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How I Prepared for ITIL v3 Foundation Exam

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I am considered a veteran in IT service management and ITIL in the organization I work, and in the professional circles that I am a part of. But, many didn’t know that my ITIL foundation certification was in ITIL v2, and not the latest one – ITIL v3. This was true until a week back, I am now certified in ITIL v3 foundation as well.

The organization I work for offered me a chance to take up ITIL v3 expert certification, which is a complicated set of processes consisting of several modules, and the cost of training plus examination runs into six figures. I, as anybody would expect, was interested to do it, but had to pass through the foundation barrier within five days to be eligible for the big fish. Well, I took on the challenge, prepared for a couple of days, after office hours mostly, and passed the exam quite comfortably.

The only book that I referred was the official introduction to ITIL service lifecycle, published by OGC. This book is everything, complete and filled with clarity. Of course, I had the luxury of working in the service management field for close to a decade, and am aware of a number of processes like the back of my hand.

For those with no background of ITIL, it maybe a little difficult to follow the concepts and visualizations provided in the book. I refer a simpler guide written for the foundation examination – Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam – The ITIL Foundation Study Aid Book.

ITIL v3 foundation is an easy certification to get through. It is not complex and questions are not tricky and confusing for the most part. If you understand the concepts of ITIL v3 service lifecycle, consider this certification in the bag.

I knew ITIL v2 very well. For me, the challenge was unlearning ITIL v2, and getting to know ITIL v3. When I started reading the service lifecycles, I was happy that I didn’t have to unlearn anything but had to map processes in a different set of matrices.

ITIL v3 starts from the very beginning as in Genesis, and goes the entire cycle – with the exception of not seeing the end of the days – as in Revelations. It brings into a perspective that was never there with ITIL, and this perhaps rekindled my interest in IT service management, and am looking forward to the crown of ITIL Expert.

If you have some ITIL experience, start reading the book that I recommended, introduce an imaginary service that you like to be your test subject, and run it all the way through the lifecycles. The five service lifecycles are service strategy, service design, service transition, service operations and continual service improvement.

Let’s say that I am into the business of running electricity – a service that everybody leverages upon. So, the first lifecycle plans a strategy of how I want to plan the service, what the guidelines would be, where the company would like to take the service towards, what kind of business goals they would like to achieve through this electricity service.

Once the strategies are in place, I need to design the service. Will Irun it on nuclear fuel or thermal? How do I plan maintenance, how many skilled people do you need to do the job and so on? After the design is approved and cleared, it is implemented as a part of service transition lifecycle, and the service operations cycle ensures that the status quo is maintained as long as the service is active. The last phase, continuous service improvement will ensure that the service will continue to improve on a regular basis. An example could be improving the reliability of the service provided.

This is the core of ITIL v3, taking a service from the nascent stage to a place where the service matures on a regular basis.

If you have never worked on ITIL before, and plan to take it on, get one of the examination guides, preferably the one that I have referred, and learn what you need to know to pass the exam. The real knowledge of ITIL will embark on you when you start to work in it.

I hope this blurb was helpful to those looking to take the exam, if you have questions on ITIL or on the foundation examination, do the honors through the comment engine placed below this article.

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Abhinav Kaiser
Abhinav Kaiser is an author and a management consultant. He has authored Reinventing ITIL in the Age of DevOps, Become ITIL Foundation Certified in 7 Days and Workshop in a Box: Communication for IT Professionals. He works as an agile/devops coach in one of the top consulting firms. He advises businesses, organizations and enterprises in the areas of DevOps, IT service management and agile project management frameworks.

5 thoughts on “How I Prepared for ITIL v3 Foundation Exam

  1. Hi Abhinav,
    This article is give me the confidence for achive ITIl v3 Foundation.
    I already have 6 years in IT . Complete service industry for 3 years for large volume Singapore retail industry. Next week Iam going to be start ITIL training and after read this article now feel more better . As you said I had the ITIL experience can help for this cert.


    Prasanna SP

  2. hi abhinav sir,
    I am new to itil ,
    This post is good about itil v3 exam preparation.
    i want to learn about itil process…could you post some good books names here.
    Thank you sir..

  3. I am planning to get ITIL V3 certified.

    i have around 26 months of experience in Service Management.

    Can u guide me how should i go ahead to make a career out of it.

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