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DevOps and Agile in an IT Service Management World

IT500 – a new type of conference

This May saw the first IT500 masterclass-based conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Delegates could choose the sessions they wanted to attend and only pay for those, as well as having ample opportunity to network and talk to exhibitors.

The team at IT500 did a great job and I hope they will be running this format again.

In this blog, I’m going to review the session I ran with Sogeti’s Dave van Herpen, on DevOps and Agile in an ITSM World.  We had some great input from our delegates, including ITSM Zone mentors Daniel Breston and Simone Moore.

Claire Agutter

Kanban for agendas

Using kanban to manage your agendaDave and I had planned the session to be a mix of presentation and group sessions.  We were very interested to hear why delegates wanted to learn about DevOps and Agile, and what business problems they were facing.

Dave used Kanban to manage the agenda, and we added some items based on input from the group.  This worked really well and helped to keep us on track – I would definitely recommend you try it.

Business and IT drivers

We had a good discussion in the room about the business and IT drivers for new ways of working like Agile and DevOps – what are businesses looking for?

Some of the suggestions included:

  • IT having a bad reputation/needing a culture change/needing to rebuild the relationship with the business
  • IT not wanting to be viewed as the ‘department of no’
  • Balancing reactive and proactive work
  • Tools, frameworks and people not being aligned
  • Wanting better return on investment from IT
  • Silos/poor communication
  • The business needing to adapt to survive/speed to market/competition/disruption
  • Changes in technology
  • Failings from waterfall ways of working
  • “Shift left” and knowledge management
  • Sector specific drivers like regulation

Techniques for Agile and DevOps

After discussing some Agile and DevOps theory, we moved into some practical techniques.  Kanban was of particular interest to the delegates, and we discussed how it can be used to manage productivity at both an individual and team level.  We also looked at Scrum and applying Agile thinking to IT service management.

Selling DevOps

Delegate discussions in the workshopFinally, we did some group work on selling DevOps to the business.  Suggestions included:

  • Getting rid of ‘pain’
  • Less risk
  • Using a pilot to demonstrate results
  • Increased ‘mean time between kickings’ for IT (thanks Daniel Breston!)
  • Faster results, faster feedback
  • What happens to IT if we don’t change?
  • Better customer outcomes

Overall it was a great session and I’d like to thank everyone who joined in.  The slides from the presentation are available on slideshare, and our DevOps and Agile Service Management courses might also provide you with some more food for thought.  IT is changing, and our working practices need to evolve too.



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