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Since 2002 we have helped our clients to successfully tackle the biggest challenges of constantly evolving organisations. How to:
  • build and sustain real communication up and down the hierarchy
  • inspire collaboration across diverse, specialist, remote, ever-changing groups and teams
  • develop strong, authentic leaders who can integrate processes, projects, technology and relationships
  • Our Services

    Management & Leadership Development

    Organisation Development

    Project Management

    Business Process & Service Delivery Improvement

    The Art of Leadership

    Business Simulations

    Team Coaching

    Executive Coaching

    Philippa and her company, Open Limits, were recommended to me because of their innovative approach to team development through the use of simulation exercises. I'm so glad I listened to the recommendation because not only are Philippa and Nigel very easy to work with, and very capable, but their Apollo 13 simulation exercise has been very well received by the 60+ people in the department. The simulation gets people talking about processes and information sharing and cross team communication skills, but Philippa brings it all to life to provide, as one of my team put it, "the best course ever".

    Alan Shrimpton, Interim ICT Transformation Manager


    Press Release : The Phoenix Project DevOps Simulation Launch

    The consultancy organisation Open Limits is pleased to announce its UK launch of a brand new business simulation ‘The Phoenix Project’, on 15th June 2016 at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, London offices, located near Covent Garden

    The simulation is based on the best-selling book called ‘The Phoenix Project’ that has inspired many thousands of business leaders to implement digital business transformations in their organisations. The project on the day is played in four rounds whereby attendees are given roles which include IT Support, IT Development, CIO, QA, Security, CFO, Retail Operations and Head of HR.

    Participants at the event will take a role, and share in the decision making, change planning and implementation, in a continually evolving, complex, political business environment, with stakeholders with varying degrees of understanding of – and buy-in to – digital transformation.

    Open Limits are inviting senior managers from across IT, as well as from different business functions, plus a number of industry specialists and experienced DevOps practitioners. Jan Schilt, the Simulation designer, will be coming over from the Netherlands to facilitate at the event, and the day will be introduced by Jon Buttriss CEO of BCS Learning & Development Ltd, part of the Institute.

    Jon Buttriss, CEO of BCS L&D Ltd, part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said,
    "The role of simulation projects is vital in terms of providing organisations with innovative business solutions. Organisations which adopt the right DevOps methodology and agile processes can ensure they have a successful edge over competitors in the digital age.”

    Open Limits are a consultancy and learning organisation who help develop enterprise-savvy technical specialists and digital-savvy organisation leaders. It explores together how to bring in lean agile work flows and real collaboration within the IT function and across the business. 

    For more information on Open Limits visit:

    Download The Phoenix Project DevOps Sim Outline pdf

    Read More

    Build an Offshore Windfarm

    Looking for something challenging for a memorable and productive senior team event?   We have just launched a new business simulation, designed in collaboration with HR (Hydraulics Research) Wallingford and using their world class facilities.  The team challenge: to lead the project to build a state-of-the-art 200 turbine offshore windfarm, and handle high levels of technical and business complexity, multiple environmental risks and challenges.

    The combination of the Open Limits proven approach to team facilitation and project leadership development and HR Wallingford’s extraordinary facilities has created a real winning formula.  A group of senior executives and seasoned project leaders from many different organisations and sectors helped us to pilot the event.  We were keen to ensure that the activities were authentic and stimulating, and the learning opportunities sufficiently rich and relevant to today’s leadership and project team challenges. Below are some of the learning points shared by the group, with many thanks to all for allowing us to share this knowledge.


