In every job that must be done,
There is an element of fun.
You find the fun and snap!
The job's a game.

- From "A Spoonful of Sugar", Mary Poppins

As an Agile Coach, I use games to demonstrate concepts to teams. Games take otherwise theoretical ideas and help teams feel them in their bones. Once they've gone through a demonstration, the air is ripe for further exploration through conversation.  Sometimes, though, you don't have the right game for the particular problem you are trying to address.  Fortunately, as Mary Poppins points out, there is fun in every's just a matter of finding it. We all have experience making our own work fun, and I think that's what puts creating games in everyone's reach.  In this workshop, I'll share how I've gone about building games, and each participant will have a chance to build their own.

Note: I am calling this workshop a spoonful of sugar, not a bowlful.  While I love using longer games/workshops (like Alistair Cockburn's brilliant Elephant Carpaccio), I just can't grab the team for two-hour chunks of time all that often.  In this workshop, we'll focus on much shorter games that you can sneak in during a slow day, or in that hopeful moment just after sprint planning is completed.  These smaller games tend to isolate much simpler, smaller concepts.  I believe that a steady diet of these easy-to-digest games really helps teams incorporate the concepts in their daily work.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

What makes a game?
Through open discussion, we'll discuss favorite games (Agile or not) and talk about generic elements that define games.  We’ll also take the important step of demystifying game-making!

Creating Games for a Target
Using an example from a game I’ve designed, I'll go over the steps I’ve used in creating games for specific applications.  For each step, I’ll ask the audience to come up with ideas on how to proceed before sharing what I ultimately did in designing the game.

  • Identifying the problem
  • Hypothesizing a possible solution
  • Defining a game objective aligned with the solution
  • Finding an essential activity that achieves the objective
  • Building a fun framework around the essential activity
  • Trying out the game
  • Gathering feedback
  • Adjusting the game

Game Creation Workshop
Participants will each come up with a problem they would like to address through a game.  They will then break into pairs and I will facilitate their working through the above process up to the point of creating a draft game.

Game Test
We will test a volunteer’s game with the group, gather feedback, and discuss ideas for adjusting the game.

Learning Outcome

  • Games are demystified, so participants won’t be scared to try creating them!
  • Participants try a repeatable process for creating games targeted at specific applications
  • Participants know how to listen to feedback and let games grow
  • Participants leave with a draft game that they can test

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches

schedule Submitted 8 years ago

  • Ron Quartel

    Ron Quartel - Running the Tech Debt Gauntlet. A game for teams and managers to understand how technical debt is created and removed in software development

    Ron Quartel
    Ron Quartel
    Agile Coach
    schedule 8 years ago
    Sold Out!
    60 Mins

    A very easy to set up and play game about understanding technical debt. In 30 minutes, all players and observers will have had an A-HA moment of understanding on these topics :-

    • what technical debt is
    • how it gets created
    • how to remove it
    • how to stop it from ever being created again
    • what sustainable pace means for a development team

    All development teams should be exposed to this game at some point to help them improve their development process and practices.

    All development managers should be exposed to this game to help them understand the role they play in technical debt and eliminating it.

    "Agile processes promote sustainable development. 
    The sponsors, developers, and users should be able 
    to maintain a constant pace indefinitely." - Principle behind the agile manifesto