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Make ITIL®4 more Agile – Are you ready to land in Mars?

We have just completed the MarsLander® simulation workshop for a Client @ Chennai, India (July 31,2019). ITIL®4 training was well received in the last 2 days, but there were challenges. How to translate theory into practice? How to gain buy-in from end-to-end stakeholders who are skeptical of ITIL®4?

This blog dwells in the reflections and retrospection captured during the session

“Ladies and Gentleman, this is unacceptable. Our competitors, even NASA, are able to get new products to market faster than we can. I want you to adopt end-to-end agile ways of working to ensure that we can deliver digitally enabled value faster. Failure is NOT an option!”  – Mission director of SPACE-Y

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”.

Game dynamics was explained in detail  using Marslander Simulation. Delegates were allowed to explore and experience how ITIL 4 can be used to align with currently accepted agile ways of working (such as Agile and DevOps) and at the same time to ‘co-create’ business value… if we apply it correctly!

At the start of the session delegates were asked to pick up a role and put into action what they learnt in the last 2 days. Teams struggled and it was bit chaotic.

Experiences reflected below….

Delegates were asked to demonstrate what they learnt during each round

Reflections – Round 1

  1. Team felt everybody was working in Silos
  2. It was completely chaotic
  3. There was no visibility and understanding about the end goal
  4. Product Owner Stated – “I didn’t have clarity of Roles and Responsibilities”
  5. Change Release Manager stated – It doesn’t seem to be a self-organizing team
  6. Lack of Vision and Shared Goals
  7. Team received an important customer feedback and that was not addressed in Sprint 1. This exposed that there was poor planning in place.


  1. Understand your current status – Use the Guiding Principle “Start where you are”
  2. Product Owner should own the Product Backlog
  3. Clearly defined workflow should be available to handle Requests, Issues, Features, and Events
  4. Understand how to prioritize the scope of work.
  5. Absence of clear Insight made the team  thinking to focus now on removing blockers.
  6. There was no value stream. Team decided to have a separate value stream for Improvement and Issues
  7. Team decided to progress iteratively with feedback

MarsLander TeamReflections – Round 2 Sprint 2

  1. Identified SPOCS (Single Point of Contacts) to coordinate better.
  2. Created an Improvement team value stream
  3. Better than Round 1
  4. There is need for scope of improvement
  5. Positive Visualization was established – The importance of Guiding Principle “Collaborate and Promote Visibility” was applied
  6. Start where you are – Actually applied progressive iteration with feedback
  7. Focused on removing blockers to increase capacity
  8. Checklist was made visible to everyone by Change Release Manager which helped with Continuous Integration


  1. Importance of cross functional collaboration was emphasised
  2. Didn’t understand the whole business Impact
  3. Customer Satisfaction was down

 Reflections – Round 2 Sprint 3

  1. Team introduced a role of SCRUM Master along with Product Owner and were able to prioritize and understand the capacity better
  2. Team had the clarity on Roles & Responsibilities
  3. Mission and Goals were clearly communicated to the team.
  4. Re-Prioritization of work was done based on Business Impact
  5. Visible improvement in productivity
  6. Improved Collaboration & Communication among cross functional teams


  1. Capacity forecast was missing
  2. Understood that Implementing T-Shaped profile is important for Service Partners

Reflections – Round 2 Sprint 4

  1. Team was more organized
  2. Velocity Increased (more work got done)
  3. Co-Creation of value was established – Service Desk team worked with Change and Release Team and shared the work load
  4. Standard Changes were executed with Service Desk help

Reflections – Round 3 Sprint 5

  1. Teams met the expected revenue
  2. WIP very progressive
  3. Emerging technologies and demand shaping was done in this sprint
  4. Team achieved a CSAT score of 93% – All issues were addressed during the same sprint
  5. Team understood the concept of doing more with less
  6. 2 features on smartphone was completed adopting an agile mindset.

 Delegates Feedbacks and Learnings Overview

  1. Understood how to apply ITIL®4 in other functions. Felt the session was more interactive
  2. ITIL®4 is now more into practices and ITSM. Collaboration between team was seen during the simulation
  3. Service Value System, Service Value Chain, and Guiding Principles was key takeaways and was well understood by playing the simulation
  4. Could see the end-to-end visibility. Experiential learning was very practical and helped to understand the Agile way of working
  5. The importance of Guiding Principle like “How to focus on Value” was understood and were able to apply it in every round of the simulation
  6. Guiding Principles gave clarity. Applied in real environment during the simulation. Value co- creation was felt and enabled the team to be proactive
  7. Felt ITIL®4 is more into Value creation. More visibility for everyone. Understood Agile, DevOps and Scrum
  8. ITIL® 4 and Industry 4.0 relationship was good. Introduction of Products along with Services in ITIL®4 was really a great eye opener. Understood that Co-Creation of value with provider and consumer is a key factor. By playing the simulation we were able implement all the ITIL®4 learnings
  9. Service Value Chain and CSI register concepts was good to learn. End-to-End mapping was good. Prioritization was an eye Opener
  10. More Interactive. ITIL®4 concepts were a great takeaway for daily routines. Co-Ordination and Collaboration was seen throughout the simulation
  11. ITIL®4 is Practice Oriented and Gamification is a must
  12. Focus was on Consumer and User Experience. Shift from SLA to XLA was great
  13. New Concepts like Agile, DevOps was a great learning. Guiding Principles helps to decide End-to-End Value. Avoid Silos and work in collaboration
  14. Focus on Consumer and User was great. Service Value System and Service Value Chain was a good takeaway. Bringing everyone in one SCRUM team through the simulation was great. No Silos here
  15. Liked the way, How BRM was integrated with ITIL® 4. Learnt and agree that Guiding principles should be applied to all stakeholders in the value chain and not only to Customers and Partners. Change in Mindset (Agile Mindset) and creativity could be seen while playing the simulation
  16. Value Co- Creation with Guiding Principles helps in deciding the scope. Gamification – Introduced concepts like Agile, DevOps and Lean. But it would be better if you could incorporate an overview of these concepts in the ITIL® 4 course syllabus.
  17. Felt Value Creation was there, If organization is able to adapt ITIL® 4 practices it will make a great impact for business, It would be better if you include the MarsLander Simulation Overview and workflow along with the ITIL® 4 Course content