How to read the ITIL version 3 Service Strategy book

My colleague Ross has suggested a technique for dealing with the density of the new ITIL version 3 Service Strategy book.

His proposal: read the diagrams, then work your way back into the text sufficient to understand them. For those of us who are graphical rather than textual it makes a lot of sense (and the older I get the less patience I have with text). I tried it and it works for me. Just as soon as he gives me the book back I'll test it all the way through. Tell us how it works for you....


The Official Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle

An alternative to ploughing through the Service Strategy book is to get the 'Official Introduction'. I got my copy yesterday and I'm delighted with it. It is small and light enough to be easy to take with me and it gives a good high-level introduction to the other five volumes.

This is particularly valuable in the case of the Service Strategy book (which it seems most people agree is in need of a re-write). There are clear diagrams and the chapter at the back on the 'ITIL Service Management Model' has a whole set of very good descriptive diagrams. Reading the short chapter in this book made much more sense of the

I'd certainly recommend anybody to read this book before any of the main volumes. Once you've digested this it is then a matter of dipping into the main books to get a more in-depth picture on particular subjects of interest.

Strangely this book was not, unlike the five core books, submitted by TSO or OGC to the itSMF to be endorsed. It carries an itSMF logo on the back, but that's only as a result of permission from the UK chapter, not as an indication of any endorsement. This is a pity as I'm sure that the itSMF publications committee would have not only endorsed this, but quite likely given some warm reviews...

I'm looking forward to the companion diagrams on the portal ( ) coming out - there isn't a date for that, but I really hope that it is soon! Then I can have a copy of the diagrams for presentation purposes as well.

Congratulations to Sharon and the other authors on a job well done! For me, this book will be, I think, my workhorse for v3, with the core books for reference when needed.

usurping of the IPESC process

There are those who are less than delighted with this usurping of the IPESC process - giving the ITIL V3 Intro book an itSMF logo without IPESC review. I refrained from comment at the time simply because officially IPESC exists to review content produced by itSMF, not content produced by OGC.

(And, frankly, I'm suffering from itSMF-bashing fatigue: the great material keeps coming faster than I can whack it. Another one I just let go was itSMFI's latest annual report).

So in fact if one follows the letter of the law the odd one was the review of the five books by IPESC, not the non-review of the Introduction.

Nevertheless plenty of people saw this as a cosy arrangement and one in the eye for IPESC.

IPESC and ITIL books

Dear Skeptic,
the impression that the ITIL books were a bit of an odd set for IPESC is not supported by the actual facts.

IPESC, the itSMF International Publications Committee, is based on a democratic representation model, with a position for each itSMF chapter ( IPESC has a focus on IT Service Management, which includes ITIL but is not limited to that. IPESC is basically a cooperation of chapters, working together on the development of high quality itSMF publications (see the IPESC page at itSMF International). But IPESC also acknowledges the existence of other high quality publications, produced by third parties. For that acknowledgement, IPESC has created an Endorsement Procedure, that enables the itSMF to formally recognize third-party products that comply with the itSMF quality requirements. Follow the links and you can read the official text on that.
Several non-ITIL publications have received the status of "itSMF International endorsed publication":
- ISO/IEC 20000, a pocket guide
- Metrics for IT Service Management
- Six Sigma for IT Management
- Frameworks for IT Management

A number of non-itSMF third-party publications have also received this status:
- ITIL Small-Scale Implementation (V2)
- the 5 core ITIL V3 books

The fact that the non-itSMF section is still limited to ITIL books is actually a matter of time and focus. The Endorsement Procedure of IPESC clearly states that others than ITIL can also be endorsed: "The IPESC will focus on IT Service Management best practice, including but not exclusive to, ITIL." Actually, IPESC have recently been discussing the options for endorsing other third-party products, and are considering the practical implications now.

The fact that the ITIL V3 books were endorsed by IPESC is therefor completely according to established procedures. I was the project manager for the Endorsement Assessment project and I can assure you that the outcome of the assessment was the result of a well-considered decision of IPESC.

The situation currently is still a bit unbalanced, because the endorsement of third-party products has in practice been limited to ITIL publications - and there are many high quality non-itSMF publications on IT Service Management available in the market. As soon as other third-party publishers have successfully guided their high quality publications through the IPESC Endorsement assessment, this image will be corrected.

