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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lifecycle vs. Capability Courses

Now that the ITIL V3 Intermediate certifications are available, I am getting more and more questions about the differences between the Lifecycle and Capability courses. While the content may appear similar, the focus and target audience for each stream is, in fact, very different. And while Foundation provides a good overview of ITIL V3, it is in the Intermediate courses that the processes and stages come to life.

For those who are familiar with the ITIL V2 certification scheme, you can translate Lifecycle and Capability into Service Manager and Practitioner. For those unfamiliar with V2, Lifecycle courses are for those individuals working "on" ITSM implementation and Capability courses are for those individuals working "in" the daily process activities.

Let's start with the Capability courses. The four Capability courses focus on executing and improving existing related processes. The syllabus is more prescriptive and covers a detailed view of the inputs, activities, concepts, metrics and outputs of each process. The target audience includes process managers, line managers and those who will execute the daily activities of one or more process. Capability courses are essentially upgraded equivalents to V2 Practitioner courses

  • Operational Support and Analysis (OSA) = Support and Restore (IPSR)
    (Incident, Problem, Request, Event, Access, Functions)
  • Release, Control and Validation (RCV) = Release and Control (IPRC)
    (Change, Release, Configuration, Evaluation, Validation, Knowledge)
  • Service Offerings and Agreements (SOA) = Agree and Define (IPAD)
    (Service Portfolio, Service Level, Service Catalog, Financial, Supplier, Demand)
  • Planning, Protection and Optimization (PPO) = Plan and Improve (IPPI)
    (Security, Availability, Capacity, Continuity, Risk)

The five Lifecycle (Service Manager) modules are more strategic in nature and focus on implementing an entire stage of the Service Lifecycle. Lifecycle courses emphasize stage and process relationships, roles, responsibilities and implementation considerations. There is very little time spent on process activities. The target audience includes process owners, Lifecycle stage managers, ITSM implementation teams, consultants, stakeholders and anyone else involved in an ITSM project.

The big advantage of the Lifecycle stream is that it is modular. In V2, the only option for advanced implementation certification is within the Service Manager course. With the modular Lifecycle stream, your organization can get "just-in-time" implementation education and certification while building credits towards the ITIL Expert. So, if you are planning to implement Service Operation and Service Transition this year, your project stakeholders can take the Service Operation and Service Transition courses this year. I would however, recommend, that at least one individual from each organization take all of the Lifecycle courses to gain a big picture view of the entire Service Lifecycle.

The Lifecycle and Capability streams both culminate in Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC). The MALC certification exam is the final step to achieving ITIL Expert. MALC looks at the dynamics of the Service Lifecycle with a strong emphasis on organizational change.

Can you mix and match courses from both streams to earn enough credits for the ITIL Expert? Yes - but if you are interested in achieving ITIL Expert, you will need to ensure sufficient broad-based knowledge to succeed in Managing Across the Lifecycle. The Credit Profiler mentioned in my last blog is a good tool for ensuring that your knowledge is balanced and your credits are building.

So, the choice between Lifecycle and Capability courses really depends on where you are in your ITSM journey and what you are trying to achieve in the short term.

1 comment:

  1. I will stick with the Life cycle approach because it has higher appeal for the business leaders. Thank you Jayne, for clarifying the difference between the two modules.