start the next phase of your journey by making a plan. Think about where you want to get to and by when, and then work backwards. Sometimes people set a goal but don’t set a plan or take action and are then surprised they don’t get there.
For me, my plan is to keep learning. Even after I became certified as an ITIL Expert, I have continued to pursue the other certifications I don’t yet hold and that’s something I’ll always keep doing.
See our ITIL section for more information.
Read more AXELOS blogs from Adam McCullough
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Why should businesses do CSI?
A collaborative approach to cyber security
The real ROI of ITIL training