PMP Meets ITIL and Says, “YES!”

By Brian Shaw, PMP, ITIL Foundations, LogicsOne

Successful IT project management professionals are making continuing education the norm. Neither IT ecosystems nor the tools for managing projects are static, and as a result, we must actively build skills to evolve with business needs. Furthermore, by achieving certifications we demonstrate competency within the marketplace.

The first certification you need as a project manager is your PMP, Project Management Professional certification (For more information visit The body of knowledge for a PMP certification, often referred to by PMBOK ®, provides a framework for: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing projects. This framework provides a common language, set of expectations and guidance for project success. GreenPages-LogicsOne has made PMP certified project managers the standard to ensure consistency and excellence in project management.

Recently a peer recommended I attain the ITIL Foundations certification. ITIL stands for IT Infrastructure Library and provides an approach to IT service management. ITIL offers structure and processes for: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement.

A certification, such as ITIL, for ongoing services may seem like an odd choice for a PMP accustomed to managing projects with a fixed scope and duration, however upon closer review you will discover an ITIL certification fits perfectly with project management. While ongoing services are different from projects the implementation of new or changed services are typically achieved by projects.

New services are brought to life in service transition. Projects in service transition interface with the other stages of the ITIL lifecycle to ensure the vision from service strategy, as outlined in service design, comes to life in service operation. Additionally, opportunities to improve services as identified in the continual service improvement ITIL stage may also become projects.

The ITIL Foundations certification has many benefits to project management professionals practicing within a service organization. Those benefits include:

  • Shared Terminology: Engineers and operations staff may not always know project management terminology, however they are familiar with terms such as incident management, SLA, etc. The knowledge required to gain an ITIL Foundations certification will ensure you are familiar with the same terms as people in the service organization. This shared dictionary goes a long way towards avoiding confusion.
  • Outcome Based Action: Projects should deliver a specific result, as should the transition stage within ITIL.
  • Clarifying Roles & Responsibilities: This is a huge benefit for project managers. Have you ever been on a call, trying to assign a task and either nobody volunteers or you don’t know who the owner should be? If yes, then ITIL is a great fit for you. ITIL delineates responsibilities by roles which fit nicely into project plans.
  • Project Success: The ITIL strategy for building new services has proven successful since originally conceived in the 1980s by the British government. What project manager doesn’t love successful strategies?
  • Professional Development Units (PDUs): Already a PMP? If yes, then you are required to attain 60 PDUs for each certification renewal cycle. ITIL courses and the certification can be used for PDUs. For the exact number of PDUs allowed with your course, check with your ITIL program provider and PMI.

Each project manager has a responsibility for continuing education. The ITIL Foundations certification demonstrates familiarity with knowledge certain to contribute to your overall project success.


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