IT Governance

Where Is the IT Service Desk in a DevOps World?

In an IT team, who do you think has a central role in understanding the trade-off between business and technology? It’s the service desk who both handle customers and communicate internally to report arising issues. Their job serves as a bridge to connect what’s happening inside a closed building and the reality out there. However, a tricky issue that many businesses face can be how to best incorporate the IT service desk in the DevOps world. DevOps has gained its fame in recent years for enhancing the communication flow in the IT department to improves service delivery.

Joe the IT Guy understands that it’s not easy to blend existing ITSM activities with DevOps and an innovated service desk. He looks at each of the DevOps “three ways” to point out how the service desk can be fundamental to all of them, as well as other agile concepts.

Communication Is a Two-Way Process

The First Way (Systems Thinking): This one-way communication flow is designed for businesses to look at the performance of the entire system as a whole, and ensure known defects are not passed downstream. With that, the communication flow is enhanced by minimizing constraints within the system. For a service desk, this means speaking directly with end users and customers on a daily basis to have a better business process understanding than the IT process understanding.

The Second Way (Amplified Feedback Loops): This is all about eliciting response and taking in feedback to make corrections earlier and more accurately in order to meet the demand requirements of the customer. To create value in the process of interaction, the service desk should be able to provide faster feedback that’s key to successful DevOps. Human interaction is also an advantage, as customer feedback is less mechanical and data-generated by technology, but more descriptive and sophisticated.

The Third Way (Culture of Continual Experimentation and Learning): This way is about creating a “trial and error” atmosphere where risks are taken and failures are learned from. Businesses need to emphasize practice and repetition in the continual learning process. For the service desk, it means understanding the implications and effects of any experimentation and providing transparent feedback to fix the results of any experimentation. These are needed to handle any problems or incidents that can potentially arise.

DevOps furthermore has a framework of five attributes called CALMS–culture, automation, lean, measurement, and sharing. Two of these stand out the most to the service desk: culture and sharing. Creating a culture that focuses on communication and collaboration is important for service desk people as the face of the IT department. Equally significant is sharing data and being transparent about the findings. Don’t try to hide or twist the feedback in any way for your interest.

Agile development is all about adapting to technology changes and social trends. Thus, always trying to update the software and keep the content relevant is the key in renewing the product and sprint backlogs. Because the service desk plays a pivotal role between the business and IT, they should be well trained to understand when short-term expediency for the business is needed.

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