    • Not to ignore the “feel” element of project leadership.  Find the right balance between ‘Think/Feel/Do’ – in our culture it’s all about the doing  The time spent discussing how we felt, especially at the start of the project was fascinating.  We used words like ‘vulnerable’, ‘confused’, ‘overwhelmed’ and yet we are all experienced professionals!  It was cathartic and built personal confidence and team trust to talk about how we felt. It helped us to spot and correct mistakes and misunderstandings before they had a ripple effect across the projects.  Not easy for a bunch of engineers!
    • Proper planning and delegation of work is not bureaucracy – it is energising and creative if done properly.  If you include more people in the planning phases, they learn from the experience and you reduce the communication overhead
    • Silos really are a killer on projects!  Even in this simulation, as soon as we had people in different rooms, doing different things, different sub-cultures and knowledge areas emerged. It then took extra time we didn’t have to bring everyone back to the same language/goals/approach.  Not to mention the annoyance and resentment that people felt when they realised they had duplicated work.  All of which, if avoided, makes considerable impact on timing and quality of delivery and on team energy and commitment.  Magnify all of that into the real world of our multiple projects and programmes and global organisation …
    • In the simulation we were able to reflect on the first session and improve on the second. – We need to make time back at work for reflection sessions like this at key points in a large project’s lifecycle.  The time and cost of this is a fraction of the time and costs saved.  You have to feel and see it to believe it.
    • As technical specialists we tend to dive into the ‘doing’ far too quickly.  By doing this we leave our key stakeholders wondering whether we are actually up to the job of delivering the business benefit.  When we spent time engaging with key stakeholders we earned their trust and they stopped ‘micro-managing’ us.
    • Agreeing how to communicate across the remote teams was key.  When we over communicated, at the wrong time, we actually distracted people from doing their work, and annoyed them.  The problem was that management desperately needed that information, but we hadn’t explained the criticality.
    • Making mission critical decisions, you have to take the extra time to consult with the people on the ground.  The installation crew were not consulted on the decision to turn the ship back to harbour, they had information that could have saved the mission but management did not ask them!  We need to consult further ‘down the tree’ and make sure we are making decisions based on valid information.  It is motivating and educational for the teams involved and makes management look like it listens and cares!


    ‘A huge amount of information to take away that is relevant to my role and I can use’
    (Tony Appleton - Business Development Director, Parsons Brinckerhoff)

    ‘An excellent opportunity to develop leadership skills.  One day was not enough!’
    (Nick Podevyn - Senior Project Manager, Res-Offshore)

    ‘Impressive, and great fun!’
    (Neil Wimbledon - Head of Projects & Strategic Systems, British Gas)

    ‘The Ship Simulator was amazing and really brought the project leadership principles to life’
    (Rachel Pedrick - Met Ocean Manager, UTEK Geomarine Ltd)

    ‘The facilitators helped us to realise the wealth of experience in the room and how to tap into it’
    (Vic Gabrie - Consulting Manager, Oracle)

    ‘I found the simulation interesting, challenging and fun!’  It is always a challenge making engineers/scientists take on board ‘soft skills’ as we are too used to analysing data and being professional sceptics!’
    (Chris Lomax - Technical Director, Head of Ports & Marine, Parsons Brinckerhoff)


    The UK is currently the world's biggest offshore wind market due to the relatively strong winds and shallow waters around the UK coastline. The UK government is keen to meet the European Union target of 15% of final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 and is focusing on off-shore wind. 

    You will be a part of a multidisciplinary team of technical specialists, contractors and business leaders. You will be required to complete a feasibility study to lay the cables on the sea bed to connect the 200 turbines, and then to take the installation crew out to the turbines for commissioning.  In itself this is a multi-£million project. You will need to scope the full Windfarm programme and influence decision making by engaging with all internal stakeholders, plus government agencies and environmental groups.  If you meet the project deadline you will secure the EU green energy subsidy for the whole programme.  The company’s 5-star safety rating must be maintained however, so speed and safety are paramount.

