Using Agile to Ignite Your ITSM Projects

By Dick Stark

Last Wednesday, Sam Wood and I presented a webinar entitled, “Using Agile to Ignite Your ITSM projects.” We discussed the advantages of using Agile as the framework for Remedy ITSM implementations. Sam should know. He implemented Remedy and ServiceNow at his previous job in an Agile fashion with the Atlassian tools and will be using Agile/Scrum techniques on his new project which is just underway.

Agile Methodology

Sam opened by describing Agile as the methodology and Scrum as the framework for rapid deployment of projects. Scrum takes its name from Rugby where the team works closely together for project success. Scrum uses an adaptive, self-correcting approach. BMC Smart IT is a good example of rapid software development using Scrum. Smart IT went from an idea to a shipping product within approximately seven months. By contrast, most of RightStar’s implementation projects use the waterfall, or Gant chart approach. That is, finish step one and then move on to step two. Sam’s new project has specific deadlines and Scrum offers the best way to keep the project on-time. Here are several reasons why.

Sprint Review or Sprint Demo. Our stakeholders often do not get to see the results of their ITSM project until the UAT portion of the project—with sometimes disappointing results. One of our Remedy consultants used a Scrum approach to project delivery on a customer project. He shared his results in short sprints. This iterative feedback worked well as the users participated in frequent demo sessions and our consultant received constant feedback. The result was a project delivered on-time and within budget.

Daily Stand-up or Daily Scrum. Each day at the same time, for no more than 15 minutes, the team and Scrum Master meet and answer three questions:

  • What did you do yesterday to help the team finish the Sprint?
  • What will you do today to help the team finish the Sprint?
  • Is there any obstacle blocking you or the team from achieving the Sprint Goal?

Any RightStar project with more than one consultant should begin with a Daily Scrum. In this way, all RightStar team members know exactly where everything is and what to do.

Make Work Visible. The most common way to do this is to create a Scrum Board with three columns: To Do, Doing, Done. As I’ve said many times before, when we start projects make sure that everyone on both the customer team and project team have a clear, documented understanding of two primary things: What we are going to do, and how do we know when we are done.

Sprint Retrospective. After the team has shown that they’ve accomplished and completed the project, the team can review what went right, what could have gone better, and what can be made better in the next Sprint.

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About dick1stark

I am the President, CEO, and founder of RightStar Systems, a leading IT consultancy and BMC Software Solution Provider and Atlassian Expert Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. Finally, in 2016, BMC selected RightStar as its 2015 Supplier of the Year for its consulting partnership and excellence in service delivery. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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