Service Management Blog

ITIL 4 Management Practices

6 minute read
Joseph Mathenge, Jon Stevens-Hall

Management practices make up another core component of the ITIL® 4 Service Value System (SVS). In ITIL, a management practice is a set of organizational resources designed for performing work or accomplishing an objective.

Previous ITIL versions focus on processes. ITIL 4 shifts to a focus on practices, giving the organization more flexibility to:

  • Implement specific processes that are closely aligned to the specific needs of their customers
  • Innovate new processes to embrace modern ways of working such as DevOps

(This article is part of our ITIL 4 Guide. Use the right-hand menu to navigate.)

ITIL 4 areas of management

The origins of the practices are as follows:

  • General Management Practices have been adopted and adapted for service management from general business management domains (14 domains).
  • Service Management Practices have been developed in service management and ITSM industries (17 domains).
  • Technical Management Practices have been adapted from technology management domains for service management purposes by expanding or shifting their focus from technology solutions to IT services (3 domains).

The 34 practices are listed below:

General Management Practices
  1. Architecture Management
  2. Continual Improvement
  3. Information Security Management
  4. Knowledge Management
  5. Measurement & Reporting
  6. Organizational Change Management
  7. Portfolio Management
  8. Project Management
  9. Relationship Management
  10. Risk Management
  11. Service Financial Management
  12. Strategy Management
  13. Supplier Management
  14. Workforce & Talent Management
Service Management Practices
  1. Availability Management
  2. Business Analysis
  3. Capacity & Performance Management
  4. Change Enablement
  5. Incident Management
  6. IT Asset Management
  7. Monitoring & Event Management
  8. Problem Management
  9. Release Management
  10. Service Catalogue Management
  11. Service Configuration Management
  12. Service Continuity Management
  13. Service Design
  14. Service Desk
  15. Service Level Management
  16. Service Request Management
  17. Service Validation & Testing
Technical Management Practices
  1. Deployment Management
  2. Infrastructure & Platform Management
  3. Software Development & Management

Let’s look at the purpose of each management practice. More details about management practices will be found in later articles, particularly focused on how they relate with the service value chain activities.

General Management Practices

Practice Purpose
1. Architecture Management To provide an understanding of all the different elements that make up an organization and how those elements interrelate, enabling the organization to effectively achieve its current and future objectives. It provides the principles, standards, and tools that enable an organization to manage complex change in a structured and agile way.
2. Continual Improvement To align the organization’s practices and services with changing business needs through the ongoing identification and improvement of services, service components, practices, or any element involved in the efficient and effective management of products and services.
3. Information Security Management To protect the information needed by the organization to conduct its business. This includes understanding and managing risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information, as well as other aspects of information security such as authentication and non-repudiation.
4. Knowledge Management To maintain and improve the effective, efficient, and convenient use of information and knowledge across the organization.
5. Measurement & Reporting To support good decision-making and continual improvement by decreasing the levels of uncertainty. This is achieved through the collection of relevant data on various managed objects and the valid assessment of this data in an appropriate context.
6. Organizational Change Management To ensure that changes in an organization are smoothly and successfully implemented, and that lasting benefits are achieved by managing the human aspects of the changes.
7. Portfolio Management To ensure that the organization has the right mix of programs, projects, products, and services to execute the organization’s strategy within its funding and resource constraints.
8. Project Management To ensure that all projects in the organization are successfully delivered. This is achieved by planning, delegating, monitoring, and maintaining control of all aspects of a project, and keeping the motivation of the people involved.
9. Relationship Management To establish and nurture the links between the organization and its stakeholders at strategic and tactical levels. It includes the identification, analysis, monitoring, and continual improvement of relationships with and between stakeholders.
10. Risk management To ensure that the organization understands and effectively handles risks. Managing risk is essential to ensuring the ongoing sustainability of an organization and creating value for its customers.
11. Service Financial Management To support the organization’s strategies and plans for service management by ensuring that the organization’s financial resources and investments are being used effectively.
12. Strategy Management To formulate the goals of the organization and adopt the courses of action and allocation of resources necessary for achieving those goals. Strategy management establishes the organization’s direction, focuses effort, defines or clarifies the organization’s priorities, and provides consistency or guidance in response to the environment.
13. Supplier Management To ensure that the organization’s suppliers and their performances are managed appropriately to support the seamless provision of quality products and services. This includes creating closer, more collaborative relationships with key suppliers to uncover and realize new value and reduce the risk of failure.
14. Workforce & Talent management To ensure that the organization has the right people with the appropriate skills and knowledge and in the correct roles to support its business objectives through planning, recruitment, onboarding, learning and development, performance measurement, and succession planning activities.

