ITIL 4 Management Practices 2023 – a new level of service management capability

Adam Griffith – ITIL Architect, PeopleCert

When we launched ITIL 4 in 2019, it was accompanied by separate guidance for 34 management practices – among them incident management, organizational change management and deployment management.

The practices’ original definition described a set of 4-dimensional organizational resources designed for performing work/accomplishing an objective. 

Today, in 2023, we’re releasing the first phase of updated ITIL 4 practices with a new certification scheme. However, their founding purpose has not changed. 

In the words of one practitioner, the practices are “a mirror to hold up to the organization” and to ask: “what is our practice missing?” The resources within the practices are there to help professionals understand the landscape of general management, service management and technical management topics – and to see how they can integrate activities across the ITIL service value chain. 

Crucially, the practices go beyond the idea of processes alone, by defining internal and external stakeholders, responsibilities, accountabilities, technologies, plus the knowledge and communication needed alongside value streams and processes to deliver consistent results. In other words, a multi-dimensional approach.

ITIL 4 practices are living things

A key reason we published the ITIL 4 practices digitally and separately from the core guidance is because they are living documents: designed for periodic refresh in line with changing organizational and skills demands. 

This has enabled us to revisit the thinking behind the practices in 2023. Part of that is to make them even more practical than previously; helping practitioners apply the knowledge more widely and demonstrate their capabilities. 

And, along with the first five revised practices – incident management, problem management, service request management, monitoring and event management and service desk – there are now new ITIL 4 practice certifications also. Therefore, for the first time, this adds an operational element to the ITIL certification scheme. 

What’s new with the practices? 

The changes we’ve made to the practices are designed to answer concerns raised by service managers and to offer practical approaches they can action immediately.

Where the previous practices version had six chapters, the latest version has eight. The two new chapters address some vital and significant capabilities:

Chapter 7: Capability assessment and development

With ideas taken from the ITIL Maturity Model, this chapter now shares criteria to use for some self-assessment of current capability and how the organization can reach the next level of maturity in the practice.

This seeks to answer the questions: “Where do I start, what is our current capability level, what are the benefits of added maturity and how do I make this happen?”

Thinking about the first question in the ITIL continual improvement model – what is the vision? – you need to know what you’re trying to achieve before developing the necessary capabilities to do so. 

Chapter 8: Recommendations for succeeding in the practice

When discussing the previous ITIL 4 practice guides, people would ask frequently: “Tell me how to do this.” 

So, this new chapter provides an enhanced level of detail that helps practitioners turn theory into practice and aligns more closely with the ITIL guiding principles.

For example, in the new incident management practice, we recommend looking at incidents from the service consumer perspective: that means not hiding behind SLAs for user-reported incidents and aiming to restore a level of service that satisfies the users. These recommendations connect directly to the principles of focus on value and collaborate and promote visibility.

Advice like this is peppered throughout the practice guides, but with a dedicated chapter that pulls it all together in a single list. 

Creating a practice roadmap

With the new-look management practices, we hope to empower people to create both a long-term vision for their organization’s service management approach and a fully-developed short term, mid-term and long-term improvement plan for the particular practice – essentially, a definitive roadmap to reaching a higher-level capability.

And the practices should prompt someone who reads one practice guide to see that it needs to synergize with others to manage the organization’s value streams holistically and more effectively.

Find out more about achieving the ITIL Practice Manager designation here.