How we Teach the Value of Refinements with a Board Game

As part of a Hackathon project at Bluecat Networks, our team of Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches decided to make a leaning game. The purpose of this project was to design a board game to teach teams difficult Agile topics, in this case, the backlog refinement.

In the spirit of being Agile we used iterative approach to make our game and improve it as we continued to work on it. Keep reading to know more.​

How did we do it?

Our process consisted of several stages that we defined before we started out.
At the beginning, we started brainstorming topics that we want to teach our teams. We focused on frequently asked questions and topics difficult to explain. We then proceeded to identifying what exactly we wanted the teams to learn by playing our game.

Once we had a good list of topics with learning goals we used dot voting to determine the winner.

With a clear topic and learning goals of our game, we went ahead to think about mechanics. What type of game do we want it to be? How long should it play? How many people can participate? Do we want players to have different roles? Do we want to encourage collaboration and discussion?

A lot of time was spent on defining the basic concepts of our game. As soon as we had some sort of a prototype made out of tools around us, we started to play test the mechanics. Though our main goal was not having fun, we wanted to make sure that it’s engaging enough to keep people playing. We also were cheching if our game still covers our learning goals.

By the end of day one we had a pretty good idea of how our game will look like. The second day was dedicated to creating actual content, improving the prototype and fine-tuning the rules. We had several playtesting sessions, including sessions with people not involved in the game jam. Each iteration of our prototype was making the game easier to understand and more refined.
The rest of the time we had on the third day, we polished the presentation of our game and created a clear game board.

Gotta Build Them All: 

Learn the importance of refinement by refining just enough but not too much. 

Team-up and build as many Lego constructions as you can. But there’s a twist:

  • You don’t know everything there is to know.
  • Knowledge is not free.
  • Chance has a role to play.
  • Your time is running out!

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About The Author

Hi, my name is Daria Bagina. I’m a Professional Scrum Trainer with Scrum.org and a practicing Scrum Master. I help teams and organizations to get the most out of the Scrum and Agile implementation by sharing my personal stories and practical advice.

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