Agile, evo and kanban games

As part of the MSc summer projects preparation I ran a number of workshops and lectures on agile, evo and kanban related topics. These all went well. Some of them were being run for the second time (agile with Lego and the Evo workshop), so they went smoother, while the kanban game was new. I dropped James Shore’s agile customer game and put the kanban game in its place as it seemed more important to run the kanban exercises instead.

The Lego game went much better this year than last. We stayed alert to students trying to pre-build sections and also ran it much better to time. It was good to see that they quickly picked up the details and learned the value of planning which features they were trying to build each iteration instead of just starting to build without planning. See, agile does have planning.

The evo game is based on Ryan Shriver’sMeasurable Value with Agile‘ article, and still needs some work to integrate it better with Tom Gilb’s worksheets on requirements and such like. The ‘game’ is lurking in there and now that I’ve seen a few other software development games, I think I can see how to make this better for the future.

The kanban game was from Tsutomu Yasui, who presented it at Agile 2009. It went real well by the third variation and has probably helped the students manage their own kanban boards on their projects over the summer. The game shows the benefits of applying limits to your work, so starts with a version where you don’t apply limits to the work in progress and then starts adding them in to show how this helps speed development. This worked quite well and I know that I’ll defiantly run it again in the future.

All of these games were run after a lecture/discussion of the topic so they helped to embed the ideas for the students, who could see more than just diagrams, and words about the topic. The game helped show the ideas in practice. I wish we could do this more often with other classes, as this format of lecture, break and then workshop worked real well. It made for an intense week, but worked real well as a prelude to the students working on their group projects.

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