Accepted residents join a multinational team, typically for a four week effort, at an ITSO Center at or near the IBM development location. Often the project leader and the accepted residents begin their communications in the weeks before the start of the residency in order to get a headstart. Working long hours during the residency is common. The emphasis is on producing the content needed for the book by the end of the residency.

Residents are typically employees of companies, organizations, or institutions. Residents who do not meet this criteria must be formally sponsored by a company, organization, or institution. A resident who is employed by a self-owned company must prove in advance that it is a legally-registered business entity in its home country. The business and financial relationship is with the company, organization, or institution, not with the individual resident.

During the residency, the resident must carefully record all expenses, complete an Expense Claim form, and review it with the ITSO Manager on the last day of the residency. Business Partners, clients and other non-IBM residents carry the form back to their own organization, generate an invoice for the expense amount, and forward it to the ITSO. The ITSO will then make direct payment to the resident's company.

In most cases the ITSO pays authorized travel and living expenses for the resident, but does not compensate for his or her time or services. The ITSO generally covers travel for the resident to and from the residency work location, as well as any residency-related business travel during the residency. For travel other than economy class, advance approval from ITSO management is required. Housing for the resident is normally arranged by the ITSO in a hotel or apartment near the ITSO work location to foster camaraderie and productivity. The ITSO usually covers the resident's actual living expenses with upper limits set by IBM. The details for each location and circumstance are contained in the Residency acceptance letter sent to each resident.

Near the end of every residency, residents and leaders are asked to complete an online form assessing the residency process, team member contributions, and the results of the work effort. Three months after the end of the residency, all residents and their managers receive an online follow-up survey to assess the long-term benefits of the program.

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