Lets Compare Agile And ITSM Thinking

We all know that pushing every change — no matter how big or small — through a change management process is not only bureaucratic but also introduces delays that most development teams can neither afford nor tolerate. As you begin pursuing improving change management, it is essential to understand the differences between traditional IT service management (ITSM) change management processes and a more agile approach. The following table compares the ITSM and agile mindsets and briefly describes the practice areas: scope, governance, risk analysis, build, testing, deployment, traceability, and guidance.

Change Management Critical Success Factors

When considering how to transition from a more traditional ITSM change management process to an agile change management practice, consider the following critical success factors:

  • Automation is a higher priority across build, test, deploy, and traceability factors.
  • Advanced machine learning applied to risk assessment can help resources concentrate on higher-risk changes.
  • Governance needs to transition from human logging to automated logging.

Culture Needs To Evolve

The culture is the biggest and most difficult challenge in transitioning toward an agile practice. For years, governance practices have required that change management demonstrate a robust set of controls that adequately manage the risk to the enterprise. These long-standing practices themselves can introduce risk as more controls are added every time an outage negatively impacts the business. The issue is an overreliance on policies to control risk. The change management process becomes increasingly complex as new gates are added to ensure that risk is held in check. The complexity of the process actually introduces risk, with no one in the organization able to keep all the controls at the forefront of activities.

Not all changes can be successfully managed by agile thinking or ITSM thinking. Your operations need a change management practice that can adapt, supporting innovation and agile development practices while ensuring risk is mitigated.

For more on overcoming change management challenges, read my report, Overcome Change Management Paralysis.

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