Build a House, Build a Car: An Interactive Set of Games to Introduce User Stories and Requirements
One of the most difficult aspects crafting user stories with a team can be a lack of understanding of why good requirements gathering and user story writing are important to the iterative development of a good product. Without this foundation, teams misinterpret requests, develop unwanted features, and establish a frustrating relationship with their users. Therefore, it’s key for agile leaders to help all members of the team learn that clear communication about requirements leads to better end products and the ability to iterate.
Together, we will play two games that you can use to encourage communication amongst teams, clients, or managers and facilitate an understanding of how to best utilize the user story format. In Build a House, we look at how requirements can be misconstrued between a client and developers by putting teams in both roles. In Build a Car, we explore the user story format and how only using part of it leads to assumptions and poor product creation. These interactive games allow teams to experience the creation of requirements and importance of user stories through clear metaphors.
Outline/Structure of the Workshop/Game
Individuals will engage in pairs to participate in two activities, which will have them drawing, writing requirements, and developing a feature list. They will interact with other pairs, and iterating on initial designs. They will have pens, paper, markers, and some prompts at their table.
Build a house: 15min
- Divide participants into pairs and have them draw a house: 5min
- Teams write down bulleted descriptions of their house: 2min
- Teams switch written lists with another team: 2min
- Teams draw the house, based on the written description: 3min
- Teams share their work: 5min
Build a car: 22min
- Introduction: 2min
- Divide participants into pairs and have them write features of a car they will create, based on user role provided: 5min
- Teams share work: 5min
- Teams are given a purpose (“...in order to…”) card and now redesign their car: 5min
- Teams share work: 5min
Summary/Buffer time: 3min
Agile leaders and business analysts will be able to utilize these two activities to teach groups the importance of good requirements gathering and user story writing.
Agile leaders looking to help teams better understand the importance of good user story writing and requirements. Business analysts wanting to explain agile story writing to customers.
Prerequisites for Attendees
Basic understanding of agile principles and user story concept