I recently had the privilege of covering the Pink15 conference on behalf of Devops.com. Pink Elephant is a renowned leader in ITIL and ITSM education, consulting and conferences. Now in its 19th year, the Pink conference brings together attendees from a wide range of vertical markets to learn and share about IT service management and related topics. My mission was to take the pulse of DevOps in the ITSM enterprise community, many of whom represent the operational side of IT.
Let me start by saying that this was a well-organized and executed conference. The attendees that I spoke with unanimously agreed that the sessions were relevant and the peer networking invaluable. And while there was not a specific Devops or Agile track, the core concepts were directly or indirectly present in several of the sessions.
One particularly interesting session was on “Enterprise Change Management in an Agile, Fast Moving World” from a large retail organization. The presenter did a good job of describing how they are adapting their categories of their changes to meet the growing requirements for a more agile change management process. At present, only 5% of changes are categorized as “fast track” – an even more expedited route than what is normally considered a standard change. This organization’s goal is to exponentially increase their ability to fast track more changes in response to increasing demand. This session was a good indicator of how enterprise IT is recognizing the need to adapt for continuous delivery and more automation.
More than one attendee shared their appreciation at being able to interact with other IT organizations about specific ways to bridge the practices between Dev and Ops so as to make service management more agile. One person mentioned that while some of the sessions did not specifically call out DevOps or Agile, presenters often had to address these in depth during the question and answer period. There was particular interest among attendees in learning how to engage developers in processes such as Event, Demand, Capacity, Availability, Change and Release Management.
Some attendees expressed concern about the perception that ITSM and ITIL have no place in a DevOps culture or that DevOps would somehow invalidate the investments that many organizations have already made in establishing better processes for managing services. Kaimar Karu, the ITSM Product owner for Axelos (who owns the IP for ITIL) strongly believes that ITIL is absolutely a key player in the realization of DevOps as a philosophy. ITIL processes are not specific to operations – they enable the entire lifecycle of a service or product from development to deployment and into operations. ITIL was meant to be adopted and adapted; nowhere does the guidance recommend that the processes be complex, bureaucratic, lengthy or manual.
So what does all of this mean? While DevOps is not yet fully understood, organizations are taking tangible steps to make ITSM processes go faster, integrate with other practices and leverage automation in order to deliver more business value. Wouldn’t you call that DevOps?