Sunday, October 18, 2009

ITIL: The Hitchhiker's Guide to ITIL - Preface

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to ITIL – EXAM Preparation Guide

Part I of too many ...

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, or the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to Change. This must be true, as indeed, we as human species do not seem to be most intelligent, and we do seem to change our minds roughly every 4.2 nanoseconds.

Charles Darwin (a very funny guy with a beard)

It Depends!

Okay, long awaited and finally here! Get yourself a comfortable chair, two bags of chips, a diet-coke, your reading glasses, and a truck filled with enthusiasm, motivation, good sense of humour (you’ll need it) and at least a reasonable amount of passion for IT Service Management. Sit back and immerse yourself in the 3rd and a wee-bit dimension – the dimension that is called ITIL (by some). Your sanity may depend on it, and you may just be in time to catch the 9:25 from London to Amsterdam. And no, most coffee shops in Amsterdam do not serve any coffee. They serve grass, and not to cows for that matter. The latter all became a bit mad.

This document can be used as a reference guide or study tool when preparing for the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation Exam. It can also be used as paperweight, wall-paper, ammunition, campfire fuel, nutrition, candy, drawing paper for the kiddies, table-leg anti-wobbling device, and I’m sure all the secrets of the Multiverse will be hidden in the text in some sort of alien language (Daleks and the Borg are extremely likely to be involved) – you just have to look long enough – I mean r e a l l y, r e a l l y, r e a l l y, l o n g ....

The ITIL Code

Surely someone on this crowded planet is currently writing “The ITIL Code” which will reveal the true location of the Holy Grail, alter Earth’s rotation, or beam us all to a small magical Chinese shop selling Gremlins and the like. This guide is fun, and I guess that’s why so many organisations are so desperately trying to copy it. Yes, especially you out there, so called public training providers – go and create your own courseware please, and start using your own brains.

Some organisations also refer to the ITIL Foundation Exam as ITIL Essentials Exam or ITIL Fundamentals Exam. We’ll stick to the first one: ITIL Foundation Exam. So, for those who didn’t immediately get the message: “It’s a Foundation Guide” and this means it doesn’t go into all those details you may well be looking for, although personally I have all intention to go a bit beyond the current ITIL exam syllabus, as it seems to be getting easier and easier all the time, which makes me wonder of the actual value of any ITIL v3 certification that’s out there. Any 12 year old kid should be able to pass the ITIL v3 Foundation exam that’s based on the exam syllabus v4.2. Fortunately they (I mean those 12 year old kids) have something better to do, like playing World of Warcraft (boys) or checking out the boys playing WoW (girls).


Anyway you will not need to stick a Babel-fish in your ear to understand the ITIL language, although they are very nice creatures, just a wee bit temperament-full . This document will be clear (well - hopefully to some of you), concise and mainly in English. The author has a Swiss-Dutch-Polish-Australian background and hence, is totally and utterly confused. Translations in Martian, Arabic, Hebrew, and other more Earth like languages will be available on request. Translation time is exactly 42 years, 42 minutes and 42 seconds, and all requests for translation will need to be submitted in tenfold to Harry Potter himself, as he seems to receive quite a lot of mail delivered by those mutated corkscrew-head pigeons called owls. Yes, you’ve guessed it right: the answer is always 42 – the question itself is irrelevant. We so called IT Service Management consultants like to provide answers and solutions and rarely listen to the question anyway. Be aware of any organisation that starts with "we are a leading provider". If they were we would already know it, and hence they must be lying to you!

This document is not intended to cover the full ITIL Foundation course as provided by me or any of my partners, although it is getting pretty close and hopefully better each time it is revised (also a bit longer and maybe even a bit funnier). You will need to follow the online distance education course on SecondLife or with any respected university out there (e.g. Charles Sturt University), to reap the full benefits that such a, educational session has to offer.

Make sure you drink lots of coffee (and if possible something a lot stronger) before attending classes with any public training provider. Classroom based training provides you with the opportunity to punch the instructor on the nose in the event you don’t like him or her. Extensive research has proven that "the punching on the nose" may work quite well for those in stress. The punch is also considered the only advantage of classroom based training.

What the heck happened to the Information bit!

ITIL is all about People, Processes, Products, and since ITIL version 3 also about Partners (the Quad-P balance). I wonder what happened to the Information bit in ITIL! You won’t meet other people or hear the stories of their products by reading this document only. You’ve got to meet people in real, shake their hands, and kiss them on the cheeks (keep punching those trainers on the nose). If you’re in a public training course where you feel you’re slowly but surely falling asleep, then walk out and have a chat with me – I use shock enabled remote-electrocution chairs. It’s a lot of fun I can tell you – especially when you’re the one allowed to press the shock buttons.

