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    Check your mindset

    July 2nd, 2018

    I’ve created a new activity to validate the learning and the mindset (fixed vs. Agile). I am looking for a community input to improve this activity, all suggestion are welcome! please visit the following website and drag and drop each statement into the appropriate section.

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    The Core Beliefs of Waterfall, Agile and Lean

    October 30th, 2017

    Suggested Duration: 30 Mins.

    Recommended Size: 9 to 12 people

    Needed Supplies: Printed Copies of Core beliefs of Waterfall, Agile and Lean

    Procedure: Download the core beliefs file, print file using single side using landscape page format and cut each paper into four equally sized portions. Lines are marked on the sheets. In the end, you should have printed statements on a index size cards.

    Place three main cards (The Core beliefs of Waterfall, Agile and Lean) on the table in a row.

    Shuffle the rest of the cards and ask participants to read one by one using a round-robin fashion. After each read, a group can discuss, agree and place the card under the associated approach.

    As a facilitator, you may have to re-emphasize essential learning points and guide team appropriately throughout the activity.

    This learning activity does not only improve the basic knowledge of Waterfall, Agile and Lean but also help participants to identify the differences between each belief system.

    Before you run with your team, I suggest providing them a quick overview and highlights main characteristics of each approach. I ran this exercise couple of times in my PMI-ACP Exam Prep session as well as with my coaching clients and made the following observations.

    • Almost every single person recognized statements related to waterfall
    • People are having difficulty in distinguishing between Agile and Lean. Most of the time you will hear that, but we do the same in Agile)

    Good luck and please do provide your observations and ways to improve this activity, so we all can benefit from it.

    Correct Answers can be found at 360PMO blog post


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    Traditional vs. Agile Approach of Managing Work

    May 31st, 2016

    I have developed this game with the help of John Moura sometime back in mid-2013. Since then I am actively using it in almost all of my training sessions. This game simulates both waterfall and agile environments. After the activity, in the debriefing section, practitioners able to recognize the differences between waterfall/ silo team structure vs. Agile/Collaborative team environment.


    – Crayons
    – Scissors (2 to 3 per team)
    – Coloring pages: use any, but I prefer to use Easter egg sheets ( print an average of 30 sheets per team)

    Time Required:
    30 minutes for the activity and 15-20 minutes for debriefing

    Divided the group into multiple small teams (sub-group). Ideally, each team size should be between 3-5 members. Each team will have a minimum of three roles. i.e. cutter, painter, and a tester/QA. If you have a large group, increase the painters (persons responsible for coloring).

    Rules of the Game
    1. Each egg must have at least two different colors
    2. Two separate people must complete each coloring activity
    3. Each egg should be minimum 90% filled with color
    4. White space doesn’t count as a color
    5. Cutting must be around oval edges of the egg
    6. Eggs with major distractions in cutting will be disqualified

    How to Win
    The team that produces the greatest number of colorful eggs will win (with minimum waste).

    The game will be played with two approaches; the first approach is a traditional waterfall and the second method is using iterative/incremental

    Method 1: Plan driven approach with traditional/silo team structure


    Facilitator assigns the roles to each team member. (e.g. cutter, painters, tester)
    Each team member will work in his/her silo which means only the cutter is allowed to cut the paper, painter allowed to color and tester will perform inspection and verify the acceptance criteria
    Facilitator accepts or rejects the work based on the rules defined above

    Total time allowed is 12 minutes: 3 minutes planning, 6 minutes of cutting/coloring activities, and 3 minutes for lessons learned.
    The team is to provide estimates after 3 minutes of planning on a number of eggs they will try to finish within 6 minutes.

    Method 2: Multiple iterations with a cross-functional team structure


    In this method, a team is self-organized, no silos. Any team member can work on any task e.g. cutter is allowed to do coloring and painter is allowed to cut the egg. This section of the game is divided into three iterations

    Each iteration will be 4 minutes long: 1-minute planning, 2 minutes of cutting/coloring activities, and 1 minute to do review/retrospective.
    Team to provide an estimate after each planning session for the Sprint

    What did you notice? Observations? You can discuss the following area:

    • Team structure
    • Waste
    • Push vs. Pull system
    • Lesson Learned vs. Retrospectives
    This game originally published at 360PMO

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    Daily Stand Up Simulation

    January 26th, 2016

    Daily Stand-up is the most visible and widely used Agile practice. This Stand-up simulation works quite well with either team, new, that never run the stand-ups before or experienced team, looking to make their stand-ups more productive. For new teams, I normally run “Yes and Story” Improv game before this simulation. This way group gets a fair understanding of team collaboration and what it takes to build upon each other’s work.

