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ITIL Dictionary of Terms

by | reviewed 2023-08-19
A - Z Dictionary of terms for ITIL. This is the official Dictionary of terms for ITIL, which is a set of practices for IT Service Management. ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited. View the Agile Dictionary. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Dictionary. Project Office Dictionary (P30). Full PRINCE2 glossary of terms. See also Risk Management Dictionary and Project Management Dictionary.

A - acceptance to availability plan | B - back-out to business unit | C - call to customer-facing service | D - dashboard to driver | E - early life support (ELS) to external service provider | F - facilities management to functional escalation | G - H - gap analysis to hot standby | I - identity to ITIL | J - K - job description to known error record | L - lifecycle to live environment | M - maintainability to monitoring | N - near-shore to notional charging | O - objective to overhead | P - pain value analysis to PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) | Q - qualification to quick win | R - RACI to running costs | S - Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to system management | T - tactical to Type III service provider | U - underpinning contract (UC) to utility | V - validation to vulnerability | W - warm standby to workload

P - pain value analysis to PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2)

pain value analysis

(ITIL Service Operation) A technique used to help identify the business impact of one or more problems. A formula is used to calculate pain value based on the number of users affected, the duration of the downtime, the impact on each user, and the cost to the business (if known).

Pareto principle

(ITIL Service Operation) A technique used to prioritize activities. The Pareto principle says that 80% of the value of any activity is created with 20% of the effort. Pareto analysis is also used in problem management to prioritize possible problem causes for investigation.


A relationship between two organizations that involves working closely together for common goals or mutual benefit. The IT service provider should have a partnership with the business and with third parties who are critical to the delivery of IT services. See also value network.

passive monitoring

(ITIL Service Operation) Monitoring of a configuration item, an IT service or a process that relies on an alert or notification to discover the current status. See also active monitoring.

pattern of business activity (PBA)

(ITIL Service Strategy) A workload profile of one or more business activities. Patterns of business activity are used to help the IT service provider understand and plan for different levels of business activity. See also user profile.

percentage utilization

(ITIL Service Design) The amount of time that a component is busy over a given period of time. For example, if a CPU is busy for 1,800 seconds in a one-hour period, its utilization is 50%.


A measure of what is achieved or delivered by a system, person, team, process or IT service.

performance management

Activities to ensure that something achieves its expected outcomes in an efficient and consistent manner.


(ITIL Service Transition) A limited deployment of an IT service, a release or a process to the live environment. A pilot is used to reduce risk and to gain user feedback and acceptance. See also change evaluation; test.


A detailed proposal that describes the activities and resources needed to achieve an objective – for example, a plan to implement a new IT service or process. ISO/IEC 20000 requires a plan for the management of each IT service management process.
(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) A four-stage cycle for process management, attributed to Edward Deming. Plan-Do-Check-Act is also called the Deming Cycle. Plan – design or revise processes that support the IT services; Do – implement the plan and manage the processes; Check – measure the processes and IT services, compare with objectives and produce reports; Act – plan and implement changes to improve the processes.

planned downtime

(ITIL Service Design) Agreed time when an IT service will not be available. Planned downtime is often used for maintenance, upgrades and testing. See also change window; downtime.


An activity responsible for creating one or more plans – for example, capacity planning.


Formally documented management expectations and intentions. Policies are used to direct decisions, and to ensure consistent and appropriate development and implementation of processes, standards, roles, activities, IT infrastructure etc.

portable facility

(ITIL Service Design) A prefabricated building, or a large vehicle, provided by a third party and moved to a site when needed according to an IT service continuity plan. See also fixed facility; recovery option.

post-implementation review (PIR)

A review that takes place after a change or a project has been implemented. It determines if the change or project was successful, and identifies opportunities for improvement.


A way of working, or a way in which work must be done. Practices can include activities, processes, functions, standards and guidelines. See also best practice.

prerequisite for success (PFS)

An activity that needs to be completed, or a condition that needs to be met, to enable successful implementation of a plan or process. It is often an output from one process that is a required input to another process.


