Workshop tales: scaling games to teach Agile/Scrum
How would you introduce Agile/Scrum to participants of a Tourism conference in 2 hours? For me, the Tourism Brochure game seemed like a natural fit. Participants get a chance to experience the entire Scrum process, from feature brainstorming and prioritization to product demo and retrospective.
All was well, until I discovered later that there might be 70 participants at the session (note to self: inquire about session size when making proposal). Yikes! I then went to work on ways to scale the game with just one facilitator aka my plan to keep my sanity intact.
Scaling the resort brochure game
Preparation was key. I spent an inordinate amount of time creating supplementary material:
- sample brochure to see what the final destination will look like
- task boards and progress charts drawn up for each team
- pre-made backlog of stickies for each team (thanks Don for the feature suggestions!)
- slides (see below) to indicate at every step what we are doing, how much time we have and when to stop current activity
- music to play during activities, with the end of the music signalling end of activity. My iPod came in handy for this.
- material kits for each table, with plenty of fun stuff to keep the spirits up
- a concept map to fill in the Scrum Framework and a sample note taking sheet
Insights from facilitating
- Provide clear instructions for people to understand concepts, which includes multiple learning methods. This workshop in some ways ran smoother than some smaller ones I’ve facilitated. There was less confusion, increased flow of activity. You can scale much better with the right supports in place.
- Keep steps as simple as possible. Each step in the process was kept small and focused, making it easier to follow.
- Demonstrate by example. For the product review/demo, I helped one team do their demo while the other groups watched. That gave me a chance to go through what needed to be done and why. It produced several teaching moments, and increased the value of the other group’s product review sessions.
- Keep the fun and energy levels up to make everything go smoother. The music and materials added a sense of play and excitement to the game.
- 8 teams need more than one facilitator. Had there been one more person, teams could have had questions answered more quickly, or gone less astray during an activity. To compensate, I added time to some activities in order to get around to tables.
- Sharon Bowman‘s Training from the Back of the Room continues to yield excellent results for me. I had plenty of energy left, even after a hectic two hours because the participants, not me, were the centre of attention. Opening and closing discussions, small table activities kept them busy and learning together, with me as their ‘guide on the side’ as Sharon likes to say.