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Grab@Pizza Simulation

Blog posted by: Akshay Anand, 11 October 2017.

Four hands each grabbing a corner of a pizza

Akshay AnandAt AXELOS, we like to explore new ways of working, as well as new ways of learning. One such way is experiential learning (or ‘learning by doing’ as it’s more colloquially known). Earlier this year, Paul Wilkinson from GamingWorks proposed running the Grab@Pizza simulation game to explore:

  • aspects of Business/IT alignment (or convergence, if you prefer)
  • the role of the Business Relationship Manager (BRM) versus the Service Delivery Manager (SDM)
  • how business relationship management and service delivery management align with the delivery of value to the business and its customers.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Grab@Pizza simulation game, here’s the overview:

Grab@Pizza is a very successful company selling millions of Pizzas every year. But after six months of the current year, sales figures are far below expectations. IT is posing a significant business risk due to downtime and its inability to respond to changing business needs. The CEO urged the business team to make a challenging recovery plan. This plan is based on a six-month strategy to bring sales and profit back on target. Existing IT capabilities are poor, resources are tied up in ‘keeping the lights on’ rather than supporting and enabling new innovations. The IT department must ensure the appropriate capabilities are in place and sufficient to execute the strategic plan, appropriate and effective resources are provided to ensure both benefits realization and risk mitigation.

While the simulation normally lasts six rounds, we opted to run it for three rounds, and spend more time in reflection.

One of the things I like about these simulations is that it provides an opportunity for people to take on roles that they’re not normally used to and to flip levels of seniority. Paul specifically asked me to take on the role of change manager (more on that later), our legal assistant was the game’s IT Director, and our CMO (chief marketing officer) was the game's IT Support. Paul took on the role of the CEO, one that he clearly relishes for the freedom to politely yell at people!

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