Blog post

Storytime! Making I&O More Agile

By Roger Williams | January 21, 2022 | 1 Comment

I’m pleased to share a true labor of love with the publication Improve Infrastructure Agility — A Story for a New Era!

As an I&O leader, you know all too well the relentless pressure to improve I&O’s ability to enable the organization by providing the foundations that products and applications are built on such as core operational, hosting, network and storage capabilities. As part of this, I&O must become more nimble and adopt agile methods to support more flexible work methods being adopted across the enterprise. But what does this really mean? Most documentation about agile methods is tailored to application development and, to an extent, DevOps. Guidance specifically intended for I&O is extremely scarce.

We’ve created a story to make agile methods more relevant to I&O. Our characters, the company and the situations are fictional, but the situation is unfortunately all too real. In our story, I&O is told it is too slow and must become more agile. Does it sound familiar? If so, please read on for a sample of this unique experiment.


Vitesh’s morning was already off to a lousy start. He was refereeing yet another high-profile, high-impact “Sev. 1” incident involving the order entry website when his phone vibrated to let him know he had a new message. The long-serving head of I&O glanced at the screen and groaned. It was Vlad, the recently hired CIO, asking Vitesh to come to his office as soon as possible. “Oh man, just pile more on,” thought Vitesh. He messaged back, “Happy to, but in the middle of a Sev. 1 incident. Will be there as soon as we get things stable — is that OK?” He received an almost immediate “OK” response and continued working on the incident with his team.

Vlad was reviewing a budget report when Vitesh took a deep breath, knocked at the door, introduced himself and asked if it was a good time to talk. Vlad motioned him in.

“Vitesh, it’s good to meet you,” said Vlad with a welcoming smile. “Sorry I haven’t had time for a face-to-face meeting before. What was the Sev. 1 about?”

“It’s good to meet you too,” said Vitesh, uncertain. “Well, we’re still not exactly sure but it looks like someone in Dev changed part of the web order entry system and the whole thing crashed. A couple of my best people are still working on it.”

“I see,” replied Vlad. “Can’t you tell what changed?”

“Um, not exactly. We go by hunches or gut feelings,” said Vitesh. He immediately groaned to himself, and wished he had an “undo” button for that answer.

“OK, that’s a topic for another day then. Listen, I want to talk to you about how Application Development and I&O work together,” said Vlad.

“What would you like to know?” asked Vitesh, his nervousness growing…

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1 Comment

  • David Brehm says:

    George Spafford and Roger Williams,

    I look forward to reading your fictional story about how to apply agile to Infrastructure and Operations (I&O). Presenting this as a novel makes it more real and gives us ideas of how I&O can move faster to increase business agility. I read the Phoenix Project prior coming to Gartner and it gave me a clearer picture of DevOps…hopefully, this will to the same for the future of I&O.

    I can’t wait to share this with my Gartner clients…

    David Brehm