Agile Game Lab #16 @DaWanda

It was my pleasure to join the agile game community in Berlin.
After a short-term location-switch, the evening was hosted at the DaWanda Snuggery.

It is a combination of showroom, café and event-location, equipped and fully stuffed with things that is also available from the well-known website.

Some of the items are heavily worn. Some of them are upcycled, some are new from recycled material. The strange thing about that is, You are never sure from first sight whether a thing is site equipment or item for sale.

But You get help. The items for sale have small tags attached to them and are slightly more present than the rest. In the end it is a version how Your or mine place could look like. And as far as I understood, that is the most important feature/function of the Snuggery. So, target hit. 🙂

First challenge: English!

Due to the fact, that more international guests (and hosts!) are joining in Berlin than in – let’s say Leipzig – it seems to be pretty standard to interact in English there. I wasn’t really aware of that (could have imagined!) so I did not prepare anything in English. I think, I did it quite OK. Sometimes I noticed a little lack of instruction at participants’ side. Maybe I have to work on that. But later. When the next occasions come my way. Now the challenge is to “Keep calm” and – not! – to iterate.

Next challenge: pitching

As I was “so prepared” – I knew what I wanted. Therefore, I finished my session Post-Its as first and pitched as first.
If I had known what’s to come, I might have hold myself a little more back. But that it is if You want to fail early and need feedback to work against usual biases in product development.

As always (obviously used Post-Its, familiar from photos of past events), first we did an Open Space pitching for participants on two tracks, divided by a short break.

I was focused (slightly narrow targeted) on doing UFG and my own development “Everyday Agile“.

I really like to get an idea of the other offers, especially “party at my building” which is not published, yet.

As I also experienced on other occasions, UFG was of more interest for the people than EA.
That’s OK for me. Content is more important than creator. J

First round: UFG

As my hospitality gift, I brought Jan Fischbach’s Ubongo Flow Game to the community.

We hardly found the minimum number of players as we started. But after a short call to the crowd we were enough to start. Timebox was 50 minutes and we needed every second.

The waterfall turn was pretty obvious (“hand it over in complete”) and once again I had to steer in moderation that the players would not “intuitively” switch to Kanban or Scrum. They are experienced – stupid.

Kanban approach was more successful. How many times?
WF: 0, KB: 14 – You know. 😉

In Kanban the Analyst had difficulties to find one board matching to a card (order). It did not influenced the result, because it was the last in that approach. But it indicated troubles for the Scrum approach I did not react pro-actively to.

The team got stuck on that missing board. They searched and searched. Together, combined, cross-checking and therefore, the results were relatively low in the end.

I have to check and make sure that this will not happen again. I was so totally sure that I got every card and matching board. But I did not check – stupid.

At the end of that turn I got in dialogue with Niels about Scrum and Kanban and when to do what.

Second round: EA

I had no real break. I hardly tried to change the setup (UFG packing, EA unpacking).

We had not enough players – You need 5 at least for a (DEV-)team to have a minimum chance to perform. Luckily, Jens took the PO-role. So, I did not had to explain that part in much detail. He browsed through the prepared backlog and I explained to task to the DEV-team.

  • PO chooses the story that he/she estimates for himself of highest business value
  • PO discloses that story to the DEV-team
  • DEV-team discusses the task and how to solve it. That’s it.

“Scrum Master”/host helps by asking nudging questions and keeping the time box.

In this case, we had only 25 minutes left for the “sprint”. It is an overall time-track and if You lose minutes in the beginning, You will not make them up at the end.

It worked out pretty much like always. It took around 20 minutes until the players formed as a team and began to perform. The solution offer lacked 5 more minutes on discussing some options. But in the end, the result is not the brilliance of the solution, it is teambuilding in fast motion which approved right – once more.

The last 5 minutes were reserved for retro. There was a very interesting arguing between players whether the game is complicated and should be.

My point of view: reality is not convenient and streamlined in the beginning. You need to understand first, before You can work it out and simplify. To gain that insight, I guess, 20 minutes of lifetime and some low effort is not too much of an investment. But as the developer of that game, I am a little biased. 🙂

Roundup, learning highlights

Shortly to 10am we gathered together ourselves, experiences, gained insights etc.

>> Roundup in meetup-repository.

Some argued, that two tracks are too less and I agree for myself.
I also gave the hint for the agiLE Game Night on 8th December (2016). But be careful if You plan to travel to Leipzig. The show-up rate in Berlin was not 30 people of 70 registered. In Leipzig, You have a show-up-rate regularly of 85% and more. At most locations space is limited. So, if You like to join us, ask Rolf and Peter whether it would be possible.

Agility in the end

Then I got a phone call. Mother of my children was hysterically crying and shouting around – sometimes into the phone. My daughter threw up the rest of what she had eaten the last hours. It wasn’t her first iteration on getting back to right track that night. This time she decorated the wallpaper, bed, lampshade etc. No pair of pyjamas was left and obviously, a lot of tidying work to do.

There was no option whether to return to Leipzig. Question was only how and when. Last train for that night left already, first starts around 5am. Car rentals? Taxi? Will that be worth around 350 bugs?

I remembered what I do as PO and advice everybody else in that role: use the power of the crowd, ask Your team.

Within seconds it was agreed that FLIXBUS would be the best option available. Someone checked the schedule and voila, 2 coaches leave that night for Leipzig.

They gave advice how to reach coach terminal at exhibition center. As someone explained how to change suburban train lines, my head instantly switched to “take a taxi”.

To my surprise, 8€ incl. tip later I was at a quite busy terminal. I got the info, for 350€ I can get home if there is no ticket available for me.

Fortunately, I got a 13,90€ ride home.

As I arrived at home, my daughter just had kind of a bad dream. My elder son (7) was watching over her (4) and caring during the night until I showed up. He also watched for their brother (10m) while mother was cleaning up earlier that night. I am so proud of him. He is such a big one.

Finally

I made experiences of great value at a great location only because of great people. It was great fun also.

And in the end, as times got rough and problems were to solve, I kept a clear head – because of trust.

I contacted my uncle to say I am sorry for the short-term notice and that I can not stay overnight.
I trusted in my family to do it right until I arrive.

And I got help as I really needed it – by people which I do not know by name and hardly by face.

Thank You all!

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