Reinvigorating agile teams with innovation games®

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Are your Retrospectives getting tired? Prioritizing your product backlog through a spreadsheet is a bit tedious isn't it? Engaging your customers, agile team members, and stakeholders through games delivers deeper, more actionable insight than is available through stodgy brainstorming sessions. Innovation Games® for Agile Teams enables agile practitioners to identify customer requirements, improve retrospectives, prioritize backlogs, create better release plans, and much more.

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  • Welcome everybody. Thank you for allowing me to tell you about IG.First let me tell you just a little about myself.I’m in the 8th year of my consulting practice, Harvest Consulting. Marketing strategy work for medium sized companies.I have been running a job search networking group for the past 7 years. I am a former Board Director for the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Marketing Associationand for the Beech Acres Parenting Center. Currently, I am an outsourced business coach with theHamilton County Development Company – a business incubator for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
  • Let’s quickly go over our agenda for this evening:I’ll give you a quick overview of some of the Innovation GamesWe’ll then play one of the games – Speed BoatThen a chosen volunteer will play an online game called ScrumKnowsyAnd then hopefully we’ll still have some time to review what we did tonight and do a quick Q&ADoes that good to everybody?
  • Anybody have any idea who this lady is?That’s game guru,Jane McGonigal –she’s pictured here speaking at the Gamification Summit in San Francisco. McGonigal, has spawned some of the most creative games in the history of the industry (such as World Without Oil, a game aimed at getting people to reduce their use of oil). Her working definition for a game is listed here.(Since the baseball season just started I’ll use it as an example: Goal is simply to score more runs than the other team, rules:3 balls-3 strikes, 9 players on the field, 9 innings, arbitrary constraints: round ball, round bat, thrown balls, weather conditions and everybody wants to play)  According to McGonigal, when people play games, they are trying to achieve a feeling of she calls “eustress,” a kind of positive stress that motivates us to perform our best, and the good feeling you get when you play an engaging game is what she calls “gamefulness.” --- Jane McGonigal
  • With serious games, like IG and unlike gamification, are designed to solve business problems.  A good example of a business problem I think many of you may be facing is electing to use Agile and perhaps Scrum to improve product development, but moving to Agile is hard. Right? Playing games makes the adoption of Agile more successful. Why?Because playing games drives our motivation and performance and keeps us from getting bored or uninspired. There’s a picture of Luke Hohman, the inventor of IG. I’ve been a IG trained facilitator for about 5 years.
  • Innovation Games for Agile and in general, can be organized as:Discover or Ideation games (Speedboat) Others: Me and My Shadow, Product Box, Spider WebShaping (Prune the Product Tree),Start Your Day, Give Them a Hot Tub, Remember the Future, Show & Tell, Competitive TargetPrioritization (Buy a Feature), 20/20 VisionandAct My Worst Nightmare, What Would Bourne Do?
  • First of all,let’s talk about Speed Boat. Reflect on what is genuinely most important (complaints and issues can be put into proper perspective), self-identify trivial issues, THINKING about their complaints, especially quantifying the impact, contributes more to success – theirs and yours. Allow team members or customers to express frustrations in a ‘safe’ environment' Some people don’t feel comfortable expressing their frustrations verbally. Speed boat gives them a chance to write things down and not have to verbally speak out about frustrations.
  • Here is how we will play Speed Boat. AnchorsCustomers write what they don’t like on an anchor and place them below the boatWe don’t restrict participants to the size, shape, weight, or number of anchors that they can add to the boat.PropellersWhat is workingWhat makes the process of adoption of your product or Agile better, faster, more effectiveWhen customers are finished posting their anchors, we will review each one, carefully confirming our understanding of what customers or team members want to see changed in your product or service.We can also estimate how much faster the boat would go (how much better your product or service could perform) when certain anchors are cut. Estimates of speed are really estimates of pain.
  • Here are some of the reasons Speed Boat really works! Asking customers to verbalize their issues, especially in writing, motivates them to really think about the issues. Group think is eliminated - no single person can dominate the discussion People may express extreme frustration, but in reality they really want to succeed in using your product or they want to be a good team player
  • The next game I wanted to tell you about is called Prune the Product Tree.This game is designed to shape product feature sets so that they are balanced in relation to the product as a whole. Thick limbs represent major areas of functionality within your product. The edge of the tree – its outermost branches – represents the features available in the current release.
  • Here’s how to play:Ask customers to place desired features around the tree (defining the next phase of its growth)Do they structure a tree that is growing in a balanced manner?Does one branch – perhaps a core feature of the product – get the bulk of the growth?Does an underutilized aspect of the tree become stronger?
  • WithPrune The Product Tree your customers provide input into the product design and decision making process by looking at the set of features that comprise the product in a holistic manner. They (customers, that is) are forced to consider feature sets and help decide what is necessary now and what can be put off until future versions.
  • Here’s an example of a pruned product tree created after Luke conducted a series of games with the Scrum Alliance.
  • We will use the Buy a Feature game as a way to determine the features that will cause customers to buy your product, upgrade, or renew. It will also help figure out features that we can possibly just ignore or tolerate and ones that should befixed or removed
  • Gather a list of product featuresAssign a value to each feature, add up the total40% of that amount is available to spend on the game, divide up available amt equally amongst the players.
  • Here are some of the primary reasons Buy A Feature works so well:If you ask customers what they want, they will either not know or default to saying, “can’t we just have everything?”Engaging customers in this game as a group causes customers to agree as a group and the magic really lies in their discussions and how they negotiate their priorities.Now, let’s have some fun and play the Speed Boat game.
  • Here is how we will play Speed Boat. AnchorsPlease write what they don’t like on an anchor and place them below the boatWe don’t restrict participants to the size, shape, weight, or number of anchors that they can add to the boat.PropellersWhat is workingWhat makes the process of adoption of your product or Agile better, faster, more effectiveWhen customers are finished posting their anchors, we will review each one, carefully confirming our understanding of what customers or team members want to see changed in your product or service.We can also estimate how much faster the boat would go (how much better your product or service could perform) when certain anchors are cut. Estimates of speed are really estimates of pain.
  • Now let’s take our volunteer, Peg and play ScrumKnowsy.Knowsy is a game created by IG and it has been licensed by ScrumTidefor use in agile and scrum.
  • Reinvigorating agile teams with innovation games®

