How to get leaders to understand the culture and attitude behind ITSM & DevOps? 

Ah, the good old days!

As a leader that benefits from technology, you remember the days of:

  • The hour-long Change Approval Boards (CABs), 
  • IT projects that were usually late and poorly tested
  • Incidents every day
  • Angry customers and staff at IT
  • Outsourcing and cloud not helping
  • ITSM and DevOps were silos

Oh, wait! Good old days? What am I thinking? Those days were terrible! Then COVID19 hit and, miraculously, our IT department was regarded as heroes as they moved us online within a couple of weeks. Further, their interest in helping us utilize technology to improve the way we worked was outstanding, keeping us competitive, compliant and sustainable. What changed?

We have found that the attitude and latitude provided IT from other peers changed:

  • Leaders took an interest in Agile, ITSM and DevOps
  • The money and resources needed to migrate the business to the internet was provided by leadership
  • These allocations made it possible for testing and releases to be improved
  • Competition and the possibility of new customers from anywhere caused senior leadership to engage with IT, thus cementing the cycle of demand to value
  • The language and goals became aligned, mostly as products and service outcomes were the new measure of success, not project metrics
  • Leading to the ability to pivot, more satisfied customers and staff, and amazingly, a decrease in IT cost and issues


Did IT benefit from ITSM and DevOps?

These two images are the same. Think about it:

  • You get a request
  • You engage with the necessary people
  • You try to see what it will take to fulfill the request (experiment)
  • You agree to continue and so begin to build and test your solution earnestly
  • You go live, monitor, resolve any issues, and improve as often as required

This is the philosophy of ITSM and DevOps and Agile and Lean and whatever primary technology framework you wish to mention. Even if the request (everything IT does is demand-based) is an issue, the cycle stays the same. It is no longer the business and IT as everyone has remembered that IT is part of the company, and they are happy to chat with them around the digital watercooler.

ITSM and DevOps practices say talk to your users, Service Desk, customers, and suppliers as often as possible. Find out their needs and their plans. Now, go back into IT and look at all of the work in your backlogs. If a story or request will help fulfill something you learned while you engaged, great, then continue to complete it. BUT if the item is not going to help staff perform their tasks better and safer, or if customers will not be attracted or retained, or if you are not helping the organization gain anything of value: stop. Just cancel that request!

The Phoenix Project (DevOps) and High-velocity IT (ITIL4®) share these collaborative practices. Using these principles leads to empowerment of allowing technology to enable new ways of working quickly. Welcome to the world of the digital economy or the 4th Industrial Revolution led by Technology being Humanist! 


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What has to change : tips 

  • Alignment is old-fashioned and will guarantee that you are non-competitive and spending too much money on IT. The real way forward is to move from project to product thinking
  • Map your value streams: what products do they enable or ways of working? 
  • Design your organization into teams to support those products and services, along the streams of value
  • Introduce guardrails of expectations and review these often based on real-time data as new features or services are added, or issues are resolved
  • Move to the cloud as this inexpensive technology can help you improve the quality, safety, and velocity of change
  • Keep current with technology thinking practices – AI is next, and you must be ready to blend AI into your technology teams, starting with the Service Desk
  • Encourage top and middle management to be regular members of teams, hackathons, or lunch-learning sessions
  • The easiest way to get a C-level person involved is to ask him to speak at a conference on how technology helped their organization during COVID19 and what is going to happen going forward
  • Define incentives that reward the product and service team, which also include the day-to-day workers to break down silos and enforce the new attitudes and behaviors called for by ITSM and DevOps
  • Make budgeting and funding processes part of the agile/DevOps cycle: what do you need, why do you need it, do you need it still, and what will the value outcome be are all questions to be asked during an ITSM or DevOps lifecycle
  • Upskill everyone, no matter their role
  • Treat suppliers like they are part of the team
  • Celebrate effort as well as success!
  • Benefit from integrated ITSM and DevOps tools. They support the same outcomes, after all!


Make the pledge

Leaders at every level need to appreciate and model the digital behaviors of tomorrow. The best way is to take the pledge. These statements are a blend of ITSM and DevOps value. Make them the value of your organization.