Cover Story

Using Scrum to Improve the Way We Work

A scrum you DON'T want to be in! Unless, of course, you love rugby.

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans. ~ Peter Drucker

The IT Service Management and ServiceNow Development teams are using Scrum methodology to improve ServiceNow in a continuous and agile way. For those not familiar with Scrum, it is a framework that emphasizes the value of cross-functional groups working together as a self-organized team committed to achieving a common goal. For our team, that goal is the continual improvement of ServiceNow and its processes.

We develop in 2-week Sprint cycles starting with a Planning session that includes our Product Owner, John Ellis (Integration). As a team, we review Product Backlog enhancement requests that have been prioritized by the SMCC and break them down into small deliverable tasks. We estimate, based on velocity of previous Sprints, how many tasks we can successfully deliver in a 2-week period. The Planning session ends with a solid commitment from the team to complete the identified tasks in the time allotted.  That’s when the fun really begins.

The Product Owner is hands-off and the team works together to design, develop, test and produce the final deliverable based on the requested enhancement. All team members are considered equal and they are accountable to each other so there is no "leader." Instead there is a "facilitator," or ScrumMaster, to help monitor progress and assist with any obstacles hindering that progress. This method helps us increase our output velocity so that we can accomplish more as a team than individually.

scrum framework diagramWe end each 2-week cycle with a Review or "Show Me" session where we demonstrate to John and other stakeholders the progress we have made, or not made, on the tasks we committed to. Our goal in this session is transparency. We want the community to be aware of what we are doing to continually enhance ServiceNow and its processes.

Now, if you have read this far, you may be asking how this may benefit you and your work in ServiceNow. Below are some of the most recent features we have been developing. They will be applied to production on August 4. More detailed information on each of these enhancements can be found on the SMCC Website.

If you want to submit a suggestion on how to improve ServiceNow, enter a request on the self-service homepage. Requests are reviewed by the appropriate ITSM Process Managers and then submitted to the SMCC for approval and prioritization. For questions about any of these items please visit the SMCC Website or email us at

New Release Schedule

In addition to implementing Scrum, we have also adopted a new Release Schedule. We will continually develop enhancements throughout the year, but we will only apply certain improvements to production four times a year. Some improvements we develop may be added through a routine Service Request, but there are some that must be part of an official Release.

Enhancements must be part of a release if:

Four Seasonal Releases per year:

How You Can Get Involved

Help us stomp out the bugs! Three weeks before each Release is applied to Production, we will engage ServiceNow users at all levels of expertise to test and verify that the new features being added work correctly and will not adversely affect the current environment.

If you would like to be added to our list of ServiceNow testers for these seasonal releases, please send an email to Include your division and the process module you would like to help test. We will give you advance notice of our testing schedule and the enhancements being developed. All levels of expertise are welcome to assist us.

We thank you in advance for helping our team improve the way we work...FOR YOU!

- Missie Martin, ScrumMaster, ITSMO/ServiceNow Scrum Team