Workshop tales: scaling games to teach Agile/Scrum

By Posted in - Agile on March 7th, 2011 0 Comments
Resort Brochure sample

Resort Brochure sample

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:

View more presentations from Gerry Kirk

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.



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