Using Apollo 13 to define desirable behaviors

Published on Tuesday 3 April 2012 by in Blog with no comments


‘…..Employees experience what this means for their day-to-day work in terms of managing their work, communication with the customer and with colleagues and the importance of clear agreements and priorities with the customer’.

J. York, CIO

 

 

Jan Schilt | GamingWorks – Netherlands

With the increasing importance of IT to all organizations we can no longer afford to bring IT under control. Many organizations adopt frameworks such as ITIL to manage the costs and risks of IT and to deliver business value. Unfortunately 70 – 80% fail to achieve the hoped for benefits of ITIL and more than 50% meet resistance.

This article describes how GamingWorks used the Apollo13 business simulation at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) to help address these issues.These sessions were part of our involvement in the ITSM Extreme makeover project. This article shows what the objectives were, it shows the customization of the simulation and the way we used the outcomes to develop a customized follow up, including how to transfer the lessons learned to real business results and how to measure the impact of the transfer.

CONTEXT

UTHSC was the winner of the 2011  ITSM Extreme Makeover sponsored by Pink Elephant, Hornbill, HDI, Loyalist and GamingWorks.  The aim of the makeover was to ‘transform’ the selected IT Service organization into a truly Customer and Service focused IT organization that delivers measurable value. A tough ambition if you consider than 70 – 80%  of IT organizations are struggling to achieve this.

(http://www.itsmextrememakeover2011.com/)

As part of the makeover, UTHSC would receive a range of products and services from the sponsoring organizations:

  • ITSM process implementation (Pink Elephant)
  • Tool implementation and Training (Hornbill, HDI)
  • ITIL training and certification (Pink Elephant, Loyalist)
  • Awareness and HRD support for the management of organizational change(GamingWorks)

PINK Elephant undertook the overall program management.

GamingWorks wanted to ‘transform’ the way organizations typically train their staff in frameworks such as ITIL, ‘transform’ how organizations try to ‘implement ITSM’ and how they generally HOPE for the benefits of their initiatives. 

GamingWorks offered the following services to the Educational team of UTHSC:

  • HRD support to advize how to develop and set-up an effective learning program integrating learning interventions in all kinds of situations: class room training, coaching, learning and working, simulations etc.
  • How to measure the outcomes and results of the training initiatives
  • How to translate the outcomes to effective actions during day to day work.

AS PART OF THE GAMINGWORKS APPROACH WE USED A BUSINESS

SIMULATION, THE APOLLO 13 – AN ITSM CASE EXPERIENCE™

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this Business Simulation were to:

  • Create awareness about the need for effective communication. Communication from the IT department to customer and communication within the teams.
  • Develop understanding within the teams of participants about how to implement the new way of working in a very pragmatic and efficient way. Gathering tips and tricks and good advice; In effect learning how to translate ‘theory’ into practice and knowledge into results.
  • Learn how to integrate People, Process, Partner and Product capabilities in order to increase Customer Satisfaction and realize business value. This was to ensure that all initiatives from Pink Elephant, Hornbill, HDI and GamingWorks were aligned (the 4P’s).

The simulation was also aimed at creating buy-in to best practice ways of working, overcoming resistance and to let people see, feel and experience the benefits to themselves, the organization and their customers.

Customizing the simulations for the organization

We organized 3 Apollo 13 sessions:

  • With key players in the project to make them aware about the following aspects:
    1. Internal communication within the chain.
    2. Need for documentation of solutions and how to transfer this to the right places in the chain.
    3. Role of process managers and how to control and steer processes.
  •  With the IT steering committee
    1. What is customer focused service delivery?
    2. The essence of IT Service Management, Service Levels, Service Strategy, Process Management
    3. How to perform Continual Service Improvement
    4. Explore and define desirable behavior in the teams, from management and other roles in the organization
  • With representatives from other Health Science Centers
    1. Show them the essence of IT Service Management
    2. Demonstrate the value of Business Simulations like Apollo13 in making change happen

