Wicked Awesome time in Boston!

Mike having an awesome time in Boston

Just under a week back home and I finally have the chance to write about the most amazing time at the first Agile Games Conference in Boston. The conference was hosted by Agile Bazaar, a dedicated  and leading edge Agile group in the Boston Area.

I had the pleasure of meeting a phenomenal group of experienced, Agile coaches, practitioners, fellow speakers and in addition those who were completely new to Agile. I thank everyone I met for your spirit and enthusiasm for the event and the topic of Agile Games.

The highlights (in no particular order):

  • The realization that there are a lot more people than I thought who are interested or expert at working with games and experiential learning for Agile
  • I was able to run some new games on retrospectives and estimation (I will be posting in the weeks to follow).
  • New games were developed by attendees of the conference (I also hope will be posted here in the weeks to come).

New Games Created at Deep Agile

The creation of new games by conference attendees was pretty wicked. As we were planning the conference I saw the opportunity to run a games design session prior to the open space program on the second say. I thought I might inspire or perhaps cajole a few people into trying to use the open space format to build and run a new game. To my delight, three new games were created that day and two were run. Both were totally the product and inspiration of the people who created them. I simply explained how Don and I create games: the process we apply, the principles we follow and the things that inspire us. It really is not as hard as you might think and this was the point we wanted to make.

The Backlog is in the Eye of the Beholder

Michael Sahota championed one of the games that emerged from this exercise, “The Backlog is in the Eye of the Beholder”. This powerful game demonstrates the importance of identifying and leveraging different views to better manage a  product backlog. I really look forward to trying this one myself. Again , I hope to post how to execute this game in the near future. Below is a picture of the whole team, Michael is third from the left. I will add the rest of the names soon. If you see yourself, send me note and I’ll update the post with your name.

Team that created the Backlog is in the Eye of the Beholder at Deep Agile
Team that created the Backlog is in the Eye of the Beholder at Deep Agile
Playing Backlog is in the eye of the Beholder

Plumb Crazy

John Martin along with his teammate David Hallowell, championed another excellent game “Plumb Crazy”. This clever game demonstrates the challenges that can emerge when individuals feel they are making progress but the team is not really delivering value. I look forward to using this one too. Again, I do hope to have this one published later this summer. Below is a picture of John(left)  and David (right).

John and David, creators of Plumb Crazy

And here is a group playing the game!

Playing Plumb Crazy
Playing Plumb Crazy... that's hackerchick far right!

Diverse and Dedicated Experiential Games People

As I mentioned earlier, it was great for me to be surrounded by people who take games and experiential learning seriously. I find tremendous value in these techniques and it reassuring to know I am not the only one who thinks so. A thank you to Tobias Mayer, Lyssa Adkins, Portia Tung and my good buddy Don McGreal for being an inspiration to me. Thanks also to Brian Bozutto and Michael de la Mazza for actually conceiving of a conference focused on Agile games and having the courage and dedication to make it happen.

Some New Games Coming

I will soon post the new games that I did at the conference. One is a contextual game to set the stage for retrospectives called “Balloon Madness”. I will also post the retrospective approaches I introduced as well as some I learned including the poetic and now popular “Liked, Lacked, Longed for”. By the way, that was from a nice lady from South Carolina, second from the left in the picture of the “Backlog is in the Eye of the Beholder” team. I also spoke with Francois Bachmann many times through the conference . Francois has a deep interest in retrospectives and showed me a really unique set of cards to help drive more effective retrospectives.

The other game that I ran was the Domino Effect which is a game that illustrates the impact on software development when timelines are arbitrarily shortened. The point demonstrated is that software is not like painting walls and the technical debt that is accumulated by rushing can not be accommodated with simply extending the timeline.

More to Come

But I need some sleep.

Posted by Michael McCullough

One thought on “First Agile Games Conference at #DeepAgile”

  1. Could you do a post about Plumb Crazy, or make any other suggestions about games that show how individual progress isn’t very good without the whole team making progress? I have a team that could really use a hands-on experience to get this point across

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