[ITIL 4 Foundation] The 7 ITIL Guiding Principles

Added Date : 02/15/2021


  • A guiding principle is a recommendation that guides an organization in all circumstances, regardless of changes in its goals, strategies, type of work, or management structure.
  • A guiding principle is universal and enduring. They should never change within an organization.
  • The guiding principles support successful actions and good decisions of all types and at all levels.
  • They can be used to guide organizations in their work as they adopt a service management approach and adapt ITIL guidance to their own specific needs and circumstances.
  • The guiding principles encourage and support organizations in continual improvement at all levels.
  • The guiding principles can be combined when making a decision by reviewing each guiding principle to decide how relevant it is to the specific decision
  • Organizations should consider how the guiding principles interact with each other

1) Focus on value

  • Everything that the organization does needs to map, directly or indirectly, to value for the stakeholders. The focus on value principle encompasses many perspectives, including the experience of customers and users and their loyalty. It also concerned with consumer's revenue and growth
  • It includes focusing on value during normal operational activities and in every step of any improvement initiative.
  • Considerations for applying the principle:
    1. Who is the service consumer?
    2. The consumer’s perspectives of value : Why the consumers need the service? How services help them to achieve their goals? Costs? Risks?
    3. The customer experience : Customer Experience (CX) can be defined as the entirety of the interactions a customer has with an organization and its products. This experience can determine how the customer feels about the organization and its products and services.

2) Start where you are

  • Don’t start from scratch and build something new without considering what is already available to be leveraged (it recommends assessing the current state and deciding what can be reused)
  • There is likely to be great deal in the current services, processes, programs, projects, and people that can be used to create the desired outcome
  • When deciding to improve a service, we should start by considering existing information
  • The current state should be investigated and observed directly to make sure it is fully understood.
  • Observation should be supported by measurement.
  • The use of measurement is important in this principle. Measurement should, however, support but not replace what is observed, as over-reliance on data analytics and reporting can unintentionally introduce biases and risks in decision making

3) Progress iteratively with feedback

  • Do not attempt to do everything at once. (Resist the temptation to do everything at once)
  • Even huge initiatives must be accomplished iteratively. By organizing work into smaller, manageable sections that can be executed and completed in timely manner, it is easier to maintain a sharper focus on each effort.
  • Using feedback before, throughout, and after each iteration will ensure that actions are focused and appropriate, even if circumstances change.
  • Each iteration should be continually re-evaluated based on feedback
  • it helps to ensure that each improvement effort has more focus and is easier to maintain
  • Working in a timeboxed, iterative manner with feedback loops embedded into the process allows for:
    1. Greater flexibility
    2. Faster responsesto customer and business needs
    3. The ability to discover and respond to failure earlier
    4. An overall improvement in quality

4) Collaborate and promote visibility

  • Working together across boundaries and involve the right people in the correct roles to produce results that have greater buy-in, more relevance to objectives, and increased likelihood of long-term success (because better information is available for decision-making)
  • Achieving objectives requires information, understanding, and trust. Work and consequences should be made visible, hidden agendas avoided, and information shared to the greatest degree possible.
  • It requires the identification and managing of all stakeholder groups in order to establish more robust communication across the staff
  • Increasing collaboration and visibility for the improvement can help to reduce resistance to a planned improvement
  • Insufficient visibility of work leads to poor decision-making. To avoid this, the organization needs to perform such critical analysis activities as:
    1. understanding the flow of work in progress
    2. dentifying bottlenecks, as well as excess capacity
    3. uncovering waste.

5) Think and work holistically

  • No service, or element used to provide a service, stands alone. The outcomes achieved by the service provider and the service consumer will suffer unless the organization works on the service as a whole, not just on its parts.
  • It is PRIMARILY concerned with end-to-end service delivery
  • uses the four dimensions of service management to ensure coordination of all aspects of an improvement initiative
  • Results are delivered to internal and external customers through the effective and efficient management and dynamic integration of information, technology, organization, people, practices, partners, and agreements which should all be coordinated to provide a defined value.

6) Keep it simple and practical

  • If a process, service, action or metric fails to provide a value or produce a useful outcome, eliminate it.
  • In a process or procedure , use the minimum number of steps necessary to accomplish the objective(s).
  • Always use outcome-based thinking to produce practical solutions that deliver results
  • Only add controls and metrics when they are needed.
  • Services and processes should NOT provide a solution for every exception

7) Optimize and automate

  • Resources of all types, particularly HR, should be used to their best effect.Eliminate anything that is truly wasteful and use technology to achieve whatever it is capable of.
  • Human intervention should only happen where it is contributes value.
  • Automation frees human resources for more complex activities
  • Before an activity can be effectively automated, it should be optimized to whatever degree is possible and reasonable.
  • The starting point of optimization is understanding the vision and objectives of the organization
  • This principle recommends using technology only when it provides a clear benefit
  • It considers how the steps of a process can be performed as efficiently as possible
  • Optimization: process of improving and increasing the efficiency of a process or service.
  • Automation: use of technology to perform a step or series of steps correctly and consistently with limited or no human involvement

Keywords : The Guiding Principles