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ITIL 4 Foundations Study Material

The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework designed to standardize the selection, planning, delivery, maintenance, and overall lifecycle of IT (information technology) services within a business. The goal is to improve efficiency and achieve predictable service delivery.

About ITIL4 Foundation Certification

Getting Started

Purpose: To give students another means to study. I personally was looking for bedtime material, and wasn’t finding anything that fit my need. This led me to creating the Quizlet ITIL4 Definitions Flashcards, and this application. I made learning more engaging by putting my notes together into one place. I hope it helps someone else. Please feel free to make suggestions, give feedback, or let me know if you found this resource helpful.

Tip: Go over the material here once. Take a practice test. Find your weakness, and then go over the material again. I did this a few times, along with listening to the Value Insights youTube video while reviewing. Then I’d take another test, and found the ways I needed to interpret the information. A practice test into a review session seemed to help me the most.



Numeric value inside of (), for each category, indicates how many questions are to be expected on the test from each section. For example “Key Concepts and Definitions” may have (5) questions expected on the exam.

! - Denotes something of importance to give special consideration.

Key Concepts and Definitions (5)

Service Management

  • A set of specialized organizational capabilities for enabling value to customers in the form of services.


  • The perceived benefits, usefulness and importance of something.


  • Defines requirements for services.
  • A person who defines the requirements for a service and takes responsibility for the outcomes of service consumption.


  • A person who uses the service.


  • Authorizes budgets for services.


  • External partner who provides services to the organization.


  • A person or a group of people that has its own functions with responsibilities, authorities, and relationships to achieve its objectives. An organization can be an entire company, a department within a company, or even just a small group of people focused around a singular set of objectives.


  • By definition, services is a means of enabling value co-creation by facilitating outcomes that customers want to achieve, without the customer having to manage specific costs and risks.


  • A configuration of resources, created by the organization that will be potentially valuable to customers.

Service Offering

  • A specific mix of services and products sold to a specific customer.
  • A description of one or more services, designed to address the needs of a target consumer group (which may include goods, access to resources, and service actions).
    • Goods
      • Ownership is transferred to the customer.
    • Access to resources
      • Customer is allowed to use it.
    • Service Actions
      • Things the service provider does for the customer.


  • A tangible or intangible deliverable of an activity. For example, a ‘Profit and Loss statement’ being produced might be an output of an accounting program.


  • A result for a stakeholder enabled by one or more outputs !
  • By definition, outcome is a result for a stakeholder enabled by one or more outputs. In other words, outcomes allow service consumers to achieve a desired result.


  • Can be removed from the customer (part of the value proposition), and can be imposed on the customer (price for service consumption).


  • Uncertainty of an outcome. Can be good (opportunity) or bad (hazard).
  • a possible event that could cause harm or loss, or make it more difficult to achieve objectives. Risk can also be defined as uncertainty of outcome and can be used in the context of measuring the probability of positive outcomes, as well as negative outcomes.


  • Fit for purpose. Service does what it is meant to do.
  • Utility is the functionality offered by a product or service to meet a particular need.


  • Fit for use. Is the service availability, capacity, continuity, and security good enough? Customer defines this!

Value = Utility + Warranty ( + perception)

Key Concepts

  • Service Management
  • Stakeholders
  • Value
  • Value Co-Creation


  • Service
  • Service Offerings
  • Output Vs. Outcome
  • Risk
  • Utility + Warranty

The 4 Dimensions of Service Management (2)

Service Management - A set of specialized organizational capabilities for enabling value for customers in the form of services.

Organizations & People

  • Organizational structures
  • Decision making habits
  • Staffing and skill requirements

Information & Technology

  • Information and tools needed
  • Technologies and innovation
  • Relationship between components
  • Culture of knowledge management

Partners & Suppliers

  • Relationship with external vendors
  • Factors that influence suppliers strategies
  • Service integration management
  • Vendor selection procedures

Value Streams & Processes

  • Activities the organization undertakes !
  • Organization of these activities
  • Ensuring value to stakeholders !
  • Exercise value stream mapping

Note: Can be influenced by the organization

PESTLE - External factors that cannot be influenced but need to be considered.

