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Thursday, November 6, 2014

The DevOps Culture Cocktail

(also posted on

As I have written in previous posts, I believe that IT has accumulated decades of cultural debt that is now due.  We are a young  industry that grew up in silo neighborhoods, each with it’s proprietary practices, language and population of like-skilled specialists.  Left unchecked, the resulting “framework culture” contributed to IT’s cultural debt and is partially the motivation behind DevOps.

The goal of DevOps is not to undervalue or replace the frameworks that are in place.  On it’s own, DevOps is not a framework – in fact,  successful DevOps relies on combined effect of best practices such as Agile, Lean and ITSM.   By recognizing and adapting the best of each, IT can formulate a potent recipe for enhancing performance and increasing customer satisfaction.

So let’s belly up to the bar and mix ourselves a DevOps Culture Cocktail by taking the best guidance from the top shelf of each of the frameworks and practices.  

Ingredient 1:  'Git R Done' Scrum
Scrum is the most prominent of the Agile frameworks and with good reason:  it focuses on getting work “done” in manageable increments while reducing work in progress. 

Pair it with a Kanban Board
While deceptively simple, Kanban is a powerful method for visualizing workflow, identifying constraints and keeping a team focused.

Ingredient 2: Automation
There is a lot of debate around the balance of automation use in DevOps, but there is no dispute that automation and metrics play a key role in successful DevOps. 

Ingredient 3: IT Service Management
ITSM is the deployment's "ever after".  Agile and repeatable service management processes lead the way to stable continuous delivery and increased flow.

 Ingredient 4: Lean
Let’s make it a skinny by creating more value for customers with fewer resources and less waste.

Ingredient 5: People
The most important ingredient.   DevOps relies on the way people think, behave, interact and trust their colleagues.   According to Lloyd Taylor,  "You can’t directly change culture. But you can change behavior, and behavior becomes culture.” 

Finally, add a splash of common vocabulary and a shot of the alcohol of your choice and you now have a DevOps Culture Cocktail!  Serve it daily, share it with your neighbors or sip it while reading a good book like The Phoenix Project.   It does get more potent with age.

I recently had the opportunity to present the DevOps Culture Cocktail Party at Fruition Partner’s FruDevCon Conference.  One of the attendees, a hobby mixologist,  formulated her vision for a signature DevOps Culture Cocktail during my presentation.  We asked the hotel bartender to mix it up, passed it around and a new cocktail was born. Here goes:

The DevOps Culture Cocktail
1 part pear vodka
1 part St. Germain
1 part Chardonnay
2 parts simple syrup or 7 up
Top with a spear of pineapple and a cherry.

Improvement recommendations are of course welcome.  Could this become a staple at all future DevOps events?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crossing the DevOps Cultural Divide

Someday, I would like to be a world traveler – to visit other countries, experience other cultures, sample other foods and see other sights.  And while the thought of that journey is very exciting, it is also a little intimidating.   In many places, I won’t speak the language, fully understand the customs or know what to do and when.  

There are similarities between travelling the globe and travelling the road between Dev and Ops.  The potential outcome of the DevOps journey is exciting, but also a little intimidating.  In some cases, we won’t understand the vocabulary, customs or know what to do and when.  Both trips will require us to be open to new learning and new experiences.

Before I embark on a world journey, I must build an appreciation for the unique aspects of each national culture and it’s contributions to the global community.  The DevOps journey is no different - it begins with the recognition of and mutual respect for the unique skills and practices at each stop on the itinerary. It is vital that Dev and Ops are viewed as peers with each function adding its own special value to the provision of IT services. Neither is subordinate or superior to each other.    

To prepare for my world trip, I will need to learn a little about the places I will visit.  To prepare for a DevOps journey, we must also learn a little about the function areas that we will work with.   Each team should strive to understand just enough about each other so as to “talk the talk”, but not necessarily “walk the walk”.  Fluency is not required to navigate the basics.

