By Dick Stark
Recently RightStar presented a webinar, “How to Improve Your ITSM Processes in a DevOps World.” According to our presentor, and with apologies to Mark Twain, the reports of ITIL’s death are greatly exaggerated. ITIL is NOT dead and all the work required to implement ITIL best practices is NOT wasted! ITSM, your golf game, or anything else can be improved using DevOps principles.
We opened the webinar by discussing the role and importance of ITSM within an IT organization. ITSM (aka Digital Service Management) is the implementation and management of quality IT services that meet the needs of the business. ITSM is performed by an IT organization and consists of people, processes, and tools. All three are required to realize improvements in quality and customer sat. As a software tool consultancy, RightStar always stresses the importance of good processes. But often times our customers, frustrated with their current ITSM system or toolset, purchase a new toolset without making an investment in processes and are disappointed. It is like being frustrated with your golf game and buying new clubs thinking that will improve your game.
Software Development teams often make up a sizeable chunk of an IT organization. Their output is a software product and they often have a very defined process for designing, developing, testing, and releasing software into production, usually in an agile fashion.
DevOps is a movement that emphasizes collaboration and communications while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. DevOps focus is on eliminating bottlenecks, duplicate work, and streamlining processes through feedback loops. How can DevOps principles improve ITSM processes? Here are a few suggestions from the webinar:
Incident Management: Look for ways to reduce waste, fix delays that reduce bottlenecks, document lessons learned (retrospectives), and provide incident metrics.
Change Management: Streamline Change Management processes, implement an automated approval process, e.g., use Puppet or Chef to automatically provision servers.
Release Management: Put controls in place to manage code changes, don’t implement ad-hoc code changes because the business requested it, do user acceptance testing in a pre-production environment.
How to improve your golf game using DevOps practices: Make practice sessions on and off the course meaningful. Use real-time technology and tools to track your statistics such as 3D swing view, and all the data behind each swing. Set goals, map your progress, and do retrospectives to apply lessons learned and then test the fix, and re-test, based upon your feedback from the sensors attached to your clubs. Using this automated approach is a significant improvement over hitting ball after ball on the practice range expecting improved or different results.