The 7 Guiding Principles of ITIL 4 are the key messages of ITIL. They are designed to guide decisions and actions so the people who are responsible for managing and operating the organization’s service portfolio can benefit from these high-level best practices.
These principles aren’t new. They’re influenced by ideas born in disciplines outside of service management (such as manufacturing and software development) but have now been proven in the service context.
Today we look at Collaborate and promote visibility:
Collaborate and promote visibility
Typically in large organizations, processes, projects, and service value streams can flow across many teams and departments—there are many moving parts working across different disciplines, operated by different Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). In an organization it is necessary to develop specialist expertise so that tasks can be routed to the people who have the skills to perform them. This is the benefit of specialization. The problem with specialization is that it promotes “tunnel vision”—a narrow focus.
For this reason, when it comes to solving problems spanning multiple specialist teams (for example, the network, datacenter, database, and application teams), finding a solution (or more accurately, the best solution) requires collaboration. However, typically an issue will be bounced around from team to team. The network team will pass it to the application team. The application will pass it to the database team. The database team may decide it’s an infrastructure issue and pass it to the datacenter team.
Sometimes this works. On other occasions, the issue may be caused by a combination of underlying factors, but these teams are not collaborating to consider all the possible angles. Specialization creates siloes. Siloes prevent the flow of information and knowledge; one team does not have visibility of what another team is doing. Collaboration and making work visible between teams are the antidotes to the inherent problems of a siloed organization.
The collaborate and promote visibility principle is closely connected to the think and work holistically principle (which we will look at next). For people to collaborate effectively on projects which span many teams, they must all understand the holistic perspective—they must see the bigger picture.
DevOps is a prime example of a situation where there is a need to both think and work holistically and collaborate and promote visibility. Development and operations people must see the bigger picture—that Dev and Ops are part of a larger value chain. Developers must consider the downstream implications of new and altered code. Ops people must consider the upstream impact of changes to the production environment. Both must consider the impact of what they are doing on the customer.
Clearly, enabling a faster, safer flow of value from Dev to Ops to customer, requires better collaboration and clear visibility. As a result, collaborative organizations are typically more agile and resilient.