With Agile and DevOps, Why ITIL?


A systems engineer recently asked “With all of the buzz around Agile and DevOps, is ITIL Foundation training and certification still relevant?”   The short answer is yes and its relevance is directly tied to the success of strategic initiatives and the outcomes of the organization.  There is direct benefit to the learner/candidate also.  It has been a while since this has been discussed so let’s revisit this once again.

For the Consultant or Third Party Vendor: Gets you on the short list! -  ITIL Foundation training gives those who are consulting in any area of “Service Management” a standard set of vocabulary critical to communication.  Also, knowing the terms and basic concepts is crucial to the credibility of the consultant.  The improper use of a single term that is known by your customer could give the impression that you as the consultant do not know the industry and omit you from the short list.  Some organizations will not even consider a vendor without the proper certification.  You might have an Agile or DevOps background but if you can’t talk the talk and walk the walk with ITSM and best practices, communication and perception could go down a slippery slope.  The credentials are important in order to be considered but the real value comes as a result of increased capability to actually deliver.

For the IT Manager: Allows you to herd the Cats! – without a common set of vocabulary and some sense of direction it is likely that a team will breakdown into chaos and at the very least remain in reactive firefighting mode.  How many times have you had a conversation with an IT staff member and both of you feel that the conversation went very well only to find out later that due to the misunderstanding of a concept or term you both actually walked away having a completely different understanding of what was intended.   ITIL Foundation training and certification not only lays the ground work for terminology and communication but also lays out a basic framework based on the Service Lifecycle of Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation and ongoing Continual Service Improvement.  This core allows organizations to have structure.  Less chaos, less breakdown and increased IT performance can only lead to increased business performance.  Agile and DevOps along with just enough process and ITSM structure leads to success! DevOps and Agile do not stand alone.  It’s not one or the other. We really want to learn how to glean value and obtain the proper balance from an integrated approach. 

For the IT Practitioner: Get results and Career Opportunity! – I think that we will all agree that certification is not the only measure of an individual’s capability to perform.  That said, it is one of the measures valued in the industry.  Many candidates will not even be looked at if they do not have the proper certification and credentials to support their knowledge and experience.  Some engineers who only understand Agile will struggle when working with operational staff and vice versa.   Why reinvent the wheel when trying to optimize change management or improve workflow throughout the delivery of a service.  Why struggle to increase value from service asset and configuration management or any ITSM activity?  Knowing Agile and DevOps principles alone could be a risk.  Understanding ITIL and how to apply industry best practices for ITSM could help to increase the performance of your organization and your career. A holistic approach and mindset will always help.

If you are Interested in Industry Best Practices and ITIL certification for yourself or your staff:

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