Agile And ITSM: How Could They Work Together

Successful organizations always focus on changing market requirements and try to meet them. A static and rigid organization could face difficulties and hurdles to its success due to its rigidity. Organizations sometimes cannot grow even if they are more flexible. There are many reasons for that. One of the most important reasons is to choose the wrong ways and tools for changing processes. There are many different ways, techniques, and tools for that purpose. Now it’s on the organizations which they choose.

Agile and ITSM are not tools but guiding principles to run a process. In fact, they provide a way for organizations to deal with the market’s requirements. In this article, we will briefly detail what Agile and ITSM are. What are the differences and similarities? And how could they work together? Before going into the details, firstly, we should look at the basic concepts of Agile and ITSM.

What Is Agile?

Agile is a set of methodologies used in software development. Agile is not a framework or software but provides a base for frameworks and tools. It is a mindset that is helpful in software development and service management. According to Jaynee Groll,

“Agile Service Management (ASM) ensures that service management processes reflect agile values and are designed with “just enough” control and structure to enable the delivery of services that enable the ability to do something when and how they are needed or desired.”

The agile mindset is a natural outgrowth of the ‘Agile manifesto,’ published before a Utah conference in 2001. It was later developed as ‘Agile Alliance.’ Its main concepts or principles are as follows.

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiations
  • Responding to change over following a plan

What Is ITSM?

Information technology service management is commonly known as ITSM. It is said to be the IT team’s management of end-to-end delivery services. ITSM includes all processes and steps regarding IT services. The main idea of ITSM is that IT should be provided as a service. According to Stephen J. Bigelow,

“IT service management (ITSM) is a general term that describes a strategic approach to design, deliver, manage and improve the way businesses use information technology (IT). ITSM includes all the discrete activities and processes that support a service throughout its lifecycle, from service management to change management, problem and incident management, asset management, and knowledge management.”

Many people take it as a type of simple IT support. This is a misconception, it is an IT support, but it has much wider ranges other than that. Like Agile, ITSM has no specific date of its origination. Following are some operations in which ITSM could integrate;

  • Configuration management
  • Availability management
  • Incident management
  • Capacity management

ITSM Vs Agile:

Some believe ITSM and Agile are two different, separate, and opposite concepts. In contrast, some believe they are two similar concepts that could work together. Both perceptions are opposite but have some base.

Proponents of the first belief argue that the traditional ITSM practice is no longer helpful in the modern dynamic period. Now, the time has come to work more agilely. Moreover, they say that Agile suggests people-centric methods, whereas ITSM suggests predictive and process-oriented ways. That’s why ITSM is different from Agile

ITSM And Agile Together:

ITSM is a more structured approach, but nothing says ITSM could not borrow concepts from the Agile mindset. It causes a more efficient service delivery process. This concept also transforms Agile and ITSM into a single term, Agile ITSM. The speedy development of the modern era demands that an old approach adjusts itself according to the market’s requirements. In this sense, ITSM has to work with an Agile mindset.

Recent updates in ITSM approaches like generous use of ITILv4 and VeriSM have more space to work with the Agile mindset. These new updates are closely aligned with the Agile mindset. That’s why we can say that combining the Agile mindset and ITSM could give a better result than using one alone. It is because the goals of both concepts are relatively the same, but there is a little bit of difference in their ways of achieving those goals. Due to the difference in ways, they could cover their pros and cons. It means a weak field in which ITSM could be covered through Agile and weak points of Agile could be empowered through ITSM.


We have briefly defined both concepts and give two common perceptions related to these concepts. From the above discussion we came to conclude that these concepts have some differences among them but they could work together. In our view a combination of Agile and ITSM could give you a better result. It is because due to the modern dynamic environment, it has become difficult to find a single approach which contains solutions to all problems. That’s why we should use a combination of ITSM and Agile to deliver better.

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