Crossing the Chasm – Projects, Operations, and Best Practices

Deep Creek has worked with customers for many years to help them better align IT services to business needs. This has drawn us to provide training and mentoring support in lots of different best practice areas, from governance, to quality management, to project management, to service management, and so on. When ITIL restructured itself in V3 to a service lifecycle approach, I was hopeful that this would begin to address the yawning cultural gaps I see in many organizations between development/design teams and operations/support teams. It seems to have gotten sufficiently bad now that people who develop applications don’t even perceive themselves to be in IT at all; that term is reserved for operations teams, with a definite negative tone.

This can’t work.

Eventually, regardless of sourcing strategy, framework, or approach, organizations have to effectively manage across the lifecycle (hence the term for the ITIL Expert capstone class) to be able to create and sustain value for customers. It should be relatively obvious by now that none of us can be successful at this without one another. Therefore, it is critical that organizations like ours that get the chance to work with the whole gamut of IT organizations in different areas of the service lifecycle embrace best practice frameworks of the development universe and successfully “connect-the-dots” between Agile frameworks like Scrum and Extreme Programming and other parts of the value chain. Hence we chose to launch an entirely new series of courses in both classroom and e-learning for these development frameworks.

When I go to national or international conferences and roundtable discussions, it’s still clear to me how far we have to go here. Whether you get involved in DevOps, work with your development teams to better facilitate iterative implementation of applications and services, or choose to learn more about Scrum and other Agile models, take steps to intentionally start closing this gap. Implement RACI matrices in your projects that require transition and operations input early and often in your development cycles (including inviting them to Sprint Review Meetings). Have operational staff included in Scrum teams. Consider rotating solution architects and 3rd level support from time to time.

The hardest thing about implementing these best practice frameworks is that it requires a commitment to cross-functional behavior: processes, services, and projects. None of these frameworks are mutually exclusive; stay tuned for upcoming posts as we wrestle down how to use these frameworks together for better results for you!

Your turn! What do you see in your organizations? What has helped you to facilitate better teamwork across the development/operations divide?

Best to all,