by Bill Cunningham

I wrote in a previous introductory ITIL 4 blog post that there was no mention of the ITIL Version 3 Lifecycle in the new version, and expressed hope that it might make its way into the intermediate materials.

Of course, upon a bit of further reflection, I have come to see the underlying Lifecyle concept is front and center – it’s just now called the ‘Service Value Chain (SVC)’ and it is clearly embedded as the keystone of the Service Value System (SVS).


I get why this was done – and once you get used to abandoning stuff you are familiar with, it makes a lot of sense.

The SVS is explicitly NOT a linear concept- there can be iterations and interactions and feedback throughout the system and between the parts of the Value Chain

  • Of course, this was true of the Lifecycle as well- but that’s not how it was necessarily taught and interpreted and applied.
  • The Service Value Chain makes this more clear now.

The Service Value Chain is a modular design. In other words there is NOT just ONE ‘Service Value Chain’ – it is expected that an organization would have several, or more.

  • Again – this was true of the Lifecycle as well… but… the whole modular concept is more explicitly central to the SVC.

The Processes – er.. Practices – have been decoupled from the stages of the Lifecycle — er.. Service Value Chain.

  • This helps enforce the non-linearity of the system. For example, Change Management (er… Change Control) was never intended to apply to ONLY Service Transition. But, since it was covered in that volume that was a frequent misinterpretation. Now, it is not associated with any specific phase of the Lifecycle/Service Value Chain.
  • To emphasize — this is much closer to the reality of how this should all work in practice.

So I understand why the term ‘Lifecycle’ has not appeared (so far) in the ITIL 4 materials. It helps to emphasize the nonlinear, interconnected nature of the overall management system defined by the framework.

And – really – you don’t have to work too hard to link the parts of the Service Value Chain concepts back to the ol’ LifeCycle. And- we’re going to have to do this, at least for a while, because – as I keep saying- we are still waiting on the intermediate guidance. So- don’t throw out your old V3 books just yet (or ever!)



Bill is just one of our ITIL Experts at Service Catalyst. We would love to discuss with you how you might lay the groundwork to realize the benefits from ITIL or any of the other frameworks discussed in this article. You can contact us at or call us at +1.888.718.1708