  • Political
  • Economical
  • Social
  • Technological
  • Legal
  • Environmental

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The Service Value System (1)


Guiding principles:

  • Recommendations that can guide an organization in all circumstances, regardless of changes in its goals, strategies, type of work, or management structure.


  • The means by which an organization is directed and controlled.

Service value chain:

  • A set of interconnected activities that an organization performs to deliver a valuable product or service to its consumers and to facilitate value realization.


  • Sets of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective.

Continual improvement:

  • A recurring organizational activity performed at all levels to ensure that an organization’s performance continually meets stakeholders’ expectations. ITIL 4 supports continual improvement with the ITIL continual improvement model.

The Service value system converts opportunity and demand by applying our own service management magic into actual value for our customers. !

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The Guiding Principles (6)

Recommendations that guide organizations in any circumstances, even for implementing ITIL 4 !

  • Focus on Value
    • Everything you do must be somehow (directly or indirectly) valuable to your stakeholders.
  • Start Where You Are
    • Reuse existing resources whenever possible instead of reinventing the wheel over and over again.
  • Progress Iteratively With Feedback
    • Don’t do everything at once, take baby steps instead. Learning by doing with lots of feedback.
      • Working in a timeboxed, iterative manner with feedback loops embedded into the process allows for:

        • greater flexibility

        • faster responses to customer and business needs

        • the ability to discover and respond to failure earlier

        • an overall improvement in quality.

          Having appropriate feedback loops between the participants of an activity gives them a better understanding of where their work comes from, where their outputs go, and how their actions and outputs affect the outcomes, which in turn enables them to make better decisions.

  • Collaborate and Promote Visibility
    • Involve the right people at the right time and gather factual data to make the right decisions.
  • Think and Work Holistically
    • Nothing is ever alone. Think about the effect of your initiative or work on other components.
  • Keep it Simple and Practical
    • Don’t overcomplicate work. Use the least possible steps. Outcome based thinking helps.
  • Optimize and Automate
    • Maximize the value of human work. Automate only after optimization. Apply DevOps.

Summary of the guiding principles

  • Universally applicable to any work or initiative

  • Represent well-proven, good practice

  • Are neither prescriptive nor a must

  • Can be applied stand-alone but are better in conjunction

  • Have a strong relation to Lean-Agile thinking

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The Service Value Chain (2)

The service value chain is a part of the service value system. ! It’s an operating model which utilizes value streams. It has 6 different activities that transforms demand into value. !

Value Stream:

  • A series of steps an organization takes to co-create value with customers.
  • These steps can be mapped to the SVC (service value chain) in any combination.
  • E.g. handling of incidents or developing new applications. Value streams are focused on mapping the steps that are needed, and trying to find improvement opportunities in these steps. Find waste and eliminate it, and optimize flow to achieve value.

Purpose of the Activities


  • Ensures shared understanding of vision, current status and direction


  • Continual improvement of products and services


  • Understand stakeholder needs and demands

Design and transition

  • Make sure that services meet stakeholder needs

Obtain or build

  • Ensure components are available when needed

Deliver and support

  • Ensure SLA (service level agreement) conform service delivery

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The Service Value Chain PIEDOD

Plan, Improve, Engage, Design and Transition, Obtain or Build, Deliver and Support

  • Is an operating model
  • Outlines activities needed to transform demand into value !
  • Universally applicable
  • Can be used for mapping Value Streams
  • Practices include specific sequences of SVC activities

Most Important Practices (19)

