I’ve noticed a tendency to equate ITIL 4’s 34 practices to ITIL v3’s 26 processes. But that is a misconceived notion. A practice is much more than a process. In fact, a practice may leverage many processes to accomplish its goals.
Processes transform defined inputs into defined outputs. By definition, processes have a very limited scope and function.
So, what’s the difference between ‘practices’ and ‘processes’? Think of a 'practice' as a 'capability'.
First, processes support practices. Looking at it from an ITSM perspective, there likely is at least one or more ITIL (and non-ITIL based) processes involved as part of a practice to help an organization perform its work or accomplish an objective.
The practice concept introduced in ITIL 4 provides organizations with the flexibility to leverage ITIL and other approaches for accomplishing their objectives. Although seasoned ITSM practitioners already knew this, following a practice-based approach to service management allows an organization to leverage methodologies like Lean or Agile or others to deliver the outcomes and co-create needed value. Practices enable organizations to be more responsive and adaptable to change. And lastly, practices bring focus to meeting organizational objectives, not only on executing processes.
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