Skip to main content

Visible Ops

Anyone who has worked in Information Technology knows that today, there is and always will be improvement opportunities available to our organizations.  This is especially in light of the pace of change that is taking place in all market spaces and the level of customer expectations that accompanies that change.

If you have worked in IT for a number of years, you may remember when change was not welcomed. Well the good old days weren’t always that good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems (Billy Joel).  The challenge is in getting started.

·       the processes that are currently being engaged are not as efficient and effective as you would like
·       you are finding that your environment isn’t as stable and reliable as it should be
·       that when you make changes to your environment it generally results in an outage and prolonged and repeatable firefighting

then …….
I recommend that you read The Visible Ops Handbook by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford.  Visible Ops can provide a roadmap for IT to begin the journey to becoming a high performing IT organization that can deliver expected service levels and availability.  Ensure that changes can be made with confidence. Consistent integration between processes across the lifecycle and the ability to reduce unplanned work.

There are four phases to Visible Ops.  We will briefly review them here.

·       Phase 1: “Stabilize the patient” – We begin by reducing the number of outages by only allowing changes to be made within a defined maintenance window.  Of course this policy change must be communicated to all stake holders.  We also ensure that both Problem and Incident Management are aware of the schedule of changes during these maintenance windows and who the accountable parties for these changes are. (Resolution Processes)

·       Phase 2: “Catch & release” and “Find the fragile artifacts” – Often, infrastructure and applications exist that cannot be easily or repeatedly replicated quickly.  It will be necessary to document configuration items (CIs) including services, so that we can identify those areas with the lowest change success rates, highest MTTR and highest business downtime costs. Understanding which services are the most critical to the business is an absolute must.  This way fragility in the environment can be easily identified, and greater risk analysis can be focused on those areas.  The results should be a drastic drop in unplanned work. (Control Processes)

·       Phase 3: “Establish a repeatable build library” - What we are accomplishing with this step is creating repeatable builds for those assets that support critical services.  This makes it financially feasible to move from a philosophy of repair to rebuild in dealing with outages. (Release Processes)

Phase 4: “Enabling Continuous Improvement” - The first three phases have established a closed loop between the release, control and resolution process domains.  The fourth phase engages in the use of meaningful metrics to enable continuous improvement.  Remember “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.  If you can’t manage it, then you can’t improve it”.  


Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you. Roles and Responsibilities: Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance. Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables.  An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and the

Four Service Characteristics

Recently I came across several articles by researchers and experts that laid out definitions and characteristics of services. ITIL provides us with a definition that can help drive the creation of value-laden services: A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks. An area that ITIL is not so clear is in terms of service characteristics. Several researchers and experts put forth that services have four basic characteristics (IHIP): ·          Intangibility—Services are the results of actions not things. They have no physical presence and represent a logical set of elements. One way to think of service is “work done for others.” ·          Heterogeneity—Also known as “variability”; services are unique items because of the mechanisms used to deliver services-that is people. Because the people element adds variability, the service is variable. This holds true especially for th

How Does ITIL Help in the Management of the SDLC?

I was recently asked how ITIL helps in the management of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).  Simply put... SDLC is a Lifecycle approach to produce the software or the "product".  ITIL is a Lifecycle approach that focuses on the "service". I’ll start by reviewing both SDLC and ITIL Lifecycles and then summarize: SDLC  -  The intent of an SDLC process is to help produce a product that is cost-efficient, effective and of high quality. Once an application is created, the SDLC maps the proper deployment of the software into the live environment. The SDLC methodology usually contains the following stages: Analysis (requirements and design), construction, testing, release and maintenance.  The focus here is on the Software.  Most organizations will use an Agile or Waterfall approach to implement the software through the Software Development Lifecycle. ITIL  -  is a best practice for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with