It’s Edinburgh baby! IT500 and Scot-Tech will be hosting Scotland’s biggest ITSM and IT Operations Management conference at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh this October. This conference will follow previous IT500 & Scot-Tech events such as IT in the park 2015 and the IT500 Learning Conference; both of which gained great acclaim from speakers, sponsors and attendees alike. The 2015 conference had over 200 IT professionals gathered in one place to share ideas, hear case studies and learn about new products and services.
Delegates were a good mix from both public and private sectors. Speakers included the CTO of Arnold Clark, CIO of St Andrews University and senior representatives from Standard Life, the Scottish Government and Fife Council. Over 95% of delegates surveyed post event stated that they intend to return with many indicating that they would also be bringing additional colleagues. The event facilitated great networking opportunities with high levels of engagement and a real buzz. New faces, sparkly new products, case studies and workshops – what’s not to love?
On October 25th 2016 the crack team of IT500 & Scot-Tech will take IT in the Park a step further, adding industry hot topics such as SIAM, DevOps and ITAM to complement their existing core messages around best practice and value driven IT services. The agenda promises to be exciting and action packed; here is a list of some of the presenters and experts who will be speaking on the day:
John Custy – Services Management Education, Consulting and Training at JPC Group
Claire Agutter – ITSM professional & online education specialist, The ITSM Zone
It’s the London Olympia baby! Last week was the 2016 Service Desk & IT Support Show or SITS for short. SITS is a annual, free event in central London dedicated to all things tech support and ITSM related.
Taking all of 5 seconds to get a Batman reference into his content, this was clearly destined to be my favorite session of the day. Daniel opened by talking about the iceberg of ignorance, in other words, the further away you get from service delivery, the few problems that you see. Daniel continued by discussing how one of the biggest challenges faced by managers is taking the time to improve.
Daniel introduced the ITIL, Agile and Lean triumvirate explaining how it’s not enough to have best practice, we must be responsive to the needs of the business and efficient in the way we deliver enterprise services.
The next part of Daniel’s presentation focused on how DevOps is a way to do better faster safer on a continual basis. Daniel talked about the need to focus on the entire value stream of better faster safer from strategy right through to operations.
Daniel went on to talk about measurements and advocated putting your business reports in a language your company understands for example from zero to we got this! He also introduced a brand new metric which I think our friends at AXELOS towers should be all over in terms of including it in the next ITIL refresh.
The final part of Daniel’s session focused on behavior. As Daniel put it “DevOps starts with management talking to people and finding out what their problem are.” Daniel talked about the 3 ways to manage effectively environment:
You built it, you run it
Project to product
Strangle the complexity – lose the nonsense
His final point? Don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way, preferably with beer!
Sarah opened her session by talking about the recent LinkedIn hack; asking her audience how many of them were able to understand if their personal data had been compromised from the e-mail response issues by LinkedIn – ie the importance of asking the right questions.
Sarah went on to talk about the public cloud and private cloud and the pros and cons of each approach. Public clouds are typically easy to use, flexible and operated by a third party but may be unreliable and less secure than an in house solution. Private clouds are organisation specific, customisable and more secure but can be more costly and require in house expertise.
The next part of the session looked at how a hybrid model can give organisations the best of both worlds without increasing risk. Sarah went on to talk about case studies of the SysAid product from General Cable. Fluortek and LAN Airlines who has the impressive statistic of being able to handle seven times the number of Incidents since using SysAid.
Sarah concluded by explaining with the evolution of SaaS and cloud, it takes new skills to manage your estate effectively, Sarah’s advice? Every organisation is different so in terms of cloud provision, capture the requirements of your organisation and then plan accordingly.
Transforming The Service Desk With SIAM & Lean – Joe Bicknell, ServiceNow
The final session we attended was Joe’s session on Service desk transformation. Joe opened with the frankly terrifying statistic of outside the workplace, 84% of requests are automated, inside the workplace only 33% of requests are automated. The upshot? The average employee spends around 15 hours of their working week faffing about trying to battle the admin mountain.
Joe went on to explain the ServiceNow way of thinking “we believe everyone in your organisation requests something and everyone in your business is a service provider in some way.”
Joe used ServiceNow to demonstrate how ITSM can be applied to the entire organisation, streamlining processes and removing silos. His top three takeaways?
Own IT Service Management in your business; it’s the key link between the front and back office.
Change the way you work, don’t use technology to compliment what you do
Take the workshop to your organisation and start to take Service outside of IT
Did you go to #SITS16? Let us know in the comments!!
