ITIL 4: Hints & Tips


Setting the scene

Recently I completed the ITIL 4 foundation course and I’d like to share my insights with you on how I feel it will help me as a techie and why I think you should give it a chance to help you too.

Techies like to fix things, for some of us it’s been a driving force throughout our lives. For others it’s a hobby or a career. We find it fulfilling in any event. The feeling of knowing something didn’t work (or just didn’t work properly) and that you have fixed it is deeply satisfying. Learning how things work makes most of us tick. This is going somewhere, I promise.

ITIL or Information Technology Infrastructure Library, you probably groaned already, I’m not judging you.

ITIL 4 for network engineers

What is it?

It is a set of principles to work within. A key point to remember however, is that these principles should fit the need of the organisation using them.

It’s intention is to set a baseline understanding for the Who, What, How, and Why of service delivery. Its purpose is to drive improvement in the way an organisation deliveries those services.

For the techies, it usually feels like a barrier to entry. Something that is in the way, slowing down your efforts to make things work. The wording can feel pointlessly complicated and the principles add overhead. 10 minute changes can take hours of admin. We’ve all been there.

For management however, it is something else. Understanding and control. Not necessarily of the underlaying technology, but of the process, the impact and outcome.

While a quick fix is certainly the desired outcome, for any number of reasons it sometimes doesn’t work out the way we intended. This could be because of a mistake, a misunderstanding or we were asked to do something without an understanding of dependencies.

Now, I’m not about to tell you that learning about this stuff isn’t going to stretch your patience. Depending on the type of techie you are it may very well bore your socks off. However, what I do want to do is reframe your understanding of its purpose…

Above, I discussed the feeling it gives and the benefits management perceive from it. Now I want to point out what YOU gain, other than extra work of course.

In brief, protection and understanding. This may sound silly but humour me.

Anyone who’s worked in IT as a service provider of any description for any duration of time has been asked to do something by someone who has no idea what they are really asking. In some respects they may not even know why they are asking for it. Sure, they may think they know, but I digress.


How is it utilised?

ITIL is wordy for a reason, it is seeking to explain all things to all people. It creates a language so the techie, the user, the project manager, et all can speak, understand and ask things of each other from a basic level. From there the collaboration can begin. You plan together, you feedback to each other, building understanding for an agreed outcome and then deliver it.

This all sounds reasonable enough and it feels like it should be achievable without all the excess, but people think differently and have differing mindsets. Common ground is required to build understanding and work together more effectively.

Things are requested. Methods, levels of risk and timings are agreed and work is carried out. If everything goes according to plan then that’s perfect. Everyone got what they wanted in a way that benefits everyone. If something goes wrong, you aren’t left holding all the blame. Lessons are learnt, everyone knows what was changed and how. Roll back is already considered, so at least part of the fix is already known. Plans are put in place to mitigate risks for the future.


Why ITIL 4?

There are things you want to do, and there are things you have to do. ITIL is the glue that binds these together when it is implemented sensibly. Continual improvement is a guiding principle of ITIL. Be part of the solution, if something can be improved then highlight it.

I’m not saying you have to like it, only that you should understand that it has a purpose and that it does help. Grasping the business requirement for these processes will make you a better techie, even if you never intend to step into the world of management or project management.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts on ITIL 4 and hope they provided some insight. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.


Read this post to get insight into tackling the CCNP ENCOR Exams. 


ITIL 4 Foundation Course details