Why ISO 20000 Escalation Management Is SAFe With DevOps

Intland-Software-iso20000To be ISO 20000 certified is good for business. Why? Because the ISO 20000 service management system (SMS) is the de facto standard for enterprise IT Services Management (ITSM). As such, it is not only a sign that the service is of high quality and can be trusted, it is also the most widely used and accepted standard of quality. For any organization considering a move, to expand beyond Agile Development to DevOps the question often arises as to what happens to ISO 20000 when transitioning to DevOps (DevOps covers ITSM + Escalation management)?

Can ISO20000 and DevOps be used together?

To answer the above question, we must first look at what ISO 20000 really is, and how DevOps addresses ITSM.

ISO 20000 was the first international standard for IT Services Management. Its aim was to provide proof of service that the organization in question is working as per ITIL recommendations for ITSM, which is primarily composed of escalation management. Proof comes in the form of ITSM ISO 20000 certification for managers. What ISO 20000 does not provide, though, is specific advice on how to design your ITSM processes.

So how does DevOps handle ITSM?

As an offshoot of Agile, DevOps is still in its infant days and therefore isn't very well defined. It does not have a precise set of best practices or silver-bullet processes neither prescriptive nor descriptive. And yet DevOps is one inevitable stop on the Agile journey. The DevOps mantra is to break down the barriers between Development and IT Operations by streamlining and integrating practices and processes.

Related reading: a 2-part history of DevOps

Agile Operations: The Evolution of DevOps

DevOps Part 2: Methods, Practices and Tools


From these brief descriptions it is obvious that we're not talking about an either-or question: if anything, ISO 20000 should be seen as assisting a DevOps implementation (provided that ISO 20000 processes are designed with DevOps integration in mind). ADevOps-integrated approach to ITSM can very well be ISO 20000 certified.

If you’re looking for a practical how to guide for implementing ISO 20000 and DevOps in an enterprise setting, then you'll want to get educated about SAFe®.

A framework for DevOps: The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

The Scaled Agile framework is a knowledge base for scaling Agile in an enterprise setting. It is also suitable for the concept of DevOps. The SAFe model extends Agile for use by IT Operations and it does so in a highly prescriptive manner. Therefore, SAFe provides the how to guide for integrating ISO 20000 into your DevOps efforts for large-scale enterprise use.

Related reading:

DevOps Success Factors: How to Build a High-performing Dev+Ops Team?

Agile ALM software such as our own codeBeamer ALM not only provide the features necessary for implementing SAFe, but also provides the means by which ITSM and Development processes can be integrated. codeBeamer ALM also comes with a service desk and escalation management system integrated within the Application Lifecycle Management tool, simplifying the process of building a robust ITSM system.

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