ITIL v3 Foundation Certification Notes: Service Management as a Practice

itil v3 foundation - service management

[ITIL® v3 Foundation Study Notes] Service Management as a Practice gives an introduction to the definition and practice of service management according to the ITIL® framework for the ITIL® 4 Foundation Certification.

Why IT Service Management is Needed?

  • Higher IT service quality is always required while fewer resources are available
    • Users are not interested in the processes / technology, rather they just need to utilize the service to achieve business goals
    • As users are usually not directly responsible for the costs of IT services, they would endlessly request more and more IT services with higher and higher standards / quality
  • Changes to business and technology happen continually that would affect IT systems and processes
    • Nowadays, IT services are increasingly provided as business services to the external customers (e.g. in the past, bank customers would need to go to a local bank to request a transaction with the bank teller who would make use of the IT system to retrieve the account and record the transaction; nowadays, customers would directly make transaction online or in ATMs where the IT services are directly used by the customers)
  • The need to balance IT services request and quality with available resources to deliver the maximum value to the business -> IT service management

What is IT Service Management?

IT Service

  • [definition] A service is a means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks
    • e.g. Email service: business users just make use of email service for communication needs, the management, cost and risks (e.g. security, hardware, virus, etc.) are not their concerns
    • outcome is the result of carrying out an activity, including intended and actual results
    • two types of customers: internal (within the same organization) and external (outside the organization)
    • external services provide a more direct and visible contribution to the business outcome than internal services
  • [definition] IT Service – A service provided by an IT service provider. An IT service is made up of a combination of information technology, people and processes. A customer-facing IT service directly supports the business processes of one or more customers and its service level targets should be defined in a service level agreement. Other IT services, called supporting services, are not directly used by the business but are required by the service provider to deliver customer-facing services.
  • IT Services consist of taking care the design, implementation and maintenance of all the components that are required to fulfill a business objective for the users (i.e. IT and business integration, not just IT and business alignment)
  • Values of IT services
    • Create values for the business by supporting business processes
    • Create values for end customers
    • Reduce costs / increase productivity (enhance performance)
    • Manage costs / risks / issues more effectively
    • Reduce / remove constraints (e.g. not enough bandwidth)
    • Facilitate achievement of outcomes (e.g. students registering for a class)
  • Customer Satisfaction is at the core of judgment of the quality of the services. Service costs (total cost of ownership (TOC), return on investment (ROI) or overall cost) will be a major factor to be considered by the customers.
  • Types of services – according to the value for customers
    • Core Services: required directly by customers to deliver an intended outcome
    • Enabling Services: needed to ensure core services can be delivered successfully, not visible to customers
    • Enhancing Services: created to add features / values to the customers, not essential
  • Types of IT services – according to the customer types
    • Supporting Services (infrastructure services): not directly visible to customers, managed with operation level agreements
    • Internal Customerfacing Services: enable internal customers to carry out its business process, managed with service level agreements
    • External Customerfacing Services: used by the external customers, can be the business process itself, managed with contracts
  • A service package is a collection of two or more [generic] services that have been combined to offer a solution to a specific type of customer need or to underpin specific business outcomes. A service package may consists of any types of services. The generic services used in this way can achieve economy of scale.
  • In case if there is a need for giving options on warranty and/or utility for components of a service package, different service level packages can be offered as service options.


  • [definition] Stakeholders are individuals or groups that have an interest in an organization, service, or project and are potentially interested or engaged in the activities, resources, targets, or deliverables from service management.
    • Internal stakeholders: within the service provider organization
    • External stakeholders: outside customers, users, suppliers (vendors, network providers)
  • [definition] Service providers are organizations supplying services to one or more internal or external customers.

