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3 “Agile” Tips for a Smooth ITSM Solution Implementation

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Why focus on “agile” when implementing an ITSM solution? An agile implementation allows the solution room to “breathe” and develop into a capable and graceful end product that’s aligned with the customer’s specific needs.

By dividing the project into multiple, concurrent smaller projects, and by completing the development, testing, and requirements refinement for each stage independently, your implementation is able to embrace the change and flexibility required to produce the best results. Within this development methodology, here are three tips to make sure your implementation remains true to the “agile” approach.

Tweet this: An agile ITSM tool implementation allows the solution room to “breathe” and align with customers’ specific needs.

1. Present the ITSM solution early and often


The most effective way to remain agile while implementing new service desk software is to make sure you have as many iterations as you need to get the solution in front of users early and often. You’ve completed a requirements-gathering phase at the project’s outset, but that checklist is hardly a direct translation into product requirements. Plus, covering the gaps between the tool out of the box and the customer’s intended process always creates ambiguity.

Therefore, rather than saving customer feedback for a final review phase, communicate as you go. As the multiple, simultaneous projects begin, separate teams work on modules such as Incident Management, Problem Management, and a self-service portal in conjunction with the business. This way you can tweak the solution in relation to their feedback.

To be clear, this feedback isn’t a full-blown user acceptance review (that will come later). Rather, present these iterations to the business team to make sure it matches their vision on a conceptual basis. To that end, don’t be too perfect here. You don’t need to button it up each time you present it. Instead, front-load the development until the conceptual groundwork is set. That way you can make the necessary course corrections and avoid those “gotcha” moments.

2. Don’t over-structure the ITSM solution implementation


An important aspect to planning for multiple iterations is allowing flexibility in your schedule. In my past I’ve been involved with teams who, because they were too focused on following a strict release schedule, didn’t catch certain problems, and put in a lot of off-course effort. Of course, structure is important.

Prioritization of services is the most effective way to do this without creating a rigid structure. As separate teams work on different modules, you want to start with the most essential elements. For most organizations, these will be on-boarding, Incident Management, and Problem Management. Furthermore, these elements will often touch other secondary elements. For example, on-boarding is an element integral to numerous approvals, workflow items and tasks.

Go through these essential elements, test them, and make sure they are absolutely right before moving on. If you rush through the “need to haves” in order to get to the “nice to haves” more quickly, none of it will work efficiently.

Tweet this: Breaking down your ITSM solution implementation into phases is an essential key for success.

3. Don’t forget about the human element of ITSM!

You need to have a team that’s going work with you — both on the implementation side and on the customer side. The way people work together is crucial to any successful implementation, and even more so in an agile one. From the outset, deliver the agile, iterative vision of the process to the customer. If you get everyone on board at the beginning by explaining the reasoning and principles behind the agile methodology, then collaboration and communication throughout the implementation will likely run smoothly.

Following these three tips within an agile development methodology will lead to better results. Embracing change and flexibility allows you to deliver a solution on time, within budget, and with greater value. Because when it comes down to it, that’s all your customers want.



About the Author: A graduate of the Minnesota School of Business, Greg Guertin has worked as a software consultant at StrataCom, Inc for over seventeen years. Guertin provides graceful solutions to enterprise-level clients through StrataCom’s Agile Development Methodology. Since 1997,  StrataCom has delivered IT management consulting and business process analysis to a long list of Fortune 1000 clients.