"Cut the Blue Wire. . ." Play an Agile Team Culture Game
In Agile we learn by doing, so what better way to learn about Agile culture than hands-on exposure? Using a commercially available game ("Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes" by Steel Crate Games), session participants will experience being on a new team with a vaguely defined task and no coherent team culture, to see how teams and companies build their own culture and process through self-organization.
The game itself is simple, and like all good games it is highly unpredictable in actual play. The goal is, as a team, to defuse a virtual time-bomb. One person is in charge of doing the actual defusing of the device on the screen, while the rest of the team consults a printed manual with the instructions. The defuser isn’t allowed to see the manual, and the group with the manual cannot see the screen with the device. Communication is critical to success.
Some of the concepts demonstrated in the session include:
- Communication styles, natural and synthetic
- Spontaneous naming conventions
- Working collaboratively with comfort
- Cultural differences on teams
- Working within time constraints
- WIP limits
- Importance of retrospectives
Outline/structure of the Session
Depending on the requirements of the conference, the session can be 75 minutes or 3 hours. Please let me know what you'd prefer
75 minute version:
- Game orientation (5 minutes)
- Teams get to play three iterations, long enough to get "good" and develop a rich and effective communication style and culture. Include very short retrospectives after each iteration. (30 min total)
- Observer team changes place with active team. (observes the first team, then plays - how many of the same mistakes got repeated?)(30 min total)
- Review (10 min)
3 hour version:
- Same as 75 minute session, but also includes further rounds of play:
- Remove a key player after the 2nd iteration. How does the dynamic change?
- Simulate remote team members with advisors on a phone link.
- Film one iteration from the session and play it back for team self-assessment of communication styles and behaviors.
At the end of the session, participants will have:
- A broadened perspective on the subtle nature of team formation and spontaneous culture generation
- New approaches to fostering great Agile culture
- An improved ability to observe team behavior objectively
- Recognition of the importance of communication skills
- A flexible and expandable training tool they can use themselves
Agile practitioners of all types and levels, from the confident to the curious