ITIL v3 Foundation Certification Notes: Last Minutes Revision Notes

itil v3 foundation exam

[ITIL® v3 Foundation Notes] Listed here are the key concepts and facts for the ITIL® 4 Foundation Certification Exam that are extracted from my series of study notes. I used this as the last minute revision notes for my ITIL® Foundation exam just before the exam.

Service Management as a Practice

  • ITIL® is best practices guidance. ITIL® should be used with other best-practice approaches, e.g. standards, industry practices and proprietary knowledge to tailor for the particular needs of an organization.
  • Why ITIL® is successful: ITIL® is based on the approach of “adopt and adapt.” ITIL® is successful because it is nonprescriptive, vendor-neutral best practices for service lifecycle.
  • Services groups: i) core (business-critical services); ii) enabling (support the core services); iii) enhancing (add value to the core).
  • Types of customers: i) internal customers (based in the same organization as the service provider); ii) external customers (outside of the organization of the service provider).
  • Service types: i) Type I (internal, within individual business units); ii) Type II (shared, providing services shared across a number of business units); iii) Type III (external, providing services to external customers).
  • Stakeholder types: i) customers (individuals or groups that buy goods or services); ii) users (use the services on a daily basis); iii) suppliers (external parties providing services that support / enable IT services).
  • Characteristics of processes: measureable, respond to a trigger, deliver a specific result and deliver to a customer or stakeholder
  • Definitions of the important terms: service, IT service, outcome, service management, IT service management and IT service provider.
  • Automation improves efficiency and effectiveness. Automation and the use of technology enable process enhancement and improvements.
  • Core stages of the service lifecycle: i) service strategy, ii) service design, iii) service transition, iv) service operation, v) continual service improvement.
  • ITIL® core publications are supplemented with complementary guidance. The complementary guidance can be specific to particular industries or provide context for adoption.

Service Strategy

  • Purpose, objectives and scope for the Service Strategy: purpose – provide the strategy for the service lifecycle; objectives – the definition of strategy and governance control; scope – define a strategy to meet the customer’s business objectives and to manage services.
  • Definition of utility and warranty: utility – ensures that the service is fit for purpose; warranty – ensures that the service is fit for use. Both are important to ensure delivery of value to customers.
  • Definition of resources and capabilities: resources – used in the delivery of a service (e.g. financial capital, human resources); capabilities – the organization’s ability to perform and achieve value (e.g. processes, tacit knowledge).
  • Role of governance: provides the structure and standardization for management of services
  • Role of risk management: ensures a repeatable and manageable process for dealing with risks (risk management is to identify, document, analyze and mitigate against the likelihood of risks to a project / service).
  • Patterns of business activity (PBA): important to understand the strategic and tactical approaches for the management of resources and capabilities efficiently and cost-effectively to realize organizational goals.
  • Service portfolio management process: ensures an appropriate mix of services being delivered and developed.
  • Components of service portfolio: i) service pipeline (services in the making); ii) service catalog (customer-facing view of the live operational services); iii) retired services (decommissioned services).
  • Financial management process: i) budgeting (plans IT services expenditure); ii) IT accounting (account for the expenditure on IT services); iii) charging (charges the customer for IT services). Financial management is central to understanding value for services.
  • Business case: a tool for decision making on whether an IT service is to be developed.
  • Business relationship management: connects customer and service provider at a strategic level.
  • Business relationship management vs service level management: business relationship management focuses on strategic relationship with the customer whereas service level management is operational.