Understanding is great, but experience is better.    I may read about different countries but until I actually walk the streets, the experience will not be complete.  The same is true for DevOps. It is important for Dev teams and Ops teams to actually cross each other’s border and witness the daily workings of the develop-deploy-release-operate production line.  Engagement can range from passive “shadowing” to active participation.  Consider putting an Ops person on a Scrum Team for a sprint,  ask a developer to work in tandem with an operator for a shift or have developers and operators take calls or observe the service desk in action.     Whether in travel or in DevOps, immersion is the best way to learn to function in a different environment.

Your packing list wouldn’t be complete without some useful technologies.  Automation can be a great travel companion as both an expediter and a universal translator.  In DevOps, automated configuration, testing and deployment can make the transport of software  from Dev to Ops consistent and faster. Similarly, monitoring tools, metrics, reports and dashboards can translate and interpret data that provides a common basis for discussing what’s happening in the environment and why. 

While my world journey will eventually end, the DevOps journey will not.    By crossing the borders into each other’s territories, we will be better equipped to engineer realistic DevOps systems that are lean, with common vocabularies, integrated processes, greater efficiencies and greater success. 

A  DevOps without borders.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DevOps and Infor’s Journey to the Cloud

 (also posted on

Infor, a leading provider of micro-vertical application suites, has introduced DevOps as part of an initiative to migrate its enterprise application suites to a cloud platform. The significance of this should not be lost.  Infor is not a young, Web 2.0 unicorn that was born with DevOps DNA.   Infor is a 14 year old privately held software supplier with over 70,000 customers across multiple micro-vertical markets.  Infor’s industry-specific applications are mostly deployed and managed on-premise.  The move to a cloud based AWS platform is as much of a paradigm shift for Infor as it is for its diverse customer base.

Infor’s leadership team launched the company’s annual user conference last week with keynote details about Infor XI’s cloud strategy and partnership with Amazon Web Services.   CEO Charles Phillips explained the reasoning behind the move while COO Pam Murphy recounted the technical efforts behind the scenes.   Both acknowledged the necessity of creating a function that would be dedicated to cloud operations. Standing in front of thousands of customers, Ms. Murphy described Infor Labs and how its DevOps practices would ensure that the right operating procedures were inserted into the development lifecycle.  According to Ms. Murphy, DevOps would bring “fully automated hands-free cloud operations that improves efficiency, effectiveness, consistency and security while reducing manpower requirements. “

Infor’s recognition of DevOps as a critical business success factor for its next generation of industry suites is impressive.  Brian Rose, Senior Vice President of Infor Labs and a key member of Infor’s management team for the past nine years provided some insight.  “The motivation behind developing and growing the DevOps team was driven by our ‘Cloud First’ strategy.  Over the last 18 months, Infor underwent a significant transformation to deliver industry solutions in the cloud.   This required development teams to gain a new understanding of the technical operations so that our products operate optimally and cost effectively in the cloud.”

“Our DevOps team worked closely with the development and cloud operations teams to develop standards for the cloud.  Further, they were responsible for setting and maintaining the cloud standards including the development of architectural components  that allowed for the automation of provisioning, patch processing, upgrades, backups, restores, monitoring and the development of a portal to provide a self-service option for these functions,” Rose explains.

Infor Labs has already seen results from DevOps. “The benefits that we have experienced include the reduction of the provisioning of an industry suite from weeks to minutes, decreased implementation time and costs for our customers, and solutions that are optimized from a technical ops perspective that allow our cloud infrastructure to scale so that we can support the thousands of customers that we have today in the cloud and the ability to scale to support the thousands more that we see moving to the cloud in the future, ” says Rose.

While DevOps is not intended solely for applications in the cloud, software providers such as Infor that publicly promote the value of their own DevOps culture increase proof of concept while serving as role models for their enterprise customers.    If the primary objective of DevOps is to improve speed to market and time to value, who better than a trusted commercial software provider to demonstrate real world insight and results.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

DevOps and the Theory of Constraints

The Theory of Constraints was first introduced in the business novel The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt.   The main character of The Goal is Alex, a plant manager who is challenged to increase the output of his factory in a short period of time or face shutdown.  Alex embarks on a journey to understand systems thinking and relies on a mentoring relationship with an elusive Jonah to help him understand how to improve his production processes.