  • A practice is a set of organizational resources designed to perform work or accomplish an objective. !
General Management PracticesService Management PracticesTechnical Management Practices
Continual ImprovementChange EnablementDeployment Management
Information Security ManagementIncident Management 
Relationship managementIT Asset Management 
Supplier ManagementMonitoring & Event Management 
 Problem Management 
 Release Management 
 Service Configuration Management 
 Service Desk 
 Service Level Management 
 Service Request Management 

Continual Improvement Practice

  • Continual improvement happens everywhere in the organization (SVS, SVC, practices).
  • Ideas need to be reprioritized when new ones are added. !
  • It is a responsibility of everyone. !
  • Organizations may have a Continual Improvement Team for better coordination.
  • All 4 Dimensions need to be considered during any improvement initiative.

What is the vision?

  • Align the mission and vision of improvement with the organization.

Where are we now?

  • Starting point of our improvement journey (guiding principal “start where you are”) where you are now. !

Where do we want to be?

  • Short term targets we need to achieve. Measurable targets (SMART Specifici, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound).

How do we get there?

  • How do we want to achieve our measurable targets? Agile, waterfall, setup teams, and projects.

Take action

  • Make sure we act on our plan of improvement.

Did we get there?

  • Did we achieve our goal and what lessons were learned?

How do we keep the momentum going?

  • Make sure we are continuing to improve and not going back to old habits.

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Change Enablement Practice

Purpose: maximize the number of successful changes through proper risk assessment and minimize the negative impact of failed changes.


  • Standard: Pre-authorized, low risk, low cost, basically Service Requests.

  • Normal: Authorization depends on what kind of change it is. Goes through the normal change workflow.

  • Emergency: Requires rapid action. May have a separate change authority.

Incident Management Practice

Purpose: minimize the negative impact of incidents by restoring normal operation as soon as possible.

  • Incident: unplanned interruption or reduction of quality. Must be logged, prioritized, and managed throughout their lifecycle. Uses the same categorizations as problem tickets. Swarming may help with complex issues. !

  • Major Incidents: need a separate procedure.! Swarming can be used for faster solutions.

Problem Management Practice

Purpose: reduce likelihood of recurring incidents by identifying root causes and eliminating them.

  • Problem: Unknown cause of one or more incidents. !
  • Known Error: A problem with a known root case but no solution yet.
  • Workaround: Alternate solution, reducing the impact of the problem.

Phases: Problem Identification > Problem Control > Error Control !

  • Problem Identification: create a problem ticket and assign it to the correct team.
  • Problem Control: joint effort between teams to analyze the problem, find the root cause, and provide a workaround for it.
  • Error Control: initiate a change ticket, or request for changes if necessary. Changing something in the infrastructure, applications, configurations, or the code. A control practice needs to be in place which is the change enablement practice in this case!

Service Desk Practice

Purpose: capture demand for the incidents and service requests. Single point of contact between service provider and users.

Issues request queries > SPOC > Acknowledge > Classify > Own > Act


PhoneText Messaging


  • Incident analysis and prioritization !
  • Effective communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Excellent customer service skills

Service Level Management Practice

Purpose: to set clear business-based targets for service performance, so that the delivery of a service can be measured properly.

SLA: Service Level Agreement between customer, and service providers. !

OLA: Operational Level Agreement between different units of the same organization.

UC: Underpinning Contracts are an agreement between service provider and external supplier.


  • CLear language, no jargon !
  • Should relate to defined outcomes !
  • Simply written, easy to understand !
  • Listen actively to customer needs !

Service Request Management Practice

Purpose: to support the agreed quality of services by handling all pre-defined, user initiated service requests.

Service Request: a formal request for something other than incident resolution (e.g. information, advice, how-to questions…)

Steps to fulfill requests should be well known (for both simple and complex requests). !

When defining new workflows, try to reuse already existing ones. !

User expectations must be managed in regards to what can be delivered.