Best regards,
Jan van Bon
IPESC Endorsement Officer


Yes, I've heard a little of that sort of rumour, but I don't really understand the whole matter.

I haven't seen the annual report, so I don't know what you are referring to there.

I'm not quite sure where the 'one in the eye for IPESC' comes from. It puzzles me. Why should it be a target for attack? I'm maybe naive, but it seems to have been a successful committee and, though being successful certainly can arouse envy, I haven't, apart from that, seen much that would bring it enemies.

I hope that I will come to understand more of this - I don't really enjoy being puzzled with no resolution!

Hi Peter You can read the

Hi Peter

You can read the annual report on the link I provided. It is a short read that reveals none of the policy or reasoning behind the organisation's activities, just a bald statement of fact. Not even an elucidation of the benefits to the industry (let alone to members). It's a joke. {Dang: I was going to let it go!!!]

If providing the logo to the Introduction book was not a snub of IPESC then how should it be interpreted? Especially in the light of Jan's comment below that shows IPESC think they exist to review such books even if the itSMF executive don't except when it suits them.


> If providing the logo to the Introduction book was not a snub of IPESC then how should it be interpreted?
I really don't know. I understand that, if anybody was upset/envious or whatever enough about the IPESC to want to snub it, then it could, I suppose, be interpreted that way.

I can't see the motivation, though. We are, surely, talking about adults here, aren't we? Are there really people who would wish to do something for that motive? Who would have had the motive (for it would have had to be, I'd imagine, a number of people colluding for the motive you suggest, and that doesn't seem credible to me)? Even if somebody did have that motive, would they really be happy to live with themselves ethically if they actually acted on it?

I'm not saying that you're wrong, I've no idea. I agree with the comment you made before about scepticism. It isn't the same as cynicism, it is a matter of accepting things once you have adequate evidence and a rational explanation. In this case I don't know. I'd love to, but, what I do know doesn't add up. If you have more information that explains it all, I'd be fascinated to hear it.

I don't believe that people do generally act from bad motives. Usually it's a matter of misunderstanding, miscommunication or the same set of circumstances appearing different from different perspectives, seasoned, of course, with things like paranoia and, maybe, envy or fear. We may never know, but I'd wager that, in this particular case, hard as it is for me to see it, there is an explanation that actually shows everybody involved acting from what they saw were good motives at the time.

One of the reasons governance is so important is that, where you have good governance you have an open, transparent, and consultative environment in which secrecy and suspicion find no place to take a hold and grow - so it is much more difficult to have massive misunderstandings. There isn't room for mysterious happenings surrounded by rumour, speculation and a fog of disinformation - which, I suppose, makes such places very tedious for those who dreamed of being secret agents when they grew up...

I look forward to the day

I look forward to the day when the ITIL community has "good governance ... an open, transparent, and consultative environment ".

It may well not have been a deliberate snub. It may just have been a cavalier attitude to the rules. it doesn't seem to demonstrate a respect for IPESC's role. Certainly there is nothing open or transparent about why the decision was taken.

Foundations of ITSM Based on ITIL V3

I ought to have mentioned the excellent publication that is on the way "Foundations of ITSM Based on ITIL V3":

I was actually on the review team and very impressed with this book - that is endorsed by the itSMF.

I'd strongly recommend this as a another workhorse for version 3. This book has the advantage of having evolved from the version 2 Foundations book, so is probably more approachable for anybody wanting a step up to Version 3 in a very approachable format. For me the big surprise and delight was to also have the TSO book we are lucky to have to good books that will appeal to different audiences.

This is a good book to get if you need a clear picture of version three, but don't intend to plough through the five core volumes.

"Foundations" book great

I picked up a copy of the Foundations of ITSM based on V3 at the recent itSMF conference. It's a great way to get the basics of V3 without having to slog thru all 5 books. I'll be teaching the V3 Foundations at the end of this month, and this book is invaluable in my preparation.

What a pity

Isn't it a shame, though, that the diagrams are not more consistent and complete. What a pity that there is not a core set of UML or BPMN diagrams.

the recipe for a complementary publication

Sounds like the recipe for a complementary publication to me :-D

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