Posted in Games

Ultimate Agile Games List

"Adults shouldn't play games at work."

It would be easy to think that playing games together is something that we should have stopped doing when we became adults and took on jobs and responsibilities. Games are important for children as they teach social, communication, and tactile skills, as well as many others. But as adults we should learn skills through PowerPoint presentations and reading documentation, right?

I mean, you can do if you want to.

But how many times have you daydreamed your way through a training session, or skim read some documentation because it doesn’t interest you?

There must be a better way!!

I'm a big fan of games.

Why not use games in our every day work? Games have all sorts of benefits for teams, and individual growth.

Many classic games are designed to teach us new skills in a way that is more engaging and allows us to immediately apply these skills to a simulated situation. These are key games in any Scrum Master’s toolbox.

Some games are ways of helping our brains process, sort, and act upon information. Retrospectives are chock-full of games (or exercises if you will) that allow us to understand the previous sprint and collaboratively figure out a way to move forward.

Others are all about fun. It may look like an excuse to mess around and not do work for a bit but I have seen teams gain insights, skills, and camaraderie from playing them. Laughter is a powerful tool at removing hierarchy, promoting safety, and boosting morale, all of which are key to a great Scrum team.

But what are these games?

This blog article is to introduce you to the ULTIMATE AGILE GAMES LIST which is essentially my list of all the games I have used or want to use in a google spreadsheet. (Note: I just used the title ‘Ultimate’ to sound cool, I have no accreditation to prove it is).

I am in no way creative enough to have imagined all these games for myself but as many people working in agile also love games there are so many to choose from. Lucky me! I often find myself spending hours browsing through websites and books looking for new ones to try out or ones that fit a specific purpose.

In respect of these wonderful people who create these games I have only included a summary in the spreadsheet and the link so that you can visit their site and show them some love for the game. For books, I have included the title.

Tell me more about this list!

The spreadsheet is a couple of tabs; the first being the full list of games, the second being retrospective focused.

I have added some filters into the spreadsheet to help find the right game for the context. The retrospective tab divides them into the steps that Esther Derby and Diana Larsen wrote about in their book in the same way that the phenomenal tool Retromat does. (I just wanted a space to hold my notes and which I could add to.)

And that’s something I believe you can do too with this spreadsheet! Copy and paste the spreadsheet into your own Google Drive and add your own notes.

There's a game missing!

There are so many amazing games out there. Please put in the comments below any games you want added to the list. I would love nothing more than to try out some new ones!

ULTIMATE AGILE GAMES LIST

Posted in Games

User Story Mad Libs

A quick team builder game


Summary

Mad Libs for those who are unfamiliar here is the Wiki definition:

“Mad Libs is a phrasal template word game where one player prompts others for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story, before reading the – often comical or nonsensical – story aloud. The game is frequently played as a party game or as a pastime.”

Prep

  1. Create paragraph from the techniques you use to write your User Stories. My example is below
As a [person]

I want a [noun]

So that I can [verb] [adverb]



GIVEN I have a [noun]

WHEN I [verb] [adverb]

THEN I can [verb] better.

Acceptance Criteria
  1. I can [verb] when I [verb] on the [noun] 
  2. If I select the [noun] I am shown the [noun] 

 

2. Note the list of words you need to be filled in

Person x 1

Noun x 5

Verb x 5

Adverb x 2

 

Method

  1. Do not show your team the User Story paragraph as this gives the game away
  2. Ask each person in turn to name one of the lists of words
  3. Read aloud the finished story that you have all created together

Results

  • A lot of laughter
  • Team building from doing something silly and creative together – there are no wrong answers in this game!
  • Getting to know each other a bit more from what the first word that came into people’s heads

Extensions

In the future I would like to try using this to teach User Story writing or BDD scenarios. I think it could be a good tool to act as a template for a simple User Story and could help create a conversation over structure and language.