How to align DevOps and ITSM
A key concept in both ITIL and Dev Ops is continual improvement.
ITIL practitioners focus on delivering value through beneficial outcomes. Well, DevOps practitioners focus on improving technical practices that deliver value to the customer.
Services and products are deeply intertwined, and thus both ITIL and DevOps are working towards a common goal, delivering value to the customer.
To create value in the team, the main question the head of the product team should be asking is this: “Do my team's methods or capabilities align with the service team's methods or capability?”
For example, is the development team's approach to testing and release of software aligned with the service teams approach to testing and releasing service updates? Similarly, is the operations teams approach to technical event and capacity management aligned with the service team’s approach to service event and capacity management service operations is generally about monitoring service help, resolving customer issues and queries, provisioning access based on security policies and managing service events.
There should be a flow of updated knowledge into the service organization so that service operations can assist customers and provide value quickly. In turn, service operations can escalate issues, provide more information about common issues and complaints and monitoring trends. This information should act as a feedback loop that will help developers and technology operations team improve their own capabilities and processes.
But what about the upstream service capabilities? In ITIL the service design phase of the service lifecycle defines policy and requirements around service performance? It works with the business to define aspects of the service, such as service levels, event management and capacity management.
We need to ask three questions, firstly, is the development team able to receive service characteristics quickly and easily? And is the development team able to feed back performance information so that service design can continually improve? Similarly, is the technical operations team able to feedback the right metrics and reports?
Ultimately, the business is trying to provide value to customers and gets feedback in terms of revenue and market share. But in order to interact with the customer in this way, the organization needs to ensure that service and product value streams are aligned. So as we start to put these links together, we end up with a very neat loop where the business defines the vision or goal of the service and the service organization defines the service components. Then they tell the development and operations team what the required outcomes need to be.
Development and operations provide the technical solutions that enable the service organization to operate the service, thereby delivering value and outcomes to the customer. And there's a reverse feedback loop all the way back up this chain as well.
ITIL provides a framework to continually deliver customer value through services using people, partners, processes and products. DevOps focuses on the continual delivery of value via the product. By aligning the two concepts, organizations can not only build superior products, but superior services as well.