During each session we ran 3 rounds of the simulation. ‘Launch and journey to the moon’ (round 1), ‘Preparing the trajectory behind the moon’ (round 2) and ‘Safe return and splashdown’ (round 3). The game facilitator played the role of the Customer (Mission Director) and User (Crew).  In order to meet the objectives UTHSC had for the ITSM Extreme, one of these being a more Customer and Service focused culture, the crew would act according to the following rules:

  • Crew wants to receive relevant status info from CapCom so they can (re) organize their work on board.
  • Crew requires that CapCom pro-actively inform the Crew about changes in the agreements.
  • Crew wants the work (incidents, changes, requests) to be handled according the agreed priorities.
  • Mission Director wants the team to demonstrate ‘management & control’ using best practices such as ITIL.

After each round the game leaders facilitated the  reflection. The reflection items were brought in by the teams and the teacher explored these items to find the root cause of these issues and the possible solutions found by the team. The reflection was focused around issues that were important to UTHSC in moving forward such as ‘communication’, ‘breaking down silos’, ‘customer focus’, ’ownership’.

The team was then given 30 minutes to develop a Service Improvement Plan and implement the improvements into their own processes. Applying changes to People, Process, Product and Partner capabilities. Then the next round started.

At the end of the day there was a Mission Evaluation with the team to explore the lessons learned and the actions the team could take away and apply to their own working environment.

This helped engage and empower people to identify and recommend improvements they felt were necessary if UTHSC was to achieve its goals.

All lessons learned and all actions from the three teams were combined in an overview document. This document leads to a clear description of the ‘Wish-situation’ which will be discussed and approved by the Management Team.

OUTCOMES

From all teams the top 5 most common lessons learned were:

  1. The need for clear roles and responsibilities for all employees involved and the need to involve all in agreeing these roles and for confronting people on these responsibilities.
  2. Well understood process flows and process activities are important designed and agreed by the people themselves, from their roles and responsibilities
  3. Communication within the team is crucial; from 2nd line to 1st line we must communicate status and other relevant information that brings value to the customer. From 1st line to 2nd line we must communicate the agreement with the customer (solutions times)
  4. We must transfer knowledge to customer facing people such as the Help desk. This will empower the Helpdesk and gives the specialists more time to work on more complex issues.
  5. We must make sure we work with clear priorities, KPI’s (Key performance indicators) and escalation procedures to make sure we deliver the services we agreed with our customer.

(We received an average of 4 lessons learned from each of the participants)

WISH SITUATION

A critical success factor for an improvement initiative like this is a fully agreed (by all involved) picture of the situation we all want to create. Call it a Vision if you like. This picture we call in HRD, the WISH SITUATION. This describes the desired behavior we all want to see from our employees, management and process management. It forms a kind of blue print we are all going to work on. This blueprint can be used in training initiatives, process design and deployment as well as tool design and implementation.

Based on the lessons learned and the feedback of all participants we developed a first draft of the Wish Situation. To give you an impression of what this looks like here is one example of what we mean:

Internal communication

  • We keep each other informed about the status of the open incidents so each of us can work efficiently and effectively.
  • We transfer solutions to first line support in such a way that  first line can solve more calls, more first call resolution and better quality. Second line can spend more time on projects, changes and more complex issues.
  • We give direct, open and honest feedback when we see people displaying undesirable behavior

Communications towards and about the customer

  • We inform our customer about the status of open calls so the customer knows what they can expect, so they can organize their own work better and minimize the impact of the incident on their business.
  • We are all aware of how our work contributes to business value and understand business priorities and impact.

All described in the present sense and in clear descriptions. These now represent behavior we will be able to see and manage. It sets clear expectations and allows us to confront each other when ‘Undesirable’ behavior is performed.

MEASURE RESULTS

An additional critical success factor for the success of an ITSM improvement initiative is ‘management commitment’, it continually scores number 1 reason for failure in global surveys we perform using our ABC (Attitude, Behavior and Culture) card set as an assessment instrument. The management of UTHSC had accepted the ownership to work on the implementation of the ‘Wish Situation’ during their daily work. The activities would be:

  • Running the Apollo 13 simulation with the whole department (20 simulations). Facilitated by a Certified Trainer internal trainer and a team lead to facilitate the Process Improvement Cycle during the 3 rounds of the simulation. This will allow managers to explain their vision, the need for change, and empower people to become actively engaged in identifying improvements.
  • Working on development of the ‘Wish situation’ by integrating all kind of learning interventions during work. Talking, meetings, training, coaching and presentations are typical learning interventions that will not take too much time, but can be very effective. This will help ensure learning in transferred into new behavior in real work situations and ensure that training interventions also focus on developing the new behavior.

