Fearless Journey Søren Weiss Agile Coachreﬂections after playing the game Twitter: @sorenweiss
About this presentation• The presentation serves to share my reﬂections on using the Fearless Journey game at a scrum retrospective.• I played the game with a Danish scrum team (8 team members) in March 2012.• The team had ﬁnished their 3rd sprint. Yet 3 sprints remained in the project.• The team members were (apart from 2 team members) all used (more than 1 year of experience) to work in a scrum team and used to participate in a retrospective.
About the game• The game is invented at the Play4Agile 2011 conference in Germany.• The game teaches teams to address obstacles based on inﬂuence strategies developed by Linda Rising and Mary Lynn Mann. These strategies are published in the book Fearless Change.• Detailed information about the game can be found here: http:// bit.ly/fearlessjourney
Reﬂections - page 1• Before playing the game we decided to set a time frame of two hours for playing the game. It turned out that everybody was quite exhausted after the two hours. I will use this as a guideline for setting the time frame in the future. The team managed to handle 10 obstacles during the game.• Before playing the game I split the team up into two groups. Each group drafted a description of the "start state" (current state of the project) and the "goal state" (the goal of the project). These descriptions were presented and updated before game start.• As input to the "write obstacles" activity I facilitated a timeline exercise (from project start up until now). This provided a good common view on the project and helped the team to identify obstacles.• Before game start I asked everybody to write a number (1-10) on a index card. The number represented the level of difﬁculty to go from the start to the end of the project. This served as a baseline. After the game ended we did another round. Finally we disscussed the numbers and the players elaborated on their viewpoints. This was a very good disscussion and worked ﬁne as a defrief exercise.
Reﬂections - page 2• The team members identiﬁed obstacles in two groups. This was an attempt to reduce the amount of obstacles as well as to increase the quality of the content. It turned out that there were quite many obstacle card. Within the time frame it was possible to address only about 25% of the obstacles. The next time I play the game I will consider to rank the obstacles before playing the game. The idea of this is to make sure that the team will address the most important obstacles within the time frame of the game.
Reﬂections - page 3• The game rules says to put in "joker" cards in the obstacles card deck. I dont really understand the purpose of this... I have chosen to keep these joker cards in the deck, however I have decided to create a new rule: "whenever a player draws a joker card from the obstacles deck, the player can collect a piece of candy (or another "prize"). Of course this serves just as a bit of amusement during the game.• Before playing the game I told the team members that they should consider the inﬂuence strategies as strategies of inspiration. This turned out to be an important modiﬁcation as it was rather difﬁcult for the team members to use the strategies as they were deﬁned in the cards. Several times during the game, team members introduced ideas based on one of the inﬂuence strategies.• Because it was rather difﬁcult to play the strategy cards I introduced a new rule: "If a team member hadnt played any strategy card for two rounds, the person could choose to draw two new cards from the deck and lay back two cards into the deck". This rule increased inspiration and motivation.
Reﬂections - page 4• I am wondering whether it will possible to create a set of action which are more "down to earth" and easier to understand/ implement rather than the "high level" strategies... I guess this could be an interesting project to work on... I read an article the other day and saw that Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising is working on a set of new inﬂuence strategies to be published soon. I am very excited about that and look forward to read more about their great work.
Reﬂections - page 5• When the team members decided to overcome an obstacle I introduced a new rule: "All disscussion are timeboxed". This was needed as the disscussions went on and on... The team decided to spend 5 minutes (tip: use a visible stop watch. I used an iPad) to disscuss how to overcome the obstacle using one or more strategies. After that one person from the team volunteered to own the action during the next sprint. The person then documented the actions that the team decided on. The SMART goal technique was used for this.• It is a good idea (as mentioned in the rules) to let the team decide whether to take action or not on the obstacles. We used democratic voting. The teammembers voted without inﬂuencing eachother. I introduced the rule that the minority party could choose to elaborate on their viewpoint. After this another voting round was conducted. Everybody felt that there opinion was heard and this approach is very similar to the rules of planning poker, so the team members were used to the concept.• Whenever a player was ﬁnished the person drew one or more strategy card so everyone always had 5 cards at hand. I introduced this rule to increase motivation and creativity.
Reﬂections - page 6• Used strategy cards were put back into the strategy card deck to be reused.• With very much focus on obstacles during the game I suggest to let the game be followed by an appreciative exercise, e.g. "Medals & Bouquets".• The game objective is to "address obstacles over which you have no inﬂuence". Many of the obstacles the team face in a retrospective are often within the limit of inﬂuence of the team. Despite of this conﬂict I still think the game is very useable in a retrospective. • My overall experience from playing the game is that it made for the more introvert team members to speak up more freely during disscussions. It also was an exciting new frame work for disscussions. it seemed to me that team had more fun than they usually have during retrospectives. The team might however have been able to produce more actions using another exercise than Fearless Journey... Anyhow I will certainly use the game again to get more familiar with the rules and the techniques.