DevOps Introduction with Lego and Chocolate Game

This game is a real end-to-end simulation of the entire product development flow -  from concept to cash. Join this session to experiment with optimizing a flow of work through the entire organization. Visualize negative effects of long sprints and deferred deployments. Amplify feedback loop, bring in security and evolve towards continuous value delivery – all using LEGO and chocolate.

Everyone gets a role to play based on the role cards distributed to each participant. Benjamin Business, Sara Security, Adam Admin, Denny Developer and even Harry Hacker  - these are just a few characters represented in this simulation.  The game clearly highlights the misalignment of goals between business, development and operations and help the participants experiment with process improvements. Development team works with the business to understand user needs and build their products (LEGO animals with Chocolate). A silo Operations team is in charge of deployments, environment configuration, patching, audits and security breach prevention.

Can this organization survive in today’s highly competitive world? Surprise elements of the game (market demand fluctuations, hacker attacks, code freeze etc.) allow participants to experience the advantage of using DevOps practices in enabling faster response and improving organizational agility. Inspired by “The Phoenix Project” and “The Goal”, this workshop uses elements of gamification to delivers a powerful message. A message that stays with the participants long after the end of the conference and helps them introduce DevOps culture in their organizations.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

High Level Session Outline: 

(5 min) Connecting with the topic. What do you already know about DevOps? (short discussion)

(10 min) – Game setup

- Pick a card with your role (see above).

- Rules of the simulation game - introduction

- Generate initial set of user stories (with priorities) for development teams

(15 min) Game Sprint 1. Goal: Expose the bottlenecks created by organizational silos, infrequent releases, large story size and delayed customers feedback

2 min Sprint Planning - Product Owner with Scrum team will estimate/prioritize what to build in Sprint 1

8 min Sprint execution - Scrum team will need to find someone on the operations team to build environments before they can start the work.
Security engineer will perform “security scan” on the deployment packages and if bugs found, this will cause substantial rework.

2 min Demo/Deployment - first surprise for dev team  - code freeze - Adam Admin doesn't allow any deployments into production.

3 min Retrospective

(15 min) Game Sprint 2. Goal: Expose the chaos created by delayed deployments and team inability to respond faster to hacker attack. Demonstrate how improvements to the non-constrained areas have no impact on overall flow of work through organization.

2 min Sprint Planning - Product Owner and Scrum team will discover that prices and priorities of the stories have changed and will work to re-prioritize their backlog.

8 min Sprint execution - Security engineer will now work with the dev team, so that known security issues can be avoided.
A heartbleed bug will be discovered in the “environments”. All work will have to stop until System Administrator performs the upgrade.

2 min Demo/Deployment -  Deployment is now permitted, but only limited to players with the Release Engineer Role. Team will find out again that the products that they delivered have changed their value due to changes in market demand. Value delivered is measured and recorded on a flipchart.

3 min Retrospective

(10 min) We must change to survive – High level primer on DevOps culture and practices.

(15 min) – Game Sprint 3. Introduce the DevOps practices. Each member of the Scrum teams will be asked to find a partner from the operations team and cross-train each other, expand their skills and make Ops a part of the Scrum team.

2 min Sprint Planning - Product Owner and Scrum team will work on breaking large stories into small ones to enable “one piece flow”.

10 min Sprint execution( development, testing, demo, continuous deployment):

New security issues will be discovered, but now cross-trained developers can help upgrading environments. 
Deployment is now automated.
Products are continuously delivered to the market and teams can respond to the customer feedback and fluctuations of the market demand faster.

The value delivered by each team will be calculated and compared with Sprint 1 and 2.

3 min Retrospective

(15 min) – Your AHA moments from this game– debrief in the fishbowl retrospective format 

5 min – buffer time.

Learning Outcome

  • Understand and learn to address a traditional misalignment of goals of the 3 major groups in product development 
  • Experiment with decoupling of a Sprint (as a planning unit) from a Release (as a deployment unit) by minimizing the batch sizes, increasing frequency of releases, amplifying feedback loop and moving away from cyclical delivery towards continuous flow of value.
  • Play the game and learn its dynamics, facilitation tips and tricks for maximizing your effectiveness as facilitator. 

Target Audience

Agile Coaches, team facilitators and anyone interested in introducing DevOps in a fun way.


schedule Submitted 7 years ago