Do you believe that ITIL® and DevOps are compatible?

So, can ITIL® and DevOps complement each other? Is it possible to combine the two to produce something better than they would both be otherwise? 

ITIL®’s reliance on well-defined, documented processes and procedures, with a focus on thorough planning and oversight seems to restrict its practical applications when comparing it with the more “experimental” approach of DevOps practitioners.

Some see the differences in how ITIL® and DevOps approach ITSM as being at odds with each other, and while ITIL® has given much to the world of IT, it’s time to move on to a faster and smarter way of doing things.

Do you believe that ITIL and DevOps are compatible?
Do you believe that ITIL® and DevOps are compatible?
ITIL®DevOps
·        Planned
·        Process-Based
·        Procedure Based
·        Documented
·        Waterfall/Sequenced
·         Iterative
·         Incremental
·         Collaborative
·         Experimental
·         Lean/Agile
ITIL® vs DevOps

There are others who believe that ITIL® can complement a DevOps approach, with the primary processes helping to improve and bolster such things as continuous delivery, deployment and automation.

But DevOps isn’t a set of tools or processes that you can use, although many excellent tools and methods have emerged out of the movement. Rather it is a cultural movement, requiring a change in mindset. Its goal is to help bring teams together, traditionally development and operations, and break down the barriers that rigid compartmentalisation produces. This type of cultural shift is helping to change the way in which we work together, bringing immense benefits to the business.

A lot of businesses design and implement the ITIL® processes, never to revisit them, this leads to a view of ITIL® as rigid and inflexible, which is either a misinterpretation of how the key processes work or stem from the poor design and implementation of them. In reality, ITIL® is very flexible,  providing that you adopt and adapt ITIL® to meet changing business needs.

In other words, you make iterative and incremental changes … Oh, wait that sounds like something else doesn’t it? It sounds a bit like applying a DevOps mindset to improving your ITIL® processes, doesn’t it?

By listing your key ITIL® processes and identifying where things break down, or where bottlenecks occur, you can obtain an understanding of where DevOps can strengthen and expand upon the ITIL® framework to achieve better business outcomes.

Automation, closer collaboration and continuous delivery can be implemented to help alleviate the issues you may be facing and contribute to improving the release, change and configuration management process areas. Closer collaboration between IT operations and development teams will enable the open exchange and transparency of vital information such as infrastructure and application data.

On the other hand, ITIL® processes could strengthen how people approach and implement the change to a DevOps cultural mindset. ITSM practitioners can help with the transition to a more transparent and collaborative working environment by ensuring process areas are sufficiently modified to incorporate development.

This white paper from Axelos discusses how we can use ITIL® processes to document the agile, collaborative DevOps approach while using DevOps to incrementally improve ITIL® processes.

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