Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book Review: Foundations of ITIL v3

AFTER MAKING THE CHOICE TO SELF-STUDY for the ITIL v3 Foundation Exam (as opposed to paying for a prep course), the next decision was to find study materials.  My colleagues who'd obtained the Foundation certification had done so via prep courses offered by their employers, so unfortunately they weren't very helpful in recommending study texts.  So, after reading a dozen or so reviews of different texts on Amazon, I settled on Van Haren Publishing's Foundations of ITIL v3.

The book comes with study questions at the end of each chapter and then a comprehensive practice exam at the end.   The actual ITIL Foundation exam is scored Pass/Fail, consists of 40 multiple choice questions, and only requires a score of 65% to pass.  I supplemented the study guide questions with those at  And reading the book twice and taking practice tests until I was able to get an 80% consistently on the exam (after about 2 weeks of study), I registered for the real test.  (On the real test, I ended up scoring a 76%.  Which is to say, the test questions were of comparable difficulty as the actual test.)

For project managers who have obtained the PMP certification and are familiar with PMI's PMBOK text, you are familiar with how dry and abstract body of knowledge/best-practice texts can be.  Foundations of ITIL v3, while not ITIL's 'official' body of knowledge, reads with the same abstractness.  Since there are few real-world examples in the text, this type of abstractness can pose as a barrier to making connections among the various concepts and in determining what is, or isn't, important.  The text is laden with acronyms and definitions and Visio-inspired pictures, which can be abstruse if you've never worked within an ITIL-practicing organization.  Fortunately, I had worked in a (few) ITIL-practicing organizations. :-)

As with PMI's PMP exam, you are advised to not rely on your workplace experience to answer questions, but to instead answer questions in the manner in which ITIL prescribes.  I agree that this is true, but it does help to have worked in an organization that has a service desk, that uses a Change Control Board, that has roles for Transition Manager, etc. as this helps to put meat on the concepts, making them more digestible.

The book is organized into the five phases of the Service Lifecycle (pictured above).  Needless to say, the names of these 5 core areas should be memorized, and, while you don't need to memorize the corresponding processes and functions within each, you should at least be conceptually familiar with the process and function definitions.

Click on each link for tips on preparing for each core area.

All in all, the book, paired with the practice questions from was more than capable of prepping me for the exam.  I give up two thumbs up.


Anonymous said...

The ITIL - Framework is used by organizations worldwide to improve the capabilities in service management. The capabilities represent any service oriented organization's total capacity, confidence and competency for action

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