One of Alex’s key realizations occurs during a hike with his son’s scout troop.   Herbie, a less than athletic scout, is having a difficult time keeping up with the other boys.  Alex observes that it is actually not Herbie who has to keep pace with the troop, but rather the troop that has to keep pace with Herbie.   Poor Herbie is a constraint that affects the rest of the system. 

This example illustrates the basis of the Theory of Constraints – a well-respected model for systems management.  Every process is an end-to-end system that has one or more constraints affecting its outcome.  The process will therefore only meet the capacity of its weakest link.  If the constraint is improved or removed, the flow of the entire end to end system will also be improved.   The key is being able to analyze, identify and improve the constraints. 

Gene Kim’s best-selling novel, The Phoenix Project, builds on the same premise in an IT context.  Constraints are interwoven throughout the story and form the basis for improving flow in the First Way.  As more bottlenecks are overcome, the entire end to end flow between Dev and Ops is improved.

Bottlenecks may not always be apparent since work slows down but does not necessarily stop.   Good practices for process analysis and identification of constraints are starting to emerge.   The soon-to-be-published DevOps Cookbook by Gene Kim and colleagues will provide better guidance.

I believe that understanding and applying the Theory of Constraints will be a key practice to help transform a DevOps culture.  Analyzing the bottlenecks and constraints that exist in and through Dev, Ops and ITSM will help to eliminate waste, identify collaborative and opportunities and streamline the flow of work downstream and upstream.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Culture of Trust

(also posted on

Trust is by far the most critical element of a DevOps culture.  It is also the most difficult to achieve.  IT was not built for trust.  The silo structure that is common in most IT organizations was built for specialization and territorial ownership.  The silo walls are thick.

While DevOps may not be able to break down the silos, but it can encourage and groom a culture of trust.

Trust is difficult to define.  We know when we feel it, we know when we don't.   In 1993, Dr. Duane C. Tway, Jr. published a dissertation called "A Construct of Trust".  In it, Dr. Tway defines trust as
“The state of readiness for unguarded interaction with someone or something.”

Dr. Tway believes that trust is actually "constructed" from three basic elements:
  • The capacity for trusting
  • The perception of competence
  • The perception of intentions
The capacity for trusting is how your total life experiences have developed your current capacity and willingness to risk trusting others.

The perception of competence is your perception of your ability and the ability of others with whom you work to perform competently at whatever is needed in the current situation.

The perception of intentions is your perception that the actions, words, direction, mission and decisions are motivated by mutually-serving rather than self-serving motives.

While trust is individual, a culture of trust is organizational.   Both are earned.  DevOps is a great opportunity to look at Dr. Tway's construct of trust and identify small but meaningful opportunities to steadily increase the trust between Dev and Ops including
  • Improved and honest communications
  • Increased personal interaction
  • Honored commitments
  • More listening than talking
  • Frequent knowledge sharing
  • Welcomed input and feedback
  • Admitted mistakes
  • Intolerance of blame
  • Mutual respect
  • A celebration of mutual achievements
What else can you do to create a “state of readiness for unguarded interaction with someone or something” in your organization?  How can you increase a mutual capacity for trusting, perception of competence and perception of intentions?   Perhaps you can start with an honest dialog with and between your Dev and Ops teams.  The answers may be surprising and insightful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Service Management Fusion Conference 2014

As we ring in September, we also ring in the start of the fall conference season.

It's hard to believe but the itSMF/HDI Fusion 2014 conference is next month!   

As always, members of the ITSM crew will be among the many experienced service management professionals sharing insight, knowledge and experiences at the event.

Donna Knapp will be co-presenting with Anthony Orr at a Breakfast Briefing: How to Pass Your MALC Exam on Monday, October 20th at 7:30 am

I will be leading Session 606: Practical Problem Management: The Courage to Ask Why on Tuesday, October 21 at 2:45 PM.