    I have also run this simulation with few other variations in the script. It helped me highlights more dysfunctions e.g. one team member start explaining way too much detail or one team member showed up late and asking questions about the information that was already shared earlier, or a manager showed up in the stand-up and start questioning the status of the tasks.

    Like any other agile game, debriefing or reflecting upon the activity is the most important element. I have listed few questions that will help you facilitate the debriefing section.


    15 minutes simulation and reflection could take another 30 minutes


    • Pen
    • Index Cards
    • A Script for each team member. You can use a below script or download pre-formatted pdf


    1. DAVE – Skills: Development
    Yesterday: did pair programming with John. We have finished coding of ORDER TRACKING story. I’ve also investigated the PERFORMANCE SPIKE
    Today: I have few code reviews pending that I am planning to finish. I’ll call out design review meeting for PRINT STORY and document my finding on PERFORMANCE SPIKE
    Impediment: I couldn’t get a hold of an Architect to discuss my PERFORMANCE SPIKE results. I’ll try to get a hold of him today
    2. SARA – Skills: User Documentation, Organization Communications
    Yesterday: Created a documentation for ORDER STATUS story
    Today: I’ll finish and send out the first draft for everyone’s review
    Impediment: I have no impediment
    3. RAMESH – Skills: Database Administration
    Yesterday: I have created a structure for QUEUE MANAGER table. I will move my task to done
    Today: I have a plan to upgrade third party component in a test environment. Just so you all know, I’ll be out from 2 to 3 pm for my dentist appointment. Let me know if anyone of you requires any additional help in this Sprint
    Impediment: None so far
    4. MOHAMMAD – Skills: Quality Assurance, Testing, and Automation
    Yesterday: I finished testing ORDER TRACKING STORY, found one unusual behavior. I have already discussed with Dave, and he asked me to log as a defect.
    Today: I suppose to continue executing test cases for the same story but the nightly build is failing, so I can’t continue. I need someone to look into this issue.
    5. JOHN – Skills: Development
    Yesterday: I did pair programming with Dave and discussed the issue reported by Mohammad
    Today: I will check the build problem, most likely it is due to the merge in the last sprint. Once the issue is resolved, I will continue my coding of SEARCH STORY
    Impediment: I have no impediment
    STEVE – Scrum Master
    Thanks, everyone. I would like to give you a quick update on API dependency. I talked to the other development team, and API required for PAYMENT FEATURE will be ready by next week. Dave (Developer), please let me know if you are unable to get hold of the architect by noon. Sara (document specialist), can you also copy me when you send out your first draft.

    How to run the Simulation

    You required a typical size of the scrum team, if you have a large audience, choose few volunteers to take a part in the simulation and rest of the audience can observe and participate in the reflection discussion

    1. Briefly explain the stand-up format to the team
    2. Distribute index cards with script to each team member
    3. Explain the skills they carry
    4. Ask them to read their script silently first to make sure they are comfortable
    5. Ask them to stand in a circle and start reading the script loud one by one
    6. The reading should be sequential in order (the sequence number written on top right corner of the index card)
    7. As a facilitator, you can stand outside the circle. When I have smaller team size, I end up playing a Scrum Master role


    I start with the first question and then usually do not follow any particular order. Some of the interesting question you might ask:

    1. What are your observations?
    2. How daily Scrum or Stand ups are different than traditional status report meetings? (expect some good discussion especially if you have project manager in your group)
    3. What are your thoughts on team’s collaboration? What are the signs of collaboration you notice? Did team build on each other’s work?
    4. How many impediments did you hear? What are those?
    5. Did everyone follow the standup format? What I did yesterday. What I am planning to do today and Impediment/obstacle if any
    6. Did any you notice that the architect is not part of the team? Or DBA is not fully assigned to this team? How to deal this type of situations?
    7. What are your thoughts if one member was remote?
    8. Did Scrum Master answer three questions in the stand-up?
    9. Did anyone notice that no one refer to Product Owner?
    10. Is it mandatory for Scrum Master and Product Owner to attend a stand-up?

    How did your simulation go? Did you play multiple times with the same group? Did your variation expose some more dysfunctions? I would love to hear your feedback.

    This game originally published at

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