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Continual Improvement (ITIL 4)

Parent Process Reference Framework: ITIL 4

Service Value Stream Activities

Highly impacted Service Value System(SVS) Activities:

  • Plan
  • Engage
  • Obtain/Build
  • Design and Transition
  • Deliver and Support
  • Improve 


The purpose of the continual improvement practice is to align the organization’s practices and services with changing business needs through the ongoing improvement of products, services, and practices, or any element involved in the management of products and services.: 

  • Plan The continual improvement practice is applied to planning activities, methods, and techniques to make sure they are relevant to the organization’s current objectives and context. 
  • Improve The continual improvement practice is key to this value chain activity. It structures resources and activities, enabling improvement at all levels of the organization and the SVS. 
  • Engage, design and transition, obtain/build, and deliver and support Each of these value chain activities is subject to continual improvement, and the continual improvement practice is applied to all of them. 

Included in the scope of the continual improvement practice is the development of improvement-related methods and techniques and the propagation of a continual improvement culture across the organization, in alignment with the organization’s overall strategy. The commitment to and practice of continual improvement must be embedded into every fibre of the organization. If it is not, there is a real risk that daily operational concerns and major project work will eclipse continual improvement efforts. 

Key activities that are part of continual improvement practices include: 

  • encouraging continual improvement across the organization 
  • securing time and budget for continual improvement 
  • identifying and logging improvement opportunities 
  • assessing and prioritizing improvement opportunities 
  • making business cases for improvement action 
  • planning and implementing improvements 
  • measuring and evaluating improvement results 
  • coordinating improvement activities across the organization 

The continual improvement practice is integral to the development and maintenance of every other practice as well as to the complete lifecycle of all services and indeed the SVS itself. That said, there are some practices that make a special contribution to continual improvement. For example, the organization’s problem management practice can uncover issues that will be managed through continual improvement. The changes initiated through continual improvement may fail without the critical contributions of organizational change management. And many improvement initiatives will use project management practices to organize and manage their execution 

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