(ITIL Service Strategy) Pricing is the activity for establishing how much customers will be charged.


(ITIL Service Operation) (ITIL Service Transition) A category used to identify the relative importance of an incident, problem or change. Priority is based on impact and urgency, and is used to identify required times for actions to be taken. For example, the service level agreement may state that Priority 2 incidents must be resolved within 12 hours.

proactive monitoring

(ITIL Service Operation) Monitoring that looks for patterns of events to predict possible future failures. See also reactive monitoring.

proactive problem management

(ITIL Service Operation) Part of the problem management process. The objective of proactive problem management is to identify problems that might otherwise be missed. Proactive problem management analyzes incident records, and uses data collected by other IT service management processes to identify trends or significant problems.


(ITIL Service Operation) A cause of one or more incidents. The cause is not usually known at the time a problem record is created, and the problem management process is responsible for further investigation.

problem management

(ITIL Service Operation) The process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all problems. Problem management proactively prevents incidents from happening and minimizes the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented.

problem record

(ITIL Service Operation) A record containing the details of a problem. Each problem record documents the lifecycle of a single problem.


A document containing steps that specify how to achieve an activity. Procedures are defined as part of processes. See also work instruction.


A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective. A process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into defined outputs. It may include any of the roles, responsibilities, tools and management controls required to reliably deliver the outputs. A process may define policies, standards, guidelines, activities and work instructions if they are needed.

process control

The activity of planning and regulating a process, with the objective of performing the process in an effective, efficient and consistent manner.

process manager

A role responsible for the operational management of a process. The process manager's responsibilities include planning and coordination of all activities required to carry out, monitor and report on the process. There may be several process managers for one process – for example, regional change managers or IT service continuity managers for each data center. The process manager role is often assigned to the person who carries out the process owner role, but the two roles may be separate in larger organizations.

process owner

The person who is held accountable for ensuring that a process is fit for purpose. The process owner's responsibilities include sponsorship, design, change management and continual improvement of the process and its metrics. This role can be assigned to the same person who carries out the process manager role, but the two roles may be separate in larger organizations.

production environment

profit center

(ITIL Service Strategy) A business unit that charges for services provided. A profit center can be created with the objective of making a profit, recovering costs, or running at a loss. An IT service provider can be run as a cost center or a profit center.


A template or example document containing sample data that will be replaced with real values when these are available.


A number of projects and activities that are planned and managed together to achieve an overall set of related objectives and other outcomes.


A temporary organization, with people and other assets, that is required to achieve an objective or other outcome. Each project has a lifecycle that typically includes initiation, planning, execution, and closure. Projects are usually managed using a formal methodology such as PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) or the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). See also charter; project management office; project portfolio.
What is a Project? Comprehensive guide with examples

Project Management Templates

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)

A project management standard maintained and published by the Project Management Institute. See www.pmi.org for more information. See also PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2).

Project Management Institute (PMI)

A membership association that advances the project management profession through globally recognized standards and certifications, collaborative communities, an extensive research programme, and professional development opportunities. PMI is a not-for-profit membership organization with representation in many countries around the world. PMI maintains and publishes the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). See www.pmi.org for more information. See also PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2).

project management office (PMO)

(ITIL Service Design) (ITIL Service Strategy) A function or group responsible for managing the lifecycle of projects. See also charter; project portfolio.

project portfolio

(ITIL Service Design) (ITIL Service Strategy) A database or structured document used to manage projects throughout their lifecycle. The project portfolio is used to coordinate projects and ensure that they meet their objectives in a cost-effective and timely manner. In larger organizations, the project portfolio is typically defined and maintained by a project management office. The project portfolio is important to service portfolio management as new services and significant changes are normally managed as projects. See also charter.

projected service outage (PSO)

(ITIL Service Transition) A document that identifies the effect of planned changes, maintenance activities and test plans on agreed service levels.

PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2)

The standard UK government methodology for project management. See www.prince-officialsite.com for more information. See also Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

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