ITIL and Agile Together

by Rahulprasad Hurkadli

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and Agile are two widely used frameworks in the field of IT service management and software development, respectively. While they have different origins, focuses, and methodologies, it is possible to combine and integrate them to create a more comprehensive and effective approach to managing IT services and projects.

ITIL and Agile Together

ITIL Overview:

For managing IT services and coordinating them with business requirements, ITIL is a set of best practises and recommendations. It offers a framework for organising service management procedures like incident, problem, change, and service level management. The entire service lifecycle—from strategy to design, transfer, operation, and continuous improvement—is the core of ITIL.

Agile Overview:

Agile is an incremental, iterative method to software development that puts a focus on adaptability, teamwork, and client input. It emphasizes delivering working software in short iterations (sprints) and welcomes change throughout the development process. Agile frameworks, such as Scrum and Kanban, promote self-organizing teams, regular retrospectives, and a focus on customer value.

Combining ITIL and Agile:

Integrating ITIL and Agile can benefit organizations that want to maintain IT service management standards while also embracing the benefits of Agile software development.

Here are a few strategies for fusing the two:

  • Agile Project Management within ITIL: Incorporate Agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban into ITIL service management processes. This enables faster delivery of incremental improvements and features while adhering to ITIL's overall structure for service management.
  • Continuous Improvement: Both ITIL and Agile emphasize the importance of continual improvement. Teams can use Agile practices to regularly inspect and adapt ITIL processes to make them more efficient and customer-focused.
  • Service Transition: During the service transition phase in ITIL, where new or changed services are introduced, Agile practices can be used to manage software development and deployment processes efficiently.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: Encourage collaboration between ITIL process owners and Agile development teams to ensure that changes are properly managed and aligned with business needs.
  • DevOps: DevOps is an approach that emphasizes collaboration between development and operations teams to streamline the software delivery process. Combining ITIL, Agile, and DevOps can lead to better coordination and faster service delivery.
  • User-Centric Approach: Agile places a strong emphasis on customer value and feedback. Integrate this mindset into ITIL's service strategy and design to ensure that services are aligned with customer needs and expectations.
  • Flexibility in Change Management: Agile projects often require frequent changes. Adapt ITIL's change management process to accommodate Agile's need for quick and responsive changes while still assessing risks and impacts.

It's essential to remember that successful integration requires a thoughtful approach, and organizations should adapt the combination of ITIL and Agile to their specific needs and context. There might be challenges to overcome, such as different organizational cultures and mindsets, but with proper planning and collaboration, the two frameworks can work together effectively to deliver value to the business and its customers.