An Overview of the ITIL 4 Specialist: High-Velocity IT (HVIT) Book, Course, and Exam

Written by Jade Kendrick

In today’s fast-moving, digital environment, customers expect high-quality, rapidly delivered products and services from us. The most successful digital organizations have figured out how to meet these customer needs with a high-velocity culture. ITIL® 4 Specialist: High-Velocity IT (HVIT) delves into the specifics of digital transformation as well as how to build a high-velocity environment within a digital organization. It is the fourth and final module in the ITIL® 4 Managing Professional track. Here, we’ll provide an overview of the HVIT course, what to expect from the HVIT exam, and who should attend an HVIT course.


ITIL 4 certification schema HVIT
ITIL 4 Certification Schema (ITIL 4 Specialist | High Velocity IT highlighted in blue)


What does “high-velocity” mean? A Quick Physics Lesson

Apologies in advance to anyone still scarred from taking a high school physics class. I feel your pain. But there are helpful parallels between the scientific definition of high-velocity and the ITIL 4 definition. In layman’s terms, velocity is often conflated with speed, and thus, high-velocity just means REALLY fast. The actual definition and application of velocity, both in physics and IT, however, is more complex.

Galileo (the father of modern physics) studied and defined velocity as the speed of something in a given direction. A car driving at 75 miles per hour is a common example of velocity, but if we’re headed in the wrong direction, we’re not achieving our goal. The “need for speed” is not enough. We must have the right destination and be moving towards it.

If we think about high-velocity IT with this lens, it becomes a way of working that promotes iterative (meaning the process of repeating and refining a cycle/way of working) and more rapid delivery of products and services that our customers find valuable and that achieve the mission of our organization. This approach is especially true with software development and how we deliver products and services built on technology. HVIT is supported by Agile, Lean, DevOps, and Digital Business Models and is a core component of many strategic Digital Transformations. High-velocity, in the context of ITIL 4, combines the element of speed along with:

  • Time to market
  • Time to customer
  • Time to change

The best digital organizations are the ones that have purposeful and strategic high-velocity cultures that, ultimately, excite and delight our customers.

Digital Business Management ITIL 4 HVIT


What are the Key Characteristics of HVIT?

Let’s switch gears for a minute (pun intended) and talk about some of the key concepts discussed in the HVIT book and course, the first of which are the objectives and key characteristics of a high-velocity organization. Digital organizations that have successful created high-velocity cultures and environments often possess four dominant characteristics (detailed and pictured below):

  1. Lean​: Organizations that concentrate on working in a lean fashion continually look for ways to improve throughput/flow and reduce waste. They are highly efficient and focused on high-value work.

  2. Agile​: Organizations that embrace agility maintain a close collaboration with their customers and users, delivering products and service iteratively and incrementally – with each piece building on what has gone before and getting feedback that drives future decisions. As a result, agile organizations can quickly respond to changing market needs.

  3. Resilient​: Resiliency allows us to support products and service that have a high level of availability and performance. Resilient organizations can minimize the effect of incidents by degrading systems gradually and restoring service quickly.

  4. Continuous: This characteristic helps us ensure fast and reliable deployments. Approaches with continuous characteristics extend the Lean focus on throughput by standardizing and automating processes for integrating, building, testing, and shipping code, enabling digital products and services to be available when needed.

4 charicteristics of HVIT

Key Characteristics of HVIT

You may be familiar with several of these characteristics as they are commonly used in isolation. However, when used together, they enable the co-creation of value and ensure that we, as service providers, can effectively deliver value to our customers, be able to respond to fast-changing environments and customer needs, and keep unexpected costs to a minimum. This topic is also discussed, from a strategic level, as part of the ITIL® Leader Digital and IT Strategy (DITS) course.

How does HVIT relate to other ITIL 4 concepts?

As part of an ITIL 4 HVIT course, you will discuss and connect the four high-velocity IT characteristics to other ITIL concepts like the service value chain, key HVIT approaches, and the following HVIT objectives:

  • Valuable investments: Strategically innovative and effective application of technology
  • Fast development: Quick realization and delivery of products and services
  • Resilient operations: Highly resilient products and services
  • Co-created value: Effective interactions between us and our customers
  • Assured conformance: Adherence to governance, risk, and compliance requirements

Other Fascinating Topics Covered in the HVIT Book and Course

Here are three other interesting topics covered in the HVIT book and course:

  • Creating an HVIT culture and Toyota Kata, which helps organizations coach their teams to consistently and methodically approach problems with a scientific mindset (pictured here)

Toyota Improvement Kata


  • HVIT’s Key Behavior patterns, which support and guide the mindset of high-velocity teams (pictured below). The book and course also cover ways to create a “safety culture” where people are comfortable being and expressing themselves.

HVIT’s Key Behavior Patterns


  • It can be difficult to predict whether a feature will be valuable to users. HVIT presents A/B testing as a technique for valuable investments. It helps to determine which version of a feature is most valuable. A/B testing is a time-limited experiment in which one group of users, the control group, is provided with an old version of a product or service, as a technique for valuable invest. At the same time, another group of users, the treatment group, is provided with a new version of the product or service that includes the new feature. Assuming all other factors influencing both groups are equal, the measurements of the groups can be compared, thus gathering data for a value-based decision. Pretty nifty, right?

A/B Testing HVIT

What ITIL 4 practices are covered in high-velocity IT?

There are 17 practices covered in HVIT. Here’s a summary of what’s included.

17 practices covered in ITIL 4 HVIT


You can get electronic copies of all 34 ITIL Practice Guides as part of AXELOS’s MyITIL program. If you’ve taken an ITIL 4 course and passed the exam, you get a free subscription to MyITIL for one year. After that, the cost of the subscription is $50 annually.

Who should take a HVIT course?

HVIT is designed for IT managers and practitioners involved in delivering digital services or involved in Agile, DevOps, Lean, or other digital transformation projects working within or towards high velocity environments. Here are some of roles and titles that we often see in a HVIT course:

  • Project, Program, and Portfolio Managers
  • Change and Release Managers
  • Cyber Security Managers
  • Cloud Architects
  • DevOps Engineers
  • Software Developers
  • Consultants
  • Architects
  • Product Owners
  • Scrum Masters

The great news is that, if you hold the PMP credential (or another certification that requires continuing credits), you earn 24 PDUs (professional development units) when you take the HVIT course.

What should I expect from the HVIT exam?

In order to be able to sit for the HVIT exam, you will need to have taken and passed the ITIL 4 Foundation exam. With the HVIT exam (similar to the other ITIL 4 Managing Professional exams), you will have one hour to answer 40 multiple choice questions, and each question is worth one point. You need to get a score of 70%, or at least 28 correct answers, to pass the HVIT exam.

You will be more than well prepared to take the HVIT exam after taking a course with us (In fact, Beyond20 was recently rated a global Market Leader for ITIL Training.), and all of our ITIL 4 courses come with a free exam retake (think of it as a handy “spare tire” in case you need it)!

If you’re looking to earn the Managing Professional (MP) designation, we have a Managing Professional Passport that will take you through all four ITIL 4 MP courses, is good for two years, and saves you 25%. PLUS, all four MP classes include our signature Exam Pass Guarantee.

Now, get out there, and get moving! Register for the next for ITIL® 4 Specialist: High-velocity IT course today!

Ready for High-Velocity IT?

Take a look at our upcoming dates for this intermediate ITIL Specialist course.
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Originally published November 11 2020, updated November 11 2020