DevOps: An Immersive Simulation

It’s 8:15 am on Thursday 5th April and I’m on the 360 bus to Imperial College, London. No — I’ve not decided to go back to college, I am attending a DevOps (a software engineering culture and practice that aims at unifying software development and software operation) simulation day being run by the fabulous guys from G2G3.

I’ve known the G2G3 team for several years now, having been on my very first ITSM (IT Service Management) simulation way back in 2010 when I worked for the NHS in Norfolk and I can honestly say that that first simulation blew me away! In fact, I was so impressed with that I have helped deliver almost 25 ITSM sims since that day, in partnership with G2G3.

Having worked with ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) based operations teams for most of my career, I remember when DevOps first became “a thing”. I was sharing an office with the Application Manager at the time and I can honestly say that it seemed a very chaotic way of justifying throwing fixes/enhancements into a live service. This really conflicted with my traditional ITSM beliefs that you should try to stop fires happening in the first place, so as you can imagine, we had some lively conversations in the office.

Since then, DevOps has grown into the significant, best practice approach that it is today. DevOps has found its place alongside service management best practice, allowing the two to complement each other.

Anyway, back to the 360 bus — let me tell you a bit about the day…

On arrival, I met with Jaro and Chris from G2G3 who were leading the day. The participants consisted of a variety of people from different backgrounds, some trainers, some practitioners, but all with a shared interest in DevOps. Big shout out as well to the guys who came all the way from Brazil!!! Shows how good these sessions are!

The day kicked off with us taking our places at the tables that are scattered around the room as we are given an explanation of how the sim works. I do not want to go into detail about what happens over the day, as you really need to approach these sessions with an open mind, rather than know the answers. What I can tell you is that the rest of the day consisted of rounds of activity, with each one followed by opportunities for learning and improving and planning. There are times when you find yourself doing something you would never normally do, amidst the chaos of the first round. This was summed up by my colleague, another service management professional, who had to admit that they “put it in untested”, much to the enjoyment of the rest of the room!

The day itself went by in a blur! People who you met at the beginning of the day, are now old friends that you go down the pub with at the end of the day! These new-found friends are also a fantastic pot of knowledge, with everyone able to share ideas and approaches.

The day was a rollercoaster of emotions — At the beginning of the day, I was apprehensive about whether I had enough knowledge of DevOps. Apprehension quickly changed to a general feeling of frustration and confusion through round one, as I tried to use my Tetris knowledge to develop products! I finished the day with a real sense of satisfaction — I had held my own and the whole team had been successful in developing products and delivering a profit for the business. There were some light-bulb moments for me along the way, in particular around needing to make sure that any developments should integrate with each other and also meet the user acceptance criteria. I also realised that DevOps is more structured than I thought with checkpoints along the way to ensure success. The unique way in which simulations are delivered serves to immerse people in a subject whilst encouraging them to change behaviours through self-discovery.

I have always received very good feedback for ITSM simulations, and I can see that the DevOps simulation will prove to be as successful.

Several of us also returned to Imperial College the next day to attend the Train the Trainer session for the DevOps simulation. This means that we can now offer tailored simulations either as an individual session or as part of a wider programme of change.

Simulations are always difficult to explain, without giving away the content of the day, but if you would like to find out more, please contact me onsandra.lewis@bedifrent.com


Written by Sandra Lewis — Difrent Service Mannagement Lead
@sandraattp | sandra.lewis@bedifrent.com | +44(0) 1753 752 220

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