IT Service Management

  • [definition] Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.
    • Capabilities: functions and processes for managing services over a lifecycle
    • Specialized: in strategy, design, transition, operation, and continual improvement
    • The capabilities represent a service organization’s capacity, competency, and confidence for action. The act of transforming resources into valuable services is at the core of service management. Without these capabilities, a service organization is merely a bundle of resources that by itself has relatively low intrinsic value for customers.
  • [definition] IT Service Management: The implementation and management of quality IT services that meet the needs of the business. IT service management is performed by IT service providers (to internal or external customers) through an appropriate mix of people, process and information technology.
    • Make use of best practices (a set of generic (high level) guidelines based on the successful experiences of a number of organizations) in service management, adapt and apply for the business to save cost and improve quality
    • [definition] Good practice could be either an application of best practice, or an input into best practice
  • Types of IT Service Providers
    • Type I: Internal Service Provider – service providers located within the business unit, maybe several internal service providers within an organization
    • Type II: Shared Services Unit – supports several business units, e.g. centralized IT department
    • Type III: External Service Provider – delivers services to external customers
  • Suppliers vs Providers
    • suppliers only provide an element of the service which is not visible to the customer


  • A process is a set of activities designed to turn input(s) into output(s) to accomplish a specific objective (need to be measurable, expressing in terms business benefits for business goals), often including feedback (report, measurements (metrics)) from the output to be used for process improvements
  • Processes may include roles, responsibilities, tools and management controls (actions, dependencies, and sequence) and are supported by the enablers (resources and capabilities).
  • The process is considered effective if all the objectives of the output are met.
  • Each process is owned by a process owner responsible for the process and improvement, ensuring the process meets the defined objectives
  • Once defined, processes need to be documented and controlled (repeatable and manageable)
  • Process Characteristics:
    • Measurable (performance based e.g. cost, quality, productivity, duration)
    • Deliver specific identifiable and countable results
    • Meet the expectations of the customers / stakeholders
    • Respond to specific events (called triggers)

Business Process, IT Process and IT Service

  • IT teams provide the service to enable the business process to be automated.
  • IT team will need to take reference to the ITIL® best practice of IT processes to deal with a particular business process
  • Benefits of Process Automation with IT Service:
    • Capacity Management – Improve quality, i.e. can respond to variation in demand, less time restrictions
    • Optimization – handle complex tasks better
    • Measurement – for improvement as human factor is ruled out
    • Reduce costs (users can self-serve) and risks (human errors)
    • Knowledge Capture – reduce variations as the process is well studied and documented
  • The tasks should be well studied and only “simple” and routine tasks with recognizable patterns can be automated
  • Areas of service management ideal for automation:
    • design and modeling (for project and forecasting)
    • service catalog (capture demand for services)
    • pattern recognition and analysis
    • classification, prioritizing and routing
    • detection and monitoring
    • routine service requests

Functions and Roles

  • [definition] Function: A team or group of people and the tools they use (resources) to carry out one or more processes or activities
    • Functions are self-contained units responsible to carry out the tasks to create specific outcomes
    • provide structure and stability to the organization
    • have their own body of knowledge accumulated through experience
    • e.g. technical management, application management, operations management functions, service desk
  • [definition] Role: A set of responsibilities, activities and authorities granted to a person or team
    • triggers to play the role are determined by processes (by the line-manager)
    • one person/team can take up several roles in different context
    • e.g. change management role, capacity management role
  • Defined roles in ITIL®:
    • Group – a number of people performing similar activities, not formal structure
    • Team – a more formal structure for people working together with a common objective
    • Department – a formal organizational structure with a hierarchical structure
    • Division – a number of departments forming a self-contained unit

Why Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®)?

ITIL® is recognized as a world-wide best-practice approach for delivering IT services and IT service management by focusing on the processes, functions, and capabilities required to support IT services in businesses. It helps organizations to gain competitive advantage by ensuring they are utilizing the best-practice approaches to IT available – helping IT services to meet the needs of the customers within the budget in an cost-effective way. There are different sources of the best practices: proprietary knowledge / internal experience, standards / industry practice and training and education / academic research.

ITIL® is considered one of the standards containing the body of knowledge in best practice and is being adapted by organizations worldwide to establish and improve capabilities in service management.

