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ITIL 4 Guiding Principles – Collaborate and Promote Visibility

Communication has always been a key principle for service providers and this ITIL 4 Guiding Principle “Collaborate and Promote visibility” takes us to new heights. Encouraging staff and giving stakeholders the opportunity to develop this skill, will amalgamate teams in ways we never thought possible. 

This guiding principle also represents the influence of Agile, DevOps and LEAN on ITSM and best practices. A pillar of Agile is to be “transparent” and LEAN encourages making work visible in order to remove waste and increase flow. Both collaboration and being transparent are a key focus of DevOps integrated teams in order to ensure a continuous delivery pipeline. To understand this further let’s look at the two elements of this ITIL4 Guiding Principles.


When we communicate, we are notifying or telling something to a person or a group. Collaboration is quite different and occurs when a group of people work together. The key word here is “together”. They work as one unit to brainstorm, discuss and come up with a solution collectively. The command and control type of management and that old culture must give way to new creative experimentation and learning. There will always be a time to communicate and to compromise. But, developing the skills and providing the opportunity for teams that support all value streams to collaborate is crucial if we ever hope to support cross-functional teams and shatter the silos. Collaboration is critical to ensure the entire Service Value System. It is a Win/Win scenario. Take Action! 

Promote Visibility 

Being transparent and promoting visibility across all value steams will help to break down silos and promote collaboration. Making work visible also helps to reveal hidden agendas and improve information sharing to support cross-functional teams. We know that we must collaborate for the co-creation of services with our customers and other stakeholders and if we don’t, some group or person is likely to get caught in the weeds. Trust is essential if we really want to move fast, deliver value and decrease cost. The design-build and delivery of services is not the only value stream that requires that visibility.

Incident management requires visibility of defects that are identified in the design or transition of services. If there is not collaboration between these teams and knowledge or work is not visible it could send your entire support staff into chaos when an incident occurs. This is a tremendous cost to your organization in more ways than just financial

Service Desk Agents... second-tier support staff… developers and suppliers, all need to have visibility into who, what, where and why we are doing something to restore a major incident. They need to collaborate and make work visible and work as a single unit rather than siloed teams where bouncing tickets and email parties are the norm.

Consider your “onboarding for a new hire” or other value streams within your organization. When we think of those stakeholders and teams that are required to fulfill the objectives of those value streams it becomes clear the value of applying the ITIL4 Guiding Principle…. 

Start Now. Take the baby steps that you can or the giant leaps where you have management control but take strides to Collaborate and Promote Visibility.

...educate and inspire


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