The majority will agree that agility has been scrutinized, analyzed and concretely implemented through organizations here and elsewhere. Initially built around the values and principles of the well-known agile manifesto, the method has evolved over time. Its application in the business world has been complemented by other practices such as Scrum, Kanban, AgilePM, Prince2 Agile and other iterative ways.
Once adopted by programmers, software developers and IT project managers, agility can be extended to the delivery of services. Because beyond the product to develop and its many steps to the final result, the methodology focuses on customer satisfaction, as well as service management. Both practices tend to overlap and complement each other.
Those who report a competition between the ITSM practice, the ITIL® framework and the agile mode, however, make a mistake. We will see in this article how it is possible to implement its methods; ITIL® can provide your organization with a stable framework that your Agile teams can use to increase service levels and overall performance.
But let’s not skip steps, let’s first see the Agile principles.
Based on the manifesto created in 2001, the principles and values of the Agile method have emerged from the needs of organizations to evolve technology delivery. In the past, projects generated products that in the meantime were no longer used for business needs and the needs of business services. The idea of agility is born. Here is a summary of his values and principles:
4 Crucial Values
- “People and their interactions MORE than processes and tools
- Operational software MORE than exhaustive documentation
- Collaboration with customers MORE than contractual negotiation
- Adaptation to change MORE than following a plan. “
12 Basic Principles
- Focus on customer satisfaction – and involvement.
- Welcome changes.
- Continually deliver functional versions of the software or business application.
- Promote cooperation as often as possible between the project team and other members of the organization.
- Build projects with motivated people.
- Encourage direct contacts and meetings in person. Favor the oral.
- Measure in different ways the progress of the project, depending on the use of the product.
- Preserve a constant and realistic rhythm for all.
- Maintain high standards of conceptual and technical quality
- Banking on simplicity
- Empower teams
- Regularly evaluate and readjust team behavior
Launched in early 2019, ITIL4® is a major overhaul of the popular ITSM framework, which adds clarity to companies trying to automate, streamline and implement their service delivery processes.
ITIL-based organizations have noted: The framework aims to modernize IT Service Management (ITSM) in a more agile and business-value-driven way. This new version encourages organizations to eliminate silos, focus on collaboration and communication within the organization, and integrate agile practices with DevOps into the established framework.
In summary, ITIL4® focuses on the adaptability, customization and flexibility of IT service management, which is aligned with the Agile principles detailed above. However, there may be friction with agile service management, which counterbalances the rigidity sometimes represented by the ITIL® framework. Despite this, twinning helps to improve IT efficiency by enabling team members to respond to changing business needs with agility.
DevOps for Better Collaboration
Second step back in time; Application development teams were the first to adopt this agile mode. Ironically the first to receive this pressure.
With the IT department facing increasing demands to do more with less, software developers have been facing increasing pressure to provide customers with faster, more functional software.
This has resulted in “frustrations about delays, backtracking and customer dissatisfaction resulting from constraints and affecting their ability to complete projects on time and within budget”. This transition has not stopped companies from finding solutions to better collaborate.
When developers began adopting this Agile / Scrum methodology, operations were challenged to react and collaborate with developers at similar speeds, hence the need to move to a DevOps lens that strives to get a continuous delivery.
According to a 2017 study by VersionOne “State of Agile Report”, 94% of organizations are agile.
Now established in more than 90% of the organizations, the agility allows indeed a concrete and daily collaboration between the developers and the operations.
For example, a communication between an ITSM tool and its Agile development platform (see the example of VSTS, now Azure DevOps) can accelerate the development of these deliveries. These require greater collaboration, or even synchronization between development and operations teams. To ensure that developers are focused on changing the system without having to deal with bugs, it may be beneficial to integrate these software development tools into operational systems such as ITSM tools.
Beyond this potential interoperability, Agile Service Management also ensures that ITSM processes reflect Agile values. That is, these processes are designed with “just enough” control and structure to provide effective services. Agility also emphasizes the importance of creating a learning environment through smaller, faster implementation and more frequent customer feedback.
Service delivery that promotes continuous improvement
Continuous improvement is therefore ubiquitous through this method. The Agile approach helps to create a computer orchestration mindset from A to Z. The ITIL® framework, being more rigid and process-oriented, helps to create audits of the work done. Together, through agile service management, both methods minimize or eliminate duplicate, sassy, or less valuable business efforts. They also improve workflow and problem solving.
Do your teams manage services in agile mode?