It’s Covent Garden baby! The BCS Configuration Management Group held their annual conference on Tuesday. The CMSG was set up in 1995 to provide a forum for the promotion of Configuration Management as a discrete management process. The group now covers the transition areas of Change, Release and Software Asset Management, including the specialist UK SAM Networking Group.
First up was Roo Reynolds on driving transformation in a government environment. Roo’s first task was a quick public service announcement on Larry, the cat that lives at Number 10 (where the Prime Minister lives for non UK readers). Apparently, whilst appearing cute and fluffy. Larry actually has a vicious streak so if you’re ever invited to Downing Street, consider yourself warned – the last thing you want is a Rabbit of Caerbannog scenario.
Roo talked about the challenges of working in a government environment and his transformation mission:
Roo talked about the importance of putting your customers at the centre of the requirements gathering phase “your users are unlikely to grow wings so they no longer need lifts” As Roo put it “transformation doesn’t have to be huge, the smallest things can make a difference.”
Here are Roo’s top tips for driving transformation:
Start with the needs of the user; genuinely put the user first
Work with people who are committed
#2016cmsg be the pig not the chicken in the agile delivery. Have some skin in the game. #bcscmsg
Vawns Murphy Senior ITSM Analyst, Enterprise Opinions – Going From Good To Great Using ITIL & DevOps
I was up next talking about my practical experience of using ITIL and DevOps to make things better in the real world. My session focused on a real life client engagement where we went from IT Ops and Dev teams literally snarling at each other from different sides of the room to a happy, collaborative environment with a 99.91% Change success rate and a 50% reduction in deployment time. There was also a lot of talk about Star Wars , the Avengers and erm, Frozen. You can check out the slides here.
Up next was Connor from Springer Nature on continuous delivery. Connor talked about the need for common sense in a delivery environment: “keep things simple, have conventions around how software is built and tested.”
Connor went on to explain the importance of automation explaining “we need to make doing the right thing easy and the wrong thing impossible.
Security is internal and external. DDoS can be legislate testing caused by unmet needs. Listen and respond. @drakekin#2016CMSG
Connor gave practical guidance on continuous delivery, talking about the benefits of consumer driven contracts for micro services, and why automated testing is so important “most of your tests should be automated because people are fallible”.
Security is internal and external. DDoS can be legislate testing caused by unmet needs. Listen and respond. @drakekin#2016CMSG
Connor talked about how there’s no silver bullet; “you need discipline and willpower but having good processes makes things easier. If you make it easy for people to try new things there will engage and they will try”
My favorite piece of wisdom from Connor’s session was this: “You need to have an exit process, broken gets fixed, crappy lives on forever”. Be warned people!
Patrick Bolger, Chief Evangelist, Hornbill – Rethinking Your ITSM
Pat concluded by talking about the importance of being inclusive when driving transformational: “change is a threat when done to us but an opportunity when done by us”. A very powerful message and a great way to maintain focus on the customer when managing change.
Robert Cowham, Consultant, Perforce Software – DevOps In The Cloud, A Pathway To Heaven?
The last session we attended was Robert’s presentation on DevOps and the cloud. Robert opened by talking about the background of DevOps and how it links into Agile. Robert then went on to explain the impact of DevOps on continuous delivery on development and discussed the impact of cycle times.
The next part of Robert’s session focused on the impact of the cloud, advantages and the big players including Microsoft, Amazon and Google.
Robert went on to talk about the practicalities of applying DevOps in a cloud environment discussing how to maximise pipeline flow, automation, feedback, micro services and release technology & containers.
Robert finished his session by demonstrating a functioning pipeline – a fascinating example of real life application.
For our money the CMSG conference was a great day, informative, lots of practical guidance and lots of subject matter expertise. A huge thanks to the BCS for inviting us and we hope to be back next year.
Did you attend the CMSG conference? Let us know in the comments!
I caught up with Daniel Breston ahead of tomorrow’s IT500 conference in Edinburgh to talk about his session with Helen Beal.
The session will involve Daniel and Helen working with the audience to figure out what good looks like and how to develop a culture of sharing and collaboration. Delegates will take away a chart of behaviours from zero to “let’s do this”. The session will focus on how to use the principles of DevOps to deliver real value to your organisation, as Daniel put it “In DevOps you know you are having a good day when you are enabling business objectives”.
You should attend this session if:
You would like to find out more about DevOps and practical tips on how to get started.
