ITIL Foundation business simulation – More than simply gaining a certificate!

This guest post was originally published on Quint's blog site, written by Claudine Koers & Paul Wilkinson. The content in this guest blog is for informational and educational purposes only and may contain copyrighted material from Quint Wellington Redwood.

Do you simply want to have your staff pass the ITIL® 4 exam? Or do you want your staff to be able and willing to apply the learning to address a business challenge? If you are more interested in the second option then read further. This article shows the captured learning and takeaways from a team of delegates from a financial organization having participated in an interactive, online business simulation as part of their ITIL® 4 Foundation class. ‘But this makes it 3 days instead of 2 Where is the value in that? Let’s just skip the game and do some additional exam training’ I hear you say.

A business simulation is a form of ‘experiential learning’ or ‘learning-by-doing’. It is aimed at helping students translate ITIL theory into practice. The team participated in the MarsLander simulation, in which they play both the business and IT roles in the Mission Control team for the MarsLander mission. The captured learning and takeaways were focused not just on ITIL® 4 but also on soft skills and behaviors such as communication and collaboration. Skills and behaviors that are critical elements of new ways of working and agile transformations.


In this simulation environment, the team will need to balance increasing demands and opportunities from different stakeholders. Innovating new products and service offerings, optimizing existing business value, managing technical debt as well as aligning and improving end-to-end value streams. There is a lot of competition in the market. Speed and quality count.

The team will be faced with running business as usual as well as Transforming to new agile ways of applying ITSM using ITIL4 concepts. By playing in a number of game rounds and reflecting and improving between rounds the team will also need to apply ‘continual learning and improving’ as a core team capability. Measuring the impact of their continual improvement against business value. All this with scarce resources and time pressure. All of this working remotely – demanding effective communication and collaboration skills.

Why ITIL4?

The organization was already using ITIL v3 but was looking to move to more agile ways of working. Organizational wide initiatives had already been adopted for Lean, Agile and DevOps. ITIL v3 was not seen as supporting and enabling the agile new ways of working. The initiative for ITIL® 4 was also to improve the ‘Professionalization’ of IT with a focus on improving ‘predictability’ ,’customer value’, ‘business results’. This professionalization also necessitated a transformation in IT culture and an improved relationship with the business.

Cultural values

New corporate cultural values had been defined to both shape the transformation and to define the behaviors needed for the future. These values being:

  • Courage: E.g. the courage to change, experimentation, fail fast, fail often and learn from it.

  • Leadership: E.g. great decision making, facilitating the team to high performance, trust in employees, empowerment and equality.

  • Team building: E.g. common purpose, collaboration, mutual trust.

  • Continual Improvement: E.g. first time right, customer-centric, value-driven, result-driven, knowledge sharing.

Learning objectives

At the start of the Foundation training delegates