I attended a 3-day ITIL foundation training last week. My department requires as many staff as possible to attend it.

ITIL is a brand owned by the AXELOS Ltd, where you can find learning materials. ITIL provides best practice guidance to IT Service Management (ITSM); it’s not a method or a standard, and it doesn’t tell you what to do.

How could we learn so much in 3 days? Well, I suppose it’s because (1) we all to some extent use IT services; (2) the work we have been involved in more or less is embedded in the ITSM process; (3) we all have taken some role somewhere that fits in ITSM.

Without touching the training materials, I jot down my thoughts here in case it’s washed off by my daily work, which is more about how to facilitate using technology in teaching/learning and actually do it.

The difficult bit in learning ITIL:

  • To some degree, we all have previous experience of ITSM. We have our own terms in the team/project/management. The tricky point is we need to understand/remember what the concepts mean in ITIL without thinking too much about our own concepts first. Then we need to link the concepts what we have used to ITIL and make sense of it. For me how well we can channel ITIL into our own experience is the challenge in the short course because first we can not get rid of our preconceptions in such short time. If our preconceptions about something in ITSM are diverge from the direction that recommended by ITIL, we can easily get confused. Second, we often think about what we need to do. Actually it’s a step farther than the ‘knowing where we are and where we want to go’.

The key things I’ve learnt:

  • It shows us what are the right direction to do things in ITSM and what we had done badly to some extent in certain aspects.
  • The RACI (Responsible-Accountable-consulted-Informed) model is crucial and essential. (see a RACI Matrix demo)
  • The service catalogue is essential. It needs to be available and to be managed by the service owner.
  • Differences between proactive and reactive (see a resource written by Neven Zitek).
  • What are ITIL functions, processes, activities and roles.
  • It’s about management, not about operation.

The key points about the exam:

  • Keep a balance between using previous experience or not in answering the exam questions. Some questions can be answered well based on my previous experience without learning ITIL. Some are simply about remembering the definition.
  • I was nervous in the real exam as earlier I was too relaxed at home to complete the mock exam paper. So do have a serious mock exam yourself!

What’s next?

  • My colleagues and I talked about it in the office. It’s not about passing the exam, rather it helps us to think things more logic and strategical.
  • I can start to use it in practice now and I had a couple of things/ideas on my to-do list for my next 2-3 months.
  • Hopefully we all speak the same ‘language’ and we can understand the terms used by different teams easily.
  • Shall I attend another ITIL exam after I put ITIL into my practice? Could it help me to see how much knowledge of ITIL I have really gained?
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