The Surgeon

A more complete description of ITIL is provided within the latest version of the ITIL library; version 3 and a wee bit. This latest library consists of 5 core volumes, and an introductory volume, which seems quite pleasant reading material. The books are “owned” by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC -, and published/printed by The Stationary Office (TSO – Both organisations are located in the United Kingdom, and secretly managed by a guy who calls himself simply the Surgeon and travels in a multi-dimensional time-travelling teapot on two spoons of sugar. Other ITIL volumes from the two previous versions are also available, but fall outside the scope of this document. Nevertheless - these older ITIL volumes - are still worthwhile reading, especially the Planning to Implement IT Service Management (ITIL v2) and ICT Infrastructure Management (ITIL v2) volumes. That is of course, if you’re extremely, extremely bored and have too much time on your hands. There’s nothing wrong with ITIL versions one or two, but people need to make money and hence keep rewriting common sense stuff and tell everyone how complex the Universe is. I honestly wonder why good practices have to change every so many years – that doesn’t make it good practice, or does it?

All empty promises!

In the not too distant future more comprehensive summaries of ITIL, ISO20K, ISO38K5, ISO27K1, MOF and CobiT will be provided for those self-masochists following more Service Lifecycle and/or more generic Service Management courses. These documents are due to be released mid/end 20009 (the extra zero is not a typo), although we keep all rights to delay this release date. Restaurants, lots of wine, beer, holidays, cruises, fantasy and science fictions books and fancy dinners are also mighty important (and donuts of course – the crispy creamy ones)!

Rusty coffee kettles

Please realise that "IsleBeeBach" is a relatively new blogger (time is after all relative), and consists solely of the author – that’s me – sitting behind this keyboard (that's this one), and only works 24 hours a day, but sleeps twice a day. Occasionally where unpredictable and unstable holes in the space-time continuum allow this may be extended to 24¼, but not a minute more! A request to clone the author has been submitted, but unfortunately was denied due to a prematurely discovered ITIL-insanity syndrome. That is what too much ITIL does to people nowadays!

ITIL and string theory

Ouch! Also crossbreeding ITIL with string theory (using 11¾ dimensions), general relativity and quantum mechanics hasn’t delivered many useful outputs as yet, not taking into account one rusty coffee kettle that refuses to whistle when it’s called upon, and the aforementioned teapot, but it’s recommended keeping an eye on the ITIL news pages, as one may never know what surprises the future may keep in stock.

This document - and all its brethren - contains tips (you’ll have to look hard for them though), tricks, resources and templates that can be studied in more detail at a place and time convenient to the reader – preferably on or near the beach. It can be used as a study-tool or future reference. I would probably not even read it, but since you're still here - what the heck - just keep going!

Did I mention "value" already?

At some stage this document, used together with my other online resources should become sufficient to pass the ITIL Foundation Exam (and likely all ITIL exams). More and more feedback proves this is already the case. As the author, I do not think there is enough online material available as yet, but with your support and feedback I am sure this will be possible to accomplish in the not too distant future (early 20009). This document is a “darticle” and as such a very dynamic article – it seems to grow continuously and sometimes even makes spontaneous genetic changes due to cosmic background radiation. Its future may be that of a hair dryer, electric toothbrush, or 8.4873 meters of dental floss. Your feedback is appreciated and I'll use it to fix up all my typos.

Applications to reuse, reproduce or republish any material in this publication should be addressed to God, Allah, or Om. I'm sure they won't approve it! Their wrath won't be as merciful as mine.

The Office of Government Commerce

Please also note that the ITIL-brand is owned by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). I have no intention to copy what has already been written in their manuals, but I would like to enable you to learn, understand and adopt ITIL in less than a 1750 pages (1+5 books), and using a less formal (sleep-inducing) and academic language (yes, ITIL v3 seems a lot more academic than its more pragmatic predecessors). Anyway, I still acknowledge OGC for their "incredible" effort to get the ITIL knowledge and experience together in a relatively small library of books. The library seems to get smaller in each revision (page-number wise), which means that in October 2029 there will be no more ITIL left! Maybe OGC should be considering adding a couple of pages every now and again, as a singularity (point in space without any size) seems to be its ultimate destiny.

