How to be ready: the need for speed in ITSM 2018

Section of stopwatch

The need for speed has reached boiling point in IT service management (ITSM).

Organizations’ ability to react to this in 2018 – especially in ITSM – will be the difference between surviving and thriving or withering and being outsourced.

Lisa HodgesThose that have already adopted best practices in ITSM – including the core approaches to change and incident management – are better positioned to adapt to increasingly short cycle times affecting industry: if people are being pushed to do more and faster, having the right structure in place is vital to automate more and free people up. Remember, you can’t automate chaos!

Equally, a lot of agile’s core principles can help in ITSM to adapt and modify your structures to do better more quickly and achieve effective change management.

If you have become accustomed to structures that create strength and predictability, you may be naturally afraid of “breaking” things. However, you’ve got to get used to being more uncomfortable; looking at the next evolution and being willing to incorporate agile practices selectively and grow them. This is about taking more risk in the need for speed and no longer hiding in the safety nets of structure.

Method in the madness

Despite this, you need to be methodical in what you do. The need for speed does mean taking risks, but not stupidly. Using ITIL® and PRINCE2® – or other service management frameworks – place a huge emphasis on managing risk effectively; it’s about becoming risk experts and realizing that not everything is a candidate for an agile approach.

At the centre of this is the need to bridge the gap – once and for all – between the business/customer/end users and the IT organization. While this is not new, it’s now even more critical and IT has the tools to do it. However, companies need to use more service strategy and business relationship management to bridge that gap.

A new model for a new world?

I’ve seen an opportunity in new ways of working happening today: working with students from a mix of disciplines at a local university, they have formed a group that acts as a project team with a real-life customer and deliverables (a new website or mobile app). This is a group that has grown up with digital and the notion of separating technology and users is completely foreign. They have no boundaries and act as one team.

We could learn a lot from these young people coming out of education in creating cross-functional disciplines and mirroring that in the business world.

As the Scrum guide shows us, there is no separate role for the IT and business people on a Scrum team. There is a product owner and a Scrum Master (who acts as Servant Leader) but everyone else holds the role of a developer – with no difference, gap or great divide.

That’s the mentality we have to adopt and the how-to guides to do that exist already in ITIL and Scrum. This is not only necessary but required for survival.

The premise of the DevOps movement – overcoming the gap between design, development, transition and operations – has always existed in ITIL. What’s become more urgent is the overlap and blending of practices as the next level of maturity to move to. I do believe it’s critical.

Intelligent risk taking

Yes, we need to embrace moving faster, while taking risks intelligently. If we don’t, organizations will flounder in an age where anything can be outsourced. And it’s not just the IT department that faces this threat. The solutions are out there and there’s still time to catch up and ride the wave.

That means embracing the concept of enterprise service management and the principles of business relationship management. And don’t be afraid to change a practice that you fought hard for previously; we have to adopt and adapt, but then take risks and borrow from agile and Scrum to break things intelligently.

Read previous AXELOS Blog Posts by Lisa Hodges

Enterprise service management: deploying ITSM without the IT

Bi-modal/two-speed IT: the chaos with traditional and agile projects

PMBOK and PRINCE2®: how Project Managers can survive in an agile world

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