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

Murder Mystery meets Rock Paper Scissors

Motivation

Workshop fun game to get everyone warmed up and talking

 

Research

As far as I am aware I made this one up.

But obviously based on the beloved Cluedo board game and Rock, Paper, Scissors.

 

Method

Each person has a piece of card folded in half

  • They have their own chart on the back to complete to solve the crime
  • And their own weapon, room, or person on the inside of the folded card

Murder Mystery Grid

Everyone goes around the room playing rock, paper, scissors

  • If you lose, you show the inside of your card to the other person and don’t get to see theirs
  • If you win, you get shown the inside of the other persons card and keep yours secret
  • If you draw you both show each other

Keep meeting people, playing the game until you have solved the crime and then shout CLUEDO!!

 

Results

  • First time I played this I only put one of each type of weapon, person, and room into the game room so you would have to play with each person
    • This didn’t work as if you lost to someone, there was no value in them playing with you again and so you were scuppered!
  • For the second time I put three of each in the room
  • This game took quite a lot of preparation for what is a 5 minute game
  • Everyone was warmed up and had to talk to people they didn’t know but they didn’t really find out anything about each other so not so useful for a room who don’t know each other

 

Improvements

  • Possibly changing the rock, paper, scissors part to be something a little more physical and engaging. Not sure what just yet…
Posted in Games

User Story Mad Libs

Summary

A quick team builder game.

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.”

From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Libs>

Prep

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] 

 

And the list of words you need to be filled in

Person x 1

Noun x 5

Verb x 5

Adverb x 2

 

Method

Do not show your team the User Story paragraph as this gives the game away

Ask each person in turn to name one of the lists of words

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.