I will also be participating in Session 704: Expert Focus on Practical DevOps with Brandon Gillis of Bank of NY Mellon on Wednesday, October 22 at 9:00 am.

You can register for Fusion14 at

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Join me at the DevOps IT Culture Cocktail Party session at Fruition Partners' FruDevCon

I am very flattered to have been asked to present at Fruition Partners’ fruDevCon14 conference in Chicago, IL October  5-9.  In it’s second year, fruDevCon offers the unique perspective of uniting development and process on a ServiceNow platform.   Attendees will not only learn more about “what” and “how” to develop within ServiceNow, they also will get insight into “why” they are doing what they do and how good process contributes to overall business success.   
I am particularly excited about this approach since the unity of development and process lies at the heart of the emerging DevOps movement.  DevOps does not rely solely on automating tasks – it is as a much a cultural initiative as it is a technical opportunity. Culture is nurtured from the top down and bottom up.  It starts with changing the way individuals think and behave.  

Culture is actually the focus of my presentation, “The IT Culture Cocktail Party” which will be part of the fruDevCon opening keynote session.  During our time together, we will explore the basics of DevOps and discuss how the integration of service management processes with Agile and Lean concepts can foster a culture of better collaboration and faster deployments between Dev and Ops.  We will also have a little fun mixing up a DevOps Culture Cocktail with best practice ingredients from multiple frameworks.  Since DevOps touches everyone in IT, it is my hope that the message of cultural unity will resonate equally with developers, operators and executives.

If your organization is utilizing a ServiceNow platform, I highly encourage you to attend fruDevCon.    In fact, if you register quickly, there is a 20% discount using promo code ANRBJ3.    I hope to meet you there.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Me and My Kanban

(also posted on

There has been a trending interest in Kanban Boards, a tool that helps teams visualize their workflows, limit work in progress and get more “done”.   Kanban Boards are mostly associated with Agile Scrum teams as a collaborative means of seeing the burndown of a sprint.   In fact, Scrum and Kanban are considered to be so interdependent that a new framework called Scrumban is starting to emerge.   However, Kanban is not limited to Agile.  A Kanban board can be very useful for any project or scope of work that would benefit from visualization. 

The premise behind the Kanban is almost deceptively simple.  A board is built with three columns:  “To Do”, “In Progress” and “Done”.   At the start of each sprint, all of the work that needs to be completed is captured on individual sticky notes and placed in the “To Do” column.  When the task or work is actually being undertaken, the note moves into the “In Progress” column.  Upon completion, it is moved to the “Done” column.   If the team has successfully completed the work that was planned for a sprint, all of the cards that began in the “To Do” column will end in the “Done” column.  Any other result opens the opportunity for questions about impediments, team velocity (the ability to absorb work) and sprint planning.

You will often see team kanban boards built on whiteboards and peppered with multi-colored sticky notes.  There is also a great online tool ( that offers a virtual team Kanban board with many of the same characteristics (including virtual sticky notes.  If the three columns are too basic, you can certainly add more columns because of the nature of the project.   The only caution is that it is easy to inadvertently make deceptively simple into overly complex.  Beware!

I have recently started to use a personal Kanban board to manage my own workload.  While not perfect, I have seen a significant improvement in my ability to get things done.   It also helps to keep me organized and focused.   I like moving the sticky notes around.

To begin, I created a backlog column with a colored note for each of my outstanding tasks.  The list is never-ending so notes are added to the backlog just about every day.  At the start of each week, I re-prioritize the backlog to ensure that deadlines and other considerations are addressed.  I then take a reasonable chunk of tasks off the top and add each note to the “To Do” column.  These are my goals for the week.  When I start to work on a particular task, I move its note into the “In Progress” column.  Upon completion, the note is moved to “Done”.   At the end of the week, I celebrate what I have accomplished and analyze what was left behind.   