Service Design

  • Purpose, objectives, and scope of service design: consider how the service will be run and managed when it is operational for both new and changed services.
  • Good service design is valuable to business: ensures services fulfill the business requirements of capacity, continuity, availability and security. Good design also ensures smooth transition to operation.
  • Key output – service design package
  • Four p’s – people, processes, products and partners
  • Five key aspects of service design – STAMP: i) Solution (fulfills the business requirement and enables the business process); ii) management information systems and Tools (ensure that the right information is available when required); iii) technical Architecture; iv) Measurements (ensure the service is functional as intended); v) new and changed Processes (that need to be developed, including both business processes and service management processes).
  • Purpose, objectives, and scope of service level management (SLM): SLM ensures that new and current IT services are (to be) delivered to agreed specific and measurable targets
  • Basic concepts of service level management: definition of service level requirements and the role of targets in assessing the level of service being delivered
  • Difference between service providers and suppliers.
  • SLM activities: definition and documentation of service level targets and negotiation with the business and with stakeholders to agree on targets that are both challenging and yet achievable.
  • Underpinning contracts and operational level agreements: to ensure that targets are achievable
  • SLAM report (RAG report): monitor, measure and review service level achievements
  • SLA structures: service-based, customer-based and multilevel SLAs
  • Service level management: builds a relationship with the business units by understanding their requirements and how it delivers a service that meets these requirements (note: service level manager and the business relationship manager build relationships with the business on different levels). SLM tracks customer satisfaction levels and takes action to improve them.
  • Interface between SLM and other process: e.g. business relationship management, incident and request management, supplier management and continual service improvement.
  • Service catalog: a database or structured document for all live IT services, including those available for deployment, forming one of the three service portfolio elements. Two types / views of services – customer-facing services and supporting services.
  • Service catalog service information: service details, status, interfaces, and dependencies and the way in which this information is used by other processes, such as service level management.
  • Availability: end-to-end availability,  measurement of availability takes into account only agreed service time (excluding agreed downtime and out-of-hours availability).
  • Availability concepts: reliability (how long a service functions without interruptions); resilience (component failures without affecting service); maintainability (how quickly a service can restore); serviceability (how quickly a third party can response and fix the failure)
  • Information security policy: it is the responsibility of the information security manager to then ensure the required level of protection (as determined by business) is provided
  • Confidentiality (restricting access to data to authorized users), integrity (maintaining data free of any corruption or unauthorized change) and availability (able to be accessed when required) of data.
  • Supplier management: understand the link between underpinning contracts as part of service level management and the management of suppliers
  • Different categories of suppliers: strategic, tactical, operational and commodity
  • Capacity management: provides the current and future capacity and performance that the business requires, when it requires it, and at a cost it can afford.
  • IT service continuity management (ITSCM): responsible for providing an agreed level of service in the event of a major disruption to normal working conditions as part of business continuity management and prevent or reduce the impact of such an event.
  • Design coordination: provides a single point of coordination and control for all service design activities and processes, compiles the service design package and ensures quality and consistency across designs and conformance of designs to governance requirements. It also ensures the successful handoff of a service from strategy to design / transition.
  • Roles and responsibilities of service owner: accountable for ensuring the delivery of the service and liaise with process owners to ensure service standard
  • The roles and responsibilities of the process owner, the process manager and the process practitioner: i) process owner (only one) – accountable for ensuring the successful delivery of a process across all services and takes a lead role in ensuring that the process outcomes match the objectives; ii) process managers (can be several) – responsible for managing the day-to-day implementation of the process by the process practitioners; iii) process practitioner – responsible for carrying out the process tasks under the direction of the process manager(s).
  • Purpose of the RACI model (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed): define roles and responsibilities within processesonly one person can be accountable for each activity and every activity must have at least one responsible and one accountable person.

