Bringing Agile and ITSM Together for Better IT and Business Outcomes

Agile and ITSM

Let’s talk about Agile and ITSM. For everything we do in IT service management (ITSM), we must both bring value and ensure that the outcomes are as expected. While this is great in theory, it’s much harder to put into practice. However, for me this is a true need, and a good – and timely – example of this can be found in the following advice: Don’t bring a turkey to a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. Because if there’s not a single person at the Thanksgiving dinner table who consumes meat, then you’re providing no value by bringing a turkey.

Alternatively, you can add value to the Thanksgiving experience by finding out, in advance, who’s coming (to the dinner) and then making sure that you bring (or serve up if you’re hosting) a meal item that the assembled people will enjoy.

Adding value in such a manner is never truer than in the service management world. And since Thanksgiving (in the US) is upon us, I’d like to provide some insight about how service desk professionals can bring together agile and ITSM for increased value creation.

So, please read on and for an illustrative overview of this agile and ITSM partnership, and please check out this infographic that my TOPdesk colleagues have developed on the topic.

How to add more value in ITSM

Increasingly – as our collective attention is moving from better IT outcomes to better business outcomes – adding value to the organization, and its internal IT user base, is a seemingly ever-allusive prize for ITSM pros.

To accomplish such a goal on the IT service desk, the members of the service desk must be committed to working closely with their end users, but the value-creation process needs to start long before the provision of IT support actually begins. In this case, this is during service design.

So, when your service desk team begins designing services that will be offered or supported (by your IT service desk), they – or your IT leadership – must bring actual end users into this design phase. When such users are considered, you’re likely going to serve up capabilities and features that they’ll much more likely gobble up (and please pardon my turkey pun).

So, to offer these specifically-designed services, make sure that the right people are “in the room.” Also, the processes created and adopted must be flexible, and, well, agile. It’s agile and ITSM.

In an agile environment, flexibility is paramount. Whereas, ITIL-based ITSM processes, for example, can seem very static and staid. And, while often considered to the contrary, these two approaches can work well together, allowing room in your ITSM and IT service desk processes (or capabilities) to better meet ever-changing business demands and deliver the value that’s expected of you.

Agile is in demand in ITSM

According to the “VersionOne 12th Annual State of Agile Report,” 97% of software organizations practice agile development methods. And based on the report’s data, the agile methodology is also working within service management environments (the agile and ITSM we’re looking for).

Even more rewarding in terms of agile outcomes, the same report states that 71% of organizations say that agile approaches are allowing them to better manage changing priorities. Likewise, 65% of organizations with an agile mindset feel that the approach helps them come into overall business alignment and another 62% say that the agile methodology means they’re able to increase the delivery speed of their software products.

Agile approaches mean ITSM processes can be improved “along the way” within a larger plan, that might originally have been guided by the likes of ITIL road mapping. With the use of agile, process- or service-development teams can serve up workable solutions to see how they taste, then use the feedback gained to improve toward a bigger goal.

Adopting agile for “agile and ITSM”

When you begin working in an agile environment, start at, well, the beginning. Compare your current services with how they might align with new, agile values. If you have existing long-term issues, start there and incorporate the agile methodology. While this might seem like an over simplification, so is the preparation of the Thanksgiving meal when everything is laid bare on the counter. With the right activities, timing, and attention, you’ll finish at the table with all the proper fixings.

Referring back to the VersionOne study, 74% of organizations that had implemented an agile approach indicated that more than half of their agile efforts had been successful. There’s a clear case for agile in an ITSM environment and bringing agile methodology in to help increase delivered business value.

Much like a bountiful Thanksgiving meal with varying options and sides – some of which don’t always seem to fit together naturally (like cranberries sharing a plate with potatoes and gravy), this pairing can turn into quite a scrumptious experience when the proper investment is made. Even simple investments like jellied cranberries from a can or the delicious stuffing from a box can produce quite wonderful results to improve the overall experience.

So, once you return to work post-Thanksgiving (if you’re in the US), please take a look at how agile and ITSM could help to improve your service management.

Want more? Here are informative ITIL 4 service value system and ITIL 4 service value chain articles.

Nancy Louisnord
Global Chief Marketing Officer at Manta

Nancy Louisnord is the Global Chief Marketing Officer of Manta, responsible for the company’s global marketing programs and product marketing strategy. With more than 15 years of international leadership experience in the B2B IT SaaS industry, she is a sought-after presenter at conferences and one of HDI’s TOP 25 Thought Leaders and HDI’s featured contributors. Manta offers a comprehensive data lineage platform that gives companies complete visibility and control of their data pipeline. Manta has helped companies reduce incidents through proactive risk analysis, accelerate digital transformation, and enhance governance by building trust in data.

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