The official bit:
One of the biggest threats to organisations today in unmanaged technology. Shadow IT, technology solutions not meeting business needs, performance indicators not driving behavioural change, knowledge not being shared and automation capabilities being misapplied. What would happen if you had a way of going from idea (strategy) to realisation based on a communicative, collaborative and improving culture? This is DevOps, a mindset using technology to define “great” removing business obstacles and enabling goals on a daily basis, top down. Learn how to apply the principles of CALMS (Culture, Automation, Lean, Metrics & Sharing) to create sustainable development, delivery and improvement.
There’s some great dialog in the final standoff between Batman and the Joker in the movie The Dark Knight. It’s no-rules anarchy versus incorruptibility – “this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object”- as the Joker maniacally puts it.
In some ways it’s analogous to the friction existing between development and IT service management (ITSM) – especially how each group views DevOps. If you ask each team what DevOps means to them you’ll probably get two different answers. On the one hand, developers may stress freedom of action and faster releases, while on the other, ITSM practitioners might say DevOps changes nothing. After all, processes and controls painstakingly developed over many years is the ‘tough love’ needed to ensure regulatory compliance and address many other governance related issues.
Unstoppable force meets immovable object
Some ‘modernists’ will of course argue that old-style ITSM can be excluded from DevOps initiatives. After all, it’s a set of practices designed for a style of business computing where risk tolerance was low. So armed with new terms like lean, agile and fail-fast, it’s a case of get with the program or get out of the way. Well good luck with that, because without recalibration, those traditional incident, problem, change and release management contact points between development and ITSM will become even more abrasive. So enrolling the support of existing ITSM roles and practices is critical; turning naysayers and opponents into advocates. But this isn’t going to be easy and requires some deft organizational footwork. If everything remains equal nothing will change In order to remove friction, DevOps leaders should start by clearly communicating why it’s necessary to change. Care should be taken to avoid over hyping DevOps; preferring instead concise explanations as to why the change is occurring in the context of business impact and outcomes. During this early stage it’s also important to set a collaborative foundation; giving strong consideration to temporarily seconding key ITSM influencers to the DevOps program so as to build trust.
In many industries, computing controls, especially in areas such as change and release management, exist to ensure compliance with regulatory mandates. To development these appear cumbersome, but have been specifically designed to mitigate risk – even if that means slowing down processing. Furthermore, these controls deliver auditable proof that compliance procedures are being followed. The problem is that many of these controls might be too rigid to support development projects where risk tolerance is higher, so it’s critical for teams to optimize or right-size sets of controls for specific use cases. Here, care should be taken not to abrogate risk responsibilities by simply passing control ownership (for example, enabling development managers to approve changes but still carry all auditing responsibilities), since that might lead to increased friction and resistance to change – where you least want it – within the development group itself.
In terms of optimizing existing (but necessary) controls, this could involve enacting faster and more reliable ways to meet compliance requirements. For example, employing automated test suites during the actual development process – versus having auditing ‘gatekeepers’ come in at the end of the process and discover the system isn’t compliant.
In God we Trust – everyone else brings data!
Organizations have usually made a significant investment in IT service management tools. These tools, especially the knowledge bases supporting processes like incident, problem and change management can provide teams rich sets of information to drive DevOps improvements. Change records correlated with performance-related incidents and problems could help teams focus on non-functional aspects of development and testing requiring attention. Additionally, emergency change procedures could be reviewed to determine their applicability in supporting business-critical or urgent software updates. In all cases, however, teams should ensure flexibility doesn’t increase business risk – for example – by teams choosing the path of least resistance to avoid governance scrutiny. There are many other ITSM contact points teams can review to reduce friction. In incident management developers often complain that it takes too long for them to be notified of problems related to their code – only after lengthy level 1 and level 2 operations review. This causes friction because developers might be taken off projects to fire-fight problems that due to time delays have become more complex to diagnose and remediate.
To address this, teams should carefully review notification procedures; perhaps even changing the first point of escalation to be the development group responsible for the application or service – even after hours. Expect push-back where you least expect it. Developers may resist mandated on-call support. Therefore it’s important to impress how their early involvement in incident response is critical to drive improvements. It’s also a good idea to equip them with analytic tools and proactive methods that help them resolve complex and emerging issues. Finally, an important, but often understated bi-product of this ‘skin in the game’ approach is developers working to improve the ongoing supportability of applications. For example, it could result in improving documentation and fault logging so they only need to be called in when absolutely necessary.