    1. 1. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Reinvigorating Agile Teams with Innovation Games®Agile CincinnatiApril 11, 2013
    2. 2. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Tonight’s agenda:• Play Speed Boat• Overview of games, serious games,Innovation Games®• ScrumKnowsy• Q & A
    3. 3. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013What’s her name?Her working definition of a game:That’s game guruJane McGonigalA game has a goal, rules, arbitrary constraints, andwilling participation
    4. 4. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Premise: human beings are hard-wired to express themselves andinteract with each other through playLukeHohmann
    5. 5. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013
    6. 6. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Speed Boat (Discover)Goal(s):• Reflect on what is genuinely most important• Express frustrations in a ‘safe’ environment
    7. 7. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Speed Boat (Discover)How to Play:
    8. 8. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Speed Boat (Discover)Why It Works• Verbalizing issues, especially in writing, motivates• Group think is eliminated• Few customers or team members are genuinely“against” you
    9. 9. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Prune the Product Tree (Shape)Goal(s):• Pruning is designed to build a balanced treethat yields high quality fruit.• The process isn’t about “cutting” – it is about“shaping.”
    10. 10. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Prune the Product Tree (Shape)How to Play:• Start by drawing a very large tree on a whiteboard or printing a tree as a poster• Write potential new features on several index cards, Iideally shaped as leaves.Prune the Product Tree/product roadmaps:http://innovationgames.com/2011/04/innovation-games-at-work-roadmapping-with-prune-the-product-tree/
    11. 11. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Prune the Product Tree (Shape)Why It Works• Features vary in importance• More effort for more important features• Customers provide input into the decision makingprocess in a holistic manner
    12. 12. Super-Charge Your Agile teamsCertificationsReach ofScrumPersonalBenefitsOtherGrowthOpportunitiesWeb Site Communities20102011+20102011+2011+
    13. 13. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Buy A Feature (Prioritize)Goal(s):• Determine features will enticecustomers to purchase your product• Which features will cause customers to upgrade• What features need to be fixed and/or removed
    14. 14. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Buy A Feature (Prioritize)How to Play:• List of potential features w/a price• Buy features you want for next release• Pool $ w/ others to buy expensive features
    15. 15. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Buy a Feature (Prioritize)Why It Works• Avoids customers simply saying“I want them all”• Engaging customers as a group causesprioritization as a group• Magic lies in structuring conversations so thatyour customers are negotiating (enhancingunderstanding)
    16. 16. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Speed Boat (Discover)Your cell/Smart phone
    17. 17. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013https://playknowsy.com/a/scrumtide
    18. 18. Super-Charge Your Agile teams© Harvest Consulting LLC 2013Contact info:email: scott@harvestconsultingllc.comPhone: 513.373.6972THANK YOU!

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