If a note stays in the “In Progress” column for too long or moves back to “To Do”, I have to question why.  Did I overestimate my velocity or time it would take to complete a task?  Have I been faced with extensive interruptions or unplanned work?  Was I waiting on someone else?   The visualization of the Kanban board helps me understand my own patterns of work and recognize how I contribute to or impact the results of my team.  

I highly recommend that everyone to set up a personal Kanban, whether for work tasks or home tasks.  You can use the whiteboard in your office or set up a free basic online board through LeanKit  (   The results were be very interesting.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The DevOps Diet (Getting Lean)

(Also posted on

IT has gotten fat – fat silos, fat processes, fat procedures.  Adopting DevOps is a great opportunity to look at some of our unhealthy habits and identify where we can eliminate unproductive waste from our process diets.  DevOps will ultimately teach IT how to exercise more with less effort, trim the fat and get lean.

According to lean principles, the seven main areas of waste are:
  • Defects –  variations from requirements that result in interruptions and re-work
  • Overproduction – delivering something more or before it is required
  • Inventory  –  carrying excess raw materials, work in progress (WIP) or finished goods
  • Over-processing – doing more work than is required
  • Motion – moving people or equipment more than is required
  • Transportation – moving products from one location to another
  • Waiting – doing nothing or moving slowly while waiting on a previous step
What are the greatest sources of waste in your IT organization?  Are defects being regularly passed downstream? Are ITSM processes overproducing through complexity and bureaucracy?  Are Agile teams  dealing with excessive work in progress and less finished product?  Are unresolved bottlenecks resulting in frequent delays while waiting for something to get done or someone to be available?  Could automation reduce "motion sickness" and make transportation nonstop? These questions will hopefully facilitate dialog between Dev and Ops about analyzing and streamlining existing workflows.

While waste is fattening, it is not necessarily ineffective.  Projects and other tasks are still getting done and therefore some areas of waste may be difficult to recognize.  To become leaner, start simple by identifying and eliminating one unhealthy habit from your IT diet.   Engage stakeholders from Dev, Ops, customers and suppliers (if appropriate).  Discuss ways to improve the work with healthier habits.  Agree on what to do next or what not to do anymore.

Every diet should be supported by recipes for success.  The upcoming DevOps Cookbook by Gene Kim, et al. will provide more tangible guidance and recipes for healthy IT habits.  More on that in future blogs.

Most of all,  identifying and eliminating waste through Lean DevOps is a great opportunity for collaboration.  After all,  it's always better to diet with a friend.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cultural Debt

There has been a lot of talk lately about IT’s accumulation of “technical debt’.  Technical debt describes necessary work from a prior deployment that was deferred in favor of other tasks.   As technical debt grows, the ability to make future changes is hindered because of backlog was not addressed.

I have recently come to recognize that IT suffers from another type of debt – cultural debt.  IT is a young industry that grew rapidly  while facing constant pressure to bring technical innovation to the market. Cultural considerations were deferred  in favor of building and deploying products and services.  IT’s silo culture grew organically out of the need for diversifed sets of specialized experience and expertise.

While cultural debt was accumulating,  IT’s complexities were increasing.  The single platform mainframe vanished in favor of multi-platform servers.   Production applications grew exponentially. The IT supply chain went from a single location department  to a network that spans multiple geographies and organizations. Although IT’s silos were also acknowledged to be  IT’s constraints, converging different processes, frameworks,  vocabularies and customs was not going to be easy.  And so the cultural debt grew.

Like all debts, payment is eventually due.  For IT, the due date is  today. Cultural debt is having a tangible impact on the bottom line by hindering IT’s ability to meet the pace of deployment that the business now requires. Every bottleneck in the workflow between Dev and Ops affects the entire system of supply and demand.  The business has zero tolerance for missed deadlines, poor quality code or fragile applications.   A paradigm shift is required in order to improve IT’s consistency and speed.

