Agile History in the Making

‘No one enjoys their job as much as you do. You have way too much fun.’

– Grumpy

Agile Games Day

This Monday marked the day of yet another of Agile Firsts. It was the first time in Agile history that the XP Game and Business Value Game were played, back to back, in a single day, at work.

Learning Through Fun and Games

The day began with a frenetic ice breaker exercise during which participants introduced themselves to three different people, tasked with finding out three interesting facts each about one another, spending only three minutes per pair. What’s striking about this exercise is the rapidity with which folks are able to identify the things they have in common in so short an exchange, such as their mutual passion for cricket and life experience as parents with small children.

XP Game Teams: The Ones vs Agilites

Next, we moved straight onto the first game of the day: the world-renowned XP Game invented by Pascal Van Cauwenberghe and Vera Peeters. The XP Game is a great induction into what being part of an Agile team feels like. Who would have thought that blowing up balloons, building houses out of cards and folding origami paper boats and hats could teach you so much about iteration planning, estimating and velocity? Thanks to Pascal and Vera, work is made fun again, with quality built into everything we do.

Witness the intensity of concentration on furrowed brows in the pictures. Can you feel the buzzing activity as folks work hard at completing user stories with the highest business value possible? Now, look around your work place. Are you surrounded by such enthusiasm and dedication? If not, playing the XP Game with your team may be an antidote to corporate inertia and ennui.

Roles and Responsibilities

Next up was a team exercise to define what being an Agile Team Member means. ‘Agile’s about being creative,’ cautioned one participant as he put coloured pen to paper and started scribbling. ‘It’s nice to work in a colourful team space,’ he added with a shy smile.

Business Value Game: The Cake Eaters vs The Cake Snatchers

To complete the Agile Games Day, we played the all new Business Value Game, also brought to you by Pascal and Vera. What’s striking about the games Pascal and Vera create is their relentless pursuit of learning through fun and games. The games demonstrate time and time again that to do great work, you have to have fun.

The most important lesson that runs through both games is collaboration. To win, you have to work as a team. If it’s that simple, why doesn’t everyone do it?

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