On the 24th and the 25th of November, I was (with ten of my colleagues) in Heeze, Kapellerput in the Netherlands attending the two days conference ‘XP Days – Benelux‘!
The sessions at the conference were categorized as “Technology and Technique,” “Customer and Planning,” “Team and Individual” and “Process and Improvement.” And some of which were game based sessions!
In this blog, I will be sharing my feedback on two games I participated in!
LeanStartup board game
The purpose of this game is to introduce participants to the practices and principles of Lean-Startup by simulating a business where each group has to produce a product and sell it to customers.
In the beginning, the game seemed a bit complex or vague, but things started to get clearer after the second iteration. Here are some of the game rules:
- Split the participants into four teams (ideally three per team)
- Each team is a functional company responsible for building a product
- The board represents the market, where each is a customer requesting some features
- At each turn, the team can distribute their resources on building features, investing in their company, experimenting or selling a feature
- Through experimenting, the team can flip a tile to learn the requirements to sell the feature.
- At each experiment, all the participants get the chance to learn new vocabulary from the lean-startup!
- The team who reaches the red tile (in the middle of the board) first wins the game.
During the session, we came across many lean-startup vocabularies, but here I will only be mentioning five of them!
- Pivot or Preserve: Certain challenges might force entrepreneurs to make a major change in their strategy. That change is called a Pivot!
- Idea Theft: Finding a compromise between the fear of idea theft (someone stealing your idea) and gaining knowledge is not an easy task. But, it is more important to gain knowledge than being afraid of spreading your idea!
- Concierge MVP: In some cases, you might need to create a fake processing MVP. That means what is happening in the background is not what it looks!
- Startup Machine: Put your idea to test by going to streets and asking people what they think about the product
- Startup Weekend: This is an activity where people of different backgrounds (dev, marketing, designers, etc.) meet to start building the first version
This game can be played by startups or even teams at large enterprises! And at the end, players should have got an idea of what Lean-Startup is. And more importantly, they will learn some of the factors that can play a role in any team’s failure or success such as competition, luck, technical excellence, failing and successful experiments, etc.
Agile Self-Assesment Game
As the name indicates, this game helps teams to assess how agile they are.
The game can be played by either an existing or a new team. In the case of an existing team, the results can be a base for a plan to change or improve their agile process. Whereas, for a new team this activity can be considered a futurespective activity as it defines the team’s first iteration.
The game consists of 52 cards, where each card holds a sentence on applying an agile practice. To play the game you should follow the below instructions:
- Place the cards on the table
- Each member picks a card and reads it out loud
- The team discusses the card then place it under one of the following categories:
Not or inconsistently done
- Consistently done, but value can be increased
- Consistently done, valuable practice for the team
- After all the cards are visited, pick the ones under the 1st and 2nd category
- Have a discussion how to improve, change or remove those practices from your process
- If the cards to be discussed are too many, you can use voting to pick the most important ones for the team
Below are statements taken from five cards:
- The team is empowered to make decisions
- The team is self-organized and doesn’t rely on management to set and meet its goals
- Software is tested and working at the end of each sprint/iteration
- All code changes are reversible, and it is possible to make a release at any time
- The team has a Definition of Done which defines their way of working and is used to check if a user story is ready
To know more about this game, you can check Ben’s blog on this session!
Until next time
I recommend those games to agile teams. Personally, I will be organizing two sessions with my team soon at Murex!
Finally, thanks to the organizers for setting up such an amazing and successful conference! See you next year! Probably as a speaker 😉