Within my own organization, we’ve used the principles of ITIL® Practitioner to ensure we’re working more effectively. And that has involved taking a “helicopter ride”.
The release and deployment team’s objective is to release about 20 new and quality courseware titles to the market each month. Regularly, we pause and take a helicopter view to look at where we are against our targets. We use metrics to validate if we are on track and, if there is a gap, we discuss what we need to do to bridge it. Through this approach, we recognized that within a specific quarter we were able to release only about 15 courses which was significantly off target.
To work out where it was going wrong, everyone involved in service transition reviewed the release and deployment process and concluded that the Change Advisory Board (CAB) had become a bottleneck; work was piling up and the approval process took too long. Without us realizing, the CAB had changed from being a decision-making function to an extra layer of quality assurance.
In response, we redesigned the process and implemented Kanban boards. This meant our development and operations team could follow projects through their lifecycle and, in turn, reduce the CAB’s role in everyday validation and give greater focus to emergency releases. By making this change, we quickly got back on track to 20 releases per month.
This Continual Service Improvement (CSI) approach helped us to achieve our objectives and it’s something we’ve continued to use; every time we run into an issue, I draw a small helicopter on the board to remind us to take a helicopter view.
Ultimately, the most useful principles of ITIL Practitioner are:
- Focus on value – value is created when products become available for sale quickly. We focused on reducing the time to market and the cost of the CAB members’ time
- Start where you are – we optimized the existing change and release processes but did not start from scratch. Most elements were working fine, we just needed to optimize specific parts and re-look at how we were doing things
- Work holistically – Development, Operations, Marketing and Sales are all important stakeholders of the release process. Every function is now part of the development and deployment process and is aware of their responsibilities
- Be transparent – we started using a digital Kanban board called Trello that is accessible to everyone in the organization. This means they can now check the status of any project at any time
- Keep it simple – we do not work with extensive process documentations; the Kanban board defines our process. We make changes continuously to the process if it benefits others.
I think the principles of ITIL Practitioner are essential and relevant for any service transition scenario. Fundamentally, service transition is about making a change, and just like any organizational change, communication is crucial to make sure departments and teams work together.
ITIL Practitioner recognizes this and puts communication at the very heart of its approach and values.
See our ITIL Practitioner section for more information.