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ITSM ITIL 4 The 7 Guiding Principles of ITIL 4: Think and work holistically

The four dimensions of ITIL 4® are ingredients needed to create high quality products and services which deliver value to customers:

  • Organizations and people
  • Value streams and processes 
  • Information and technology
  • Partner and suppliers 

The delivery and support of different services and products requires a different mix of ingredients. No ingredient can deliver value on its own, so a holistic perspective is required: consider all dimensions when designing and changing products and services.

The 4 Dimensions of ITIL 4: Information & Technology - 4 dimensions of service management

The four dimensions model is a tool to ensure people consider all the ingredients and are never too focused on one area. 

Today we’re looking at the Organizations and People dimension.

Organizations and People 

The 7 Guiding Principles of ITIL 4: Collaborate and promote visibility

The organizations and people dimension sets out the people aspects of service management to be considered when designing, operating and changing service offerings. People include employees, managers, executives, customers, supplier employees, or anybody else who is involved in the creation or consumption of services. 

Key considerations of the organizations and people dimension are: 

Organizational structure: Are your organizational structures (hierarchies, teams, roles, and responsibilities) geared to enable value creation? Can activity be clearly mapped to roles? Do you have complex approval requirements that mean requests and decisions must be escalated up the hierarchy before action is taken? 

Governance: Do your governance structures balance flexibility versus risk? Are people free to make decisions and adapt the way they work? To accelerate delivery, decision-making should be devolved to as close to where the work happens as possible, without compromising IT governance.

CultureIs your culture collaborative? Are people focused on delivering value to customers, or operating processes and technologies? Are they focused on achieving the goals of the business or simply going through the motions? Do people strive to continuously improve what they do, or are they afraid of change? Culture can have a profound impact on the success of your organization.

Communication: Do your communication practices support teams working together to deliver value? What is the potential impact on the customer if stakeholders fail to communicate? Do you have digital collaboration tools in place to enable good communication across distributed teams and home workers? And do people know how to use them to get the best results?

Capacity: Do you have enough people to support your practices/capabilities? Are human capacity bottlenecks slowing down value delivery? IT process automation and service automation can help you “do more with less”, but you will always need people. Automation can help you focus people on the kinds of tasks that still need human intervention.

Competence: Are your people trained to operate and manage services and value streams in an efficient manner? Where can weaknesses be remedied with education? How do you go about finding areas where more training is required? In many organizations, staff training isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. If you want services to get better, training has to be part of the solution.

Interfaces: What are the face-to-face and digital touchpoints between teams? Do these support the flow of your value streams? If these don’t work well (for example, incomplete information being handed over), you will not benefit from a “clean” process flow. Friction at the interfaces between teams can be a source of confusion and rework, slowing down the who value chain and delaying delivery to the customer.

Balancing the four dimensions 

Singular focus on any one dimension causes issues across other dimensions. The key to balancing the four dimensions is to consider all factors when designing services; not as an afterthought. When a service value stream changes, all four dimensions should be re-considered. If not, the value chain may become unstable. Considering all the factors when applying change will help you to maintain an equilibrium throughout the lifetime of a service.





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