Service Transition

  • Purpose, objectives and scope of service transition: purpose – ensure new, modified or retired services meet the expectations of the business as agreed; objectives – to plan and successfully manage releases into production, ensuring good knowledge transfer and expectation setting for the delivery of the new or modified service; scope – includes planning, build, testing, evaluation, implementation and deployment of new or modified services into operation or the retirement of services.
  • Service transition provides value to the business: deliver changes that are planned, built, tested, evaluated, implemented and deployed according to expectation and specification
  • Purpose, objectives and scope of change management process: purpose – to provide controlled change; objectives – to manage changes in a controlled manner, manage risk and meet the needs of the business; scope – only IT changes
  • Change model: used to assist with management of the process by providing a set of predefined steps for commonly identified situations.
  • Standard change: follows a change model that responds to a predefined trigger and has low risks.
  • Emergency change: follows an adjusted process flow, assessment and authorization may include ECAB, testing may be reduced and documentation may be completed later on.
  • Normal change process flow steps and activities
  • All changes should be documented in an RFC, and this should be logged in a change record, which is captured as part of the CMS.
  • A change proposal is needed if the change has a major impact on business in terms of risk, cost, or resources.
  • Assessment of changes: include benefits, costs, risks, resources and relationships for the change.
  • Output of change process: change schedule (CS) and projected service outage (PSO) – used to communicate change timescales and impact with stakeholders.
  • Remediation plan: allows mitigation against potential failure and return to normal if a change fails.
  • Changes authorization: changes are authorized by the change authority with consideration of the size, risk, cost and business impact of the change.
  • Change management: responsible for the coordination of the deployment of the change; need to work with release and deployment management.
  • Once a change has been deployed, it would be reviewed. The change record is closed if it meets the acceptance criteria for success.
  • Change advisory board (CAB): responsible for assessing changes and making recommendation for authorization.
  • Purpose, objectives and scope of the transition planning and support process: ensures that all transitions are managed efficiently.
  • Purpose, objectives and scope of the service asset and configuration management process: ensures accurate and reliable information about the assets are captured.
  • Configuration management system: integrates information about the infrastructure and provide a comprehensive view of the configuration items (CI) and their relationships
  • Configuration model: provides a model of the services, assets, and infrastructure by capturing the details of each configuration item and their relationships; Configuration baseline: the state of the infrastructure at a specific point that is reviewed and agreed upon, to be used for trending, comparison and planning. Snapshot: capture of the infrastructure at a point in time.
  • Definitive media library: a specific secure area set aside for managing software media (including physical and electronic stores for master copies and documents)
  • Purpose, objectives and scope of knowledge management: ensures knowledge is available in the right place at the right time to enable informed decisions, reducing the need for knowledge rediscovery.
  • DIKW model: Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom is used to transition from data to information to knowledge to wisdom
  • Service knowledge management system: an overarching system for managing knowledge relating to service management by integrating all the existing data sources from service management processes
  • Purpose, objectives and scope of the release and deployment management process: ensures that releases are planned, scheduled and controlled for successful deployment of services into production.
  • Release policy: describes the manner in which releases will be carried out and provides definitions for release types
  • Four phases of the release and deployment management process: i) release and deployment planning, ii) release build and test, iii) deployment and iv) review and close.

Service Operation

  • Purpose of the service operation: to deliver the services that have been designed and transitioned as efficiently as possible. Escaped faults will be identified and resolved and service will be optimized and in line with the SLAs agreed previously.
  • Service operation ensure that the business benefits from the service as planned by delivering the services efficiently and within service targets.
  • Service operation functions: technical management, application management, IT operations management, and the service desk.
  • Technical and application management functions: provide resources to the other lifecycle stages and specify the operational tasks that service operation staff members should carry out.
  • Application development vs application support
  • Operations management: operations control (e.g. console management) vs facilities management (e.g. monitoring environmental conditions).
  • Service desk function: skills and attributes that service desk staff members should possess – business awareness, technical awareness, customer focus, etc.
  • Service desk structures: local, central, virtual, and follow the sun
  • Purpose and objectives of incident management: a reactive process to reduce downtime by resolving incidents quickly (to restore service but not to identify the cause). Definition of terms: major incidents, incident models, an incident, a problem and a service request.
  • Priority = business impact x urgency
  • Incident and problem models
  • Lifecycle of an incident and escalation types
  • Purpose, objectives and scope of problem management: a problem is the unknown, underlying cause of one or more incidents; problem management is to find the root cause of incidents and remove it to prevent recurrence
  • Workaround and a known error: some problems might not resolved if it is not cost-effective to implement the fix (known error as stored in known error database ), workaround would be created to bypass the errors
  • Even vs alert: events (a change of state that has significance for the management of a CI) and alerts (a failure or a breach of a threshold)
  • Role of event management in automation: passive and active monitoring to reduce downtime
  • Purpose objectives and scope of access management: not just granting access but also restricting or removing it as required.

