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The 7 ITIL Guiding Principles

The ITIL® Guiding Principles are recommendations that guide an organization in all circumstances, regardless of changes in its goals, strategies, type of work, or management structure. They interact and depend upon each other. Not all principles will be critical in every situation, but they should all be reviewed on each occasion to determine how appropriate they are.

The ITIL® Guiding Principles
1. Focus on Value
2. Start Where You Are
3. Progress Iteratively with Feedback
4. Collaborate and Promote Visibility
5. Think and Work Holistically
6. Keep IT Simple and Practical
7. Optimize and Automate

#1 – Focus on Value

This guiding principle when applied effectively will enable an organization to identify and stay focused on what is truly valuable to the customer. And like in the service definition, when part of your culture, it can reduce the chaos and keep staff focused on value and help them to understand how what they do contributes to the co-creation of value. A service is a means of enabling value co-creation.

  • First Step: Know who is being served
    • Who the consumer is and who the key stakeholders are
  • Next: Understand what is truly of value to consumer
    • Focus on overall Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX)

 #2 – Start Where You Are

This principle will help an organization get the most out of what they already have in terms of all their assets. It helps to eliminate waste and organize what you already have. It works closely with the Optimize and Automate guiding principle.

  • Consider what is already available to be leveraged
    • Avoid temptation to begin totally anew
  • Assess where you are
    • Measure—direct observation is always preferred method
  • Apply the principle
    • Have a proper understanding of the current state of services and methods

 #3 – Progress Iteratively with Feedback

This incorporates DevOps and Agile practices and enables your organization to produce products and services consumers need more quickly and with less errors. It supports organizations that have a bit of a risk appetite.

  • Resist the temptation to do everything at once
  • Each iteration should be both manageable and managed
  • Continually re-evaluate
    • Revise to reflect any changes in circumstances
  • Seek and use Feedback
    • Before each iteration
    • During each iteration
    • After each iteration
    • Analyze feedback to identify improvement opportunities, risks, and issues

 #4 – Collaborate and Promote Visibility

This guiding principle helps to create and maintain a safe environment where staff and consumers are enabled to be open and honest. They can be when all are focused on the same goals and objectives and have the mindset of value co-creation as in the definition of a service. It helps to break down barriers between staff and customers.

  • Inclusion is generally a better policy that exclusion
    • Creative solutions and important perspectives can be obtained from unexpected sources
  • Engage stakeholders
    • Maintain solid communication and visibility
  • Isolated work creates Silos
    • Silos can prevent information sharing
    • Assumptions and rumors can prevail
    • Note: Frameworks such as Agile and Lean require collaboration

#5 – Think and Work Holistically

This principle recognizes the complexity of systems and how holistic thinking ensures you’re not missing something in the co-creation of value for the customer. It can, for example, expidite the handling of problems… especially the more complex and impactful ones

  • Taking a holistic approach to service management includes establishing an understanding of how all the parts of an organization work together in an integrated way
  • All the organization’s activities should be focused on the delivery of value
  • Integrated methods should be used to handle activities as a whole

#6 – Keep IT Simple and Practical

This helps organizations to reduce and minimize waste. This is a significant challenge for most organizations. It applies to just about everything in the service value system. Especially to value streams and processes.

Cloud services help with this. You can use only what you need

  • Always use the minimum number of steps needed to accomplish an objective
  • Use Outcome-based thinking to produce practical solutions
  • If something provides no value, eliminate it
  • Always ask if what is being considered contributes to value creation
  • Create and use rules to handle exceptions
    • Designers need to think about exceptions, but they cannot handle them all

#7 – Optimize and Automate

This applies to the Service Desk in handling incidents and requests. For example, Automation helps to get the most of a service desk. Some incidents can be handled directly by the users with proper automation and the same for service requests.

  • Use technology to scale up and take on frequent and repetitive tasks
  • Before automating, optimize to whatever level is possible and reasonable
    • Optimization is the means to make something as effective and useful as it needs to be

Automation can save the organization in the following:

      • Lowered Costs
      • Reduced human error
      • Improved employee experience

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