Gamification –an essential element for vibrant retrospectives.

High performance agile teams are always striving to achieve an effective retrospective that enables the team to discuss the success criteria, and define the areas of improvement further.  This is an important aspect for cross functional teams – the development, operations, database administrators, systems administrators, QA testers, product managers - to focus on excellent communication and collaboration. 

Over the years, my experience has been that retrospectives can get monotonous with time, and hence tend to become ineffective. The more I engaged with the process, the more I felt the need to revolutionize the process, bring out something new, fun, and exciting to make the retrospectives vibrant.  The other interesting aspect I came across during my research into the subject was the theory of gamification and the universality of its application. 

During this session the audience will understand how the concept of gamification brings in a completely different dimension of thinking while maintaining the element of fun as we try and apply it to a few everyday situations!

 I have leveraged Luke Hohmann’s Innovation Games, The Conteneo Collaboration Could platform for this concept of gamification so that distributed teams can benefit by this.  

 

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

This workshop will be an actual hands-on workshop where environment of distributed team is simulated, people actually participate and do an online retrospective using their laptops.

Structure of the Session

  1. 20 min - Brief about my retrospective games, explain Luke Hohmann's Conteneo cloud platform.
  2. 60 min- Workshop, Divide the audience into groups and do an actual retrospective by using the games published at https://innovationgames.com.
  3. 10 min - Q&A

It will be a practical hands-on session where the attendees do the retrospective online and see how the retrospective data is automatically collated in an excel format.

 Since this session is going to be a  hands-on workshop, I would be requesting the audience who would want to attend the session register with us atleast 4 hours before the session so that I can set up and prepare the games database with their names(email id). 

   
 

Learning Outcome

Innovation games(Conteneo) is one of the platforms that can be leveraged fro using Large Distributed team retrospectives. It is a lean way of doing a retrospective that saves a lot of time, automatically collates the discussion points of all the participants on just a single click of button. And the most important thing, it is really fun playing this. The themes used behind making of these games are based on some realistic scenarios that enable the teams to really think and have fun at the same time. My perspective is we can use such methods once in a while to break the monotony and have some fun! Participants would get to know one of the ways to conduct a Large Team Retrospectives for about more than 100 people designed for massive scale with ease! These gaming concepts could also be used for doing in-person team retrospectives using a white board/post-its.

 

 

Target Audience

Agile practitioners

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • Jyothi Rangaiah
    By Jyothi Rangaiah  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Madhavi.

    Thanks for sharing this idea for making retrospectives vibrant. I feel honesty is the key at retrospectives. And would like to hear how gamifying can help and serves what purpose particularly?
    Could you please point to the weblink (innovationgames.com) of the game which you wish to use for this exercise.

    Thanks
    Jyothi

    • Madhavi Ledalla
      By Madhavi Ledalla  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

       Hi Jyothi, Using gaming elements in your retrospectives is one of ways that brings in a different dimension of thinking—and makes the process fun! I believe we can try different variations for engaging people in retrospectives, I was experimenting with the gamifying concept lately. It is one of the methods using which one can make retrospectives engaging. The games that I would be sharing may not be directly applicable to every context and team, audience can come up with their own situational specific ways to hold these reflections, I have published few techiques at https://innovationgames.com/content/vc/instant#retrog. The games that are going to be used for this session would be live in a week. There are two takeaways from this session , How to use concept of gamification in retrospectives and           How can we do a retrospective at scale for 500+ people with ease, I have leveraged the contenno cloud platform for doing this. Hope this helps, Thanks, Madhavi

       

  • Venkatraman L
    By Venkatraman L  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Dear Madhavi,

    Wanted to check with you if the teams can still do without the laptop and electronic gadgets ? Are you having backup plan for that too by having any pre-printed materials ? Many do want to come to the conference without these and we do not want to turn them away just because they do not have a tab or a laptop. Would they be able to participate even with flipcharts, post-its ? 

