I recently had the privilege of attending the DevOps Enterprise Summit hosted by IT Revolution and Electric Cloud. There was much to learn about emerging enterprise DevOps practices, some of which I will cover in future articles. For now, I would like to share one of the biggest epiphanies about the relationship between DevOps and ITIL/ ITSM.
Since DevOps came on the enterprise radar, there have been numerous articles, webcasts and whitepapers trying to create a bridge between ITIL and DevOps. Some suggest that ITIL has passed its prime – its an out dated framework that was designed for waterfall service lifecycles. Others claim that you can’t do DevOps without underpinning control and release processes. While there is some truth in all of that, several of the presenters at DOES15 did reference ITSM processes and confirmed that service management is alive and well in DevOps. However, what became equally clear is that this is not your mother’s ITSM!
The modern IT environment expects processes that support transformational initiatives and enable rapid development and deployment. So while a process like Change Management was mentioned in several sessions, there was little focus on a Change Advisory Board or requirements for requesting a change. In fact, when one presenter proudly displayed their “change record”, it looked nothing like the ITSM database record of yore. The modern change record may resemble more of a running date stamped commentary that a collection of fields. This does not imply that you should no longer have a CAB. It implies that it is more important than ever to build change models based on risk and need that encourage more standard changes. Similarly, while there is much talk in DevOps about configuration management, it now occurs throughout the entire delivery pipeline and uses automation and mechanisms for managing configurations in real-time instead of through discovery methods. Configuration management tool integration is critical between Dev and Ops.
Processes like incident management and problem management are benefitting from the increased use of monitoring and the emerging DevOps practice of ChatOps. Dynamic chat rooms not only encourage stronger collaboration between Dev and Ops, they modernize the ability to quickly detect, investigate, diagnose and resolve incidents and problems. As one presenter pointed out, ChatOps tools allow the collaborators to bring the environment into the discussion. They can not only chat, they can see. The modern service desk may also find that ChatOps creates almost instant escalations at the point of detection instead of the point of customer contact. That’s cool.
Finally, a practitioner presentation did a fantastic job of demonstrating how they were able to marry their ITIL processes to Agile practices. There is no doubt that service management must evolve into Agile Service Management in order to be of value to continuous delivery pipelines. Putting an operational person on a Scrum team could be a good first step.
So what does all of this mean? Do you now need to throw away the ITIL books, replace your ITSM tools and start rebuilding processes? No. Many of the DevOps automation providers have built APIs between tools and into service management products such as ServiceNow or Remedy. Frameworks such as ITIL already do a good job of describing the key processes that have to underpin the service lifecyle, including the continuous delivery pipeline. However, the very nature of a static publication library makes it difficult for enterprises to look to the ITIL books to keep current..
So the time has come to heed the age old ITIL advice to “adopt and adapt”. To learn more about DevOps enterprise practices, to scale and integrate with the guidance from ITIL, Agile, Lean and other frameworks. To enable a delivery pipeline that meets changing business requirements and removes constraints across the IT spectrum. And to realize that next-gen ITSM is here!