What Is Agile Operations?
Agile operations, also known as Agile ops, is a term used to describe the implementation of Agile principles and methodologies into a team’s operational processes. It enables Agile teams to successfully adapt to change and pivot rapidly to address arising issues.
Software development teams commonly use Agile ops to maintain their systems, but it can also be useful for other teams, including IT.
The history of Agile in IT operations
Throughout the early 2000s, Agile philosophy grew in popularity among software development teams. As a result, IT teams struggled to keep up with the output and create a secure environment for the high levels of code being produced. The solution? Have IT teams adopt Agile practices to bring them up to speed.
However, it wasn’t as simple as that — IT teams work differently to software development teams, and an Agile methodology couldn’t be applied in the same way. There is a different culture with varying roles and priorities. For example, Agile developers focus on speed and frequency, whereas security is the number one priority for IT professionals.
To connect the two, the concept of DevOps was created. Coined in 2009 by Patrick Debois and Andrew Clay Shafer, DevOps is a combination of software development and IT operations. It unites the two departments under an Agile philosophy so that IT teams can add input to the development testing stage and developers can be more involved in production maintenance. DevOps broadens the scope of Agile itself, adding an extra layer of reliability to its speed.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of Agile for IT operations specifically.
Benefits of Agile IT operations
Agile practices can greatly improve an IT team’s operations. Here are a few examples:
1. Better team integration
Agile ops leads to more collaboration between software developers and IT professionals. These two teams have traditionally worked in silos, often not communicating until a product is released. In an Agile operating model, however, there is more interaction between the two departments, helping to align company goals and eliminate unnecessary confusion throughout the project life cycle.
2. Fewer errors
Agile teams take an iterative approach to tasks, working in repeatable cycles to develop, test, and refine products on an ongoing basis. Regular testing means bugs can be spotted at an early stage and addressed quickly. By minimizing errors before the software is deployed on a large scale, IT teams can avoid retrospective bug fixes under severe time constraints.
3. Reduced costs
When Agile teams address issues and add new features after each iteration, they can also drastically reduce their costs. Agile enables them to build the best product before deploying it, meaning they don’t need to waste money and other resources on a costly redesign.
4. Increased productivity
The Agile philosophy places a strong emphasis on face-to-face interaction, which can help to encourage productivity among IT teams. Digital consulting firm McKinsey states that an Agile approach can help IT infrastructure groups “boost their productivity by 25 to 30 percent in six to 18 months.”
5. Clear priorities
Under the Agile ops model, a key priority is meeting business demand within short timeframes. Though IT teams tend to focus on stability rather than speed, an Agile approach can expand their priorities and give them a new perspective on delivering value to a customer base.
How to implement Agile IT operations
Now that the benefits are clear, how do you begin implementing the Agile philosophy into your IT operations? As previously mentioned, Agile methodologies cannot be applied to IT teams without prior consideration for the cultural differences between the two.
First, you should take time to consider which Agile project management methodology is suitable for your IT team. Kanban is a popular option for DevOps teams as they can easily visualize tasks and track progress on a project board. Scrum, however, might be the desirable option for larger teams with longer-term initiatives as it breaks the project down into easily digestible time periods known as sprints.
Next, assess the roles outlined and best practices outlined in your chosen Agile methodology. The role of a Scrum master or product owner, for example, may not be compatible with your existing IT team structure. Similarly, your IT professionals may not be familiar with Agile best practices and how an Agile team operates. Take the time to train your IT staff and answer any questions they may have. Choose the right people to assume new leadership positions within an Agile structure.
Finally, you must equip your IT teams with the appropriate project management tools. Their existing systems may be incompatible with the flexibility of an Agile operations model, so they will need access to an all-in-one software solution to track IT requests, monitor progress, and share results with stakeholders.
How Wrike can help with Agile IT operations
Wrike’s versatile software is the ideal solution for IT teams making the switch to an Agile operating model. With Wrike, you can simplify the entire process and streamline your IT operations on one powerful platform.
Our Agile workforce operating tools and features include:
- Custom request forms: Centralize your IT ticketing system with customizable request forms that auto-assign tasks to the right people.
- Enterprise-grade security: Wrike offers multiple robust security features to secure your IT processes, including user authentication, role-based access control, and data encryption.
- Smart app integration: Keep all your IT tools in one place with Wrike Integrate. Connect with more than 400 apps, including Github and Jira.
- Wrike Help Center: Wrike’s support team is available 24/7 to help answer your IT questions.
Explore Wrike’s Agile project management features with a free two-week trial.