  • It works – as ITIL® embraces a practical approach with a common framework
  • Vendor-neutral – not tied to any technology, platform or industry, owned by the UK Government
  • Non-prescriptive – designed for all types of organizations, advocates “adopt and adapt”, doesn’t specify how the best practices are to be structured or carried out
  • Best practice – accumulated through experiences by service providers worldwide

ITIL® enables organizations to deliver benefits, values and return on investment on a sustainable approach. It allows a cultural shift by the adoption of standard approach to service management across the entire organization.

ITIL® standardizes the strategic approach to the management of services, the performing organizations just need to make minor adjustments to meet their business needs. This is the core of ITIL®’s approach to service management.

The ITIL® Service Lifecycle

  • ITIL® consists of the following components:
    • The ITIL® Core: a set of five publications containing the best practice guidance applicable to all organizations providing services
    • The ITIL® Complementary Guidance: a auxiliary set of publications (online or printed) detailing the application of ITIL® to specific industries, organization and technology platform
  • Organizations practicing ITIL® may get certified under ISO/IEC 20000

1. Service Strategy

  • Guidance for organizations on
    • how to think and act in a strategic manner
    • how to turn service management into strategic assets for strategic growth by understanding the cost and value of the services
    • how to clarify relationships between various services, systems, or processes and the business models, strategies, or objectives

2. Service Design

  • Guidance for organizations on
    • how to design and develop services / service management processes
    • how to convert strategic objectives into portfolios of services and service assets
  • applicable for existing services requiring changes / improvements
  • integrate people, process, products and partners

3. Service Transition

  • Guidance for organizations on
    • how to build and test the services
    • how to transit new / improved services into operation (live environment)
    • how to effectively realize the Service Strategy as planned in Service Design in Service Operation and control risks
    • how to manage changes of services / service management
  • combine release management, program management and risk management in the context of service management
  • from testing to live; from one organization to another

4. Service Operation

  • Guidance for organizations on
    • how to coordinate daily operation and deploy the services to operation
    • how to deliver value with quality, efficiency and effectiveness by service operation and support
    • how to maintain stability while allowing for changes
    • how to exercise reactive and proactive control
    • how to support operation through new models and architectures (e.g. web services, mobile e-commerce, cloud computing, etc.)
  • Execute the plans and measure the results
  • A critical capability as strategic objectives are realized in operation

5. Continual Service Improvement

  • Guidance for organizations on
    • measurement, reporting and improvement on services, processes and technology for every stage in the lifecycle
    • how to continually monitor, maintain and create value to users through better design, transition and operation
    • how to link improvement efforts and outcomes with service strategy, design, and transition through the closed-loop PDCA (plan, do, check, act) model
    • how to continually align to changing business needs
  • Combine quality management, change management and capability improvement

Conclusion: ITIL® v3 Foundation Concepts

This ITIL® v3 Foundation study note provides an overview of the components of the ITIL® framework and the ITIL® lifecycle (Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement) and definitions of terms like IT Service, IT Service Management, Process, Function and Role. Learning these concepts will help you with your ITIL® exam prep.


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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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36 Responses

  1. Kwan yip says:

    Hello Edward,

    Thanks for your notes! I managed to pass my ITIL foundation exam.
    As I am also PMP certified, I put the PMP mark after my name on my CV. Would like to know if it is applicable if I am to put ITIL Foundation next to my name too? Thanks!

  2. Ty Blaze says:

    Hi, I found another way to study for the ITIL Foundation exam, so I thought I would share it with everyone.

    I recently signed up for Microsoft’s Free Visual Studio tools. Once signed up, they have a section called ‘Benefits’, under that section you will find access to free/trial training access to various partners. One of those partners is ‘Pluralsight Learning’ and they currently have the ITIL Foundations course available.

    Note that this trial is for 3 months. Secondly, note that there is also access to LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda). You can utilize LinkedIn as they too have ITIL training. I chose Pluralsight as there are other things I want to save my LinkedIn Learning free trial for in the near future.

    I hope this helps you guys. Thanks Edward for this great resource, I will be utilizing it prepare for the exam.

  3. Dilip says:

    HI @ Mr Edward,

    I also have same story of like you I am also doing full time job as Manual testing and having 10+years of experience + taking care of 3 kids (Daughters).
    Also as per 10 years experience my designation is Project lead in my company but still i am playing a role of Tester and not the project lead.

