Thumbnail of the rules for Game-changing Insight's agile IT servic management game, Stabil-IT

...bringing you the IT Service layer focusing on service management and agile thinking

Box for the trainer collection of business strategy games Total-IT
  • Incident management - solve the incidents

  • Problem management - analyse the route cause of a disruption

  • Manage the knowledge through maintaining wikis

  • Develop and test new releases of your service

  • Deal with emergency change requests from your users

  • Learn to plan and work in agile sprints

 

Play to learn - Agile IT service management

Agile IT service management (ITSM) on your tabletop with "Stabil-IT"

Stabil-IT (pronounced stability), is a holistic business strategy game representing the world of IT service management. It can be played as a fun group activity or in support of a deeper game-based learning session, leveraging its extensive IT service management content and sprint planning mechanism.

 

In the game, each player has end-to-end responsibility for delivering and improving an IT service. Over several sprints, the players plan how they will advance their service, given the limited amount of effort at their disposal. They must remove major incidents as and wherever they occur, mitigate upcoming disruptions and life cycle their solution when able, without losing sight of their users' needs.

The game experience provides a deep awareness of knowledge management and knowledge sharing in guilds.

All in all a very immersive experience building confidence in an approach of sprint planning as the central mechanism to maintain and develop the IT service layer.

The applied game also introduces several ITIL practices including a heavy focus on incident management and problem management.

Stabil-IT is available as a physical game, with a playable online version to support remote sessions and trainer development. 

Agile IT service management online game

Key elements of Stabil-IT

Incident management - solve the incidents

Each service has 5 nodes which can become disrupted. Whenever a node is disrupted it loses stability. If there is no stability to lose an incident is generated.

Disruption happens for two reasons, both connected with a lack of testing. Firstly there is life-cycling of the technical platforms which disrupt all services that have an associated node. Secondly releases and improvement activities that don't have sufficient testing will cause disruption.

An incident can be either major or minor. Major incidents must be solved as a priority. Minor incidents have a limited permissible number on each service after which they also become prioritised.

Example of a major incident marker

Problem management - analyse the route cause of a disruption

When an incident has been solved it is possible to revisit it and perform further analysis to establish the root cause. This is time-consuming but highly beneficial as it results in additional stability and knowledge.

Manage the knowledge through maintaining the wikis

When an incident is solved knowledge is created but this is initially tacit knowledge, held only by the party that solved it. With some extra effort, the knowledge can be made permanent by updating the service wiki.

Furthermore, you may choose to research the performance around a specific node to better understand its behaviour characteristics. This new insight is also added to the wiki to help in the service management.

Example of a knowledge token 

Develop and test new releases of your service

You aim to take your service through two releases over the course of the game. Each release requires a number of development steps. You can release as soon as you have completed the development steps but if you do it will create disruption. You can reduce or remove the disruption by progressive testing of your new release. It is up to you whether you want to take the time to remove the disruption or rush ahead with the releases.

Deal with emergency change requests from your users

Periodically all services receive notification of an emergency change requested by your users. Each change is related to one of the service nodes.

It is important that you improve the service to address the change. If you don't, you will get disgruntled users and be penalised by the company which places a high value on user satisfaction.

Example of a user requesting an emergency change 

Learn to plan and work in agile sprints

All activities in Stabil-IT are planned into sprints. Each player has a number of effort points that they can spend in their planned activities. If they have enough knowledge in their service, they can extend the amount of effort, simulating that they are actually working faster.

Though they lack the same level of granularity, the effort points are broadly synonymous with story points as would be found in normal agile sprint planning.

By the end of the game the participants are comfortable with the idea and use of sprints.

 
 

Placing IT service management in context

The company has divided its business into six solution areas, some of which are managed by a single group and some which are jointly managed. Recently the solutions have been under-performing, losing the confidence of the company and the users.

Your job is to re-establish the confidence in your solution and develop it in line with the requests from your users.

Your mission

It has been a difficult time, the company is running out-of-date software which has been experiencing poor reliability. You need to rebuild the trust of your co-workers and company. You have been tasked with introducing new releases of all the solutions whilst maintaining reliable performance and availability.  

Stability, Knowledge and Influence

You are trying to build up the stability of your solutions to keep them performing under the stress of day-to-day workloads and changes. Failure to do so may result in incidents. Solving incidents can lead to more knowledge and help you develop a more effective team. You will also want to build up your influence ti allow you to take the lead when needed.

The users

The company has a number of engaged users that give you great feedback and suggestions about where to improve your solution. Make sure you heed their advice or they will become disappointed and negatively affect your success.

An agile approach

Actions are taken in a series of sprints, each with a fixed amount of effort available. If there is insufficient time to perform the actions you want or if you have time available, you can try to motivate other teams to help you. As you develop more knowledge you will become more effective, increasing the amount of effort you have to spend each sprint.

DevOps

Your development and operations team will be working to create two new releases during the game. This is done incrementally with 3 development steps and 0-3 testing steps ahead of the final release step. The testing is optional but if you release without testing you will create disruption and a loss of stability. 

Stabil-IT and agile IT service management in context of Total-IT

Stabil-IT represent the middle, service, layer of the Total-IT simulation stack. Even though the game supports independent use, it is woven into the complete Total-IT simulation space with definable dependencies to/from the other layers.

This adds a richness to the experience and to the associated training delivered through the game.

The business users submit request for service improvements to the service layer

Periodically the technical platforms are life-cycled. The plan for life-cycling is given to the service layer