Apply DevOps principles with the business simulation game Bridge-it !

Exciting presentation by Simagine Business Simulations at the ITSMF-conference in Estonia.
“At the heart of DevOps is the focus on our state of mind, our attitudes and behaviour, rather than on the rules of the framework, if we should call it that.”

Recently Simagine’s Maarten Versteegh delivered a masterclass on how (not) to transform IT and Business towards working in the DevOps way. The most important lessons learned turned out to be that all participants agreed that rules can and will quickly fade away when (time) pressure rises. And that this can only be prevented when the Dev’s, the Op’s and most importantly, the ‘Bus’ really feel the necessity and have the inner desire to stick to intense and contstant cooperation and sharing information. For this, there seems to be no framework of rules. It must be a state of mind to all concerned.

A few quotes:

  • “The DevOps simulation game Bridge-it is very realistic”
  • “You could really feel the pressure!”
  • “So good to be able to experiment and get feedback”
  • “I now realise that it is all in the mind and motivation”
  • “A morning stand-up session helps, but it is the ever-ongoing sharing of information that is essential, so focus on the shortest possible feed-back!”

The central focus of the masterclass was to allow participants to discover how DevOps principles could work in their company, rather than teaching them how the framework should work. DevOps should be a state of mind rather than a set of rules. In other words, it’s all about behaviour, attitude and culture.

What makes Bridge-it an excellent business simulation game for DevOps?

When it comes to DevOps we need to experiment with possible solutions. This simulation will help to discover what works for YOU and YOUR company.
Bridge-it deliberately takes participants into the wonderful world of an amusement park, thereby taking them away from the standard IT-environment, allowing them to start afresh, looking for new ways of working, outside of their day-to-day habits. In a setting of business-units, (attraction) developers, (park) operators, suppliers and customers, they can experiment with ways of creating their own form of DevOps.
And of course, they will very soon recognize the metaphor as being very, very close to their own day-to-day working environment and compare the simulation experience with that. 

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The DevOps game cycle in Bridge-it

Simagine uses a learning and game cycle of Action - Reflection - Change - Action. Applied to DevOps this is what the program looks like. At the heart of it is DevOps’ adagium: Go Faster. The simulation game starts with a round of action. Attendants try to find their way in a completely new (to all of them!) environment. And so, quite naturally, things go wrong, misunderstandings happen… just like in real life. But here, it’s nobody’s fault: everyone is new to the job.image001.png

Based on this first round of experience the group, aided by the facilitator, will try and find out what went wrong and why. Everyone can contribute his/her own personal experience. Observations that came up from the session were:

  • We need to ensure short and on-the-run feedback loops; in other words, a constant flow of communication
  • We must deliver quality and customer value by involving the business non-stop
  • To make this possible we need an open culture with the willingness and inner desire to work together with all stakeholders

In the three rounds that followed, the group took the opportunity to find answers by experimenting with different solutions to see which suited them best. Furthermore, they learned through repetition and even more important, with and from each other. But please bear in mind that this was a group of ‘strangers’, people who had enrolled individually to this masterclass and don’t work for the same company.

In that case participants would meet and work together everyday. They would know each other. They would know each other’s qualities, but also would definately (!) have an eagle eye for each other’s shortcomings. And what about hidden irritations? People do not always like each other... what are the effects of that?
All of this will come up in the simulation. The group can discuss issues and, if necessary with the help of the facilitator, deal with them!
So, why not accept the fact that we need to focus on people and facilitate constant transformation. Your current (best) practise may not be good enough tomorrow. At the same time we know that constant change is not easily accomplished. We cannot transform ourselves overnight into the mode of constant (willingness to) change.
And here, also, the simulation game Bridge-it will be an invaluable help in ‘getting where you want to go to’. In YOUR own way.

All in all, Let’s Bridge it!

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