Overview of the Service Lifecycle

ITIL V3 approaches service management from the lifecycle aspect of a service. The service lifecycle is an organizational model that provides insight into:

  • The way service management is structured.
  • The way the various lifecycle components are linked to each other.
  • The impact that changes in one component will have on other components and on the entire lifecycle system.

Thus, ITIL V3 focuses on the service lifecycle, and the way service management components are linked. Processes and functions are also discussed in the lifecycle phases.

The service lifecycle consists of five phases. Each volume of the core ITIL books describes one of these phases. The related processes and functions are described in detail in the phase where they have the strongest association. The five phases are:

  1. Service Strategy - The phase of strategic planning of service management capabilities, and the alignment of service and business strategies. 
    Processes and functions:
    • Financial management
    • Service portfolio management
    • Demand management
    • Business Relationship Management

  2. Service Design - The phase of designing and developing appropriate IT services, including architecture, processes, policy and documents; the design goal is to meet the current and future business requirements.
    Processes and functions:
    • Service catalogue management
    • Service level management
    • Capacity management
    • Availability management
    • IT service continuity management
    • Information security management
    • Supplier management
    • Design Coordination

  3. Service Transition - The phase of realizing the requirements from previous stages, and improving the capabilities for the transition of new and modified services to production.
    Processes and functions:
    • Transition planning and support
    • Change management
    • Service asset and configuration management
    • Release and deployment management
    • Service validation and testing – Evaluation
    • Knowledge management

  4. Service Operation - The phase of achieving effectiveness and efficiency in providing and supporting services in order to ensure value for the customer and the service provider.
    Processes and functions:
    • Event management
    • Incident management
    • Request fulfillment
    • Problem management
    • Access management
    • Monitoring and control
    • IT operations
    • Service desk

  5. Continual Service Improvement - The phase of creating and maintaining the value for the customer by design improvement, and service introduction and operation.
    Functions and processes:
    • The 7-step improvement process (CSI Improvement Process)
    • Service reporting

Service Strategy is the axis of the service life cycle  that drives all other phases; it is the phase of policy making and setting objectives. The Service Design, Service Transition and Service Operation phases are guided by this Strategy, their continual theme is adjustment and change. The Continual Service Improvement phase stands for learning and improving, and embraces all other lifecycle phases. This phase initiates improvement programs and projects, and prioritizes them based on the strategic objectives of the organization.

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