• Bella Trenkova

Remote Agile Games:: Puppets and Puppeteers

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

This is the Sesame Street version of another game often played during Intro to Agile classes. We used funny characters to illustrate a couple of the key tenets of Agile, and one of the biggest differences between organizations "doing Agile" vs organizations "being Agile" - distributed decision making and team self-organization.


Enjoy! (it is okay to laugh a little too)


Taught Agile Concepts

  • Distributed decision-making,

  • Team self-organization,

  • Sprint 0,

  • Retrospective.

Participants:

  • 2 teams (team Elmo, and team Cookie Monster) – 1 “Puppet,” 1 “Puppeteer,” and 1 PO in each,

  • 1 Facilitator,

  • (the rest of the observers can cheer for their favorite puppet).

Props:



  • Stopwatch (“Alarms and Clocks” Windows app, or analogous).

Prep / Sprint 0:

  • Ask for volunteers to participate and let them choose teams and roles. (Facilitator)

  • Instantiate the Game Board and invite the participants. (Facilitator)

  • Team members get Editor access to the respective board.

  • Everyone gets View access.

  • Explain the game rules and objectives to the teams. (Facilitator)

  • Give the teams 3 min to choose their communication method – they need to be able to communicate effectively in private, preferably without crossing wires with the other team. (Teams)

Game Rules:

  • A puppet can move only once square at a time – left/right, up/down, but never diagonally.

  • A puppet cannot step on Oscar the Grouch – that would be game over!

  • A puppet cannot step on the other puppet – that would be rude! (and game over).

Game Objective:

  • Get to the opposite corner faster than your opponent.

Game Activities:

Sprint 1:

  • The Facilitator starts the stopwatch.

  • Each Puppeteer gives their Puppet a command for where to go next (e.g. “D1” or “F2”).

  • The Puppet can move only after they receive the command from the Puppeteer.

  • The PO monitors the communication channel to ensure the puppets follow the given direction.

  • Each team moves at its own speed.

  • The Facilitator makes a note of the elapsed time.

Sprint 2:

  • The game board is reset. This time, the Puppeteers step back and only watch.

  • The Facilitator starts the stopwatch.

  • The Puppets move at their own pace, following the above rules.

  • The Facilitator makes a note of the elapsed time and compares it to Sprnt1. (Hint: expect to see dramatic cycle time reduction!)

Retrospective:

  • Engage the participants in a discussion about what they noticed in the 2 sprints.

  • Summarize the importance of decentralized decision making and team empowerment.

  • Ask the participants if they can think of concrete examples of how they can implement this principle in their daily work.


*We used the Google Jamboard and Sheets apps because a) the team we piloted the game with are big fans of the G-suite, and b) the tools are simple, accessible, and free for anyone else to use. You can modify the game to fit the toolset your team is most familiar with.

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