    Being a conference away from work (unlike workshops at work), it might be hard to expect everybody to bring their laptops to the conference. 

    Please let us know if this is a hard constraint. 

    Thanks

    Venkat

     

    • Madhavi Ledalla
      By Madhavi Ledalla  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Dear Venkat,

      The intent of this workshop is to understand

      1.    How concept of games could be used for doing retrospectives  and

      2.    How Large Distributed Team Retrospectives are done using the Conteneo cloud platform by simulating the distributed environment. For this I need the email ids of all the participants who would want to participate at least 4 hours in advance so that the games database can be set up and players actually play the games online so that I can show how the retrospective data can be collated and processed further at ease automatically using the gaming engine. For this participants should carry laptops/tabs, others also can come, but then they would be only spectators.

      3.    Coming to your question of having a backup, yes we can always do that. I can get white charts and make everyone do an in-person retrospective similar to what was done the last year in Agile India 2015, but using the new set of games.

      4.    Or   we can also split one hour into two 30 min slots and 1st 30 min do online retrospective and the next 30 min we do an in-person retrospective.  

      I am open for any option, can do either ways. My original idea was to go with option2. Hope this helps.

      Please do let me know if you have any other queries/suggestions.

      Thanks, Madhavi

       

  • Balaji.M
    By Balaji.M  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Madhavi,

    Thanks for the proposal. Couple of things we would like to know

    1) Can you brief what gamification elements been used to make the retrospectives interesting?

    2) We have seen after a year or so following one retrospection technique makes the team boring, we would like know would be covering how to switch to this new ways of retrospection and have tried these techniques in any of your coaching assignments.

     

    Regards

    Balaji.M

    • Madhavi Ledalla
      By Madhavi Ledalla  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Balaji,

        Here we will be talking about Visual collaboration games that leverage powerful visual metaphors as the foundation for collaborative problem solving. Any game is comprised of four key elements:  goals, verbs, nouns and context. I have published few games at http://innovationgames.com.  I have used these techniques during my coaching engagement for doing 1) in-person retrospectives meaning, explain the metaphor and retrospect by drawing a simple picture on the board, 2) distributed team retrospective for a single distributed team that I was working with using the online platform, and 3) enterprise wide retrospective for around 50 teams where we collaborated with Luke Hohmann for facilitating the entire thing. Would share few pictures for all the three cases during the event. Whether to go for an in-person or an online method depends on the need.

        

      Using simple metaphors and situations and telling a story around it helps teams to think and visualize things differently, these are similar to the Speed-Boat retrospective method that most of us are aware of. The ones that I am going to share in his session are based on some simple games that we play often. These techniques can be used if you want to try out something different and see if it works for your teams. The main advantage of leveraging the Conteneo cloud is it provides a very good platform for doing Large distributed team retrospectives at ease. There could be other platforms or methods for doing retrospectives at scale. I would be using the Conteno platform for this session. Intent of this session is to convey that teams can experiment with various variations for doing the retrospectives so that they stay engaged.

        

      Please let me know if you have any other questions,

      Hope this helps,

      Thanks, Madhavi.

       

  • Anish Cheriyan
    By Anish Cheriyan  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Thanks Madhavi for the proposal. Will you give some case study from your experience.

    • Madhavi Ledalla
      By Madhavi Ledalla  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Anish, During the first part of the workshop, I would be sharing a case study as to how we used the Contenno Platform for doing an enterprise wide retrospective for around 50 teams using Speed Boat technique with one of our clients. Thanks, Madhavi.

  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Madhavi, I'm curious to know, why you think this topic belong to research camp? This does not appear to be a research topic. This might be a better fit under the Agile in the Trenches theme.

    • Madhavi Ledalla
      By Madhavi Ledalla  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh, since I was researching on gamification subject, I marked it under research camp bucket. I am changing the theme to Agile in the Trenches as suggested.Thanks, madhavi.

