Speed to market and adaptability are two important factors to stay relevant in today’s fast changing environment. Technology changes rapidly and it is crucial for IT team to upgrade to latest devices and applications. Managing these assets require newer ways of service thinking and service management. Agility is essential to enable this fast paced environment and agile ITSM helps in terms of learning, implementing and embracing these changes quickly. IT is not a backend support office anymore and it is considered as a valued business partner.
What IT can learn from Product Management
Let us begin with a definition of agile. Agile is a state of mind and it is neither a framework nor a standard. It is the ability to learn faster, change faster and deliver faster. Agility is a cultural change that strives for better communication, collaboration and user-centric approach to IT problems.
Agile software development inspires agile service management. The principles are similar to Product Management that builds a working product in smaller frequent release cycles. The primary goal of agile software development is to fulfil customers’ requirement either with a complete solution or a workaround in a given amount of time. Internal communication is significant between Development and Operations team to enable shorter cycle time. Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in Product Management is comparable to restoring services as fast as possible in IT Service Management (ITSM).
Agile software development + Service Management = Agile ITSM
Agile ITSM inspired from agile manifesto
- Individuals and interactions over process and tools – In IT Service Management, people focus is more important than process and technology. Understanding your users, their expectations and business alignment are significant for Agile ITSM. For example, Implementing Incident management not just involves process and workflow set up but understanding user interaction model between end users and IT support agents.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation – IT service quality depends on the ability to provide real business outcome and customer value. Process and technical documentation are helpful but they do not guarantee seamless business operations. For example, during service disruption, Incident team aims at restoring the services as fast as possible rather than focusing on lengthy technical documentation.
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation – IT is the single point of contact for any technical assistance. Service quality is more important than a speedy recovery with an unstable solution. CSAT survey results show the satisfaction level of customers for the service delivered. Service Level Agreement (SLA) ensures on time resolution but CSAT affirms customer orientation.
- Responding to change over following a plan – Technology becomes obsolete in no time and therefore, businesses need to be agile in terms of adopting new trends. End user expectations increase based on personal service encounters and expect the same level of service at workplace too. Agile ITSM ensures that business is ready to adopt changes without losing stability.
Scrum in ITSM
Scrum framework is familiar in agile methodology to deliver planned release items through sprints. Product developers deliver planned items in one or two sprints and validate their finished product to ensure alignment with customer requirement. Similarly, following scrum framework in ITIL service lifecycle ensures “just enough” controls and only necessary processes are followed for smooth operations. Incremental process improvements are done and scrum master strives for a working solution as quick as possible. Scrum master also ensures collaboration among different teams to avoid potential conflict and knowledge silos.
- Assign roles clearly i.e. scrum master, process owners, agile service manager during service design phase
- Implement processes in an incremental manner
- Provide a minimum working solution to the issue during service operations
- Conduct short sprint meetings periodically to collaborate effectively and eliminate inefficiencies
- Continuous service delivery enabled through Continuous Integration, CI and Continuous Deployment, CD
- Constant feedback loop to Improve continuously as a part of CSI
- Better quality of IT services and improved customer satisfaction
Agile Service Management is born out of agile software development philosophy to effectively deliver IT services in a rapidly changing IT environment and among rising user expectations. Agile ITSM gives us a competitive edge to react faster and change faster. Today’s modern businesses adopt more than one framework to realize business and customer value. If you have not adopted agile methodology already, it’s the right time to get started.