Marslander in the energy sector
One of New Zealand's leading energy providers has been operating their Service Management functions in an agile manner for several years now, enabling them to meet the demands of the delivery teams and the wider organisation. However, as with all mature organisations, it was recognised by the team that learning is an ongoing process.
Having heard how the MarsLander simulation focuses on making service management more agile and lean, and how it enables participants to see how ITIL4 can be used in everyday scenarios, they engaged us to run the simulation.
Through experimentation, the simulation enabled them, over the course of a day, to identify areas where they could improve their operating model and try new things.
As Greg Wilson, IT Service Management Specialist at the organisation, put it,
"This has been a great day to identify where we as a team can do things differently to improve value internally. To do so in a safe and fun environment has been fantastic. It's been one of the best learning experiences I have ever been part of."
The Phoenix Project at University of Canterbury
At the end of 2017, ITS at the University of Canterbury started a transformation to move from a traditional shared service model to a product focussed delivery model. This change in delivery required a fundamental change in the way that ITS and the wider University thought, engaged and interacted. Andy Keiller, CIO, required not just a new way of working, but a revised way of thinking by all concerned.
In order to drive this change, ITS engaged Gander Service Management to deliver Phoenix Project simulations from GamingWorks, for all members of ITS and the key stakeholders within the affected business teams.
The first simulation was for the ITS leadership team, as well as representatives from the wider university. Then, over the following 11 months, all other teams experienced the same simulations. This ranged from a mix of existing teams to one team who only met as a team on the day of the simulation. That was day one for the establishment of a new product based team.
What did the University get from the simulations?
Talking to Andy recently, he commented firstly, on the fact that he received only positive feedback from his teams and customers and secondly, on the fact that people were all receiving the same message around change, but they were picking up on different aspects. Finally he felt there was a lot of value to be had from attendees being placed into roles within the simulation that they would not normally do (technical people in business roles and business people in technical roles), so they all got to look at things from a different perspective.
Most attendees, across all of the simulations, agreed on similar points with regards to learning about how to work smarter. (I’m not going to mention what those things were. You’ll have to experience the simulation yourself). One attendee who had found reasons not to attend earlier in the year, until given no option, commented that he was glad he did finally attend and he found it “enlightening”. A member of the PMO, at that time building the portfolio of work for the coming year, mentioned that she needed to revisit how she engaged with ITS and the wider University on the portfolio.
Business partners commented on how they found the simulation useful in two ways; to understand how they could work closer with ITS and help each other, and how their teams could work better. Several non-IT teams are now discussing engaging us to run the simulations within their business areas.
Andy Keiller, the CIO, following his day on the simulation in the role of Tester, commented that the key learning he got from the day was that they generally did not prepare enough, but jumped straight into planning. This is changing with the transformation.
During a single day, a team of 11 or 12 individuals were able to come together as a team, learn about improved collaboration and communication through experiential learning, understand about the 3 ways of DevOps, and understand the value of Lean thinking, visualisation and sharing knowledge.
The Phoenix Project within the wider organisation
When we ran the simulation for the University of Canterbury, non-IT business partners were engaged as well, to create an end to end understanding of the new ways of working. As Angie Callis, HR Advisor, puts it:
"As an HR Business partner for IT Services, I recently attended the Phoenix Project training with IT staff as part of their transformational journey. Coming from a non-IT background, I found the simulation really fascinating as it not only helped me understand the complexities of the IT world, but gave me a greater understanding of how I could work closer with the teams to encourage communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Since attending the session I have recommended that we trial the simulation within our own Department to improve our understanding of ‘lean thinking’."