ITIL 4 Foundation Certification Notes: 15 ITIL Practices

[ITIL® 4 Foundation Study Notes] This chapter provides an overview of “15 ITIL® Practices” for ITIL® 4 Foundation Exam which accounts for 24 questions on the exam.

ITIL® 4 Foundation Exam Syllabus

Learning Outcome Assessment Criteria ITIL® Book References Bloom’s Level No. marks

6. Know the purpose and key terms of 15 ITIL® practices

6.1 Recall the purpose of the following ITIL® practices:

  • a) Information security management (5.1.3)
  • b) Relationship management (5.1.9)
  • c) Supplier management (5.1.13)
  • d) IT asset management (5.2.6)
  • e) Monitoring and event management (5.2.7)
  • f) Release management (5.2.9)
  • g) Service configuration management (5.2.11)
  • h) Deployment management (5.3.1)
  • i) Continual improvement (5.1.2)
  • j) Change control (5.2.4)
  • k) Incident management (5.2.5)
  • l) Problem management (5.2.8)
  • m) Service request management (5.2.16)
  • n) Service desk (5.2.14)
  • o) Service level management (5.2.15)

5.1.2, 5.1.3, 5.1.9,
5.1.13, 5.2.4, 5.2.5,
5.2.6, 5.2.7, 5.2.8,
5.2.9, 5.2.11, 5.2.14,
5.2.15, 5.2.16, 5.3.1



6.2 Recall definitions of the following ITIL® terms:

  • a) IT asset
  • b) Event
  • c) Configuration item
  • d) Change
  • e) Incident
  • f) Problem
  • g) Known error

5.2.4, 5.2.5, 5.2.6,
5.2.7, 5.2.8, 5.2.11



7. Understand 7 ITIL® practices

7.1 Explain the following ITIL® practices in detail, excluding how they fit within the service value chain:

  • a) Continual improvement (5.1.2) including the continual improvement model (4.6, fig 4.3)
  • b) Change control (5.2.4)
  • c) Incident management (5.2.5)
  • d) Problem management (5.2.8)
  • e) Service request management (5.2.16)
  • f) Service desk (5.2.14)
  • g) Service level management (5.2.15 –

4.6, fig 4.3, 5.1.2,
5.2.4, 5.2.5, 5.2.8,
5.2.16, 5.2.14, 5.2.15,



ITIL® Definitions

  • IT Asset – any financially valuable component that can contribute to the delivery of an IT product or service
  • Event – any change of state that has significance for the management of a service or other configuration item, events are typically recognized through notifications created by an IT service, configuration item or monitoring tool
  • Configuration Item – any component that needs to be managed in order to deliver an IT service
  • Change – the addition, modification or removal of anything that could have a direct or indirect effect on IT services
  • Incident – an unplanned interruption to or reduction in the quality of a service
  • Problem – a cause, or potential cause, of one or more incidents, requiring investigation and analysis to identify the causes, develop workarounds and recommend longer-term resolution
  • Known Error – a problem that has been analyzed but not yet resolved

15 ITIL® Practices

ITIL® Practice  – a set of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective enabled with resources from 4 dimensions of service management

There are in total 34 ITIL® practices:

  • 14 general management practices – adopted and adapted for service management from business management
  • 17 service management practices – developed in service management and IT service management
  • 3 technical management practices – adopted and adapted for service management from technology management

Only the following 15 ITIL® practices are required for the ITIL® 4 Foundation Exam, the first 8 practices would require only an awareness:

  • Information Security Management – to protect the information needed by the organization to conduct its business
    • including understanding and managing risks to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information, as well as other aspects of information security such as authentication and non-repudiation
  • Relationship Management – to establish and nurture the relationships between the organization and its stakeholders at strategic and tactical levels
    • including identification, analysis, monitoring and continual improvement of relationships with and between stakeholders
  • Supplier Management – to ensure the organization’s suppliers and their performances are managed appropriately to support the seamless provision of quality products and services
    • including creating closer, more collaborative relationships with key suppliers to uncover and realize new value and reduce the risk of failure
  • IT Asset Management – to plan and manage the full lifecycle of all IT assets to help the organization to maximize value, control costs, manage risks, support decision making about purchase, re-use, retirement and disposal of assets and meet regulatory and contractual requirements
  • Monitoring and Event Management – to systematically observe services and service components, and record and report selected changes of state identified as events
    • including identifying and prioritizing infrastructure, services, business processes and information security events and establishes the appropriate response to those events
  • Release Management – to make new and changed services and features available for use
  • Service Configuration Management – to ensure accurate and reliable information about the configuration of services and the configuration items that support them, is available when and where it is needed
    • including information on how configuration items are configured and the relationships between them
  • Deployment Management – to move new or changed hardware, software, documentation, processes or any other component to live/staging/testing environments