Continual Service Improvement

  • Purpose, objectives, and scope of Continual Service Improvement: to ensure IT services are in line with business needs and not simply to meet service targets, to be carried out on a regular basis for all service areas.
  • Steps of the CSI and Deming cycle: CSI – identify the approach taken to manage a service improvement initiative and ensure it to meet the objectives of the business. Deming Cycle – Plan, Do, Check, and Act.
  • Purpose of the CSI register: to track and manage improvement initiatives taken by the IT service provider, maintained by the CSI manager.
  • Types of measures: critical success factors and key performance indicators
  • Three types of metrics: technical, process, and service: interact to provide a complete measurement of the service
  • Baselines: function as a comparison basis to verify improvement.
  • Seven-step improvement process: used to manage gathering, analysis and presentation of data.
  • Relationship between seven-step improvement process and the DIKW knowledge model / Deming cycle.


Hope you will find this useful for your 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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13 Responses

  1. Uzochukwu says:

    Hi Edward, I wrote the ITIL exam and I got a score of 93. I must say, your notes really helped me in my preparations.
    My score also got me a weekend job as an ITIL instructor. So, em, thanks to your note again. So keep this up. You have been a great help to so many people.
    God bless you

  2. Thomas says:

    Great material, as it highlights how some of the processes are interrelated. I had signed up via the greycampus as you had suggested, very useful since it has 4 mock exams alone. In total I would say I studied approximately 15 hours, which allowed me to pass with 95%! Thanks again for sharing. By the way, your PMP notes are also very appreciated!

  3. Busy Working Parent says:

    Bless you

  4. kart says:

    Hi, Thanks a lot for your resources.
    what would be a good resource to test our knowledge after going through the material.
    which resource is a good option for practise questions that are close to the ones that we can see in the actual exam.

  5. Akhilla says:

    Hello Edward,

    I took the ITIL foundation exam yesterday and secured 80%. I used your study notes as the only reference to prepare for the exam. It was very useful and I wanted to congratulate you for the good work.

    Best Wishes.

  6. Andry says:

    Hi Edward,I am from the IT industry and need to give ITIL Foundation V3 2011 exam. I was a bit confused with regard to the syllabus and your notes. Service management and lifecycle matches but whats up with the operation and design? The syllabus i am following has the link below. Please help.

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Andry,

      My ITIL Foundation study notes is based on the latest ITIL Foundation Exam syllabus, though arranged differently as this gives a better organization to my exam prep study. I have also added a bit materials from the ITIL which may be a bit “out of syllabus” for the Foundation level but is beneficial for the understanding of ITIL.

      Hope this helps. Wish you ITIL success!

  7. Terry LeBlanc says:


    Great site! Thank you for creating it and making it available.

    Question: I’d like to print out your last minute notes for the ITIL Foundation cert prep without the surrounding site info, which causes the notes to format into a very narrow column, making the printout at least 3 times as long. I use a highlighter as a memory mnemonic, so using a printout would be better for me.



  8. Antonio says:

    I graduated from university 2 months ago in computer engineering but was hesitating what to do, get a job o take a certification, your posts give me a very clear idea. I decided take the ITIL Foundation exam and thanks to studying your notes and advices, last week i approved the exam and got 90% score.

    Your website was very helpful in my days of study. Thanks and keep up the good work =)