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Agile ITSM opens the production IT door for DevOps

Production IT operations occupies equal space in the term DevOps, but it gets left out of the DevOps movement.

"We talk about deployment pipelines -- and they end at deployment," said Jayne Groll, board member of the DevOps Institute, which provides training and certifications to IT professionals.

IT production team members, from systems administrators to service desk and advanced operations engineers, certainly influence application success -- after all, DevOps-built code lives in production for a while, Groll pointed out. To get the ops into DevOps takes an evolution with additional skills and expertise for production team members, and adoption of new practices.

DevOps was born out of or built upon the development framework Agile, but Agile might be completely new to IT ops. In traditional organizations, developers and operations work in parallel, where developers follow Agile and IT professionals invest in ITIL or another IT service management (ITSM) framework. What's needed, Groll said, is Agile ITSM, and DevOps offers that super framework that tries to "connect the dots between Agile and ITIL and lean and automation and all the other practices that go along with IT."

The confluence of Agile ITSM enables control without being controlling, Groll said.

Indeed, the DevOps trend encourages a more granular, change-friendly approach to IT service management, while ITSM adds context and order to the rapid iterative change wrought by DevOps. The popularity of Agile ITSM is evidenced in multiple training programs on the market. A free DevOps training program will be jointly offered by Axelos, the group that oversees ITIL, and IT Revolution, the publishing group that hosts DevOps Enterprise Summit, in 2017; the program is based on The DevOps Handbook. The DevOps Institute offers Agile Service Manager courses and also released the DevOps Practitioner series of certifications, ranging from security to leadership foci.

To create Agile ITSM, organizations also need more effective ways to share knowledge, skills and tools. DevOps organizations must use tools that integrate via application programming interfaces (APIs), Groll said. Whether it's to build an incident record, pass configuration data from pre- to post-production or otherwise collaborate, API-driven automated knowledge sharing will resolve many of the silos holding back DevOps adoption.

DevOps Institute is one founding member in the DevOps Express, a coalition of IT service management, continuous integration and related tool vendors, along with consulting and service companies, formed to promote integration in the tool chain.

Editor's note: This video has been edited for brevity and clarity. The article text has been edited after publication to include more information about various training and certification programs.

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How would an Agile IT service management framework alter the way production IT staff work in your company?
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Quite an insightful piece on Agile ITSM. Good read.
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