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Service Management Practices

Practice Purpose
1. Availability Management To ensure that services deliver agreed levels of availability to meet the needs of customers and users.
2. Business Analysis To analyze a business or some element of it, define its associated needs, and recommend solutions to address these needs and/or solve a business problem, which must facilitate value creation for stakeholders.
3. Capacity & Performance Management To ensure that services achieve agreed and expected performance, satisfying current and future demand in a cost effective way.
4. Change Enablement To maximize the number of successful IT changes by ensuring that risks have been properly assessed, authorizing changes to proceed, and managing the change schedule.
5. Incident Management To minimize the negative impact of incidents by restoring normal service operation as quickly as possible.
6. IT Asset Management To plan and manage the full lifecycle of all IT assets, to help the organization maximize value; control costs; manage risks; support decision-making about purchase; re-use, and retirement of assets; and meet regulatory and contractual requirements.
7. Monitoring & Event Management To systematically observe services and service components, and record and report selected changes of state identified as events, through identifying and prioritizing infrastructure, services, business processes, and information security events, and establishing the appropriate response to those events, including responding to conditions that could lead to potential faults or incidents.
8. Problem Management To reduce the likelihood and impact of incidents by identifying actual and potential causes of incidents, and managing workarounds and known errors.
9. Release Management To make new and changed services and features available for use.
10. Service Catalogue Management To provide a single source of consistent information on all services and service offerings, and to ensure that it is available to the relevant audience.
11. Service Configuration Management To ensure that accurate and reliable information about the configuration of services, and the configuration items (CIs) that support them, is available when and where it is needed. This includes information on how CIs are configured and the relationships between them.
12. Service Continuity Management To ensure that the availability and performance of a service is maintained at a sufficient level in the event of a disaster. The practice provides a framework for building organizational resilience, with the capability of producing an effective response that safeguards the interests of key stakeholders and the organization’s reputation, brand, and value-creating activities.
13. Service Design To design products and services that are fit for purpose, fit for use, and that can be delivered by the organization and its ecosystem. This includes planning and organizing people, partners and suppliers, information, communication, technology, and practices for new or changed products and services, and the interaction between the organization and its customers.
14. Service Desk To capture 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.
15. Service Level Management To set clear business-based targets for service performance, so that the delivery of a service can be properly assessed, monitored, and managed against these targets.
16. Service Request Management To support the agreed quality of a service by handling all pre-defined, user-initiated service requests in an effective and user-friendly manner.
17. Service Validation & Testing To ensure that new or changed products and services meet defined requirements. The definition of service value is based on input from customers, business objectives, and regulatory requirements, and is documented as part of the value chain activity of design and transition. These inputs are used to establish measurable quality and performance indicators that support the definition of assurance criteria and testing requirements.

Technical Management Practices

Practice Purpose
1. Deployment Management To move new or changed hardware, software, documentation, processes, or any other component to live environments. It may also be involved in deploying components to other environments for testing or staging.
2. Infrastructure & Platform Management To oversee the infrastructure and platforms used by an organization. When carried out properly, this practice enables the monitoring of technology solutions available to the organization, including the technology of external service providers.
3. Software Development & Management To ensure that applications meet internal and external stakeholder needs, in terms of functionality, reliability, maintainability, compliance, and auditability.

ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited. IT Infrastructure Library® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.

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About the author

Joseph Mathenge

Joseph is a global best practice trainer and consultant with over 14 years corporate experience. His passion is partnering with organizations around the world through training, development, adaptation, streamlining and benchmarking their strategic and operational policies and processes in line with best practice frameworks and international standards. His specialties are IT Service Management, Business Process Reengineering, Cyber Resilience and Project Management.

About the author

Jon Stevens-Hall

Jon Stevens-Hall is a Principal Product Manager for BMC Helix ITSM. He was a contributing author on several of the ITIL 4 Managing Professional books (“Create Deliver and Support”, and “High Velocity IT”). His work focuses on innovative new tooling for Service Management, and the evolution of ITSM in the DevOps era.