Challenging Business as a Strategic BRM?

by Suresh GP, July 11, 2016

We have just completed the BRM Connect Conference in Sydney (28th -30th June) and what a fantastic event by BRMI!

I am still nostalgic of the learning, sharing and fun experienced with Business Relationship Managers across BRM global community. I had the unique advantage of being an EMCEE, Speaker and Facilitator for the Grab a Pizza Business Simulation combined with a Webinar hosted by BRMI.  This blog captures some key lessons and experiences shared by BRMer`s through the Business-IT Alignment simulation of GamingWorks

Grab a Pizza is a business simulation that challenges Business and IT to work together and help the Pizza company recover from the 6 months loss.  The Grab@Pizza team in Sydney comprised of Business, Director of Products, Director of Finance, Director of Marketing, IT Manager, BRM, SLM, IT Finance, IT Operations, IT Support & Change Management roles.

Final Grab a Pizza Team - SydneyIT Team in action-Sydney

Based on the historical data and evidence collected for 6 months period, there were increased number of incidents,  unplanned outages and business struggled heavily to realize the estimated revenue, profit and market share.  Hence it was the need of the hour for business to turn it around. They developed a strategic plan to realize business benefits from months 7-12 and solicited support and cooperation from IT to be successful.

On one hand the IT Manager had to reduce the number of incidents and outages while BRM had to facilitate new business demand that would realize 25 M revenue from 8th Month onwards. We did play 2 rounds 7th and 8th month and captured the learnings and reflections .

Sufficient time was provided for the teams to get familiarized with the roles  and understand the tasks they were entrusted to execute as part of the game.  Derek Storbakken and John Krogh were kind enough to help me facilitate coaching for the teams to understand the modalities of game and get geared up to success on their mission.

After the end of Round 1 (Month 7), the team reflected on their experience in executing their respective roles as follows

a) Total mess & completely chaotic in approach

Business on one hand was passing on the business demand to IT,  while the IT was completely immersed in the world of operations and IT support trying to reduce incidents, hire more staff and train them.  The different roles and responsibilities were not shared/discussed and no one knew what was supposed to be done at the end of Round 7.

b) Execution failed miserably

Lack of Planning and leadership meant that there was value leakage that was neither detected nor reported. The Change for Web based app did not get prioritized over the incident issues which implied 25M $ would not be realized in month 8.

c) Business had no  clue of what IT was doing

While the initial demand overview was passed on to IT, business did not get feedback of progress, tasks being done, risks and issues that prevented them from achieving the stated objectives.

d) Quite Dysfunctional

Understandably, people were trying to do too many things without focusing on their key actions, deliverables and collaboration needed to be successful.

e) No collaboration, meeting or Strategic Focus

The TEAM directly jumped in to focusing on the respective tasks without a game plan of how each and every role contributed to the overall success of the project.  There was lack of leadership both from business and IT to take charge and steer the team towards strategic alignment of the business.

f) IT team blamed that business did not share the strategy

There was a clear disconnect from Business and IT.  The IT team expected that the business would share their strategy calling all of them, while Business presumed that IT would come and ask them before they reveal their strategy. The Statements were as follows -

IT —->Business did not share the strategy with us!!

Business —> Why did you not ask?

g) No Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities

So after first round, the team did 15 mins of CSI to address their shortcomings, assessing their roles in context of the game and outcomes. This is captured below.

2016-06-29 19.39.07

 

The teams then agreed to make the corrective and preventive action to go well prepared on month 8.

During the Month 8, there was a visible difference in the approach of teams

a) Communication and planning was far better than previous round

b) People were proactive and met each other to understand how everybody`s work contributed to the business outcome

c)  There was clear ownership and accountability by the ITManager and BRM  to alert the business on the progress, issues and risks to enable quick decision making.

d) BRM took SLM to business to possibly re-nogotiate the SLA of incidents. IT support got their act together and resolved all the calls [Provider Domain]

e) IT Finance had visibility of new initiatives, resource forecast and cost spent. Reports and dashboards were shared with the business.

f) Conflict of Change priority were discussed with business to assimilate the impact, cost and implication of not doing on time.

This reflected a better collaboration among business and IT to get their act together and work towards a common goal. IT moved away from the role of Order Taker in month 7 to taking lead as a Trusted advisor in month 8 to convince the business based on rationalizing the business demand and IT ops priority

At the end of month 8 – we did a pause and asked each and everyone of them who participated in the experiential BRM exercise to register their revelation.

Feedback from Grab@Pizza team in Sydney

1.  This game reflected the visibility of what actually happens in reality of business environment triggering the constraints, limitations and expectations from Business and IT [Experiential Learning]

2. Amidst dysfunction within  ICT, BRM cannot make an impact. The BRM Role has to be legitimized and the IT team have to work in consensus for BRM to be effective

3. SLA without understanding the actual business impact is useless [Business IQ]

4.  Business did not execute Governance.

5.  This game reflected the importance of communication across different stakeholders. Different styles, modes had to be adopted to get process and flow streamlined [Powerful Communications]

6.Dialogue between IT and Business is vital and has to be fostering healthy relationship instead of blame-game. This is in the best interest of both gaining from each other`s contribution [Strategic Partnering]

7. Value Leakage vs Value Creation – It was essential to strike a balance between executing business demands that created business value e.g) 25 M$ vs reducing the number of incidents by upgrading the sales disk server (Value Leakage).

8. Absence of Portfolio Management – If the team had a visibility of the Strategic Projects, Tactical Projects and Operational Projects, it would have been easier to prioritize based on impact and overall business value. [Portfolio Management]

9. Understanding how important Service Desk is to ChangeManagement – The Service Desk Manager expressed how critical was his role to understand and communicate changes, impact to the Change Management.

10.  Delegation of Work & Insight in to Operation- This game helped understand the importance of delegating work and also helped me to get a complete insight to IT operations which I have never experienced before.

Overall, the team found the game a refreshing way to put your BRMP in to practice and embrace the necessary competencies, collaboration and Skills to deliver business value.

If you are interested to play the Grab a Pizza simulation, please reach out to us at info@taubsolutions.com with sub ” Grab a Pizza”