Brandon's Notepad

September 8, 2015

ITIL: Foundation Certification


ITIL has become very popular at work, so I am currently studying for the ITIL Foundation certification. This page was created to capture my notes, not only on the exam material itself, but also on my approach to learning it.


Several of my coworkers have passed the ITIL Foundation exam after only a few days of instructor-led training, and I’m a fairly good test taker, so I figured that I’d try self-study first. At work we have access to CBT modules, which are often helpful. Before diving into that, however, I wanted to get an idea of what the material should look like, partly to gain some external verification that the CBT was covering the same topics that I’d see on the exam. To this end, I started watching introductory videos on YouTube. I quickly found that the ITIL training materials are diagram-rich, so I started collecting links to the same or similar diagrams on the Web. I also procured a few additional resources, both online and in print. Finally, producing this page forces me to know the material well enough to organize and present it.

Resources At work, we have access to, which includes a 7.75 hour ITIL Foundation course presented by Mark Thomas. I enjoyed this course thoroughly. The material is covered in a very logical, methodical way that is easy to follow. Mr. Thomas is obviously very passionate about the material he is presenting. His style gives him away, as he speaks like many other SVP/C-level executives I’ve known in the past. I highly recommend the course, and I think that this course alone is worth more than the fee for a one-month subscription to

YouTube. As mentioned above, I started by viewing introductory videos on YouTube, primarily to get familiar with the basic ITIL concepts. Here are a few of the more noteworthy choices:

The last video, recorded by Jesse of Bit2Brain, contained some good insight into the experience of taking the exam. It was comforting to hear how the exam isn’t necessarily difficult depending on your experience, and that this certification is truly meant to be entry level. Incidentally, Jesse highly recommended Mark Thomas’ course on That’s all I really needed to hear before diving in.

Axelos ITIL Glossary. Alexos is the official accreditor of ITIL. They have made available online Glossaries of Terms in a variety of languages. This is very handy, as I reference the definitions to specific terms in my notes here instead of pasting the text directly.

Print Materials. I obtained two print resources at the office:

  • Passing your ITIL Foundation Exam published by TSO (The Stationary Office), Crown Copyright 2009
  • ITIL Foundation (June 2014 ed.) by Global Knowledge Training LLC, copyright 2014

The former covers the 2009 update of ITIL v3, and not the (current) 2011 update, but it looks like the differences are minuscule. The latter is used in the Global Knowledge training course, which is the one my coworkers attended. The material strictly adheres to Axelos guidelines and even contains a printed version of the glossary.

Test Bank. I have considered, but have not yet decided to purchase access to Kaplan’s ITIL 2011 Practice Test.

Exam Overview

The following is a distillation of what I understand the exam to be like. I will reserve details for additional posts linked herein.

Qualification Scheme. Do an image search on ITIL and one of the first diagrams you will see will resemble a pyramid. This is the Qualification Scheme, or at least that’s what it is called in the TSO book. I won’t go into detail about the various levels that must be obtained to become an ITIL Master, but I do want to point out two things. First, this exam covers the bottom layer only. Second, the content covered on this exam is obviously an overview of the five Lifecycle modules and does not appear to cover the Capability modules. The Foundation certification is designed for those who only need a basic understanding of ITIL and the Capabilities stream is the more in-depth of the two. Here are some examples of the Qualification Scheme diagram (with links to their sources):

Introduction to Service Management. More to come…

The Service Lifecycle

Like I said above, the Foundation exam is structured based on the Service Lifecycle and heavy emphasis is placed on its five stages and their various processes and functions and how they interact with one another. Here is a table of Service Lifecycle processes. For the exam, one should be familiar with the definitions found in the glossary for all processes. Those processes listed in italics should be studied in greater detail.

