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Handling Incremental Delivery with ITIL Processes


As a follow-up to post regarding the blur between development and service management, a reader commented that DevOps seems to represent a long standing tradition of incremental delivery.  In that case, the reader asks
“How is  incremental delivery tracked and managed in an ITIL framework? Would these initial requests for capability tracked as Requests and ultimately as a Request for Change?”
As you can imagine, the answer is “it depends”.   

An organization can choose to have multiple RFCs submitted or have a single RFC that decomposes into multiple releases but is managed as a single project.  
Regardless, the incremental delivery addressed in DevOps is much faster than it was in the past – therefore requiring a tighter integration between development and operations teams – they must communicate well, use shared vocabulary and more importantly, shared metrics and dashboards. Teams that are tightly integrated will have higher rates of rapid change success – so much so that their changes can be categorized in the ITIL processes as “standard” and move through the change and release process almost instantaneously.    
Error detection, monitoring and metrics dashboards will be the window that both sides view to alert them to any apparent incidents and problems related to these frequent changes.  
The critical success factors are a standard prioritization scheme, good monitoring, metrics and error-checking capabilities and appropriate levels of change record or documentation (so that we can answer the “what’s changed?” question if incidents or problems arise).  
If there is less risk and more reward as well as a clear threshold for more or less change management rigor, then the RFC would be managed as a standard change.   No request necessary.
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