ITIL - Service management lifecycle Tutorial

Welcome to the first chapter of the ITIL Foundation tutorial (part of the ITIL® Foundation Certification Training). This chapter gives an overview of how the different components or phases of service management lifecycle interact.


After completing this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Identify the components or phases of service management lifecycle

  • Explain the relationship between governance and ITSM

Components of Service Management Lifecycle

There are five components or phases of service management lifecycle.

These are:

  • Service strategy

  • Service design

  • Service transition

  • Service operation

  • Continual service improvement

Service strategy

A service management lifecycle starts with the service strategy. This is the time when an organization decides what services they should offer to have a competitive advantage in the market. So in this phase, questions such as what service to provide and why will someone pay for the services, are addressed.

Service design

The next phase of the service lifecycle is service design, where specific design related decisions are taken. Questions, such as what is the user base, will the services be offered 24/7 or will they be provided for a certain time period, are addressed in this phase.

Service transition

Once all service design related decisions are taken, the focus shifts to the service transition phase. This is the stage of making the service available to its target user base.

Service operation

The next phase of the service lifecycle is service operation. When users encounter any problem while accessing the service, service operation takes care of resolving their problems. So the aim of service operation is to ensure that a service runs uninterrupted.

Continual service improvement

This phase is common to all the phases discussed so far. Continual service improvement is the process of continuously monitoring a service and making sure that service quality or effectiveness has improved. This is done by collecting data on how the service has functioned over a period of time.

This is a process that goes on throughout the lifecycle of a service. It is the Service Owner who is responsible for continual service improvement.

The image below depicts the lifecycle components in detail.

Interactions in the Service Lifecycle

The image above/below illustrates how the service lifecycle is initiated by a change in the requirements of a business.

These requirements are identified and agreed in the service strategy stage, within a Service Level Package or SLP and a defined set of business outcomes. This is passed to the service design stage where a service solution is produced together with a Service Design Package or SDP.

The Service Design Package includes everything necessary to take this service through the remaining stages of the life cycle. The SDP is passed to the service transition stage, where the service is evaluated, tested and validated.

In this stage, the Service Knowledge Management System or SKMS is updated. The service is also transitioned into the live environment, where it enters the service operation stage.

The continual service improvement identifies opportunities for the improvement of weaknesses or failures at any stage of the life cycle.

Preparing for a career in IT Service? Check out our Course Preview on ITIL Foundation here!

The Relationship between Governance and ITSM

Now we will focus on the relationship between governance and IT Service Management or ITSM.

The image demonstrates how corporate governance is related to IT Service Management.

Corporate governance

Corporate governance deals with establishing corporate policies, strategic directions, and objectives. It also includes the identification of critical success factors and key result areas for an organization.

Corporate compliance

Corporate governance ensures that strategies and business plans are in place. Corporate compliance assures the governance of all legal, industrial and regulatory rules being followed while executing the corporate strategy.

IT governance

IT governance establishes, enables and executes the IT strategy. It establishes operations to assure that high-quality, compliant IT services are provided. Such governance also ensures that the IT organization meets key result areas.

IT compliance

IT compliance is a part of corporate compliance. It provides assurance to IT governance that all the IT policies, directions, processes, controls and rules are being complied with.

IT Service Management

IT Service Management aids in implementing and managing quality IT services that meet the needs of the business that is under the control of governance.


Let us summarise what we have learned in this chapter:

  • The five components of service management lifecycle are service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and continual service improvement.

  • Continual service improvement identifies opportunities to improve the failures at any stage of the service lifecycle.

  • Corporate governance deals with setting up corporate policies, strategic directions and identifying critical success factors for an organization.

  • IT Service Management helps implement quality IT services that meet the needs of a business.

Curious about the ITIL Foundation course? Watch our Course Preview for free!


Next, in the second chapter, we will learn about Service Strategy.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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