    I want to survive in the IT industry for at least 20 years to earn bread and butter for my family.

    I always have fear of loosing of my job becuase i am not playing the role which i have designation.

    Also i am very week in Maths.

    Could you please help me out despite f being week in maths can i capable for giving exam of ITIL foundation and PMP. how i can be pass the exam if you have magic question answer which i can prepare and pass the exam.

    I don’t about anything about ITIL foundation and PMP

    Also i don’t have enough money to pay for Training course

    could you please provide where i can directly registered for ITIL foundation exam and attend exam from my home online.

    Thanks in Advance for your help.


    • Edward Chung says:

      Rest assured that there are very little calculation questions for both ITIL Foundation and PMP Exam. And even if you totally skip the calculation questions, you can still get a pass if you have studied the exam syllabus thoroughly.

      For the ITIL Foundation exam, you may go to PeopleCert to register directly (

      Wish you success!

  4. Thank you for the notes!

  5. Anil says:

    Hi Mr. Edward, This all information is very useful for new learner. I want to do exam so can you provide valid dumps.on my mail ID. I will pay if it’s chargeable.

  6. Manav says:

    Hi Edward, thanks so much for sharing your ITIL foundation notes. With no prior experience in ITSM, I spent three days studying your notes prior to the exam and passed with 38/40.

    I would like to now take Prince2 foundation using your notes. Waiting for you to upload the complete set before scheduling the exam.


  7. abo says:

    Passed the exam with 95%

    I prepared using using your Website and ITIL dumps found on the Internet

    thank you

  8. Sakina says:

    Dear Edward,
    Firstly, I`d like to thank you for all the things you do for us. Every minute of our life is valuable, thanks for time you devote for us, thanks for clear, ordered and use understandable information, for motivation and positive aura you could pass through the website. Thank you for answers for every comment you get by us.

    I’ve been dreaming about this exam, since I met my ex-department head, you invited me to IT world and introduced ITIL to me. I have several times tried to start to preparation for exam, but procrastinate because of there is no one who could share the process of study with me, whom with I could discuss with etc.

    This year I’ve took a serious decision to pass the exam and go forward. I’ve already paid for the ITIL exam, which will take place in BAku, Azerbaican on 15th of April.

    I am surprised I became very thankful for God to find your website, advise, your invaluable support. I was presented with book of Liz & Morris. Its very expensive for me to pay for online Simplilearn course that u recommend (we have serious spurt in economics at this moment in Azerbaijan, US dollar has became very expensive for us, our wage is not high). I’d like to ask, is it enough to get prepared by using just study guide by Liz and Morris and your notes? And I am a nervous little bit about an exam, I hope I would manage my time.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Sakina,

      Thanks for your message. If you flourish with self study, then the ITIL exam prep book together with my study notes would be enough to pass the ITIL Foundation Exam. In my experience, the ITIL Foundation Exam is not very difficult (some would say it is pretty easy). I am sure with enough preparation, you will be able to pass it too!

      My top advice is to try all the questions included in the book and understand the reasons for the correct answers.

      Wish you ITIL success!

  9. Cindy says:

    Hi Edward: I have the Liz Gallacher book and have been studying from I took the test yesterday and failed by one question. Quite discouraged. Anything else you could suggest. Thanks.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Cindy,

      Really sorry to hear about you missed the ITIL Foundation Exam with 1 question only. You should feel that your efforts have been wasted… But, you are indeed extremely close to passing the exam. With more efforts spent on the book as well as taking again the practice exams from the book, you stand a very high chance to pass the exam in the next try! One thing I find very useful is to write your own study notes as you read through the book.

      Or you may try to enrol in an online course to get more training and mock exams:
      the course includes the ITIL v3 Foundation 2011 Exam fee.

      Don’t be discouraged, success is within your arm’s reach!

      Wish you ITIL success the next try!


  10. Anurag Tripathi says:

    Hey Edward Very Nice notes, I studied from your Notes and cleared my ITIL foundation V3 Certification by achieving 100%.

