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Many of the managers we work with have ITIL qualifications or at least some good experience of it. While we provide an overview of some of the lessons learnt from managers implementing ITIL, including some things to look out for, we are interested in how we can take IT operational excellence to the next level.

To this end, we focus on continual service improvement and how some other techniques such as Lean IT (focusing on reducing waste) and Six Sigma (focusing on statistical analysis), can help to improve performance.

We have also used our privileged position of working with hundreds of IT managers, to bring together their lessons learnt, particularly in the area of continual service improvement.

The module on IT operational excellence covers the following topics:

Continual service improvement

Day 4 of the Excellent IT Management course looks at a number of techniques in overview, including ITIL, Six Sigma and Lean IT and the relative merits of each one. The key principles are brought together in a highly successful, interactive, and stimulating case study.

Teams of delegates put together plans and ideas for transforming a case study organization. The exercise emphasizes skills in continual improvement, operational excellence, innovation and delivering to business priorities.

Topics include:

  • Continual Service Improvement (CSI) models
  • An overview of different frameworks, including ITIL, Six Sigma and Lean IT
  • Top level guidelines for implementing ITIL
  • How Six Sigma and Lean IT can improve your operations
  • Techniques of root cause analysis
  • Examples and guidelines of Continual Service Improvement

Crisis leadership

All technology leaders need to manage crisis situations at some time. This module focuses on the essential skills for resolving crisis situations.

  • Preparing for major (technology) incidents
  • Identifying your biggest risks
  • Drawing up your crisis big picture
  • Managing major incidents
  • Leading in crisis — the art of communication
  • Role play ‘Handling difficult situations’ — media simulation


To find out more about the location and dates for courses near you, click on the link for your region.

Some thoughts on operational excellence

As far as repeatable processes are concerned, there are a number of frameworks and standards that can act as a guide. By far the most widely adopted is ITIL. The framework itself keeps being amended and updated, but its intent stays the same, namely to provide a reference for best practice in IT service management.

Over the years ITIL has evolved, and its use has grown. It is globally recognized as the best-practice framework. ITIL’s universal appeal is that it continues to provide a set of processes and procedures that are efficient, reliable, and adaptable to organizations of all sizes, enabling them to improve their own service provision. Many millions of exams have now been taken on ITIL in over 120 countries.

Some organizations have been using it for over twenty years therefore. But one of the key challenges we come across is how to move out of current thinking and ask some more radical out of the box questions about how to really improve service. And hence why we discuss Lean IT and its focus on reducing waste, and Six Sigma, with its emphasis on statistical analysis.

Service value is measured by the extent to which the service meets customer expectations, and the perceived value should be higher than the cost of obtaining the service. We also look at how business users and stakeholders value IT and how to optimize it.

  • Request a complementary download of the chapter on "IT operational excellence and crisis leadership" from "Excellent IT Management" by David McKean

  • Feel free to ask us if you have an IT management question (training or non-training related). We have a large trusted private network of over over 800 IT managers we can call on to help.