Send as many “Balls” as possible through all Player’s cells in 3 minutes!
This is our remote version (WFH) of the famous Ball Point Game designed by Boris Gloger, to be played by teams remotely.
Teams running this activity will understand key agile principles in a fun and hands-on way, while realizing the constrains and possibilities that remote work and technology can bring to our context.
Players will experience and learn about Flow, Self Organization, Feedback Loops, Collaboration, and Continuous improvement.
The session should take 45-60 minutes.
- 15′ for the facilitator to explain the game
- 30′ to play 3 rounds including strategy meeting + execution + scoring
- 15′ debrief, take-aways, and feedback.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- A copy of the Google doc board template, with edit permissions shared with all participants.
- Videoconference platform accesible by all participants. For multi-team game we recommend Zoom to take advantage of its breakout rooms feature.
- Timer to control the 3 minutes rounds and the 2 minute strategy/planning meeting, i.e: https://www.online-stopwatch.com/full-screen-stopwatch/ can ran in a separate tab in the facilitator browser and it rings when time finishes.
- And, of course, an stable internet connection for all participants.
- Adjust Board to number of Players.
- Each Player takes care of 1 cell.
- Copy & Paste Boards for a multi-Team Game, see section below for further details.
- Before each round, agree the Team strategy for the next iteration and estimate the number of Balls that can be completely processed in one round of 3 minutes (2 minutes).
- Player 1 sends sentence “Ball #1.#2” to another player, being #1 the number of the Ball, and #2 the number of their station.
- Players send sentence(s) (Balls) to another Player by editing+CUT+pasting them into another player’s cell (work space).
- Editing the “Ball”:
- Normal player (everyone but play 1) must add the number of their station to the sentence before sending it to the next player. e.g: Player in station 5 receives “Ball 22.214.171.124.4” (Ball 13 that has been already processed in stations 1 to 4. Changes the text to “Ball 126.96.36.199.4.5” (the number of their station), and cut&paste the sentence into the next Player cell. When the Ball has been processed by all Players/stations e.g: “Ball 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.8” it needs to be sent back to Player 1.
- Player 1 (Starter) is the only player who can add new Balls/sentences. New Balls must keep a sequential order. example after creating “Ball 14.1” she needs to create “Ball 15.1”. Can add new balls at any time. When she receives a Ball already processed by all Players/stations she needs to re-enter it into the cycle as a new Ball. e.g: receives “Ball 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.8”, changes it to “Ball 25.1” and cut&paste it into the next player’s cell.
- Round finishes after 3 minutes. Update score board with Balls delivered (fully processed) and wasted (partially processed).
- Before starting the next round, each team has 2 minutes to decide on improvements to implement in the next round.
- After last round, wrap-up session and debrief learnings and take-aways. Ideally: decide which of these learnings should be applied to the Team ways of working.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MULTIPLE TEAMS
We know that any efficient team has around 5 to 9 members. When facilitating for bigger groups we have 2 options:
- Taking the traditional game approach by creating a healthy competition among different teams, or
- Combining the work of those Teams creating dependencies between them.
To combine the work among Teams, you’ll need to identify the origin of the Team Ball as “Ball1A.1″, B, C, etc. And you’ll need to decide the type of dependency, that we recommend it to be easy enough to handle.
Example: Cross-Sign-Offs (teams of 6)
- Team A needs to get approval from Team B station 3, Team B needs to get approval from Team C station 3, etc.
- The last member of Team A when receiving the ball “Ball5A22.214.171.124.5.6”, instead of transferring the Ball back to station 1 to complete the loop, needs to transfer it to the station 3 in Team A by changing the text to “Ball5A126.96.36.199.5.6.B3” and copy&pasting it to other team’s board.
- Station 3 will sign off by writing their station in the ball “Ball5A188.8.131.52.5.6.B3.A3” and transferring it back to Station 1 of team A.
- Station 1, as the Starter, will reset the ball to the next number in the sequence, i.e: “Ball13A.1” and will restart the cycle.
As facilitator, you can add some options to ‘complicate’ the work-to-be-done with the intent to get additional learnings and take-aways:
- Play all or some rounds with everyone on MUTE.
- Play all or some rounds with JUST Player 1 able to speak (to guide the group)
- Remove first Strategy agreement by mandating the Team to work directly without practice either planning.
- Penalty for uncompleted work. Waste = Balls not fully processed.
- Facilitator can add at any time during the round in progress, special balls “BallX” which score x10 and needs to be managed differently.
- For dependant multi-team games, you can use different boards (google docs) for each team and you can create breakout rooms with Zoom to avoid communication between teams, or to ‘force’ them to communicate via the chat feature.
IMPROVEMENTS AND MODIFICATIONS FROM PEOPLE USING THE GAME 🙂
- Implement the board game in Miro, or any online whiteboard tool, as an alternative to Google Docs. (by Saif)
- Implement the board game in Trello, or any virtual Kanban board, taking advantage of its drag&drop feature where every column is managed by one player. (by María Berenguer & Victor Fairén)
- Add the original rule “Balls can’t be passed to your direct neighbour to your immediate left or right“. (by Saif)
I wish you enjoy, share and learn with this game. Once you do so, I´d appreciate it if you could use it taking the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License into consideration. Many Thanks 🙂