The intention of this document - and its brethren - is to become an up-to-date resource for all those that are interested in the topic of ITIL or more generically in the topic (IT) Service Management with the main purpose of passing one or more ITIL exams. This document must not be used by any public training organisations, unless they have received written approval from IsleBeeBach. A deadly curse awaits those that do copy contents without approval! This excludes any extraterrestrial life forms, as they would be considered pretty cool. Are you listening E.T.?


Please check this blog regularly for updated, even more surrealistic, versions of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to ITIL, dubbed H2I3 (your IT life-water). This document will be fully revised when ITIL v4 (nicknamed ITIL PBNR) becomes available. Oh sorry, ITIL PBNR that stands for “ITIL Point (read singularity) Beyond No Return”. That’s how good it will be – according to some, or maybe even better! You really, really don't want to know what I think of it all - honestly - you don't! Maybe my answer is e-ITIL (see one of the previous blogs).

For those without a life!

The following resources can, and maybe should, be used as additional literature when studying for the ITIL Foundation or other ITIL related exams:

Resource, ISBN, Price
Service Strategy, 0113310455, £85.00*
Service Design, 0113310471, £85.00*
Service Transition, 011331048X, £85.00*
Service Operation, 0113310463, £85.00*
Continual Service Improvement, 0113310498, £85.00*

The Official Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle, 0113310617, £30.00*

(*These also make perfect paperweights!)

It’s unclear why the library wasn’t published as a "simple" single book, but a very bright student once made the remark: “Can you call one book a library?” I guess he answered this question in quite a remarkable and unexpected way.


All books can be purchased directly from the itSMF (IT Service Management Forum) website with a nice discount if you are or become a member. You should become a member of the itSMF and join the ITIL Force. The itSMF seems to attract a lot of members with first name Luke and Leia, and some members wear black breathing masks and long black cloaks for a yet unexplained reason. You can also order copies of the full Hitchhiker’s Guide to ITIL via this author. And "no", I'm not a member anymore!

The “real” ITIL v3 books are available in printed format, but are also available in full electronic (hyperlinked) format. Nowadays they can be purchased from most large (academic) bookstores (e.g. Dymocks), or they can be ordered from the itSMF (it Service Management Forum) website. The itSMF is the IT Service Management user community and it is highly recommended to become a member of this organisation when working in Service Management space.

Also see

In the next section I'll introduce ITIL, but then again, maybe I won't. The remainder of the document will then discuss the individual examination areas into more detail, although not as detailed as the original ITIL books (or PDFs). This could be seen as a slight (understatement) advantage though.

Damn, more toothpaste on my keyboard

When the author, who is currently brushing his teeth, and dripping toothpaste all over his keyboard, finds some extra spare time, more paragraphs will be added on topics such as Costs, Inputs, Outputs, Vision, Mission, Cultural Change, Tools, ITIL Implementation, Leadership, Managing a Successful ITIL project, Maturity Assessments, and little green bugs that crawl under your bed at night. It’s amazing what ideas pop up in your head at 3am in the morning.

You may be asking yourself the question is this guide worthwhile reading, as the author seems to be a bit weird – well, no one forces you to, but I guess it’s less depressing than reading your average daily newspaper.

Little ants

I’m very grateful to the little ants that are crawling over my desk right now, although I’m not quite sure why and would also like to express my gratitude to all those bipeds involved in deciphering and quality assessing my cryptic sometimes even alien language and for adding their mega-trillions of years of IT Service Management knowledge, skills and attitude to this guide. No, I won't say what thoughts just popped up in my mind.

If you find any issues or typos in this document then please let me know and I may well add you to the list of endangered and/or highly dangerous species. After all ITIL v3 doesn't have "any" typos or mistakes in the books, and they were written and edited by hundreds of extremely well paid professionals.

Happy reading and don’t forget:

ITIL is VITIL (doh – I meant VITAL)!

You will be ITIL-ised , resistance is utterly and completely futile.

You will be infected with the highly contagious ITIL-itis virus.

ITIL is not a bible, but a collection of common sense good and best practices.

Life is too short as it is, so let’s make it a bit of fun whilst we can!

ITIL is common sense for sensible people!

Again many happy (or not so happy, as after all, this is management stuff) reading hours,

Cybercatalyst, Animatrist and Virtualiser
Making a Difference!

To boldy use the infinity and beyond force on two teaspoons of yin 阴 and yang 阳.

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Do you want to see more of the Hitchhiker's Guide on this blog, then you'll have to leave some feedback. The guide is approximately 400 pages in total, and I'll share it with you all, but need to understand whether or not it's something you're looking for.

ITIL ® is a Registered Trade Mark, and a Registered Community Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce, and is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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