Ranger4 DevOps Blog

ITSM people can do Agile!

Posted by Daniel Breston on Tue, Dec 13, 2016 @ 15:12 PM

In my recent blog on Agile Service Management we discussed how blending the concepts of faster (Agile) with safer (ITSM) could lead to processes that enable an organisation to use technology to remove obstacles or enable goals. This is the second of a 3 part series on Agile Service Management (ASM).

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It is a mindset that stops us from thinking in this way though. Agile is always thought of creating or innovating and ITSM is thought about in terms of inflexible processes or tools that no one else can use.

So I want to say straight off: THIS IS NOT TRUE!

Ranger4 knows of many organisations that have done the blend or are letting us coach the blend of these two frameworks. It is all about people. Who does what when and most importantly WHY. Let’s face it a process is a way of working. Almost all technology services stem from the Value Stream called Request so what happens next and who does it needs to be engendered across the flow of work.

Think about it: nothing IT does is without a request at the very beginning. Whether we request it or someone else does how things change, get resolved, introduce tools or suppliers or make improvements all stem from the Request process. So how can you create all of the subset Value Streams and who should lead the charge?

Let’s consider the WHY first. Processes in many cases are created in isolation by a team of people that do not collaborate but do freely then give the process to others to perform as a DONE product. Why let this happen? How do they know this way of working will work? What will they do to improve the process?

These are cultural issues and the mindset to deal with them should be given to someone that wants to help create, help manage and help improve the way people work. I say help as the people using the process already have a boss so another is not needed. What you need instead is a coach, a facilitator or a guide and this person we call the Agile Service Manager (ASM).

The ASM should have the mentality to create ways of working in short timeframes, check to see what has happened, adjust accordingly and keep going until the process is fully described and in use. The ASM should ensure that the people impacted and the tools they use are also tested as the iterations occur. In essence, the ASM should use the concepts of Agile (Scrum for instance), to break down a process and reconstruct using a team to help drive the changes and improvement.

Think about the impact of having someone with the mindset of using every sprint to help change and improve a way people work regardless of whether it is IT related or not. Onboarding, creation of environments, customer relations, managing suppliers, business continuity and of course all of the continuous processes of integration, delivery and deployment.

In your product backlog would be user stories that the team could address as part of the sprint. Sprints should be used to improve or fix things as well as create. Allocating 10-20% of a sprint to these activities will pay themselves back in better morale, processes being followed, effectiveness and efficiency and more. The ASM could be an ITSM person with Scrum training, the ScrumMaster, or even the Product Owner as they truly should want the best processes available, both IT and business, to help them create, manage and improve their products.

Therefore the DevOps Institute with the help of DevOps firms like Ranger4 created a course in alliance with Scrum.Org to teach the skills of Agile Service Management and create a certified role of Agile Service Manager. The ASM is the partner to the Development ScrumMaster. You want to create things and I want to get you processes or ways of working to do so. Together we coach the people on when to fund, team resources, process improvement, product and process release/deployment. The organisation benefits by having technology enable their goals or remove obstacles. People benefit from being involved to help drive changes in how they work and best of all customers benefit from a vitalised and dynamic company that has the agility and capability to respond to their requests.

Learn more by taking the Certified Agile Service Manager training via Ranger4. Look out for new training on other aspects of DevOps such as Test, Architect and leadership.

The last blog in this series will discuss the Agile Process Owner. If the ASM is coaching the teams in the How and What of a process, the APO owns the Why.


Topics: ITSM, CAPO, CASM, Agile, DOI