  • Formerly known as processes
  • More comprehensive view
  • Include the 4 Dimensions
  • Have specific goals
  • Support SVC activities
  • Continual Improvement
  • Change Enablement
  • Incident Management
  • Problem Management
  • Service Desk
  • Service Level Management
  • Service Request Management

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Other Examinable Practices (5)

Information Security Management Practice

Protects information needed by organizations to conduct business.

Ensures appropriate levels of:

  • Confidentiality
  • Integrity
  • Availability
  • Authentication
  • Non-Repudiation

Relationship Management Practice

Establishes and nurtures links between organizations and stakeholders at strategic and tactical levels.

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Makes sure we find the best possible ways to communicate and collaborate with different internal and external stakeholders.

Relationship lifecycle:

Relationships are identified -> Analyzed -> Monitored -> Improved !

Supplier Management Practice

Ensures that the supplier of the organization and their performances are managed to support seamless service provision to customers.

The goal is to make sure “we get what we paid for” from our vendors and suppliers.

Agreements and contracts are made in the form of UC’s (Underpinning Contracts).

IT Asset Management Practice

Plans and manages the full lifecycle of IT assets to:

  • Maximize their value
  • Control their costs
  • Support decisions about reusing or purchasing new assets

IT Asset: any financially valuable component that can contribute to the delivery of IT products or services. !

Monitoring & Event Management Practice

Observes services and components and records changes in their state. Identifies those events, categorizes them and establishes standard responses.

  • Event: any change of state that has significance for the management of a configuration item or service. !

  • Types: Informational, Warning, Exception

Release Management Practice

Makes new and changed services and features available for use.

  • Release: a version of a service or other configuration items, or a collection of configuration items, that is made available for use.

  • Releases have been disconnected from deployments with canary / dark releases.

Other Practices

Service Configuration Management Practice

Ensures accurate information is available when needed about services, configuration items and their relationships.

CI (Configuration Item): any component that needs to be managed to deliver an IT service.

CMDB (Configuration Management Database): a database or collection of databases holding CIs and their connections.

CMS (Configuration Management System): a frontend / user interface for CMDBs.

Deployment Management Practice

Moves new or changed hardware, software documentation or any other components from one environment to the next. E.g. Dev > QA > PROD

With the help of DevOps we can reach continuous delivery, where the developer builds the change in DEV, which is automatically tested and moved to the next environment until it arrives in PROD. Deployment does not equal release.


Remember at least the purpose for the following practices:

To ensure…

  • Information Security Management
  • Relationship Management
  • Supplier Management
  • IT Asset Management
  • Monitoring & Event Management
  • Release Management
  • Service Configuration Management
  • Deployment Management

Other Definitions and Concepts

Valuable terms and concepts that are covered throughout the various sections, which were emphasized in practice tests.

IT Asset

  • Any valuable component that can contribute to the delivery of an IT product or service.

Customer Experience

  • (CX) is an important element of value. The customer experience must be actively managed. The service provider must know how service consumers use each service and understand the entirety of the interactions that a customer has with an organization and its products to fully understand the customer experience. This is mainly identified and explored through a ‘focus on value’.

Configuration Item

  • Any component that needs to be managed in order to deliver an IT service.


  • Any change of state that has significance for the management of a service or other configuration item.

Change Enablement

  • The practice of ensuring that risks are properly assessed, authorizing changes to proceed, and managing a change schedule in order to maximize the number of successful IT changes.

Relationship Management

  • The practice of establishing and nurturing links between an organization and its stakeholders at strategic and tactical levels.

Problem Management

  • The practice of reducing the likelihood and impact of incidents by identifying actual and potential causes of incidents, and managing workarounds and known errors.

Incident Management

  • The practice of minimizing the negative impact of incidents by restoring normal service operation as quickly as possible.

Continual Improvement

  • The practice of aligning an organization’s practices and services with changing business needs through the ongoing identification and improvement of all elements involved in the effective management of products and services.

