I have been teaching Agile workshops since 2007. I have experimented with various games over the years. In 2014 or so I modified the Scrum Simulation game which I do in day 2 of my workshop and found that people got hooked into this.
Some twists this game has makes it a real learning This article is a facilitator guide on how to run this game. I have played this game more than 100 times and always had amazing results.
Name of the Game – Unlike Monopoly – A Scrum Simulation
Length of this game: 3 hours
- Learn how to use the Scrum Framework
- Learn the power of Timeboxing
- That architecture evolves over Sprints.
- The power of working increment at the end of every sprint
- Experience high-performance teamwork
- Learn about how learning about the product in each sprint is essential to build better products
- Learn how early Customer feedback is critical to the success
- Learn that even adults can have some fun and draw, paint, dance etc
- Something for board
- Glue sticks
- Voting Dots
- Clear Tape
- Any kinds of Arts Supplies
Rules of the game:
In a flip chart write down the following simple rules for this game:
- The game should be unlike Monopoly. Monopoly is still one of the most sold board games. However, it has its own issues, long gameplay time, a winner in this game takes time etc.
- The game should have a clear start and end.
- Minimum game time should be 10 minutes at the end of three sprints.
- There must movement in the game for the players. For e.g, they could be jumping, running, moving around the table etc.
- Each team can come with its theme for the game. For eg. One version of a game they built Woofopoly – a game for dogs
- Once we build the game, people in the workshops including invited guests will play the game for at least 15 minutes.
There are three parts to this game:
Part 1 – Ideation– 1 Hour 10 minutes
Part 2 – Build And Ship – 1.5 hours Three sprints to get the game ready to ship
Part 3 – Play the game
Part 1: Ideation – 1 Hour 10 minutes
This part when I have skipped ended up in more mess in the actual sprinting process.
Step 1- Pick a theme – 10 minutes Tell the team that they should pick a theme that can compete on the shelves with Monopoly. Encourage them that first they collect all ideas on sticky notes, and then pick one concept from the list.
Step 2- Product backlog Refresher. – 15 minutes Explain What is a Product Backlog, That each item should be an increment of value ( for e.g.) if they write an item called to build a dice, that is not of value as by just building a dice. Introduce Epics, Theme.
Introduce what is a user story and concept of Acceptance Criteria
Step 3 – Write backlog items and get some of them ready. Let the team sit down and write product backlog items – 45 minutes
Given the team time to write some of the stories, have the Product owner in the team order the backlog, and they write acceptance criteria for at least 3 -4 items to start with. One template to use for acceptance criteria is –
- What does it look like
- How does it behave
- What should it not do?
Tell them to capture the discussion around these three questions as acceptance criteria.
Challenge the team if you see stories that do not add an increment of value or look more like tasks. I have them completely restart at times.
Part 2 – Build and Ship
Setup – In this phase, the teams will build the product in three sprints. Each sprint has 27 minutes.
- Sprint planning – 3 minutes
- Day 1 – 8 minutes
- Daily Scrum – 2 minutes
- Day 2 – 8 minutes
- Sprint Review – 3 Minutes
- Sprint Retro – 3 Minutes
Keep a visual indicator for this.
Also generally playing some lively music during the sprints day 1 and day 2, will keep the energy high, ALso before starting sprints take a break. That way you can go all the way
Giving instructions: Tell them how the time would work. Identify a facilitator in each team and tell them to self-score and tell them to follow all the Scrum Practices they have learned so far. Show them how the big timer works. See timer eg below
Start a timer( google one is good) for 27 minutes on a big screen
Let the teams start Scrumming. After the first sprint is over, I give a coaching report of what I observed about how the teams did as far as following the process goes. Not more than a minute per team.
Part 3 – Play – Tell each team to pick a marketing person on the team and do a 30-sec pitch and answer one question – “Why should we play their game”. Once every team has pitched, asked everyone to move to some game and start the timer for 10 minutes. After 3 minutes ask those who played the game their instant feedback to those who built on what they liked about the game and any ideas they see for improvement.
That is it, the simulation ends. As a coach observe for these things
- Did the do their stand up? Did impediments emerge
- Did Scrum Master remove impediments
- Were they following the Scrum Process, sometimes in the fun they have they forget completely about the main reason for this simulation is to practice Scrum.
- Did they create a working at the end of every sprint?