Service Strategy Service Design Service Transition Service Operations Continual Service Improvement
Read My Summary Coming Soon… Coming Soon… Coming Soon… Coming Soon…
  1. Strategy Management
  2. Financial Management
  3. Service Portfolio Management
  4. Demand Management
  5. Business Relationship Management
  1. Design Coordination
  2. Catalog Management
  3. Service Level Management
  4. Capacity Management
  5. Availability Management
  6. Continuity Management
  7. Info Security Management
  8. Supplier Management
  1. Planning & Support (TPS)
  2. Change Management
  3. Service Asset
    & Config Management (SACM)
  4. Release
    & Deploy Management (RADM)
  5. Service Validation
    & Testing (SVT)
  6. Change Evaluation
  7. Knowledge Management (SKMS)
  1. Event Management
  2. Incident Management
  3. Request Fulfillment
  4. Access Management
  5. Problem Management
  1. 7-Step Improvement Process

The stages of the Service Lifecycle are not strictly sequential, like the Waterfall SDLC in application development, but is partially iterative and partially holistic. Services are designed (SD), implemented (ST), and maintained (SO), but all within the scope of a core strategy (SS) and within a spirit of continuous improvement (CSI). Here is how the lifecycle is typically depicted:

Key Definitions

The following is a vocabulary list that I’ve compiled based on the recommendations made in my various study sources. Most of the sources gave more or less the same suggestions. I tried to form logical groupings, but this proved to be difficult considering that these concepts are interrelated in so many ways. Most if not all of the terms and phrases should be found in the ITIL Glossary.

Service (Core, Enabling/Supporting, Enhancing)
Outcome & Value (Utility & Warranty)
Service Management, Service Provider
IT Service & IT Service Management (ITSM)
Service Provider (Types I, II, & III)
Customer (Internal & External)
User / Supplier / Contract
Risk, Governance, Business Case, User Profile
Critical Success Factor (CSF)
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
Metric, Vision, Mission, Objectives
Vital Business Function (VBF)
Pattern of Business Activity (PBA)
Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
Service Level Management (SLM)
Service Level Requirement (SLR)
Service Level Target
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Operational Level Agreement (OLA)
Baseline (Performance)
Process / Function / Role
Assets (Capabilities & Resources)
Assets (Customer vs. Service)
Service Owner
Process Owner/Manager/Practitioner
CSI Manager

Event / Alert / Incident / Problem
Normal Service Operation
Incident (Model, Procedure, Major)
Known Error / Workaround
Escalation (Functional & Hierarchy)
Service Request

Service Desk
Technical Management
IT Operations Management
Application Management

Service Portfolio / Catalog / Pipeline
Service Design Package
Configuration Management System (CMS)
Configuration Item (CI)
Change Advisory Board (CAB & ECAB)
Change, Remediation Plan


ITIL Infographics

I am a big advocate for using comprehensive infographics. “Put it all on one page if you can!” I say. So, here are a few diagrams that do just that

The Big Picture.

Value Creation (Utility & Warranty).

Process Model.

Processes (ITIL v3).


The Service Lifecycle (Alternative View).

RACI Model.

Cross-System Comparisons

COBIT. There are some obvious similarities here. A few graphics are available to show how COBIT functions map to ITIL.

Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF). Look familiar? Yep, Microsoft has created a framework of its own, claiming that it’s simplified process eliminates the problems of top-heavy ITIL. Sounds like a shortcut to me. The upside to this one is that it is free. Here is a comparison.

ISO/IEC 20000. From what I’ve read, ITIL and ISO 20000 are highly compatible.

Just For Fun

Who said ITIL can’t be fun? Here are a few pieces of “fan art” I’ve picked up along the way.

Periodic Table. I used to know the periodic table of elements by heart. I’m not sure I could use this graphic as a way to memorize ITIL, but it certainly is a neat idea.

Map of the ITIL Empire. This map has absolutely nothing to do with the ITIL framework, but it does spark an idea. Why not create a map like this one that shows the interactions between various ITIL functions and processes?

Mass Transit Map. This map, in the style used for mass transit systems, shows tops along the various processes. Interesting idea! I found another version as well.

More to come…

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