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Adapting ITIL V3 Processes to ITIL 4 – Practices for the REAL WORLD!


One of the leading questions following the release of ITIL 4 is “How do I Transition from ITIL V3 to ITIL 4? 

Which translates to, how do you proceed to adapt existing processes to the new way of working? 

The answer is… ITIL 4 for ITIL 4. What? That’s right! ITIL 4 has the best practice for “adapting” and might I include “accelerating” the ITSM processes that you have in play today. Below is an outline of principles, concepts and precepts from ITIL 4 guidance that will help. Ongoing Continual Improvement has always been a best practice. Therefore: How do you proceed to adapt existing processes to the new way of working? Each is discussed here at a very high level. First and foremost, START WHERE YOU ARE! 

Continual Improvement - ITIL 4 is the next logical progression of your improvement cycle. Business Requirements are dynamic and therefore we must be dynamic in order to provision for evolving business and customer needs. We must be responsive (Agile) and ensure “Stability” (Anti Fragile Environment). You do NOT have to give up quality for speed. ITIL 4 contains the Continual Improvement Approach and you will see it embedded throughout ITIL 4 in the Service Value System and The Value Chain within it. More importantly the idea of “Continual Improvement” should be front and center of how you are thinking, acting and how you move forward to adapt existing process. 

Service Value System/Service Value Chain -The ITIL V3 Service Lifecycle is replaced with the Service Value System and the Service Value Chain within it. ITIL 4 adopts the idea of systems thinking and takes a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system's constituent parts interrelate and how systems work overtime and within the context of larger systems. In ITIL 4 guidance even the term “Process” is replaced with “Practice”; this is because we know that every successful system is comprised of “People, Process and Technology”. Processes never stand alone! The systems thinking approach contrasts with traditional analysis, which studies systems by breaking them down into their separate elements. Shatter the Silos. Learn to think Holistically! 

Guiding Principles -The guiding principles Introduced in ITIL 4 bring in the best of and align with Agile, Lean, DevOps and other frameworks and best practices. The guiding principles in ITIL 4 are universally applicable to any initiative, any size of organization or type of service provider. The ITIL 4 Guiding Principles will guide you as you adapt and accelerate your existing ITSM processes! 


  1. Focus On Value – Hello! Value is the results of what we do. VALUE as perceived by the Customer!
  2. Start Where You Are – Donna Knapp always says, “Honor the Past – But don’t be bound to it!”
  3. Progress Iteratively with Feedback – Aligns with AGILE and DevOps! Notice “With Feedback”
  4. Collaborate and Promote Visibility – A cultural shift for many
  5. Think and Work Holistically – There it is… Systems thinking! Embedded throughout ITIL 4 Guidance.
  6. Keep It Simple and Practical – Sometimes the “Common Sense” factor is Good!
  7. Optimize and Automate – ITIL 4 Guidance does not stand alone. Agile, Lean and DevOps come into play here also!
So, in answer to the question, “How do I transition from ITIL V3 to ITIL 4?" The answer is ITIL 4. What’s next? What is next is now, today.  Start Where You Are.

And watch ITSM Professor for much more detail to help you along your journey! 

... educate and inspire



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