To ensure that we measure the outcomes of these initiatives we must define questions we can ask during the following stages of the program:

  • Before we run the Apollo 13 simulation to measure how the employees are thinking at ‘this’ moment, for example to identify their understanding? Belief?
  • After we run the Apollo 13 simulation to measure the effects of the simulation on how the participants think after they became aware about the new way of working, for example to identify buy-in, a recognized need to change?
  • After a few months of working on the most important aspects. To measure the results of these activities. Maybe 2 checks, one after 1 month and another after 3 months. For example do we actually see the new behavior and are we getting the results we were aiming for?

To give you an idea of how this questionnaire may look here are  some examples:

 

4 I always check with my ‘customer’ if my solution was helping and according to the agreement.

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5 I keep my colleagues informed about the status of incidents so they are able to do their work more effectively

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6 My colleagues keep me informed about the status of incidents so I am able to do my work more effectively.

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7 I transfer the knowledge I have to others who can use this in order to do their work more effectively or support the customer.

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8 My colleagues transfer knowledge to me so I can do my work more effectively and better support the customer.

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9 I document all relevant aspects of my work so other can take benefits of it.

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1 = Not at all , 10 = Completely

This questionnaire can be used by managers and team leads as well as process and implementation project managers a guidance for progress and performance improvement  and identify necessary interventions and areas to be addressed. For example if there is still a lack of knowledge transfer this can be discussed and examined? Why is this? Do people not understand the process? Is the tool inadequate? Do people need more training? Are there conflicting priorities that may need escalating? Is there a need to apply CSI to change anything?

FEEDBACK

Following the sessions we also captured feedback from the organization on what they thought about these new ways of doing things. Using a simulation and approaching training and improvement initiatives in this way was new to them.

After the sessions we had great feedback from all participants. I had some insightful discussions with Mr. J. York, Vice President & CIO Information Management and Services of the University of Texas Health Science Center

Mr. Jerry York quoted: 

“I had the opportunity to observe one complete Apollo 13 simulation and two others.  It is a very powerful teaching tool and the intensity and reality it brings to the team participants is truly extraordinary.  I know our teams now better understand the impact that they can have in improving quality customer service. Not only did they gain a much larger appreciation of the importance of all members of the team but how and why they must communicate more effectively.  We will continue to roll out Apollo 13 simulations to more IT staff and more customers”.

“This Apollo13 business simulation empowers our employees to translate the WHAT of ITIL to processes and activities. This gives us faster acceptance and quicker integration of the processes in our employee’s day-to-day work. It’s shows us exactly what we need to do in order to stop running and start implementing a controlled and repeatable way of working”.

“This Apollo13 business simulation demonstrates what customer focused service delivery looks like and the difference that incident driven service delivery provides. Employees experience what this means for their day-to-day work in terms of managing their work, communication with the customer and with colleagues and the importance of clear agreements and priorities with the customer”. 

This Apollo13 simulation demonstrates how teams can improve their own work by using a simple improvement cycle. This creates a team that continuously attempts to optimize and improve their work and service quality”.

 

INTERESTED IN FOLLOWING UP?

We will continue to support UTHSC with their program and help guide them with the transfer of knowledge to results.  The program is still new and energy is high. As time progresses we will keep you informed about the progress and share the learned success and fail factors as UTHSC maintains its transformation efforts. So keep following us on twitter: @gamingjan or keep following the blogs on www.gamingworks.nl or http://www.itsmextrememakeover2011.com/

If you want to know more about how UTHSC used this approach, or want to know how this can be used to support you with your own ITSM improvement initiatives, please contact me at j.schilt@gamingworks.nl

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