Information Security Management

  • The practice of protecting an organization by understanding and managing risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.

Monitoring and Event Management

  • The practice of systematically observing services and service components and recording and reporting selected changes of state identified as events.

Service Level Management

  • The practice of setting clear business-based targets for service performance so that the delivery of a service can be properly assessed, monitored, and managed against these targets.

Service Configuration Management

  • The practice of ensuring that accurate and reliable information about the configuration of services, and the configuration items that support them, is available when and where needed.

Service Desk

  • The practice of capturing 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.
  • A good service desk should have a practical understanding of the wider organization, the business processes, and the users.

Service Relationship Management

  • Refers to the joint activities performed by a service provider and a service consumer to ensure continual value co-creation based on agreed and available service offerings.

A Guiding Principle

  • Defined as a recommendation that can guide an organization in all circumstances and will guide organizations when adopting service management. They are not described as prescriptive or mandatory.

The Guiding Principle of ‘Collaborate and Promote Visibility’

  • Focused on involving the right people in the correct roles in order to get additional buy-in for the project and increase the likelihood of long-term success.
  • Relies on personnel working across boundaries to produce results that have greater buy-in, more relevance to objectives, and an increased likelihood of success.

The Guiding Principle ‘Think and Work Holistically’

  • It is important to understand that no service, practice, process, department, or supplier works independently. Instead, each person needs to think about the service from an end-to-end perspective in order to ensure maximum compatibility and efficiency.

The Guiding Principle of ‘Optimize and Automate’

  • Relies heavily on automation. Automation is the use of technology to perform a step or series of steps correctly and consistently with limited or no human involvement.

The ‘Organization and People’ Dimension of a Service

  • Covers roles and responsibilities, formal organizational structures, culture, and required staffing and competencies, all of which are related to the creation, delivery, and improvement of a service.

The ‘Information and Technology’ Dimension

  • Focuses on the information and knowledge necessary for the management of services, as well as the technologies required.

The ‘Partners and Suppliers’ Dimension

  • Focuses on the organization’s relationships with other organizations that are involved in the design, development, deployment, delivery, support, and/or continual improvement of services. This also incorporates contracts and other agreements between the organization and its partners or suppliers.

Components of the Service Value System

  • They are ‘guiding principles’, ‘governance’, ‘service value chain’, ‘practices’, and ‘continual improvement’.

Service Value Chain

  • Central element of the service value system and is an operating model outlining the key activities required to respond to demand and facilitate value realization through the creation and management of products and services.

The ‘Plan’ Value Chain Activity

  • Used to create a shared understanding of the vision, current status, and improvement direction for all four dimensions and all products and services across the organization.

‘What is the Vision’ First Step of Continual Improvement Practice/Model

  • Each improvement initiative should support the organization’s goals and objectives.
  • it is important to identify the high-level direction of the initiative, but it is not important to define metrics, the current process, or the detailed steps of how to achieve your objective yet. Those all come in the later steps of the model.

Normal Changes

  • Changes which need to be scheduled, assessed, and authorized following a standard process. These changes are not considered routine (like a standard change). They are also not considered urgent and don’t need to be implemented as soon as possible to recover from an incident (like an emergency change).

Emergency Change

  • Change that must be implemented as soon as possible to resolve an incident or security issue.

Change Schedule

  • Used to help plan changes, assist in communication, avoid conflicts, and assign resources. By publishing the change schedule, everyone in the organization can know when a change is occurring, what people or components will be affected by the change, and when downtime or outages may occur. Change schedules are not used to develop features for a service.

Problem Management

  • Involves three distinct phases: problem identification, problem control, and error control.


  • A solution that reduces or eliminates the impact of an incident or problem for which a full resolution is not yet available. Some workarounds reduce the likelihood of incidents.

Service Level Agreements

  • Used to measure the performance of services from a customer’s point of view. They may measure availability and capability, but only from the customer’s point of view.

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