Monday, January 12, 2015

Agile is not the absence of ITIL!

Jodi Kohut

ITIL (formerlyknown as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library) has been the best management practices framework of choice for world class IT Operations organizations.  The 5 stage framework: Service Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation, and Continual Service improvement allows for structured processes that support Enterprise Architecture, Service Delivery, and Security initiatives.  Structured and controlled planning and change are the bywords here.


A major driver of the cloud is efficiency and a betterallocation of technical resources. As a result, executives are considering more use of Agile or DevOps frameworks to speed up the delivery of valuable services to end-users. I’ve heard more than one of my colleagues speculate that this shift signals a move away from ITIL.  After careful consideration, I suggest there are three reasons why a “both and” approach will provide more benefit to the organization:

1.) Agile improves the delivery time of an ITIL- inspired service.  Using mature service strategy and design processes of ITIL, Agile teams can validate the architectural and SLA requirements prior to developing and releasing a product or change. 

2.) Continuous delivery means less risky changes for Service Transition.  Agile allows for the riskiest changes to take place first, and within a controlled development environment. Operations personnel are working more closely with Agile teams up front during service design and can have their needs considered during development. In short, continuous integration promotes (forces?) collaboration.

3.) Security operations are improved. The collaboration that using Agile within the bounds of ITIL necessitates enables security considerations to be embedded into the Service Strategy and Design processes.  Agile teams can deliver based on security aware requirements, rather than security teams having to secure an already developed service.

Contemporary cloud services provide the ideal place for Agile and ITIL to meet. First, teams can quickly provision cost-effective pre-production environments where building a continuous integration pipeline is possible.  Second, this cloud based pre-production environment provides a collaboration space for development and operations teams to work together to transition a service to the Operations team, already tested and secured. 

Organizations that find a way to integrate Agile and ITIL will likely see a realization of improved collaboration, resulting in less time to release secure and compliant services to end-users.

(This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit Tech Page One. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are our own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.)

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