Agile Service Management — My initial thoughts

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To say Agile has grown over the past 20 years is quite an understatement. In the software development world, working in an Agile way is mostly the standard today. Apart from the framework or methodology you are using. Even beyond software development, Agile is beginning to claim its place. Some marketing organizations and teams have started to adopt it and especially in Europe a whole new Agile HR movement has started to grow. Hooray for that!

When looking at (IT) Service Management however, the progress remains small. To be brief, there’s not much around in terms of Agile Service Management. When I started working on this content in March 2020 I couldn’t find much. The few publications available are very light in terms of content and tend to overly focus on processes. Even more, they just seem to take “what exists” eg. ITIL and pour a sauce of Devops or Scrum over it. For example, the Agile Service Management guide of the DevOps Institute (DOI) misses to focus on service itself. It definitely misses to focus on people, one of the cornerstones of Agile & Scrum. Some of the statements about Scrum are even wrong.

When ITIL4 Foundation was published in 2019, I found a lot of hopeful content in it, but was left hungry in terms of the deep changes I hoped to find. As the ITIL4 books have been published and I have studied the content, I very strongly believe the right fundamentals are there now. ITIL4 is clearly built around end-to-end value delivery, strong interpersonal connections and collaboration. Lean and Agile thinking. Hooray for that!

And still, I’m not satisfied. Not so much anymore about missing content — although we’re not there yet — but more about the lack of mindset and cultural changes we need to make towards agility and Agility in Service Management land.

To quote my great colleague Reni Elisabeth Pihl Friis: “I don’t think there’s much of a need for a new framework, rather a new way of thinking and being needs to be established”.

How can it be that IT Service Management is still so far away from truly delivering value when needed? How can it be that it’s still so often us versus them when I talk to developers and operations people?

Those are questions I am looking to answer. I will search in conversations, reading, studying and trying out. Most importantly, I will share my answers with you. Through empiricism. Iteratively and incrementally.

My conclusion?

In order to truly advance, we will need to deconstruct old paradigms, unlearn dysfunctional habits and interact with our customers as well as within our organization to rebuild and awake into new world of humanized service management.

I consider myself an Agile explorer. Always seeking ways to make work and life better by — together with others — challenging the status quo.

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