Agile 2009 report: Wednesday

Good morning ChicagoGames, games games

toc_consultantWe innovated with The Bottleneck Game to be able to accomodate more participants: Portia and I ran two parallel simulations with two groups. Between each round, everybody got back together to share lessons and improvements. As it was only the second time we’d run the game this way, we were a bit nervous. But the game went very smoothly. By the end our smiling participants were uncertified Theory of Constraints consultants. From now on, they’ll see bottlenecks everywhere.

One of the participants who played the role of consultant when so far to as to plot the game on his portable whiteboard so that we knew our cycle time and could see where there were hiccups in the process.

The Business Value Game was too crowded and noisy.  We wanted to limit the number of players because we know that too large teams have difficulty to reach consensus. Unfortunately, the room wasn’t large enough to let extra participants sit on the sides as observer.

Business Value PlayersTelling Your Stories: Why Stories are important for your team by Johanna Hunt and Rachel Davies

In this interactive workshop we got to tell stories with the help of different sets of cards. A simple, fairytale-like set of cards led us to tell a meandering story about foxes, witches, queens and treasure. A more complex set of cards with multiple meanings led to a nightmare-like, surreal story with incoherent jumps.

Telling stories allows us to add meaning and emotion to the information we’re giving. The cards add a tactile and visual element to touch on more of our learning modes, not just hearing or reading. These techniques are useful for retrospectives, training and coaching.

‘Flirting’ With Your Customers by Jenni Dow and Ole Jepsen

Another interactive session, where Jenni and Ole used a flirting metaphor to help us to connect and communicate better with our co-workers. The session was built around and eight step model:

  • Radar: first you have to be aware of yourself and your environment
  • Target: you have to choose who you need to connect to
  • Move in: show interest in the other’s perspective and connect
  • Back of a little: give the other person the room, the option, to connect with your or not
  • Open up: share something personal
  • Dance: have fun together
  • Get real: overcome problems together
  • Enjoy!

The flirting metaphor was unexpected and could have been awkward, but Jenni and Ole’s humour and the openness of the participants made it a fun session.


There are a lot more interesting sessions on Thursday. Looking at the program the theme for the day is likely to be “Business Analysis” because I think it’s essential and we’re still not getting it right. Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to miss Tsutomo Yasui’s Kanban Game.

More about today’s sessions later.

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