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How to develop applications with ITIL, DevOps and agile methods

How to develop applications with ITIL, DevOps and agile methods

Stéphane DugasDeveloping new applications with a combination of ITIL®, DevOps and agile methods is transforming results for customers.

While DevOps and agile are enabling better communication, improved analysis of customer needs and delivering a quality solution, ITIL adds incident, problem and change processes to the application development journey.

Blending the different approaches – in our experience – ensures better structure, service and customer follow-up. And though this involves an education process for some companies less familiar with ITIL, they soon understand its value: once introduced to certain services – and realizing they don’t have to follow everything in ITIL but “adopt and adapt” – companies recognize its flexibility in day-to-day use.

App development in action

So, how does the combined approach to app development work in practice?

For example, a customer needs a new application feature: our approach enables us to create a “story” which explains the customer request, i.e. “the customer wants to do X because of Y”. Agile forces us to bring these “storified” needs to the development team and help them to understand better and focus on what the customer requires. And while it empowers the development team to identify technical options it also empowers the client to feel more involved in the final solution.

The agile element is more about quality and delivering the right things than speed and it forces us to deliver in multiple phases, so giving more flexibility in generating new functionality for the customer.

Ultimately, we’ve found the approach makes a big difference to the end result: we are in constant communication with customers and increasingly productive. Last year, we delivered 200 new functionalities for customer applications – an unprecedented achievement and with a smaller development team.
It has brought a real change to our own enterprise culture in breaking down team silos. We now operate more effectively and customers see us as one coherent and unified team.

With more and more companies and public sector organizations starting to see the importance of this combined ITIL, DevOps and agile approach, how can you make it work?

  1. Obtaining senior-level ownership
    You need the backing of managers and strong leadership when wanting to introduce new processes
  2. Developing project management skills
    Your people need to be open to developing their skills through best practice courses and certification but combined with experience developed in real-life scenarios.
  3. A shift from technical to softer skills
    Skills such as listening, communicating and understanding customer needs are now more essential than technical capabilities were for developers in the past. Having analytical and business vision skills are as necessary as producing code!
  4. Continual improvement of functionalities
    Converting ideas into useful functionalities is vital, along with being a good negotiator to align different teams for continual improvement.
  5. Breaking down silos
    You might find some resistance to new approaches in large, public organisations where departments are not accustomed to collaborating and communication is difficult. It might take longer, but you need to break down these siloed approaches.

Integrating ITIL, DevOps and agile methods means we have a focus on delivering quality improvements coupled with a process for managing problems and change. An incident handling process helps us manage any bugs highlighted by customers, so allowing developers to create a fix.

All in all, the combined methods are complementary and – today – we wouldn’t work in any other way.

See our ITIL section for more information and read some of our recent blog posts to find out more about how agile and DevOps can help organizations improve processes:

ITIL and DevOps - arch enemies or complementary models

5 winning ways with agile and programme management in 2017

Why problem management in a agile environment is key in 2017

Making service management agile

Current rating: 3.5 (2 ratings)


27 Apr 2017 DevOpsConsult
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Thank you for your article it looks good and providing some valuable information.
19 May 2020 Amey Nevrekar
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ITIL is vast and generally confusing...Thanks for keeping the concepts and the rfeading material simple and easy to understand
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