  • Madhavi Ledalla
    By Madhavi Ledalla  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Vinod, what I do is take a generic topic that is not related to software and do a retro so that people can relate to it easily. Intent is to enable people to understand how a large team retrospective can be done say for a 500+ people organization. The same techniques can be used for doing an in-person retrospective for a single team. Hope this helps, thanks, Madhavi.

  • Vinod Sankaranarayanan
    By Vinod Sankaranarayanan  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Good proposal. Can you also suggest how you arrive at the retro topic itself? When a diverse set of people come together for this session, how will we be able to arrive at a common retro topic for discussion?


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    Advanced

    What about a case where the whole team is completely distributed, i.e. every team member works from home, possibly from a different country or from a different time-zones. What about the challenges faced by a team where team-members are distributed with 7-8 time-zones.

     

    In the new era of Lean Startup, some startups are working and developing software in this fashion. This session is a case-study of one such startup which is completely distributed. How they are working, are they using Agile or have evolved some new practices which work for them. What kind of different challenges these teams face on regular basis and how do they solve them, these are some of the question this session tries to answer.

  • Liked Vijay Bandaru
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    Vijay Bandaru - Enterprise Agility - Not a Cakewalk

    Vijay Bandaru
    Vijay Bandaru
    Agile Coach
    IVY Comptech
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    I worked as a coach and have experience ranging from team level to large scale agile transformation that involves:

    - Multiple teams from different locations
    - Different cultures
    - Variety of structures
    - Component teams
    - Strong silo working culture
    - Legacy code base
    - Different release schedules and processes
    - Wide range of tools
    - And many other challenges

    As part of working on the assignments to help the organizations transforming into agile, I had come across various anti patterns and road blocks at various
    levels. These anti patterns are very critical to understand and help the organizations to tackle them effectively without compromising on the core agile
    values and principles.

    It is very easy for any organization to kick off the transformation but it is very hard to maintain the sustainability and become a matured agile organization. During this period there will be many traps that will force the organization to take a U turn and get back to where they started. Lot of effort, money and time gets wasted in this process. It is important to understand the key areas of enterprise agile pathway and decide the roadmap for the transformation with a clear vision and goal. Periodic inspection and adaption is also critical in this whole process to successfully achieve the vision and goal of transformation. top to bottom of the organization will play very vital role in this journey, without proper collaboration, communication and understanding among these teams, organization cannot transform. 

    Once the transformation kicked off, organization will go through a whole set of different challenges during their release planning, sprint ceremonies, collaboration issues, cross location team challenges, tools and processes and these are also critical humps to crossover successfully. 

    Another important area that usually will not get enough importance in transformation is the "communication" part. Agile emphasizes more on "face to face" communication. But is it just enough talking face to face? Conflict --> Communication --> collaboration --> Value delivery. This path has to be clearly understood at all levels of organization. 

    My topic is going to cover these anti patterns that I had come across in my coaching experience and share them with the audience. As part of this session, I am also planning to conduct a survey to see how many of these anti patterns are common to the organizations that are transforming into Agile. I will collect the survey information from the participants by providing them a quick hand copy of the survey form. This information will help me for my paper that is in progress on the "Enterprise Agile Transformation".

    I am also planning to have some activities within the session by giving the audience some challenges of transformation and try to find suggestions to arrive at solutions to tackle those challenges. This part will make the session interactive and two-way knowledge sharing.

    The anti patterns will be mostly around the following categories:

    - Management responsibility
    - Structural challenges
    - Product teams
    - Portfolio management
    - Scrum teams
    - Scrum Master
    - Support teams (Sales, Marketing, HR, Admin etc)
    - Communication
    - Continuous improvement
    - Tools
    - Processes

    I will also cover, what was done for some of the key anti-patterns to address them as part of the transformation engagements.

  • Liked Sekhar Burra
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    Sekhar Burra - Raising the Bar: Being a true influential agile leader

    Sekhar Burra
    Sekhar Burra
    Coach
    Independent
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Workshop
    Advanced

    This is a nurturing workshop for Agile Managers to become effective influential servant leaders, to support enterprise agility.

