Kaizen Land - Gamifying Stand Up and Overcoming Anti Patterns

Learn how the gingerbread men are taking over the daily Stand Up and forever changing the mornings of teams everywhere.

Have your Daily Stand-Ups become stale? We’ll talk through the evolution of an idea that ended up demolishing monotony, obliterating anti-patterns and spawning smiles… and to think, it all started when my daughter and I were playing Candy Land!

We’ll talk through the implementation of a game board during one team’s stand up through the infectious adoption and evolution of its existence. You’ll hear how teams tackled some of their greatest impediments and helped build a zone of psychological safety all while having fun.

By the end of this session, you’ll be prepared to bring this back to your team and create your own success stories.

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Outline/structure of the Session

Set the Stage (5 minutes)

  • Introduction to your speaker
  • Experience with Transformations, Organizational Debt and General Dysfunction

Anti-Patterns and Positive Behaviors (10 minutes)

  • Real life parallels and why they happen
  • Identifying dirty laundry
  • Highlighting positive behavior

A Game is Born (10 minutes)

  • Extrinsic Rewards vs. Intrinsic Motivation
  • The construction of Kaizen Land
  • Assigning values to actions

The Implementation and Evolution (10 minutes)

  • Initial roll-out and reactions
  • The infectious spread
  • Distributed teammate adoption

Lessons Learned (10 minutes)

  • Outcomes and observations
  • How to bring Kaizen Land to your team
  • Q & A

Learning Outcome

Embrace the importance of Daily Stand-Up and bring added value to the ceremony

Understand why Anti-Patterns develop and better assess which ones are in the team's ability to control

Promote transparency through the adoption of psychological safety

Increase gamification and the value for such

Target Audience

Scrum Masters interested in gamifying their Daily Stand-Up, combating anti-patterns and promoting psychological safety



schedule Submitted 1 month ago

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  • George Dinwiddie
    By George Dinwiddie  ~  1 week ago
    reply Reply

    Hi, Jess,

    It's hard to envision how this game works and how it's introduced to the team from the proposal and slides. Could you share more details with the reviewers?

     - George

    • Jess Long
      By Jess Long  ~  1 week ago
      reply Reply

      Hi George,

      Prior to playing, the team should draft a list of their common Anti-Patterns and another list of Positive Behaviors they would like to increase. Values by means of space allocation should be assigned to both lists. Those can be determined by the importance level of each or maybe even the frequency or lack there-of. We've had instances of teams drafting these collectively at a retrospective and also SM's attempting to draft these individually based on their own observations. (These lists and values can be changed every sprint depending on the team's desired focus or their improvements or challenges.)

      Anti-Pattern items would cause the team's game piece (the gingerbread man) to move backwards on the board X number spaces whereas the Positive Behavior items would allow the team to move forward X number spaces.

      The game board will sit next to the team's WIP board and be just as visible and active each day at Stand-Up.

      At Stand-Up... Bob the developer updates the team that he has pushed code to QA but forgot to get a code review. This causes the gingerbread man to move back 1 space. Jane the PO then explains that she promised a PM the team would complete a story this week outside of the sprint commitment and the gingerbread man will now have to move back ANOTHER 2 spaces! Lucky for the team, Joe the developer who is known for only developing and always balking at testing, stepped out of his comfort zone and completed QA testing a story and has enabled the gingerbread man to move forward 3 spaces. Tom the QA engineer was inspired by Joe and completed development on a story and the gingerbread man regains traction forward! AND SO ON!!

      Each day, the team has a visual of their forward and backward movement based on the updates they provide and the Scrum Master moving the gingerbread man up or down the game board. It is a playful but "in your face" method of displaying how one's individual action helps or hinders the team's ability to function efficiently.

      The team is challenged with getting the gingerbread man from start to finish within the entirety of the sprint.

      Some SM's had two teams and unknowingly created extra camaraderie by attaching two gingerbread men on their one board, and watching the teams celebrate when their blue man passed the green one.

      This was one of those wonky ideas that spread like wildfire. The first SM to pilot this had the hardest job when it came to introducing this to her team. Her first mission was to convince her team this wouldn't be used against them and that this was going to be an experiment intended to add some fun to their team's not so lively Stand-Ups. Once she explained the rules, the challenge and the fact it wouldn't create any more work for her teammates (as she would be moving the gingerbread man) she had buy in.

      Several teams that adopted the game afterwards didn't need any introduction. They had seen the pilot team playing and asked their SM why their team wasn't playing the game too!



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