This is a game I created for one of our Scrum training. For a one-day training, it is a bit lengthy and resource-consuming. However, it might be a great way to refresh your team’s Scrum knowledge while also creating a team building effect and having a lot of fun (and eventually, good food :)) together. The simulation is essentially a complete project that you can run with your team – from identifying customer needs, through backlog creation, estimation, planning, and execution.
The team is a catering company, which needs to deliver a delicious and good-looking lunch following customers’ needs. They will work iteratively, demoing the results of each iteration and receiving feedback.
To facilitate the process, you might decide to provide the teams with some pieces of the information (for example, product vision, story point reference, and some additional acceptance criteria – examples provided in the download package). You can do as many iterations as you want – but it would be good to do at least 3, so that you can observe how velocity and forecast accuracy improves over time.
3 hours (start early to get it ready for lunch!)
What Do You Need?
Basically, the easiest option is to cook sandwiches and/or salads, which do not require specific infrastructure, such as ovens, etc. So, you need plenty of resources for making and decorating sandwiches (toasts, cheese, spreads, vegetables, ham, and whatever comes to your mind – you can find a sample shopping list attached). Of course, the quantities depend on the amount of people in the workshop. You will need also some resources for serving the food in a nice way (as this is usually part of the acceptance criteria), such as plates, napkins, etc. You can decide whether to include desserts (you can provide some yogurt, fruit and biscuits, for example), and beverages (juice, coke, beer, why not some champagne :)).
How to Play?
Split the group in 2 teams. Each team represents both a catering company and a group of customers for the other team. Each team chooses one of their members to act as a ProductOwner.
- User interviews
In the first round, each team needs to interview the other one to understand the customer needs. If you have enough time, the best would be to have the entire team interviewing. Just like in a real project, direct interactions with users and customers increase the understanding of the team about what they are going to build, and increase their engagement throughout the process. If you are pressed with time, you can have the POs of each team interviewing the “customers”. |
Time: (2 x) 10 min.
- Mini user story writing session
Each team will need to identify the personas (you can find a template in the download package). Next, they will do a mini user story writing session, aiming to write as many stories as possible within a timebox of 15 min.
Time: 10 min. (personas) + 15 min. (user story writing)
- User story mapping and release plan
The teams will take 10 min. to cluster the requirements and order them in a user story map. Next, they need to estimate it and forecast an initial velocity, so that they can do an initial release scope forecast.
Time: 15 min.
Each iteration starts with a Sprint planning. During “planning” the team collects materials that they will need to implement the Sprint backlog. It might require some negotiations with the other team over scarce resources (usually knives turn out to be one such resource). The sprints end with a demo of the results and feedback gathering, then the team does a retrospective.
The teams can deliver once per release or continuously after each iteration. The advantage of the latter is that the quality of feedback received is much higher as the customers actually consume the production :). In case you deliver once per release, you could add some more “delighter” features (such as lunch served on a nice table with candles, and so on).
Time (per iteration): 2 min. (planning) + 5 min. (Sprint) + 2 x 3 min. (demo) + 2 min. (retrospective)
This is, of course, the most important part of the whole experience. Having released and while enjoying the results of your hard work, you can have a conversation around your experiences during the game. Reflect on all aspects of the process:
- What has been the experience to work with your customers?
- What was the feedback that you have received, and what insights does it bring?
- What worked well and what could be further improved in your planning, execution, and demos?
- How can you transfer your learning from the game into your daily work, so that you can improve it?
Download game instructions: TheCateringCompany