Ignoring the points of friction between DevOps and older (but still important) ITSM processes will cause initiatives to stall or fail. The only way to ensure success is when teams put all governance and risk-versus-speed and agility concerns on the collective table and enact improvements in the context of required business outcomes. Always consider that without constant engagement, staff on both sides will revert to sub-optimal practices – the ones that stifle innovation or carry huge risk.
This article was contributed by Peter Waterhouse, Senior Strategist, CA Technologies
I spoke to Claire Agutter & Dave Van Herpen last week to talk about their upcoming masterclass at the IT500 conference in June: DevOps & Agile In An ITSM World.
The workshop will look at how you can use DevOps and Agile if you’re already doing ITSM but want to do something new. Claire and Dave will look at how to use a blended approach to get the best results and will look at practical ways to improve whilst blitzing a process backlog.
The session will be interactive and will follow the why – what – how journey starting from looking at drivers and building the business case for transformation to interactive group sessions including:
Looking at the 3 ways of DevOps
Designing Kanban boards
Investigating opportunities and risks.
You should attend this conference if:
You want to become an ITSM ninja familiar with Agile and DevOps!
The official bit:
DevOps and Agile represent a new way of working, but it’s not all about throwing away everything that’s already in place. We will look at how these techniques can be applied alongside other methodologies including ITIL and investigate other propositions such as Value Stream Mapping, Kanban for IT Operations and the use of Scrum.
Are you starting to move from ITSM to Agile, DevOps and beyond? Let us know in the comments!
I spoke to conference rockstars David Crouch and John Gilmore about life, the universe, ITIL, Agile and DevOps!
David’s session is: ‘The pros and cons of adhering to a single best practice framework – tales from the trenches‘ and John’s session is about integrating SDLC, DevOps & ITSM so between the two of them, there was a wealth of experience on the line.
Some of the things we talked about were traditional versus Agile approaches, closed loop models and how ITIL has evolved over time.
The ITSM Review are excited to be confirmed as official media partners for the latest IT500 event; The IT Learning Conference – Everything IT Service Management & Operations being held on 1st June 2016 in Edinburgh
Following on from the IT in the park event in November, IT500 surveyed their delegates to ask what else they would like to see in Scotland. The event will bring together 20 IT thought leaders and practitioners from across Europe to deliver a series of master classes and workshops designed to highlight obstacles, provoke creative thinking and provide answers to some of today’s IT challenges. How exciting is that?
Ahead of the BEYOND20 SIXTEEN conference next month I caught up with Chad Sheridan, CIO of the USDA Risk Management Agency to talk about his session Beyond Practice: Exploring, Discovering, and Driving Business Value.
Chad’s session will explore the leadership and cultural changes needed to make Agile work, especially in a government environment. Chad will share his own experience of driving business value, enabling a culture change from command and control, top down leadership to a more organic model, trusting and empowering people to do their job. As Chad said “while it’s great to change from the top down as CIO partnering at the exec level, we need a whole team of change agents. It’s not a one person battle, it’s a multi threaded effort to win hearts and minds. Be ready for resistance – this is a fundamental change for the business to accept a value driven IT partnership.”
The session will look at how to drive effective organisational change to create a culture of safety and trust so that value and transformation can happen. Chad will take his audience on the journey from IT as an order taker to an enabler; moving from technical practitioners to curators of business value. Chad will also talk about how embracing Agile and DevOps means embracing uncertainty as a competitive advantage, using it to drive innovation.
You should attend this session if:
CIOs, leaders of Agile practices, DevOps practitioners and anyone that wants to drive change in their organisation.
The official bit:
The conference overview of Chad’s session is below:
DevOps, Agile, and ITSM implementations often focus on practices and tools, many times forgetting the primary purposes of these efforts—delivering business value. How do we deliver on the vision from The Phoenix Project, which proposes to end the “dysfunctional marriage” of IT and the business as separate entities?? Put on your explorer gear as this session walks you through the jungles, swamps, mountains, oceans and deserts of the digital world, searching for understanding and the means to move from IT practitioners to purveyors of business value.
Happy Monday everyone! There’s still time to register for the BEYOND20 SIXTEEN conference in May! As media partners we have an exclusive offer for you; if you enter the code ITSMReview when registering you will get $100 off the ticket price.
If you’d like to find out more, this is the link to our event listing and if you’d like a preview of forthcoming attractions check out keynote speaker Mike Bland talking about DevOps:
Will you be going to BEYOND20 SIXTEEN next month? Let us know in the comments!