The good news is that an increasing number of individuals and organizations are looking to pay down cultural debt by embracing a DevOps approach. Case studies are emerging that demonstrate proof of concept - silos are breaking down and people are talking to each other. Tools are enabling automated tasks and deployments are happening faster with fewer defects.  Dev and Ops are starting to embrace a common set of practices and accountabilities.  Best of all, DevOps is stemming the rate of future technical and cultural debt  - and that’s a win for everyone.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Scrum Gets Things Done

Scrum is the most prominent of the Agile frameworks.  In many instances its concepts and vocabulary have become synonymous with Agile.  Why?  Because the Scrum framework brings to life all of the values and principles promoted by the Agile Manifesto.

What is Scrum?  I particularly like this description from
Scrum is a simple framework for effective team collaboration on complex projects.  Scrum provides a small set of rules that create just enough structure for teams to be able to focus their innovation on solving what might otherwise be an insurmountable challenge.

Scrum is often mistaken for a method just for building products. Nothing could be further from the truth – it is a methodology whose primary objective is to get things done – first by defining “done” and then by steadily progressing the forward through short increments known as “sprints”.   Each sprint burnsdown a backlog of work until the entire project is "done".   

Other beneficial aspects of Scrum include:
       Good planning and review
       Agreed user stories
       Small self-organizing teams
       Improved communication (daily standup)
       Better workflows and fewer bottlenecks
       Reduced work in progress
       Improved responsiveness
       Measurable accomplishments
       Shorter feedback loops

Scrum is deceptively simple, yet difficult to master.   Is Scrum the only Agile framework?  No.   The use of Kanban is also rapidly growing – giving rise to another emerging framework called Scrumban.    Stay tuned to future blogs for more on this.

I strongly believe that everyone in IT should learn about Scrum.   Let’s get things done!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The New Jayne Explains - Let's Talk About Agile, Agile SM, Lean and DevOps

For several years  now, I have been blogging about updates in the ITSM industry.   “That’s interesting, Jayne” some of my followers have recently said “But what we really want to know is what the next generation of IT and ITSM will or should look like.”   OK - I may have an opinion or two about that.
It’s taken a while, but the trends are becoming clearer.   Individuals and organizations are starting to  look at complementary frameworks, methods and movements such as DevOps, Agile, Lean, Agile Service Management® and others in order to take their IT and ITSM efforts to the next level. 
What does that mean?  Are ITSM processes no longer going to be relevant?  Of course not.  It means that we will have to  build on what we have already accomplished by doing it faster.   It means we will have to break down some pretty significant silos.  It means we will have to integrate the best of Dev and Ops’ processes, practices and vocabularies into a universal system that spans the entire IT supply chain.  It means we will have to actively reduce bottlenecks, waste and work in progress.  It means we will have to accept automation as a member of our teams.  It means that ITSM processes will have to be more agile, more lean, more “modern”.    It means we have to learn and share and assimilate all good ideas into a custom framework that specifically fits the needs of your business.  A little scary?  Perhaps.  Exciting? Definitely.
Let’s embark on this new knowledge journey together.  Some of the frameworks, methods and movements mentioned do not (yet) have definitive bodies of knowledge but good practices are starting to emerge.  I will now use Jayne Explains to share my observations, insights as well as bits and pieces about what I learn along the way.    Hopefully we can also use this blog as a forum to engage interesting discussions and help shape the future of IT learning.  ITSM Academy’s  introductory DevOps Overview course is already available with more detailed DevOps Fundamentals and Agile Service Management courses on the way.  Stay tuned.   
The future is here - welcome to NextGen ITSM®

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Does it Mean to "Be Agile"?

It seems like the term “agile” is surfacing everywhere lately.  While originally intended for software developers, the term has permeated our IT culture and become part of our vocabulary.   While the word is commonly used, do we also have a common understanding of what it means to “be agile”?  Particularly in the context of service management?

Agile is primarily a state of mind that is reflected in a set of core values and principles.  By itself, it is not a framework, standard, set of practices or methodology.  It is more of a perspective than a prescription.  Agile values are embedded  into and brought to life through approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, DevOps and Xtreme Programming.  The concepts reach way beyond software development.  Agile is now recognized to be equally relevant to other domains such as service management or business process management.

