Subscribe Now:

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!

No comments:

Post a Comment