Service Design and Transition FAQs

ITIL Service Transition helps plan and manage the change of state of a service in its life cycle. Managing risk for new, changed, and retired services protects the product environment. This helps the business deliver value to itself and its customers. Curating service knowledge helps all stakeholders make informed, reliable decisions and support challenges with service delivery. Both managing service risk and curating service knowledge are integral to Service Transition. During Service Transition, the following organizational elements need support:

  • Service strategy
  • People
  • Process
  • Technology
  • Suppliers of the service
  • Organizational culture
  • Governance
  • Risk

The primary objectives of Service Transition are:

  • Plan and manage the changes in service efficiently and effectively.
  • Manage the risks related to newly introduced, modified, or discontinued services.
  • Deploy the service releases into environments that support them adequately.
  • Set the appropriate expectations for the performance and usage of new or changed services.
  • Make sure that the service changes create the expected value for the business.
  • Provide the necessary knowledge and information about services and service assets.

The development and improvement of capabilities for the transitioning of new and modified services into the adequately supported environment—including release, planning, development, analysis, and implementation—come under the scope of ITIL Service Transition. The retirement of service and the transfer of services between service providers is also considered.

The following benefits are provided by effective Service Transition:

  • It provides a better estimation of the costs involved, the timing of the service, the resources required for implementation, and the risks involved.
  • The volume of successful change increases.
  • The objective is to reduce the delays that occur as a result of unexpected clashes and dependencies.
  • It results in a reduction of effort, which is involved in managing test and pilot environments.
  • It improves the expectation for all the stakeholders.
  • Effective Service Transition increases the confidence that a new or modified service can be delivered according to the mentioned specification without any unexpected change affecting other services and stakeholders.
  • It ensures that the services that have been newly introduced or modified are easy to maintain and cost-effective in the long run.
  • It offers improved control of the different service assets and configurations.

The important activities for transition planning and support in the ITIL Service Transition process are:

  • Define the complete strategy for transitioning including the policies, roles and responsibilities, standards, frameworks, and the criteria for success.
  • Make the necessary preparations for Service Transition along with the review and acceptance of inputs, raising of a request for making changes, checking the readiness for transition, and baselining the configuration.
  • Plan and coordinate the transition of services, which includes the generation of plans for Service Transition, as well as reviewing and coordinating plans that are ready for release and deployment.
  • Provide adequate support for the transitioning process, which includes providing advice and assisting in administration, monitoring of progress, and reporting.

At any time, several projects will be passing through the Service Transition phase of the life cycle. It is the responsibility of transition planning and support to coordinate Service Transition activities for all these projects. Specifically, the responsibilities of transition planning and support include:

  • Work with capacity management to ensure that adequate resources are available.
  • Where there is contention for resources, develop a schedule that meets the requirements of the stakeholders.
  • Ensure that all parties use a standard, reusable process framework.
  • Monitor and improve the performance of the Service Transition life-cycle phase.

No change is without risk. In fact, change can create extra risk. When transitioning services, focus on communication planning for awareness and compliance. One of the biggest challenges in Service Transition is changing people’s behavior to accommodate a new or different service. People have a psychological need to feel safe and comfortable with changes.

ITIL change evaluation analyzes changes before they move to the next phase in their life cycle. The life cycle of a change includes several points at which a go/no-go decision needs to be made:

  • Authorization to build and test
  • Authorization to check software into the definitive media library (DML)
  • Authorization to deploy

We should evaluate all changes. But for significant changes a formal evaluation process should be invoked. Each organization must define for itself what “significant change” is. The evaluation should include evaluating the intended effects of the change as far as possible, anticipating any unintended effects of the change, identifying risks, and presenting a recommendation to change management on whether to proceed to the next stage. The change management process can make the go/no-go decision on proceeding to the next stage.

The challenges in ITIL Service Transition are:

  • Build the necessary relationships that are required to handle and coordinate the several stakeholders who are a part of the Service Transition.
  • Coordinate and prioritize the multiple services that have been newly introduced or recently modified, especially if there have been delays or failures of tests.
  • Ensure a better separation of duties between ongoing operations and future application delivery by following these six steps:
    1. Identify support resources for the application. Even in resource-constrained organizations, it is important to have an individual resource or team responsible for production support. Depending on the volume, the role may be shared or dedicated to production support and application management.
    2. Establish an operations status meeting with business partners and IT stakeholders. An operations status meeting is similar to a project status meeting except the focus is on the operations of the IT application and the results being delivered to the business. The operations status meeting includes business partners and IT management to jointly review the health and performance of the application.
    3. Establish a meeting with business subject-matter experts and the technical team to review production issues and incidents. By establishing a separate meeting to review production issues and incidents, the project team can focus on issues relevant to the next release while the operations team focuses on immediate support issues. Failing to separate production issues from project issues will only drain the project team from their intended goals and objectives. End users become confused as they struggle with identifying a single point of contact for assistance.
    4. Establish a change control board to manage ongoing change in the operational environment. Change management is an ongoing operational process as well as a project management process area. Business needs will change, and new reports, fields, interfaces, and customizations will be needed. Some of these enhancements can be bundled with a future software release, and others will be made off-cycle, based on the request’s severity. By establishing a change control board, the business customer will have a method to request changes to the application without distracting the project team from their intended goal. The changes introduced to the change control board should also be vetted and reviewed with the project team to ensure there are no impacts or conflicts.
    5. Communicate the governance model to project stakeholders. Once the participants are identified for each of the key operational meetings, the operations governance model should be communicated and reviewed by business and IT stakeholders. By presenting a solution on how issues, changes, and operational status will be reviewed, the business partners will have greater confidence in the IT manager’s role in delivering services and supporting the business.
    6. Provide knowledge transfer between project team and support team. Another key to a successful operations process is the knowledge transfer provided by the project team to the operational support team. In some cases, project team members will become operational support, and in other cases, new operations support teams will be hired independent of the project. The project schedule should include transition documentation tasks to communicate the processes and procedures required to support the application. The process documentation can include batch schedules, help desk coordination, escalation contacts, known problems and solutions, and disaster recovery procedures.


  1. ITIL Service Transition
  2. ITIL Service Transition: Process & Objectives
  3. Project Transition to Operations

Additional Learning Resources

Video: “ITIL Service Transition Capabilities
This video addresses capabilities needed to enhance the customer’s service experience, organizational specializations, and service validations needed for service excellence. Business Service Management (BSM), knowledge management systems, project management, application development relationships with service management and capabilities for service performance are discussed. (11:06)

Video: “ITIL Service Transition Management
This video focuses on risk and knowledge management benefits within the service life cycle for service outcomes. Cloud computing, Business Service Management (BSM), Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS), Data Information Knowledge Wisdom (DIKW), management of organizational environment, governance, and business impact management to meet business service delivery objectives are discussed. (14:48)