5 Kanban Strategies to Help IT Operations Teams Meet and Exceed Deadlines

it operations

What do you do when urgent work constantly interrupts planned project work? Time after time, you put down the project work so you can put out the fire. But then what happens to the prioritized work? It gets delayed. With the unpredictable nature of IT Operations work, it can feel impossible to hit deadlines for prioritized work — which creates mountains of technical debt that add even more pressure. This creates an environment that is bad for morale and ultimately, unsustainable for keeping talented employees.

To balance prioritized and unplanned work, IT Operations needs a way to visually manage everything in one place — to keep the entire team aligned while keeping work moving at a controlled, sustainable pace. Kanban helps IT Operations teams do exactly this. Read on to learn how IT Operations teams can use Kanban to improve predictability, helping them meet and exceed deadlines for important, prioritized work.

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5 DevOps Books to Read with Your Team

devops books

Officially coined in 2009, the term “DevOps” has become a business buzzword in recent years. But what is it exactly? DevOps describes a cultural movement in IT focused on collaboration and innovation through systems thinking. The term is often incorrectly used to describe a development methodology or a new type of team. Luckily, there are many excellent resources on DevOps that can help to clear some of the “cloudiness” around the movement and its ideals. We recommend these five DevOps books to anyone looking to deepen their understanding of DevOps.

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What’s New: Make IT Service Management Visible with New Kanban Board Templates

kanban boards

When multiple teams, various tools, and stakeholders from across the business are involved, IT Service Management (ITSM) processes can be complicated and challenging to manage — but Kanban can help. We’ve created new board templates, based on ITIL guidelines, to quickly get started on managing and implementing your ITSM processes. These new Kanban board templates will give your team the visibility it needs to take a systems-thinking approach to prioritizing and managing problems, changes, and incidents — resulting in faster time to resolution and reduced costs.

Keep reading to learn how your team can use these Kanban board templates, with specific examples of some of your most common workflows: incident resolution, problem and incident management, change authorization, and change implementation.

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Lean Improvement: What to Do When Urgent Trumps Important

lean improvement

Wouldn’t It Be Great If…

In the world of IT Ops, we face a constant tug-of-war between implementing new technology, keeping the lights on, and resolving unplanned issues. In the thick of our work, we’re constantly generating ideas for how to automate, standardize, and improve our processes (i.e., “Wouldn’t it be great if….”). We know that if we could spend less time trying to keep everything afloat, we could spend more time providing value with new technology. We know the importance of  practicing Lean improvement (Kaizen) — but what do you do when urgent trumps important?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “We are too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet”? If we don’t take the time to improve our environment, we’ll constantly face the same tedious challenges — and those challenges will keep growing, creating a mountain of technical debt. If we don’t practice Lean improvement, we’ll never be able to reach the level of sustainability or predictability that would make our lives a whole lot easier.

Luckily, because we visualize our work in LeanKit, we have a place to document our ideas for Lean improvement — which helps us actually do them. Visualizing these ideas alongside our project, maintenance, and break-fix work helps us keep them top of mind, and allows us to find ways to prioritize important improvement work. Keep reading to learn how we balance our Lean improvement efforts with our regular workflow.

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The Myth of Multitasking: Why IT Operations Needs WIP Limits

WIP Limits IT Ops

It may sound hard to believe, but multitasking is an effective way to get less done. Juggling multiple tasks at once interrupts your focus, which can cause you to spend more time on each task than if you had completed them one at a time.

While research proves the harmful effects of multitasking on productivity, many of us still approach our work with an attitude of “do all the things, and do them right now.” It’s especially true for IT Operations teams that are overloaded with handling new requests and keeping production stable. In our experience, that describes every IT Operations team we’ve ever worked with.

Kanban seeks to minimize multitasking by employing work-in-process (WIP) limits at strategic points in a team’s process or workflow. True to its name, a WIP limit is a tool for limiting how much work can be in process at one time, thereby helping to expose bottlenecks and improve the flow of work. Here’s what IT Operations teams can learn about using WIP limits to get more of the right work done at the right time.

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What’s New: Increased Visibility with New Integrations

integrations

Our new integrations help you deliver value faster by enabling you to create a single, virtual system that optimizes your value stream. LeanKit Integrations provide a powerful way of enabling each team to work in their tool of choice while maintaining a single source of visibility into work details and status.

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Why Lean IT Operations is Business Critical

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In the modern enterprise, success is determined by an organization’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace — a concept known as business agility. Without the ability to deliver up-to-date, relevant information where it’s needed most, organizations are unable to respond to internal and external opportunities and threats as they appear.

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