Here’s a brief overview of the nine ITIL guiding principles for you to think about and discuss with your teams. Adopting them can make a big difference to how you approach your work and can increase the value you create for your customers. In fact, increasing the value you create for customers is the subject of our first guiding principle.
1. Focus on Value
It seems obvious doesn’t it? Everything you do must create value for your organization and its customers or the effort is wasted. If you’re doing things that don’t create value, then you need to ask yourself why; and you need to seriously consider what you can do to reduce this wasted effort.
2. Design for Experience
But don’t think about value too narrowly. The bottom line is vital, but customers don’t just want financial value. Every interaction with a customer or a user contributes to their experience of your services. It is an opportunity to impress, and you need to make the most of this. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, making sure you give your customers the best experience of IT that you can will help you to retain them.
3. Start Where You Are
If you need to improve how you work (and every organization has some areas that need development), don’t just throw away everything you’ve done already and start again. There will always be some things that you are doing well. Make sure you know what they are, and build on them. Not only is this approach less wasteful than starting from scratchbecause it preserves value that you already havebut it also helps you to keep your people on board. They are much more likely to support the changes you need if their previous contributions have been appropriately valued.
4. Work Holistically
Remember that when you make changes they can have a wide impact; if you haven’t thought carefully about this, the impact can be far wider and less helpful that you had anticipated. This is because a local optimization can have repercussions further down the line that result in worse overall service. So, don’t improve one process, or one team, or one piece of technology, without thinking about how this affects everything around it. You need to understand the impact on the whole system before you make changes.
5. Progress Iteratively
Experience tells us that multi-year improvement projects that involve large investment and only deliver value after a very long time rarely deliver the value that was anticipated. So, it’s better not to do that, even if you are planning a big change. Instead, remember that even a very large improvement can be broken down into multiple small changes that will each result in measurable gains. If you approach big improvement projects that way, you can create some value quickly and continue to create value at every step of the way towards your vision.
6. Observe Directly
Nothing beats first-hand experience, so don’t just rely on reports and abstract data. Go to where the work happens to see for yourself. Talk to the people doing the work, and ask them about it.
7. Be Transparent
When you hide things from people, they inevitably find out in the end, and the loss of trust can have a greater impact than whatever difficulty you were trying to conceal in the first place. If you are transparent with your customers, your suppliers, and your colleagues, you can build and maintain an environment of trust that allows everyone to work together to maximize the value you create.
People who work in silos can get very good at performing specific tasks. But when tasks change, or something outside the immediate skill set happens, they are instantly at a disadvantage. And since you can’t do everything yourself, that’s something that’s going to happen a lot. Organizations need to foster collaboration. When people collaborate, everyone benefits. You create more value for yourself, more value for the people you collaborate with, and more value for your mutual customers and partners. People working together can create much greater value than people working in silos.
9. Keep It Simple
Finally, keep it simple. Don’t do anything that isn’t necessary. Focus on the simple things that create value, rather than on following complex processes that have been in use for a long time and that nobody remembers the reason for.
Take a Chance
Lou Hunnebeck and I will share examples of how the ITIL guiding principals have worked in practice for a number of different IT organizations when we deliver our session at HDI 2018. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Try them for yourself, and see what a difference it makes to you, your organization, and, most of all, your customers.