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    JargonBust

    October 27th, 2015

    Timing: 15 minutes or so (flex), can be inserted into any meeting to liven things up

    Materials:

    This is mostly a verbal game, no special supplies required except for small pieces of paper (can use postits) and writing implements.

    If making a master list (see option) a marker and paper taped to wall or dry-erase board will be needed for display.

    Instructions:

    1. Players think about words that are so overused in the Agile lexicon that they have become meaningless or hard to define.  They write them down on the small pieces of paper and fold them in half and place them in a pile in the middle of the table. (2 mins)

    2. Players self-organize into two teams. (1 min)  Teams take turns selecting a piece of paper and making sure everyone on that team only can see and understand the word.

    4. On the team that selects first, someone volunteers to start providing a definition/description to the other team without using any form of the selected word.

    5. If the volunteer accidentally says the word when trying to define/describe it, at that point another team member takes over.

    6. Play proceeds until the other team guesses the word.

    7. The two teams switch.

    Option: make a master list of all the words submitted before the play begins. These are all forbidden to use in the descriptions, no matter what word is being described.

    Learning Points:

    More precise ability to articulate key agile concepts free of their associated jargon

    Reality check on how closely aligned a team is in its understanding of key agile concepts

    Fine-tuning of shared mental models of the knowledge work attempted and fulfilled

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    Mobile Introspection (aka Opening Your Curatorial Eye)

    November 25th, 2013

    Everyone has a different outlook, and this game is to understand and describe the lenses we use to see the world so teams can better navigate complex environments.

    Timing:  60-90 mins (flexible, but less than one hour will be rushed)

    People: can be done solo or with a group

    Materials: notebook/sketchpad and a camera

    Pick a place: e.g. a downtown urban area, gallery or art center, flea market, natural history museum.  Any visually rich setting can inspire and illuminate.

    Simply walk around and look.  Study patterns in what pulls the gaze.  This is a powerful technique for opening yourself to greater situational awareness and visual sensitivity in your surroundings.

    As you walk with a sketchbook in hand, notice what attracts you visually, what leaves you cold, what makes you uncomfortable.

    Make notes and watch especially for repetition.  Use the basic terms from this sheet (or make your own) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W-bEvPmddjPdzS3KAckewZycEufDc3-BNU1TiYTlkBg/edit

    Pictured: Hive by Jaime Kriksciun, geometric, neutral, biomorphic

    Detect and describe the shapes (organic, geometric), forms (biomorphic, monolithic), colors (primary, pastel, muted, monochrome), and other features (figurative, mechanical, abstract) you find most compelling.

    If done in a group, conduct a mini-retro, share photos and debrief from the experience.

    art studios, Erector Square, New Haven

    Learning Points: You will leave with new ways to articulate what you see so that others can appreciate your experience of looking.   If done as part of a group, team members will learn more about each other’s preferences, style and proclivities.

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    Mind Reading

    September 8th, 2013

    Timing: takes about 40 minutes

    Overview: This game is for exploring team members’ responsibility to ask questions to find out the criteria for success, and to understand the importance of close collaboration with the customer/Product Owner to the success of a project.  

     

    Materials Needed: just regular white copy paper, enough for three pieces per person

    Instructions:

    Ask this opening question: at the start of most of your team’s projects, are most of the criteria for success known or unknown? How do the unknowns become known? – spend about 3-4 minutes discussing

     

    Pass out a piece of standard white copy paper to every one in the group.

     

    Iteration 1: someone volunteers to be the PO. Facilitator takes them off to the corner, and whispers to them the “product” they’re looking for – e.g. paper airplane. Ask group members to make something with the paper that they think the PO would like, giving them 5 minutes. Then bring PO back, have them go around and accept or reject the products they have made. Discuss how it felt to problem solve under those conditions, and assess the results.

     

    Iteration 2: a different person volunteers to be the PO. Facilitator takes them off to the corner, and whispers to them the “product” they’re looking for – e.g. paper boat, then brings PO back to the table. Inform group members they can ask Yes or No questions to find out what they should make. Give them 5 minutes to ask questions and make something. Discuss how it felt to problem-solve under those conditions, and assess the results.

     

    Iteration 3: a different person volunteers to be the PO. Facilitator takes them to a corner and hands them a piece of paper with printed instructions for making something – e.g., a paper hat, then brings PO back to the table. Inform group members they can ask the PO anything they wish in order to make the right product. Give them 5 minutes to ask questions and make something.  Give them 5 more minutes to play and embellish if they’re having fun.  Discuss how it felt to problem-solve under those conditions, and assess the results.

     

    Finish by asking the three Product Owners what it felt like to play those roles, and what the group observed about itself as a team moving through the three iterations.

    Learning Points:

    noticing the frustration and isolation of having to “mind read” versus the opportunity to ask questions

    not taking the customer/PO’s availability for granted – asking useful questions that will enable the team to progress

    encountering inner resistance about what questions are “okay” to ask when things are really open-ended – removing the constraints we put on ourselves

     

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