The Great Convergence

One of the spectacles of the past 20 or so years has been the competing approaches and frameworks for improving governance, streamlining workflows, and delivering services. Practices like LEAN, Agile, ITIL, DevOps, and even governance frameworks like CObIT all competed for attention in promising adopting organizations more efficient and more effective teams, better results, and improved quality and consistency.

Well, the winner is in…it is…drumroll…all of the above!

Each of these approaches brings with it native practices and capabilities, yet most organizations are by now seeing that the most appropriate approach was never an “either-or”, but of course a “both-and.” LEAN brought us a focus on value streams, waste identification, and creating continual improvement cultures. Agile practice like Scrum introduced lightweight approaches to requirements (focused on user experience through user stories, a core idea in design thinking), prioritization through the use of backlogs, and acknowledging the reality that we just don’t know what we don’t know, and that being adaptive as learning occurs creates better solutions and higher customer delight. ITIL established the focus on service delivery and value creation, over mere execution of processes, and encompasses how cross-functional we must act to support the collaboration models we need to operate as end-to-end service teams. DevOps leveraged many of the above practices to drive a focus on the value stream of delivery and deployment of IT applications, and improves the velocity of solutions while improving the overall risk management of IT through rigorous testing and validation, environment controls through infrastructure as code, and improving flow with feedback. Even in the updated version of CObIT, the focus is on integrating new sets of best practices into an overall IT governance and management framework that acknowledges the profound changes in how IT operates.

Implications: There’s a lot to learn…and real upside for organizations that make the effort.

Most IT organizations are trying to adopt some number of these core practices, but often without an integrated vision of how they will work together to gain efficiencies and improve overall quality of service. In our consulting practices, we often see siloed thinking from development or operations organizations, with concomitant inefficiencies and poor results. Rationalizing these practices together is critical to get the value you seek from any of them.

The good news: there are many successful approaches to making this work. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing a number of success stories from organizations that have successfully adopted and adapted these practices to improve their organizations.