Welcome DevOps - glad you are here

A note to my friend DevOps from ITIL®

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Welcome to town

The welcome card is on your mat and I’ve baked you cookies, so come on in!

Let me introduce myself more formally as it looks to me like ‘we got off on the wrong foot’, so to speak.

I’m ITIL I’m an oldie but a keeper. I’ve kept myself in great shape for 30 years all things considered. I provide a framework that talks about the common sense things to do in order to ensure that IT services are aligned to the needs of your business. Call me ‘but a tool’, to facilitate business change, transformation and growth. I enjoy having lots of friends who support some of the things I suggest.

Truth be told, I do a lot of what you do (but I am not as sexy looking anymore) and I’m not prescriptive, so your innovation, automation and co-operation sound damn fine to me!

As I’ve said to the others, you my friend are most welcome here.

So a word of advice youngster, “Don’t waste your time preaching to the converted”. I am happy to buddy up. Bring over your poison of choice there’s room for everyone at this party!

Speak soon… I’m off on a date with… Oh no no! (I’ll keep that to myself), let’s just say …it’s the next great thing in service management. I’m a bit of a cougar you know! (I’m sure I’ll get along with him too), what with me being adaptable and flexible. This girl just rocks!

Catch you later! You know where I am if you need to borrow sugar!

Enough with the ITIL bashing

I was inspired to write this welcome note as a bit of fun because the ITIL ‘bashing’ has reached new heights over the past few weeks. Most of the ITIL ‘diehards’ are a thick-skinned lot, rendering the debate moot. There has been a call for ITIL to hang up its dancing shoes and leave the party but for me that seems a strange thing to request of what is essentially a non-prescriptive framework.

It led me to reflect again on my assertion that ITIL has never claimed to be all things to all men. Back in the 1980s no one truly understood IT service management (ITSM), although it was clear that it was a concept that needed to be explored. Hence a UK government initiative was instigated and ITIL was born. Over the years, ITIL has evolved and, arguably, is now the most widely adopted approach in ITSM. It is globally recognized as the best-practice framework. ITIL’s universal appeal is that it continues to provide a set of processes that are efficient, reliable and adaptable to organisations of all sizes, enabling them to improve their own service provision. Looking at each book the message is clear the library is guidance. It’s a cookery book for service management. If there is an ingredient you dislike, remove, supplement or reduce. If something is of utmost importance to your organisation or customer, sprinkle, add and incorporate to enhance the flavour to suit the individual palate. A direct quote from the Introduction of the Service Strategy book encourages the reader …”Organizations are encouraged to adopt ITIL best practices and to adapt them to work in their specific environments in ways that meet their needs” (ITIL SS pg3).

Exploration is encouraged

Even reading through the ITIL books, we are encourage to explore using Project Management disciplines, to use strategic analysis techniques from the business world, to consider application development approaches, use advanced technology solutions to undertake activities from monitoring to modelling, design and testing. Furthermore ITIL councils the reader to consider tools such as PDCA, RACI, The Service V Model, and many other references to expert fields such Organisational Change Management and Continual Service Improvement as an example. How can anyone reading the books overlook this and claim ‘red-tape’ and beaurocracy. It’s clear from the ITIL Complimentary guidance, books, white papers case studies that ITIL wants to be part of a bigger service management model which looks to take the best from each approach, framework, method, tool and anything else that might serve to strengthen the ability of the service management community to do what it’s supposed to be doing; Worrying less about the how and more about the what; what it delivers by way of service outcomes to support customer needs.

As for DevOps, frankly most of ITIL friends including myself think it looks great. It’s exciting. It’s at the top of the hype curve and my colleagues at work are so enthused about it I can’t stop myself from being the same. Gene Kim describes DevOps as ‘a movement’. Gene is one of the authors of ‘The Phoenix Project’ which I have read and enjoyed. Gene explains that DevOps is “the emerging professional movement that advocates a collaborative working relationship between Development and IT Operations, resulting in the fast flow of planned work while simultaneously increasing the reliability, stability, resilience and security of the production environment.”

Let’s be friends

I enjoy all the article and blogs and I have also taken wise council from my DevOps colleagues who tell me that DevOps works. However, they also tell me that it wouldn’t be an approach that they would be using for every customer or every service they are involved with. Even if they thought it would be fantastic there are rules, obligations and responsibilities that would prohibit it at least for now. No doubt going forward, confidence will increase, contractual commitments adapt and DevOps will be the new normal.

So, I will continue to watch the industry with excitement and awe. I am not sold to one ‘thing’ and anyone that is, is a fool! Why would we want to ignore the opportunities brought to us by smart people smart tools and evolved thinking?

So, as I said welcome DevOps … I’m ITIL, I think we could be great friends and don’t forget where I am if you need to borrow sugar!

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Michelle Major-Goldsmith

Michelle Major-Goldsmith is currently Manager of Service Management Capability at Kinetic IT in Perth, Western Australia. Michelle has been in the industry for over twenty-five years; formerly Director of Training at UK service management company Sysop and Head of Desktop and Mobile Computing at RAC Motoring Services. More latterly Michelle has been engaged as an ITIL trainer and service management consultant working with a range of clients globally. She was awarded IT Service Management Trainer of the Year in the UK in 2010 and honoured by the British Computer Society in 2011 as IT Support Professional of the Year. She is extensively published within the Service Management Industry.