I recently attended the Agile Coach Gathering UK in Bletchley Park near London. I met a lot of interesting people, had some great talks and discussion and learned a ton. As the gathering was an open space conference I also proposed a session with the topic “What’s your favorite Agile Game?”. The goal was to collect some great games I could play in my next Scrum or Kanban trainings. A fun fact of this session was that everybody found out that we knew more games than we expected before. We came up with the following list of games.
P&Q is not really a game but a collaborative process. The P&Q is a simple process which makes just two things; “P’s” and “Q’s.” The objective of the exercise is to make a decision as to how to best maximize the profit of this process. A more precise description can be found here.
The XP Game
The XP Game if one of the oldest and most known games in the agile community.
The XP Game is a playful way to familiarize the players with some of the more difficult concepts of the XP Planning Game, like velocity, story estimation, yesterday’s weather and the cycle of life.
A detailed description of the game can be found here. There are several variations of the game but my personal favorite is the LEGO(c) XP Game. I’m a big LEGO(c) fan and use any excuse to play with those bricks. Here are some photos of a team playing this game. I highly recommend this game to any team new to agile.
Scrum from hell
Scrum from hell is more a role play than a game and simulates a dysfunctional daily scrum meeting. It is always fun observing the participants playing the roles. The duration of this game is only 15 minutes and a must for any Scrum training. A description of this game can be found here.
The communication game
As I don’t have the real name of this game I just named it this way. This game is all about communication. The following roles are part of this game:
- Business Analyst
In the first round nobody is allowed to speak. The client describes his requirements as written document to the business analyst and the BA passes on what he did understand to his architect and finally to the developer. As the info arrives at the developer he starts to build what he understood. When he is ready the review starts. In most cases the client don’t get what he has expected. In the second round everybody is allowed to speak and ask questions. In most cases this leads to a product the client asked for. If you have some more info about this game or even some artifacts, leave a comment.
The ballpoint game
This game is also one of my favorites. It’s about passing as many balls as possible between the players during a given time. With this game the concept of iterations/sprints and retrospective are explained. I already posted a more detailed description of this game in my blog which can be found here.
Making paper hats
In this game the concepts of velocity and iteration/sprint are explained. The main goal is to map the planned amount of paper hats with the actual amount. This game can also be played by blowing balloons or any other simple task. The customer in this game tries to push the development team to build as many paper hats as possible during an iteration. The result is that most of the build paper hats are useless as the quality is quite low. The customer keeps pushing until the team realizes that they are only able to build x paper hats during one iteration in the requested quality. Now the team knows his own velocity and is able to negotiate with the customer on the maximum number of paper hat. Another outcome of this game is that the player realize that quality is not negotiable. If someone has a link to a more precise description, please leave a comment.
There are a lot of agile games online. During the session I suggested the following places to search for additional games:
- http://www.tastycupcakes.com – This is a great resource for agile games. I highly recommend to have look here
- http://www.kanbangames.net – On this page you’ll find some games explaining the concepts of kanban and lean software development.
- AgileGames on Google Groups – If you’re interested in the newest games or want to discuss about games, this is the place to go. Come and join our group.
If you have any other resources or any other addition to this blog post, feel free to leave a comment.