It started out a bit frenetic and confusing. Nobody knew what to do or where to go, and panic seemed to set in every time the loud horn blared, indicating another failure had occurred.
No, I wasn't attending a Green Mountain Derby Dames roller derby tournament.
Rather, I was present at an ISM Simulator Workshop session in Washington DC.
My role was to videotape the workshop, with the intent of scaling it down into a 2-3 minute snippet that captures the essence of the session. And as I observed the 16 participants in 'Round 1', it all started to make sense.
The participants were playing the roles of employees at a hypothetical shipping company. They were broken out into four teams, representing four different parts of the company - senior management, line of business owners, service desk personnel
and technical services.
On the screen at the front of the room was a birds-eye projection of the company, including a series of dashboards and schedules, which provided the participants with essential real-time information such as service level data, shipments completed, locations where outages were occurring, and the amount of money that the company was making (or losing!) at any given moment.
The goal of the 'game' was to maximize profits for the company in the face of systems that were continuously breaking down. To do so, each team had to establish its own processes, and effectively collaborate with the other teams so as to create an efficient overall system.
The first round was anything but efficient, as the teams tried desperately to get their own houses in order while they watched all the missed shipments, unresolved outages, and lost revenue on the screen. The sense of frustration was obvious, but the group pressed on.
At the end of the round, the facilitator conducted an assessment of the business by reviewing bottom line data with the group, and discussed best and worst practices that the teams had implemented. Clearly, there was a better way to run this business, and the group was determined to figure it out in short order.
Somewhere in the middle of Round 2, I began to sense that the group was turning the corner. There were a lot more 'aha" moments, a lot less shouting across the room, flip charts were being utilized, and there seemed to be a great deal of relevant information being shared across the different teams.
After three hours and three rounds, the group was both exhausted and exhilarated. They were able to implement an efficient process that yielded a positive bottom line.
But more importantly, they now had a much more tangible understanding of the role that Service Management plays in aligning IT with the business.
I had a chance to interview several of the participants after the session, and they were all effusive in their praise for the workshop. Clearly, the workshop far exceeded their expectations, and they were anxious to share their experience, and apply some of the best practices at their own organizations.
As a new member of the ISM marketing team, the workshop was also a great experience for me. Besides meeting some very interesting IBM customers and partners, I now have a much firmer grasp of the value of Service Management.
Incidentally, we will be running a simulator workshop for customers at Pulse on Sunday, February 27th. If you are interested in attending, please contact David Ojalvo as soon as possible, because seating is limited to the first 20 respondents.
If you are not able to get with us at Pulse, fear not...the ISM Simulator Workshop is portable in nature, and can be hosted at any customer site for a group of your employees. It's a great educational and team building exercise! For more information on this, visit our web page, and contact your local sales rep.