At the heart of Agile is the Agile Manifesto – the output of a set of frustrated developers in 2001 whose collective goal was to refocus their community to what really matters.    

The Agile Manifesto is supported by a set of twelve principles that further elaborate on the core values.  The Manifesto and its principles can be viewed here.
At first glance, the Agile Manifesto may seem to diminish or obsolete everything we have taught and worked so hard to achieve in service management.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The authors acknowledge that they do value the items on the right, they just value the items on the left more.  Don’t we also? 
In order to “be agile”, we may have to refocus our community too.  Refocus it to be more business-centric than it-centric.  To refuse to prize flowcharts, documentation, tools and plans over successful business outcomes.  To collaborate with our customers and ensure that we understand and are delivering ongoing value.  
Mostly, we need to do JUST ENOUGH of the items on the right to deliver the items on the left consistently.   Agile doesn't negate what we do and teach in service management, it actually lightens our load and allows us to be true business enablers.  Awesome!
What would an Agile Service Management Manifesto look like?  Here is my vision:

This is certainly not perfect. I hope it is a starting point that opens a forum for healthy discussion and collaboration.   Let's do what the developers did - agree on a set of core principles that focus on what really matters.   
ITSM Academy recognizes that being agile is and will be an important aspect of the next generation of rapid innovation.  We have created a line of training for Agile Service Management  and are introducing new Agile and DevOps courses that marry agile values and frameworks to service management practices.   We are already actively delivering Certified ScrumMaster,  Certified Process Design Engineer (CPDE) and DevOps Overview.  Coming soon:  DevOps Fundamentals  and Agile Service Management: Essentials.  Stay tuned!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ten Years Later

This week, ITSM Academy will celebrate its tenth anniversary.    Our whole team will be in Fort Lauderdale at our annual “all hands” meeting. We will use this time to draw on each other’s energies, ideas and capabilities to review the past, assess the present and prepare for the future to ensure that we continue to deliver value to our customers and to each other.

Ten years ago, many organizations were unfamiliar with ITIL or service management.  Awareness was slow and mostly at the large enterprise level.    There was not a lot of ITIL education available in the US.  The primary areas of focus were Incident and Change Management. Lisa and I helped found the 9th itSMF USA Local Interest Group in South Florida. 
Things have certainly changed.  Here are a few of my observations:
  • ITIL is no longer just for the Fortune 1000 organization.  The need for service management programs and practices has transcended every vertical market including government, non-profit, global and local organizations.  This is a very positive indicator about scalability and the fact that you do not need a million dollar budget to manage your services.
  • Service Management is shifting the focus from apps to services.  The definition of “service” is still not as business-centric as it should be but we are closer than ever before.  Service Catalogs are more common and are being used to request and understand services by both the business and IT.
  • Service Management programs are maturing and moving beyond Incident and Change Management.  Today’s roadmaps include processes such as Problem Management, Demand/Capacity Management and Service Portfolio/Service Catalog/Service Level Management.
  • More organizations are interested in implementing Service Management Offices (SMOs).
  • While ITIL is a great service management framework, it is not perfect and cannot stand alone.  More and more organizations are integrating their service management practices with frameworks such as Agile, Lean, DevOps, Project Management and Cobit.
  • Interest in organizational change concepts is increasing.  Change the way people think and you are more likely to change the way they behave.
  • Mobile computing, the cloud, BYOD and other influences are forcing IT to move faster and be more efficient.   Traditional service management will need to upgrade to Agile Service Management and leverage methodologies such as Scrum to improve velocity and workflow.
  • DevOps is revolutionizing the relationship and flow between IT development and operational teams. Organizations will have to assess and improve culture, automation, measurements and sharing (CAMs) in order to compete.
  • The future is now.
Technical innovations over the past ten years have been remarkable – from desktops to laptops to smartphones, tablets and beyond.   The next ten years will be an even wilder ride.  We are getting ready - are you?