Beyond Scrum: Building High-Performing Organizations – a game for Managers, ScrumMasters and Product Owners
Congratulations. Last year you played the High-Performance Team Game and helped create a high-performing Team in your Organization. You were so successful that the Organization has grown around you and your peers. Unfortunately, while growing, some of the magic that you had created before as a single Team has gotten lost.
Last year’s game focused on building high-performance Teams and the tradeoffs between delivering value and improving productivity. This year’s game will focus on building high-performance Organizations. Experience and knowledge of last year’s game is not necessary.
The game will explore options for an Organization to understand itself and the current state of the work, and then bring about real, ongoing change.
Style: Board Game with a simple Portfolio Kanban board as our playing surface. The playing cards will be Kanban cards that represent our Product Backlog.
Outline/structure of the Session
Tables: Each table will represent one Organization that is trying to improve.
The players on each team will take on the roles of Senior Management, the ScrumMaster, and Product Owner. Each table will be able to have 2+ Scrum teams represented and several Managers. Anywhere from 4-9 players. Effectively they will compose an Organizational Improvement Team.
Each player will receive a role description that explains the character that they should play. Real companies have politics, and people often have competing agendas – the player sheets will help simulate that.
Time: We will play a series of 4-6 rounds, each of which represents 8 weeks (or 4 Sprints) of real time. Each round will open with a story about how the company is performing and what the board of directors requires next.
Play will focus on the challenges faced in any modern mid to large-sized company attempting to be Agile:
- Short-term client demands and weathervaning executives
- Belief that if we just demand that the teams work harder, they can and will
- Production support issues
- Regression problems
- Fundamental misunderstandings of Agile by the executives
- Features delivered that don’t satisfy customers
The game is won, not by producing the most features, but by delighting customers.
Mechanics: This will be a budget-based game – in any round the players can invest in Stories, Improvements for their team, or Improvements for all teams. In each round, the Organizational Improvement team will gain access to a growing list of tools (some good, some bad) to help ‘fix’ the problems that come up.
Players will learn much about Portfolio Kanban and Portfolio Management. They will also get an introduction to Systems Thinking, and Organizational Improvement. As a result, they will have an introduction as to what it will take to grow their Organization’s performance. The game is backed by the series of blog posts I have been writing this year – Scrum Alone is Not Enough: https://agilepainrelief.com/notesfromatooluser/2015/01/scrum-alone-is-not-enough.html. Copies of the series thus far will be available for players to take home. The series provides the detail of what it would take to get started Building High-Performance Organizations.
Executives, Managers, ScrumMasters, Product Owners