Agile techniques have gained popularity, with more than 90% of firms reporting that they use them in some capacity (Version One, State of Agile Survey, 2016). In this article, I’ll describe how a particular Agile methodology is applied to the management of ordinary operations tasks in the infrastructure sector.
There aren’t many companies implementing Agile in the infrastructure sector since scaling the Agile framework (Scrum) is difficult because operational work is more prevalent there than it is in the product development sector, where knowledge work is prioritized. To become agile, however, all divisions in large business firms (those with more than 5000 workers) will eventually require.
With this background information, I’d want to illustrate how the operational infrastructure teams concentrate on applying Agile in their projects and operations. Consider the example of a Unix Server Support team that aids with L1, L2, and L3 tasks (L1, L2, and L3 – different and increasingly varying and higher levels of support where the team focuses on providing support to the customer, e.g. – L1 – call center support, L2 – Basic configuration and minor changes, L3 – Deep Dive and resolution of problems). To ensure that their services are offering the best assistance to the customer (24/7 support, also enabling follow the sun strategy), the infrastructure teams often adhere to the ITIL Best Practices. When applying Agile principles in this instance.
These groups are centred around tasks work which is normal and is embraced day to day through the execution of an assist work area with a supporting framework (Administration Now, Motivation, Hop, Cure, and different devices) using tickets that are raised by individuals and non-people (PC programs). The tickets are raised consequently by PC programs (episodes), raised by people (generally demands), issues (raised by people), and change demands/undertakings (change errands) by people. Consequently, ITIL execution gives a decent spotlight on the key regions – Occurrence The executives, Issue The board, Change The board, Help Work area, and related regions. In such a situation, the execution of Kanban assists with coordinating ITIL and Lithe and the group doesn’t feel the additional weight of the Spry execution. Kanban effectively dovetails with the current ITIL system, and the group can carry out both Kanban and ITIL simultaneously. This guarantees that the group is meeting the authoritative necessities and simultaneously, the group is additionally ready to execute Spry according to the prerequisites.
The routine functional work of these groups is viewed as one major venture zeroed in on conveying functional help and meeting the help-level arrangements for the client. Kanban is a structure for dealing with the cycle stream and change in a visual way. It begins with the as-is state and gradually expands on steady enhancements to work on the interaction throughout some time. Thus, it becomes more straightforward, to begin with, the generally existing ITIL processes that the groups are now continuing in their everyday work. The Kanban framework centers around picturing the cycle stream and distinguishing the bottlenecks simultaneously and how they could be killed with the goal that the interaction turns out to be quicker from idea to cash. For this situation, it gets the fundamental motivation from Lean standards which are likewise centered around recognizing and expanding esteem, while limiting burn-through simultaneously.
The focus on implementing Kanban frameworks for the Operations team in the Infrastructure domain leads to the following benefits–
- The team can manage its process flow with the already existing systems in place (e.g., lean, ITIL, and other process models/frameworks).
- Workload Management, Capacity Adaptation, and Capability/Competency Improvement in the teams.
- It is easier for the team to implement Agile practices as Kanban focuses on starting with the existing processes instead of making any drastic changes in the basic process.
- The team can visualize the basic work through the technique of value stream mapping (VSM) and it can eliminate bottlenecks using the Theory of Constraints (TOC).
- The team can identify the core values and focus on how to enhance customer delight.
- Implementing Agile practices leads to improved team motivation and team morale.
- Focus on working at a sustainable pace instead of working on death march projects which lead to quicker burnout and increased attrition.
- It helps the team to visualize the workflows which enables the team to focus on out-of-the-box thinking and innovative techniques to improve the lead times of their processes.
- Simple metrics like – lead time, cumulative flow diagrams, and Yamazumi charts help the team to focus on their processes and check how they could fine-tune their processes further.
- Lessons learned as part of the Kanban meetings and workshops enable the team to focus on continuous improvement.
- The focus on Kanban practices enables the team to set up a robust ecosystem in the organization that engenders continuous learning and enables the organization to build the skill level of its employees.
- Assimilation of new processes by the team through design thinking and other techniques for providing operational support helps the team to improve customer satisfaction.
Subsequently, we can see that the decision of choosing Kanban as an Agile Implementation methodology for the Operations Support Teams in the Foundation space is a judicious choice as it assists the group with keeping on following its current cycles and simultaneously likewise carrying out Deft practices in their undertakings with negligible struggles. In later posts, I will feature how we could approach executing Kanban and Agile practices in the Infrastructure Operations Support teams, offering help to the item advancement groups in the association.