    To achieve the mission you will need to demonstrate:

    • Personal resilience and self-awareness
    • Ability to create and communicate clarity out of complexity
    • Optimum communication flows – to and from all stakeholders: useable, targeted information
    • Team work and cross-team collaboration, across diverse specialist groups
    • Balance between flexibility and creativity, efficient working practices and compliance
    • Commercial and strategic thinking (business value, outcomes, costs and risks) as well as technical excellence
    • Juggling priorities and help others to juggle theirs
    • Handling and minimising conflicts during disruptive change
    • Presenting and influence with impact
    • Management of high levels of uncertainty and risk

    You will receive valuable feedback from the facilitators and from fellow participants after each round of the simulation.  Elements of the event will be videoed as an additional learning opportunity, and facilitators will provide a full summary of learning points and recommendations, relating to the objectives set by the group.

    For more information on these simulations contact Nigel Hale on 07737819225, +44 (0)1202 473782,

    Read More

    Apollo 13

    We have just become a 'Silver Status' Partner to GamingWorks, so we are now the largest distributor of GamingWorks' excellent business simulations in the UK, and part of the GamingWorks global network.

    Our 'best seller' remains the Apollo 13 mission – a challenging, enjoyable and memorable demonstration of business processes and the considerable value they can add to team cohesion and organisational effectiveness. Teams explore together how to improve business services and cross-team collaboration, as their organisation evolves, bringing in new processes, without killing creativity and responsiveness. Or the Astronauts!

    The Apollo 13 mission can also be run as a highly motivating and engaging exploration of how to run a slick and well respected IT Service Management department. IT Service Management teams can consolidate their knowledge of ITSM/ITIL and understand how to make it work in their real world, with 'right-sized' processes and excellent cross team collaboration.

    Read More

    "I would whole heartedly recommend Open Limits to any organisation going through change, or wishing to embrace change more readily.  I have worked with them on a number of occasions, most notably as part of a leadership team, where they provided training and mentoring.  I found their manner refreshingly open, and their approach flexible.  Open Limits helped me build a new management team, understood what I wanted to achieve with the team, and facilitated an amazing get together which flexed with the personalities involved and stimulated excellent debate.  The energy within the team changed immediately and for the good, and for once all of the actions which came out of the meeting actually got done.  They helped make sure these actions were real and specific, not "Motherhood and Apple Pie!!!"
    Open Limits just get it..."

    Darren Goldsby
    CTO Hearst UK

    Our Team

    Philippa Hale

    Director & Senior Consultant

    Jean Gamester

    Core Team

    Alison Moran

    Core Team

    George Harvey

    Core Team

    Maureen Silvester

    Core Team

    Clare Doyle

    Core Team

    "I could have ticked every box to describe Philippa and her training company Open Limits!

    I have worked very closely with Philippa in creating a comprehensive Leadership Development programme for 2 management levels across four modules. This was a global programme across 24 countries and Philippa quickly and clearly understood our culture, style, needs and tone of how to roll out this programme. I find Philippa to be inspirational, easy to work with, a true expert in her field and best all, she just gets it!

    I believe we will continue to have a long working relationship with Open Limits - especially when we can now demonstrate tangible results as measurable outcomes."

    Orient Express (now Belmond)

    Our Partners

    The Chartered Institute for IT

    We are an established provider to the BCS and have co-designed and delivered Management & Leadership Development programmes and Team Coaching programmes for BCS clients: IT departments of large organisations across all sectors, private, public and charitable.

    World Leaders in Business Simulations

    We are proud to be a part of this global community of organisations including Open Limits who use these simulations for powerful organisation and team development.  GamingWorks' simulations focus on IT Service Management, IT/Business Alignment, Logistics, Cyber Security, Business Processes, Project and Programme Management and Organisational Change.

    Central Learning Solutions

    CLS provides tailor-made training solutions, specialising in business skills, management and leadership development, and executive coaching for Clients including Vodafone, ACE and SunGard.

    Contact Us

    Contact info

    Open Limits Ltd
    Arena Business Centre, 9 Nimrod way, Ferndown, Dorset, BH21 7UH
    +44 (0)1202 473782