Following the publication of the new edition of ISO/IEC 20000-1 in April 2011, APMG-International updated the syllabus for each of the ISO/IEC 20000 qualifications. I ran the updated practitioner course this week using the new syllabus. This was a private course for a client in Lisbon with 16 attendees from the client, 2 consultants and an auditor.

What was different from the old syllabus

The most obvious difference of course was the use of the new edition of ISO/IEC 20000-1. This is longer than the old edition so took time to go through. However, this is more than offset by the removal of the need to go through the detail of part 2. The knowledge of part 2 is now limited to its purpose and usage with some samples of content.

Part 3 of ISO/IEC 20000 is introduced to explain the definition of scope, the governance of processes operated by other parties and the application of the standard to various scenarios. This is all associated with the new clauses for those topics in part 1.


There is much more emphasis on the practical aspects of work required to achieve ISO/IEC 20000.

ISO/IEC 20000 is also set in a context of ITIL®, ISO 9000 and ISO/IEC 27000.

Some of the changes to the course had been made in a previous syllabus update but they are now fully embedded with the revised emphasis on part 1 and part 3 with little on part 2.

The practical aspect of the course

The course is aimed at practitioners, consultants and managers. All of these roles may be involved in supporting the initial achievement of ISO/IEC 20000 certification and then the on-going use of the service management system.

Obviously a course on ISO/IEC 20000 is going to spend a lot of time on the requirements of the standard. But as stated above, the practical aspects are very important in this new syllabus. Indeed, the recommended timings have as much time on these practical aspects as they do on the requirements of the standard.

These practical aspects cover:

  • Understanding the application of the standard – when it can be used and when it may not be applicable
  • Assessing readiness and gap analysis
  • Defining the scope
  • Project steps required to achieve certification
  • Producing an improvement plan
  • Producing a service management plan
  • Using ITIL and other standards to support the development of the service management system
  • Use of tools
  • Reviewing the governance requirements when other parties support the service provider in the operation of processes
  • The certification process and the roles involved
  • Evidence required for certification
  • Improvement activities required after an initial certificate is awarded.

All this was done with theory and then practical group assignments with delegates taking the role of consultants, managers and auditors. These assignments provoked a lot of discussion and would have gone on all day if I had not limited the time! They helped to really involve the delegates and turn the theory into reality.


Overall, I would say this is a better course than the old version. As well as being updated for the new edition of ISO/IEC 20000-1, it has included much more practical elements to make the course more useful and more enjoyable.

However, attendees are still expected to have a good knowledge of the standard. After all, would you want a consultant or manager on an ISO/IEC 20000 project who did not know the standard well? I don’t mean to know every requirement off by heart, but to know the processes, the main aspects of the service management system and how they are all used together.