    Thank you very much

    • Edward Chung says:

      Congratulations on your perfect score!

    • KONSTANTINOS says:

      Hi! I am planning to study by myself, too. So, is just the notes enough to pass the exam? (plus few mock tests online). Edward I can tell you’ve done a great job, do you think your notes are good to go straight for the Foundation exam?

      • Edward Chung says:

        Hi Konstantinos,

        I depended on my study notes for passing my ITIL Foundation Exam with 96%. If you have previous understanding / experience of ITIL , then they are more than enough. However, if you are new to ITIL, it is recommended to take at least an online training.

        I have just discovered that an online ITIL training course + ITIL Exam fee bundle:

        If you have not already paid for your ITIL exam, then this ITIL exam bundle offer is really attractive!

        Wish you ITIL success!

      • KONSTANTINOS says:

        I did buy the package you suggested, but there is no EXAM voucher!!! You just pay for the course. Am I wrong?Please advise

      • Edward Chung says:

        Hi Konstantinos,

        The bundle does include an exam voucher allowing you to book the ITIL Foundation online exam. Please check with them directly on how to access your exam voucher.

        Wish you ITIL success!

  11. Florife says:

    Hi Edward,
    This helps a lot. I will take exam this coming Friday or early next week.

  12. Edward Chung says:

    Hi Armel,

    Wish you ITIL success!


  13. Armel says:

    Hi Ed. I was doing some researches on ITL Foundation and found your posts. I think this will be my starting point . I am going to buy the study material you mentionned and start self-studying. I plan to take the test by the end of this year…Hope I will be able to pass at the first attemp. I have also busy work and family to take care so …let staert and see where this will take me.
    Thanks again for your share.

  14. Rob says:

    Hi Edward,

    Thank you so much, I too have a very busy job and also a family to look after, so naturally budget is tight and time is even tighter. I have already booked my online course and exam (not booked yet) did 3 modules back in July but have been to busy to pick it back up. I am now starting to get this going again and wanted to pass on my thanks for sharing this information.


    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Rob,

      Thanks for your comment. It is admittedly hard to take care of the family, daily job and achieve ITIL Certifications at the same time. Just keep going! I keep on thinking that getting certifications is my way to show my commitment to my family. Wish you ITIL success!

  15. Guillaume says:

    Hi Edward, I’m going to go take a 3 day course next week on ITIL Foundation V3. I stumbled on your site and noticed that you are making your study notes available. At the end of the course I would like to take the exam and in preparation for it I think your notes could be of very good value for me.

    Would it be possible to get a PDF version of the notes. If so can you point me to where I can get them.

    Thank you very much,
    [email protected]

    • Edward Chung says:

      Yes, you can get a PDF copy of each post by sharing the article in the box titled “New function! Download this post as PDF” near the end of the post. Once you have shared it using Facebook, Google+ or Tweeter, you will see the download link there immediately.

      Do let me know if you have any queries. Thanks!

      • Jessica says:

        Hi Edward, I’m having difficulty finding the link for the PDF. Can you advise where I can find this function?

      • Edward Chung says:

        Sorry the PDF download function is no longer available owing to technical issues. Please highlight the study notes above and make use of the print function to save as a PDF file.

      • Gaurav says:

        Hi Edward,

        I am Gaurav and i am from Manual testing background. I have Total 10+ years of experience in testing. my designation is Project lead in my company but i am still playing role of tester and not the lead.due to that i have fear of loosing the job.

        I am too much busy in my full time job plus i have responsibility of 3 kids (Daughter) and wife.

        Also on another side in my company or all over industry manual s getting replace by Automation testing. i am always in fear of loosing the job. i am survived just because of my excellent manual testing defects.

        I also not able to save enough money from my salary.

        Could you please suggest how i can pass directly ITIL V3 Fundation within 1 month without training

        Could you please provide questions and answer that will come in the exam

        I am from India and City is Mumbai

        Could you please provide me the online link where i can registered directly and i can give exam only from home from Laptop

        Thank you for your Great help


  16. Gudur Satish says:

    Thanks Edward, Very useful and informative.