    This is a workshop for Agile Managers and above to help them shed the command and control behavior and be more of a facilitator and coach for their teams. At the end of this workshop, the participants will understand and appreciate the insights and techniques of being an Agile influential leader. The participants also walk out with a concrete action plan on how they support the agile teams and organization. The whole workshop runs on the technique of asking powerful questions to the participants, thus making them think towards the path of self-discovery.

    The number of participants for this session are limited 20-25

  • Liked Madhavi Ledalla
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    Madhavi Ledalla - The Essence of Product Ownership.

    Madhavi Ledalla
    Madhavi Ledalla
    Agile Coach
    ADP
    schedule 1 year ago
    Sold Out!
    20 mins
    Experience Report
    Beginner

    This is an experience report based on my interactions with the Product Owners. 

    Scrum introduces a very vital role called the Product Owner who is the key person responsible for the product success; he is one who is accountable for the customer delight.

     In this session we would talking about essential characteristics  and responsibilities of a PO by discussing some of the challenges using specific scenarios.

    Format of this session:

    1) Commonly seen anti patterns of the PO

    2) Typical challenges that can derail a Product Ownership and what can be done to overcome these challenges. These challenges if not resolved, which agile principle we would not be able to adhere to will also be discussed during this session. The scenarios presented here are the real time scenarios that I have seen with the teams while working with them.

    The idea of this session is to talk about the challenges seen with the Product group  in big organizations that have a legacy of products and multiple teams working on them.

  • Liked Sridharan Vembu
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    Sridharan Vembu - Over-selling the "Enterprise Agile Frameworks and Certifications"

    45 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate
    Agile is only for smaller projects and/or startup organisations - Not Anymore. Taking my own and my organisation's experience, Agile is a proven methodology that is well suited for delivering complex, distributed, multi-year enterprise programs, for many years now.
     
    While this is really a great thing for agile enthusiasts and practitioners, it’s a bit of worrying sign for me the increased recognition and popularity the ‘Agile Certifications’ and ‘Agile Frameworks’ are receiving among individuals and organisations who would like to adopt Agile to stay relevant in current world.
     
    I would like to share my views on the adoption of these frameworks and certifications, why I feel they are not-so-agile and how am I and my organisation are solving similar problems without the need for any of these frameworks and certifications.
     
    I am planning to walk through the complete life cycle of the most recent program that I’m part of (from Inception to Initiation to on-going Execution to Post-Production Support) and bring out the relevant agile principles that we adopted, context based customizations we did and the best practices that we have come up with.
    • For instance, one should know the clear difference between hygienic practices vs context based practices - the first ones are not to be compromised at any cost, whereas the latter ones are to be applied based on the need, not because some framework prescribes it.
    The typical life cycle stages that we follow in any program / project delivery is normally: Discovery - Inception - Initiation - Execution - Transition, whereas the actual set of practices within any of these stages and how they are being implemented could be very different from project to project, team to team. 
    • For example, in the Execution Phase, doing pair programming and following TDD are hygienic practices for us. Having said that, it’s perfectly okay for a pair to split and work on a specific task on a case-to-case basis (we call this Pragmatic Programming) and the pair decides when and how long they would split and when to re-join.
    To give an idea on the complexity, enterprise and distributed nature of the program, some key data points:
    • Started almost 3 years ago, on-going
    • 10 quarterly planning workshops done so far
    • 10+ teams, 7 timezones
    • peak program size: 250+
    • peak team size from my org.: 50+
    • total no of systems: 10+
    • geographical spread: plan: 100 countries, 132 locales launched so far: 53 countries, 56 locales
    • 140 page-views / sec
    • Av. response time: 1.3s
    • Handling 100+K products in the catalog, 15+ K pages , 300+ K responsive images
    • Blue-Green production deployment (zero downtime over 1.5 years)
    • 3 weeks cycle of production releases