The following 7 practices are required to be studied in more depth as 17 questions will be asked on these topics:

  • Continual Improvement – to align the organization’s practices and services with changing business needs through the ongoing improvement of products, services and practices or any element involved in the management of products and services
    • improvement opportunities are to be documented in the continual improvement register (CIR) which allows improvement ideas to be logged, prioritised, tracked and managed
    • continual improvement at all levels of the organization by all staff, even suppliers and partners will need to contribute (often included in contracts)
    • activities include:
      • Encouraging continual improvement across the organisation
      • Securing time and budget for continual improvement
      • Identifying and logging improvement opportunities
      • Assessing and prioritising improvement opportunities
      • Making business cases for improvement action
      • Planning and implementing improvements
      • Measuring and evaluating improvement results
      • Coordinating improvement activities across the organisation
    • continual improvement model
      • What is the vision?
      • Where are we now?
      • Where do we want to be ?
      • How do we get there?
      • Take action
      • Did we get there?
      • How do we keep the momentum going?
  • Change Control – to maximize the number of successful service and product changes by ensuring that risks have been properly assessed, authorizing changes to proceed, and managing the change schedule
    • change authority to authorize changes
    • must balance delivering benefits through successful changes vs protecting live service from harmful changes
    • change types:
      • standard changes – low-risk, preauthorised changes
      • normal changes – need to be scheduled, assessed and authorized, may be low-risk or high-risk
      • emergency changes – need to be implemented as soon as possible, some steps may be ignored, may need a separate change authority
  • Incident Management – to minimize the negative impact of incidents by restoring normal service operation as quickly as possible
    • incidents need to be logged, prioritised, and resolved within agreed timescales
    • may need escalation
    • activities include:
      • design the incident management practice (e.g. swarming – a group of stakeholders work together until it is clear who is best to continue with the incident)
      • prioritise incidents
      • use an incident management tool
  • Problem Management – to reduce the likelihood and impact of incidents by identifying actual and potential causes of incidents and managing workarounds and known errors
    • 3 phases of problem management
      • problem identification – problem logging
      • problem control – problem aanlysis, documenting workarounds/known errors
      • error control – identify permanent solutions, reassessment of errors, improvement of workarounds
  • Service Request Management – to support the agreed quality of a service by handling all pre-defined, user-initiated service requests in an effective and user-friendly manner
    • service requests are part of normal service delivery (not incidents)
    • should be automated and standardised as much as possible
  • Service Desk – to capture demand for incident resolution and service requests. It should also be the entry point and single point of contact for the service provider with all of its users
    • Acknowledge > Classify > Own > Act
    • e.g. telephone, live chat, email, forum, messaging
    • skills required: empathy, emotional intelligence, effective communication, customer service skills
  • Service Level Management – to set clear business-based targets for service levels, and to ensure that delivery of services is properly assessed, monitored, and managed against those targets
    • service level is a measure of service quality
    • service level agreement (SLA) is a document of agreement of the service performance from the customer’s point of view
    • establishes service level, monitors and analyzes performance, performs service reviews and identifies improvement opportunities
    • collect information from: business metrics, operational metrics, customer feedback and customer engagement

Conclusion: What’s needed for the ITIL® 4 Foundation Exam

This ITIL® 4 Foundation study note includes:

  • an overview of the 15 ITIL® Practices by understanding the purposes and key terms:
    • Information Security Management
    • Relationship Management
    • Supplier Management
    • IT Asset Management
    • Monitoring and Event Management
    • Release Management
    • Service Configuration Management
    • Deployment Management
    • Continual Improvement
    • Change Control
    • Incident Management
    • Problem Management
    • Service Request Management
    • Service Desk
    • Service Level Management


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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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