The strict ITIL process definitely sounds opposite to Agile methodologies, but they can be friends too. This statement would leave you puzzled with so many questions such as
“Can applying agile mindset to IT service management really happen?”,
“Can Agile methods address all ITSM needs?”
“Will there be a stable environment when they co-exist?”, and much more.
I will surely admit that agile methods cannot address all ITSM needs but it requires a process development “Isn’t it?”
IT Organizations are using standard practices, methodologies and other valuable industry frameworks for an improved service quality. In addition, they are also looking to build agility in software development with new technology and methodology.
It is true that ITIL is considered as a gold standard of IT however, current service management environments are seeing it as an old-school approach. Even its approach seems to have traveled a long road, research has confirmed that ITIL still remains the best practice for ITSM industry. A big change has been scheduled this year in ITIL with core elements remaining the same but with an update on “how ITIL can be adopted in conjunction with practices such as DevOps, Agile and Lean”.
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Before we dwell on “how ITIL can be adopted in conjunction with Agile?”, let us have a look at what Agile and ITIL is all about.
What are Agile methodologies?
Agile can be defined as a set of processes for software development fulfilling the requirements of the customer using cross-functional teams. Companies need to adapt with four key foundations of Agile in order to achieve an Agile ITSM and they are
- Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools
- Working Software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to Change over following a plan.
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What is an ITIL framework?
ITIL is a standard framework for the governance of IT focusing on continuous measurement and quality improvement of the IT services delivered to the customers. ITIL world on 9 guiding principles and they are
- Focus on value
- Design for experience
- Start where you are
- Work holistically
- Progress iteratively
- Observe directly
- Be transparent
- Keep it simple
With many challenges involved in delivering services effectively, these 9 guiding principles of ITIL can help you to make effective decisions.
Can Agile and ITIL co-exist?
Even after the implementation of latest methodologies and technologies in an IT environment, the turbulent driven marketplace has pushed the businesses and clients to uncover better ways to attain a competitive edge. One such way is looking at the possibility of pairing Agile service management with ITIL.
But wait, how opposite they are from each other? True, Agile mindset believes to be less important to whatever ITIL feels significant too. Though Agile and ITIL approaches cannot be of an exact same match you can definitely think of ways they actually can work together. In fact, if you take a closer look and compare the Agile practices with ITIL principles, you might find some striking similarities.
1) “working software” means “Focus on value” that is doing right things with the outcomes that deliver value can be used by the customer.
2) “Keep it simple” can easily tell you how closely Agile and ITIL are related as it asks to act quickly and deliver the quality. Yes, you are right “Responding to change”.
Agile’s set of guidelines for your work can use ITIL’s collection of procedures on how to do the work in detail. Hence, implementing these standard practices in the way it works best for a specific organization is definitely possible. So, the way of implementing ITIL or its components can very well be Agile.
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What can be the hurdle faced in the integration of Agile and ITIL?
One of the major hurdles faced in the integration of Agile and ITIL is a creation of instability. Since ITIL is based on a sequential framework whereas Agile is an iterative approach. But we do have a solution to bring these two contrasting approaches on one road and that is “DevOps”.
When the two contrasting approaches Development and Operations are brought together in an endurable approach, DevOps can definitely be a solution for Agile and ITIL existing together without some major conflict. A new culture Agile ITSM can be enjoyed by the organizations with ITIL offering framework and DevOps ensuring a continuous stream of movements. Agile ITSM is indeed a cultural shift with the best of the two worlds, “Agile and ITSM”, put together.
As a final note, Agile ITSM can provide framework and guidelines for service with a speedy delivery being ensured in an Agile way. A certified professional well versed in both the concepts is a better craftsman to bring in much more agility in the process.
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