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ITIL Guiding Principles

ITIL 4 and the 7 Guiding Principles

 While ITIL® is a framework for an organization’s IT Service Management capability and not an implementation or how-to guide the publication of ITIL 4 in February 2019, includes the 7 “Guiding Principles” looks to provide immediate and practical guidance and should be shared with your teams to help make decisions and improvements.

Each of the Guiding Principles is to be used in concert and is meant for use in all facets of ITSM, focused on solid and productive decision making, and promotes continuous improvement throughout IT. 

The 7 Guiding Principles are: 

ITIL 4 Guiding Principles - Focus on Value
  1. Focus on Value

The purpose of every IT organization should be to create value for its stakeholders.  For this to happen, you need to understand who your stakeholders are, what outcomes they seek and how the services IT provides help achieve those outcomes.  Consideration is given to your service consumers, but don’t forget about other stakeholders such as employees, industry regulators, shareholders, etc.

 

ITIL 4 Guiding Principles - Start Where You Are
  1. Start where you are

A lot of good work has gone into your IT organization is now.  Of course, it’s not perfect, but it’s usually better to improve on what you have and understand than to throw it all away and start anew.  Observation is key to determining the current state and what can be leveraged.  Reviewing reports should be done to confirm observations, not in place of them.

ITIL 4 Guiding Principles - Progress Iteratively with Feedback
  1. Progress iteratively with feedback

Large-scale, long-term projects with a Big-Bang delivery at the end is often an inappropriate approach to delivering value.  Instead, work should be broken down into smaller, manageable pieces through which value can be realized more quickly.  Throughout each of these iterations, feedback is sought to ensure you’re delivering what is needed (especially if conditions or business needs have changed from when you started).

ITIL 4 Guiding Principles - Collaborate and Promote Visibility
  1. Collaborate and promote visibility

Improve efficiency and support by working together across boundary lines towards the common goal. Embed a Safety Culture (link to Safety Culture article). Remove personal agendas and siloed ways of working.  Build trust through transparency.  Share what’s happening, progress, and challenges with all stakeholders.  An informed and included group produces the greatest results.

ITIL 4 Guiding Principles - Think and work Holistically
  1. Think and work holistically

ITIL 4 refers to the “Four Dimensions” (link to Four Dimensions page when it’s up) model of Service Management:

  • Organizations and people
  • Information and technology
  • Partners and suppliers
  • Value streams and processes

It is imperative that each of these Dimensions is considered.  Every part, process, department, and supplier involved must consider its role and be directed and maintained towards the common goal to ensure the desired outcomes are delivered.

ITIL 4 Guiding Principles - Keep It Simple and Practical
  1. Keep it simple and practical

Simplify complex work through the elimination of anything (processes, procedures, metrics, etc.) that does not add value in support of achieving stakeholders’ desired outcomes.  Use the minimum number of steps that are needed and if a complex set of steps exist, ask “why” for each step eliminating all for which there isn’t a strong, current reason (“We’ve always done it this way.” is not a strong reason.).

 

ITIL 4 Guiding Principles - Optimize and Automate
  1. Optimize and automate

There has always been an interest in automation within IT.  Use people and manual work for those tasks which cannot be automated.  However, the initial focus should be on optimization to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, before looking to automate.  If the sole focus is on automation, it’s likely you’ll do the wrong thing – only faster!

The Guiding Principles are what advocates and users of ITIL have been yearning to see for years.  They are a practical set to share and embed immediately with your teams.  Using them whenever you’re making decisions and improvements will ensure you’re successful at creating value for your customers and organization.

 

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