ITIL® 4 Strategist: Direct, Plan and Improve

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  • 21 study hours
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ITIL® is a framework which allows organizations and individuals to gain value from IT and digital services. It encompasses practices and tools which guide service providers and aligns them to the business strategy and customer needs. The latest ITIL®4 further focuses on the co-creation of value through a service value system (SVS).

ITIL®4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve is a universal module which is shared by both the ITIL®4 Managing Professional and ITIL®4 Strategic Leader streams. Practitioners who gain this certification prove their knowledge and practical skills for creating a ‘learning and improving’ IT organization with strong strategic direction. The module also equips professionals with knowledge on Agile and Lean ways of working as well as methods for planning and delivering continual improvement with agility.

Learning Objectives

In addition to preparing you for the ITIL®4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve certification examination, the following are the course’s learning objectives as defined in the official syllabus by AXELOS:

  • Understand the key concepts of Direct, Plan & Improve 
  • Understand the scope of what is to be directed and/or planned, and know how to use key principles and methods of direction and planning in that context 
  • Understand the role of Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and know how to integrate the principles and methods into the service value system 
  • Understand and know how to use the key principles and methods of continual improvement for all types of improvements 
  • Understand and know how to use the key principles and methods of communication and organizational change management for direction, planning and improvement 
  • Understand and know how to use the key principles and methods of measurement and reporting in direction, planning and improvement
  • Understand and know how to direct, plan and improve value streams and practices

Who Should Attend this Training

  • Managers involved in shaping direction and strategy 
  • Managers developing a continually improving team
  • ITSM professionals or managers who wish to better understand ITIL®
  • Professionals who aim to become certified ITIL®4 Managing Professionals


To be eligible for the ITIL®4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve certification, candidates need to achieve the ITIL®4 Foundation certification and be trained through an Accredited Training Organization.

Examination Format

  • 40 multiple choice questions
  • 90 minutes (+23 minutes for candidates with English as a secondary language)
  • Passing criteria is 70%, i.e. 28 marks out of 40
  • Closed book examination

What’s Next?

Upon achieving the ITIL®4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve qualification, you can continue towards the remaining Managing Professional modules: ITIL®4 Specialist Create, Deliver and Support, ITIL®4 Specialist High-velocity IT, and ITIL®4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value.

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  • The scope of control and within this:
    • How to cascade objectives and requirements 
    • How to define effective policies, controls and guidelines
    • How to place decision-making authority at the correct level

  • Role of risk and risk management in DPI
  • The impact of governance on DPI
  • How to ensure controls are sufficient but not excessive

  • Using the ITIL Continual Improvement model for improving the Service Value System or any part of the SVS
  • Identifying assessment objectives, outputs, requirements, and criteria
  • Selecting an appropriate assessment method for a particular situation 
  • Defining and prioritizing desired outcomes of an improvement
  • Building, justifying, and advocating for a business case
  • Conducting improvement reviews 
  • Conducting analysis of lessons learned 
  • Embedding continual improvement at all levels of the SVS

  • Nature, scope, and potential benefits of organizational change management 
  • Use of the key principles and methods of Communication and OCM:
      • Identify and manage different types of stakeholders
      • Effectively communicate with and influence others
      • Establish effective feedback channels 
  • Establishing effective interfaces across the value chain

  • Differences between value streams and practices, and how these differences impact direction, planning, and improvement 
  • Selecting and using the appropriate methods and techniques to direct, plan and improve value streams and practices:
      • Addressing the 4 Dimensions
      • Applying Guiding Principles
      • Value stream mapping
      • Optimization of workflow
      • Elimination of waste
      • Ensuring and utilizing feedback

Exam & Certification FAQs

Is the certification exam an open book exam?

No, it is a closed book exam.


Is the exam available in multiple languages?

No. The exam is only available in English.


Will there be negative marking?

No, there is no negative marking.


What types of questions are on the examination?

The certification examination comprises standard classic, negative, and list multiple choice questions.

Standard classic questions are those which come with a question and four answer options.

Negative questions are standard questions which are negatively worded (e.g. Which is NOT a defined area of value?).

Finally list question comprise a list of four statements from which you need to select two correct statements.

For examples on the types of questions you need to attempt, refer to the certification’s syllabus.


Will I obtain the ITIL®4 Managing Professional Designation with this certification?

No, you will not. You need to complete all the modules in the Managing Professional stream, which include ITIL®4 Specialist Create, Deliver and Support, ITIL®4 Specialist High-velocity IT, and ITIL®4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve.

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