Summary

If you are looking for a Scrum simulation game where you can experience iterative approach to product development, observe the impact of the continuous improvement process on the product quality and observe how self-organization works, then ScrumTale is the one to try!

ScrumTale board with Story Cards

Time: 4-6h (depending on the number of teams)
Participants: 8-17 (one or two Scrum teams)

Goals:

  • Practice Scrum framework
  • Experience iterative product development
  • Build high performing teams

Unique game concept: Crime Story as a Product

ScrumTale uses the concept of collaborative story writing to teach Scrum framework and Agile principles. What makes this simulation game so powerful is the tangible outcome – the story reflects all the issues that the product development teams are struggling with: communication, quality, integration, etc.

What do you need

  • ScrumTale box
  • Spacious room (40+ square meters)
  • Flipchart or big whiteboard
  • Projector
  • Laptops are required for the participants

You need to reserve about 5-6h for the simulation including: warm-up, lunch break and debrief. Required time is slightly shorter – about 4-5h in case of single Scrum team. 

Crime stories and feature teams

Basic setup is designed for 11-17 participants (two Scrum teams). Each team has to deliver one story for the book series (similarly to one of Sherlock Holmes books). The stories are independent as they describe different mysteries, however they need to be consistent, as the book series should be. There is also the detective character, who must be the same person in both stories. It’s a good reference to the feature teams concept. Teams have limited dependencies, separate product, but use the same library of driver (the detective) and the same coding style (story style, climate, place and time).

Gameplay

Product Vision and Backlog Refinement

Simulation starts with a timeboxed product vision meeting, so everybody can align on the same vision for the story (facilitator plays the customer role in the game). PO gets user stories from the customer (user story represents chunks of the story like “Describe the Detective character” or “Add interrogation scene”). Together with the development team, they organize the backlog (backlog refinement).

3 Sprints

Then teams have 3 sprints to deliver the stories. After each sprint there is a review (demo) session. It’s an important inspection point, because both stories are read out loud for crowd review. It’s so easy to assess product quality, integration and developers’ skills just by reading the story. It’s not possible in other simulations like Lego.

Debrief

After the final Demo, comes the Debrief – most valuable part of the workshop. It’s a great opportunity to summarize all observations and insights regarding iterative product development, quality, integration, team dynamics and much more.

Summary

Writing is very universal – no IT knowledge is needed to play the game. At the same time it is a perfect reflection of all the common problems with Agile adoption – that is why playing this game is a fantastic aid not only for Scrum kick-off but also for teams that are using it but want to be more effective as all the issues will bubble-out for further analysis.

Apart from that, ScrumTale is a very creative and engaging exercise that brings a lot of fun to learning concepts of Agile methods.

Visit the official website for more details about the simulation game: https://ScrumTale.com

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