Some say YES, some say NO, I say give it a try and we’ll find out!
The Daily (Stand-Up/Scrum) meeting is for us the most beautiful meeting in Scrum, people should interact and connect to help each other, share valuable information, resonate and inspire one another, build a collective emotional intelligence.
But this does not happen all the time, usually the Daily lacks focus, energy and ends up in a wasted 15 minutes catch-up that brings value to no one. How can we change that and bring the Daily back to where it should be, a fast paced, efficient meeting that helps the team members listen to each other, support and achieve their Sprint Goal throughout the Sprint?
Agile games help us understand agile practices better and experience complex situations that lead to innovative solutions, while creating a safe-to-fail environment. The Agile Coach/Scrum Master plays an important role in ensuring the success of the agile games, as he/she is the one who can make a game amazing or simply destroy it. Bringing an agile game to the team is like a ritual:
1. You create a PLAYFUL atmosphere that welcomes the game
2. You check who would like to participate while explaining the GOAL of the Game
3. You PLAY the Game, giving example or using clear visible instructions
4. You WRAP UP the activity, pointing at the Goal again and learnings taken from the Game
5. Get FEEDBACK from the participants
The Daily Stand-up Game is a very simple and fun activity that can help you bring the Daily back to its original value and perform it fast and efficiently. The Team is motivated to actively listen to each other in order to identify the mistakes they are making and correct them while happening.
We identified 5 common dysfunctions/patterns that surface during the Daily and built personas for each:
Superman - the one who never has an obstacle
The Blogger - the storyteller of the Daily
The Bird Watcher - not making eye contact or staring at one person
The Brocken Record - the one who talks a lot, but nothing relevant for the team
The Parenthesis - the problem solver of the Daily
Basic Rule: if a person is talking and one of the 5 mistakes is noticed, the team members shows him/her the corresponding card. The person then corrects their mistake and continues in the proper way.
Different possibilities to fit your team’s needs:
- SM can start showing the cards in the beginning to show the team members how to play the game and explain cards
- Team members show the cards to each other after getting familiar with the cards
- Team members share one deck of cards so one person has 2 cards, another one has other 2 cards etc.; they need to pay attention together to be able to react to different dysfunctions
- a person showing a card can get a point or a “heart”, whoever receives the card loses a point or gets a “broken heart” - you could even have a Daily Winner at the end of the Daily
- SM can track progress of identified dysfunctions and conduct deeper investigation if necessary, on an individual or team level
Benefits of the Game:
1. You get rid of the 'funeral Daily' feeling and bring ENERGY back to the meeting
2. GAMIFICATION increases participation and interest for Team members
3. Undercover TRAINING - instead having a formal training on how to conduct Daily, you bring it through a game
4. People LISTEN more carefully to what is being said in the Daily
5. SELF-AWARENESS - people realise they are making mistakes that affect the Team dynamics and collaboration
* Whoever is bringing the Game to its Team needs to respect the most important rule: to make it PLAYFUL. If you show a card to a colleague, you need to do it in a funny/fun/pleasant way that does not offend anyone. A playful reaction can usually disarm anyone.
* The Game is continually being improved; new cards with positive messages to celebrate achievements and signal collaboration and high performance are currently WIP.
* The Game does not work for everybody, same as for Scrum. Some teams loved this activity, others did not. That’s the agile flavour - we need to Inspect & Adapt.
For obtaining the professional printed card deck go to our friends Devika and Simon from Agile Stationery.
Photo from agilestationery.co.uk