By Dick Stark
The 21st annual Pink Elephant Conference, held February 19 to23 in Las Vegas, is IT’s annual tribute and awards ceremony to all things ITIL. It’s fun and entertaining–words, not often found in the same sentence as ITIL. What’s new this year? Like other shows, DevOps now has its own track. The best news: Atlassian asked RightStar to help staff their booth. Here are a few things I learned.
Atlassian customers love Atlassian. We had a good booth attendee turnout during the exhibit hours, with many existing DevOps customers stopping by. What’s refreshing is the love and loyalty shown to Atlassian by its customers. One government customer, made a big point gushing to the Atlassian Product Marketing Manager for Confluence how much she appreciated Confluence’s design and ease of use.
DevOps does make a difference. George Spalding, Pink VP and longtime ITIL icon is clearly on the DevOps bandwagon. He discussed the two biggest issues of failed IT projects—poor communication and limited delivery of business value. George pointed out that about 65% of IT projects fail and this statistic has not changed for more than 20 years. His suggestions for improvement? Smaller is better, and agile projects are three times more likely to succeed than waterfall projects. With agile projects value is achieved in iterative “chunks” all the way along. Value is achieved instantly, rather than at the end of a large project.
Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy. Interestingly, in another session, “Leveling Up To Digital & Modern IT,” Enterprise Architect Jason Walker from Cargill had a different perspective. Jason said, “incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy. Building a fourth of a project, doesn’t give you the whole project.” Indeed, at RightStar, when we’ve offered to break an ITSM project up into small pieces for a quick win, e.g., roll out Incident Management first, we’ve found it difficult to reengage the customer to do later phases. The end result is a system with limited functionality.
Build service roadmaps from customer feedback and data. At one large government customer, we are building a Service Catalog using BMC’s new MyIT Service Broker. Let’s make sure that we provide as much feedback to the customers there as possible—for example, wait status, who to contact, and job request status. Use the Domino Pizza Dashboard as an example. (Once a Pizza is ordered on-line, the customer sees a graphic that show the full pizza lifecycle—from order to delivery.)
The overarching trend, however is the importance of IT’s role of business value generation and business enablement. By bringing Dev and Ops under the same umbrella, Atlassian can help facilitate the new shape of IT.