Focus on Value

I’ve been reading through the ITIL Foundation, ITIL 4 edition recently. 

In this updated guide, I love the 7 Guiding principles

  1. Focus on value
  2. Start where you are
  3. Progress iteratively with feedback
  4. Collaborate and promote visibility
  5. Think and work holistically
  6. Keep it simple and practical
  7. Optimize and automate. 

The guiding principles resonate with the way that I try to work. These guiding principles, when applied, will ensure that you are focused on the customer and always taking small steps forward for their benefit. 

Focus On Value

The first guiding principle in the list is Focus on Value. Generally, the traditional way of determining value is what you (the person facilitating the project) think will be valuable to the stakeholders. After gathering requirements and gathering user input, the project delivers “value.” Unfortunately, this value is the opinion of the project leader, based on the picture and story that they have in their mind. And often, the value that the project delivers isn’t what the users value at all. Focusing on value in the ITIL 4 Edition is focused on the value that the end-user or customer feels. 

There are a few questions that can help you focus on delivering value to the customer. Ask:

  1. What is the customer trying to accomplish? If you can help them achieve their goals, you will have provided something that they value. 
  2. What do they need from me [to accomplish their goals]? You will be valuable to your customers if you are the person who makes it easier for them to get where they are going. 
  3. What specific actions will I take today? After asking the first two questions, the steps that you choose will be focused both on what the customer is trying to accomplish, and delivering what they need.

Value is usually about the customer experience, not the product that you deliver. If a customer feels that you have provided them with value, then you have supplied value. If the stakeholder doesn’t think that there is value in the change you made, no matter how amazing it is, then you haven’t delivered value. 

Focus on value. Value is defined in the eye of the receiver. Understand what is valuable to your stakeholders and deliver that value.