Debate: Where does the Service Desk belong in DevOps?
25 Jul 2016
So one of my biggest contentions with DevOps is that the conversations it creates, rarely feature the relevance of the Service Desk. Yet they do talk a lot about real-time feedback, getting closer to the end user and understanding customer issues as they arise.
In my mind, no IT role can perform these functions like the Service Desk can, but the ‘Ops’ side of DevOps almost seems to exclusively revolve around SysAdmin roles and never the service mgmt roles. Almost to the point where they ignore the value of the Service Desk and re-assume these ‘customer insight’ style tasks as something Dev should/could learn to do.
Am I wrong? Are their schools of thoughts within the DevOps world I am missing? Am I over playing the importance of the Service Desk?
What do you think?
I've attended several DevOps conferences in the last year or two. It's a truly revolutionary movement, in my opinion. But I think you're correct to ask this question. In my view, the Service Desk (and Service Management more broadly) has an important role in bringing the voice of the customer to the table. Agile methodoloy gets things done quickly, but there's still a need to understand priorities and impacts from the customer perspective.
Toby I don't think you are wrong... The Devops approach comes from Developers and is in general more focused on the technology to get things done rather than the challenges of dealing with customers which sits squarely in the world of the service desk. When it comes to operating what is produced, then part of the Devops thinking is 'you build it, you run it' which has some advantages as well as some challenges.
I think its early days and getting the Service desk (and first line operations teams) to interoperate with Devops teams is something that will mature as the revolution spreads...
27 Jul 2016
Edited on 27 Jul 2016 at 18:27
Service desk is often left out of conversations where its relationship with customers and users could certainly bring value. This is not new or unique to DevOps; the release and deployment process often ignores support, which is then blindsided by new issues.
HDI did some research into the relationship between development and support, without mentioning "DevOps" until late in the survey (in order to avoid preconceptions as much as possible). In the small percentage of respondent organizations that have fully adopted DevOps and have been using its methods for more than one year, support's involvement in discussion about requirements, needs, and user stories is higher. Participation in development team huddles is higher, and participation in testing/QA is higher.
Unfortunately, the tools used by support (i.e., service desk), namely ITSM software in most cases, integrates with the tool used by development in only 28 percent of organizations, and fewer than half of the support teams even have a view into development's tools, and therefore into ongoing work.
Thanks for raising this topic--it's an important one.
Thanks for all your comments! I feel a bit more validated and less crazy with my view now :)
Roy - in regards to the tooling stuff. Do you think we will see an increase in companies like Atlassian who provide suites like Jira, which cover service desk and dev? Or is it more an integration thing?
Getting the Service Desk Manager and Service Desk Team Lead roles mixed up is very common in IT Organisations.
A Service Desk Manager role, looking at the careers section can be a senior role and personally I think all changes, new services or retiring services should have approval from the Service Desk Manager. Having been in this role myself, I found it concerning how little people in the DevOps world know how their products are used and challenges users face whilst using them.
Communication is key?