MarsLander®- A simulation to make ITSM more Agile and Lean

Once upon a time we used ITIL® to bring our Apollo 13 mission to the moon. Bringing a MarsLander to Mars requires a higher level of Service Delivery capability. There is a lot more software involved. To effectively manage the Service delivery we need to be more Agile and Lean and we have to work as teams, ensuring software, hardware and services are in sync and able to respond rapidly to changes.
The ITIL capabilities are still relevant but must be more responsive to rapid changes – the words Agile and Lean enter the conversation.

To fulfill all the demands of the customer, IT Teams must deliver fast, reliable, safe, error free solutions.
An error in space cannot be readily fixed by sending an on-site engineer. The way we need to work on the MarsLander mission is new. We are learning as we go. We need to be flexible and continuously learn and improve our services and capabilities in small steps to ensure we are continually aligned with customer needs. At the same time we are more and more dependent upon an eco-system of partners and suppliers who must also be aligned and flexible to changing needs.

We also need to work in multifunctional teams to share knowledge, reduce hand-offs, prevent mis-communication and ensure all are aligned to realizing customer needs and to increase the flow of work.

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About the simulation

The mission of your team is clear: “Launch a rocket with MarsLander, bring it to Mars and collect valuable data for Universities and Research Centers”.
Your challenge is to support the Mission Center, helping ensure they are able to achieve all mission goals. The Mission Director is managing the Mission Center and leads a team consisting of Flight Operation, Navigation and Communication experts. These specialists manage the flight plan of the mission in accordance with mission goals and contractual agreements with the customers and suppliers.
The Mission Support Team consists of Support Engineers, Test Engineers and Change Management. They will fix all issues that occur during the mission. The Development Team develops and maintains applications, features and application fixes. Vendors are supporting the Mission Support Team with data communication services and data storage services.
The Service Manager will manage the Service Design, Service Delivery and Service Improvement.

The Simulation

The simulation is made up of 4 rounds. Each round will reflect a part of the mission.

Round 1 – Prepare the mission

The team will start with a traditional structure. There will be a Service Desk and first and second line support.
The first actions are focused on getting a clear picture of the current Service requirements of Mission Control. There is also a backlog of issues from the test- phase and the Development Team is working on the final application. The Service Manager will define the required services and the agreed KPI’s.

Round 2 – Launch and Hardy IV encounter

In this round, the flight plan will bring the space craft in an orbit around the Earth and on a flight path towards the tail of comet Hardy IV. The mission must collect valuable date from Hardy IV and send it back to Earth so that Universities and research centers can study this data. The Customer may raise new demands, issues will occur and the flight course may have to be changed. After this round, the team will explore opportunities to improve and design the next ‘release’ of the service.

Round 3 – Heading to Mars

The team has made changes in the way of working, made updates in their services and has responded to the changing demands from Mission Control. In this round, we introduce the concept of Service Teams. The team will experience how teams can increase flow, avoid rework and will create better and faster responses. The flight will reach Mars and the Spacecraft will have to make two orbits around Mars to collect new data. But how do we respond if the customer suddenly wants 4K movies from the landscape of Mars and a different format of graphical output of the data? Did we integrate the vendors in our teams?
Did we implement some service automation solutions to increase our performance?
Can the teams respond rapidly ‘end-to- end’ to deploy a manageable solution? If not, we may have to update and improve our services.

Round 4 – Exploring the landscape of Mars

After the final improvement cycle, we are fully prepared for this final round.
The MarsLander has landed on Mars and starts its 2 trips on Mars. Are all issues solved to guarantee that all data will be collect as agreed and on time?
Did we align with the vendors to be sure we have enough capacity to send and store data? Did we deliver all requested features on time and are we able to support them? Did we improve the multifunctional teams by sharing knowledge and experience? This round is the last opportunity to achieve our mission goals before we put MarsLander into sleeping mode. This is the moment to celebrate the success of the mission.

How can this simulation be used?

This simulation is a powerful way to stimulate a new way of thinking within the IT Organization. It can help create a dialogue and it helps employees better understand how to improve their own way of working from where they are now (traditional Service Management) towards Service Management with a more Agile and Lean approach, not as a large implementation project but in small incremental steps and based on their own motivation.

Learning objectives

This simulation is about exploring and experiencing how you can transform your current IT organization into a more Agile and Lean organization. The following aspects will be experienced and discussed:

  • How can service teams help and how to create high performing teams?
  • How can we visualize our work, using KanBan?
  • How can we increase the flow of work?
  • How can we integrate vendors into our services?
  • How to work closer together with development?
  • How to continuously improve our services?
  • How to become a flexible service organization that respond rapidly to changing demands?
  • How to become more customer focused, and develop this ‘customer thinking’ into our teams?
  • How to effectively manage workload (end-to-end) and how to reduce unplanned work?
  • How to increase customer and employee satisfaction?

Target Audience

This simulation is designed for roles inside and outside of IT. Since this simulation is aimed at exploring and experiencing a new way of working this simulation does not require any specific knowledge to participate.

  • Employees of IT (Operations) teams can explore how a more service oriented way of working can make their work more enjoyable and better.
  • IT managers and team leaders can learn how to coach and facilitate their teams towards high performing teams.
  • Development teams can experience how to work together with IT Operation teams.
  • Business roles can experience how their roles may change if the organization starts to work in a more Agile and Lean way of working.
  • ITSM specialists learn what can be the value of working Agile and Lean; how to make ITIL more responsive and fit for use in this new environment of rapid, unpredictable change in which solutions must be deployed rapidly, yet safely.

This simulation also helps IT Operations teams to take the next steps towards alignment with the DevOps philosophy and ITIL Practitioner guiding principles.

Exam & Certification

10 till 13 participants per team. During this one-day interactive workshop.