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Author  Donna Knapp – Curriculum Development Manager, ITSM Academy

November 9, 2023 |

 8 min read

  • Blog
  • ITIL4

Donna Knapp is the curriculum development manager for ITSM Academy, where she is responsible for the development of ITIL course content. By her own admission, it’s a role that indulges her love of learning and passion for sharing her knowledge with others.

Gaining the ITIL 4 Master designation is an unexpected outcome to the career path Donna Knapp first set out on. However, she now realizes it’s the culmination of her ITIL journey.

“Early in my career, I was the IT liaison for my organization’s Lean initiatives. At the time, I wasn’t aware of ITIL. Instead, we used IBM’s IT service management framework.” Donna said. “The IBM philosophy was well respected in the IT industry at that time, and dovetailed much of what I was doing in terms of designing and improving our IT service delivery and support processes.”

“IBM went on to contribute to the birth of ITIL and by 2005 I was using ITIL as a consultant and educator.” Donna explained. “As I look back, I appreciate that this was the start of my journey to ITIL Master.”

There was so much to share from her early experiences that Donna started authoring books about how to leverage frameworks such as ITIL to design and improve service management practices and processes. Yet, despite this great knowledge and experience, Donna believes it was broadening her knowledge of ITIL and related frameworks that helped her create an exciting and fulfilling career.

“I don’t think I would be where I am today if I hadn’t progressed through the ITIL levels. My in-depth understanding helped me make the move to writing courses so others could benefit and deliver to high standards.”

Having made the departure into training, Donna has seen many people progress their careers and is now a big proponent for attaining qualifications. “I believe it’s vital to have both knowledge and experience to improve your career prospects. Knowledge of the entire ITIL portfolio, and the credentials to back that up, allows individuals to stand out and show that they can think operationally, tactically, and strategically.”

Donna adds that ITIL has evolved over the years, and its relevance to today’s demands can’t be understated: “I know that in the past some thought ITIL conflicted with modern ways of working such as Agile, Lean, and DevOps. But you can’t argue that now. ITIL has evolved to reflect how the digital world is changing and why it’s so important to adapt what you do and how you do it. ITIL 4 acknowledges adjacent frameworks and draws on them accordingly.”

“ITIL 4 Master recognizes this and highlights the special blend of skills leaders need today. Foundation concepts are important for successful delivery, but they are nothing without context and perspective. What’s needed to bring these concepts to life are people who go beyond Foundation-level knowledge and who can understand and address the needs of all service management stakeholders.

“This is a never-ending journey and so we need people who are adept at building roadmaps and managing the details of the many projects and experiments that enable continual improvement and organizational change. This involves being able to speak the language and gain the support of practitioners, managers, and senior stakeholders. Those who become ITIL 4 Masters can do this and, in turn, will be head and shoulders above their peers.”

Donna acknowledges that ITIL 4 Master is a challenging curriculum, but completing it provides a powerful boost to credibility. “To be the best trainer I can be, I need to have the best qualifications. I can’t advise people unless I am immersed in the latest thinking. ITIL 4 Master was a challenge, but it is a challenge that I was eager to take on. And my journey doesn’t stop here.”

“Achieving this designation shows commitment to your profession, and a commitment to helping your organization and other people be their best. I’d always advocate progressing through the ITIL 4 certifications and aiming as high as appropriate, given your career goals.

“But ITIL 4 Master is a special accomplishment and enters you into a unique club. I view it as an important milestone in my career, just as it will be for anyone else who attains it. And for those who do want to attain it, I’m here to help.”