We’ve all felt the pain of big waterfall project — the pressure of functionality dropping and teams asking for more time and money. Post-implementation reviews lead to teams reflecting on what they could have done differently, but usually it too little too late.

Sadly we see too many organizations adopt a big-bang approach to Enterprise or IT Service Management (ESM/ITSM) transformation. Often it’s due to ‘that’s how it’s always been done’, or considering an alternative approach like Agile isn’t for support or operations teams.

It is possible to start small, learn from an existing workflow or support function, and run two systems in parallel using a strangler approach. This involves removing functions, one step at a time, from the legacy to the new system. If risk appetite is low and service availability is critical to the enterprise, then an iterative approach is far less risky and disruptive.

Additionally, using the out-of-the-box Atlassian Jira Service Management with pre-configured ITIL or domain-specific workflows may seem too simple, or may feel it is not complex enough. However, showing how a leaner or more simplified process actually works starts to get people on the journey and become comfortable to move away from old ways of service management.

Recently Sentify helped a customer take the first step in unlocking their IT change management process. First, we moved a small number of their change management decisions from a weekly meeting involving 12 people verbally checking dependencies and potential conflicts. We digitized the entry function of all change requests and put in a risk-based quality gate that pre-approved low-risk items and continued to push medium to high-risk items through the current process. We had the support of the delivery teams, who were feeling the pain of their current approach.

Sentify began by creating a workflow in collaboration with the client. But before taking the next step, change leaders and senior management needed to be reassured of the new process. Sentify conducted multiple demonstrations to share how the process would work. These demonstrations were the catalyst that created understanding at the executive level. The client realized that historically, they experienced a tremendous amount of time lost waiting for manual processes and experienced delays due to the gatekeeper ticking boxes. Interestingly teams doubled down on the quality of their work, knowing that this new pathway was the opportunity they had been waiting for to begin delivering value faster and more regularly.

The alarm bells should go off if you see your organization planning a major program of work to implement ESM or ITSM with the traditional design, development, implementation and rollout phases extending weeks or months.

You can adopt a less painful and far leaner approach to improve your workflow, so start asking questions today.