Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Absence Makes the Mind Wander - and White Lies Scrum Challenge

So i've only been slightly here for the past few months.  My life has been concentrating mostly on our new baby and making sure that work doesn't get left in the dust.  Things seem to be settling out a bit, as my daughter hits her 8th month and we get more used to things, maybe i'll be able to find some more time.

i think that one commitment that i can make is to be more regular about posting our friday scrum challenge details for ya all.

i think that i've mentioned it before.  my QA team meets for 15 minutes every day and has a pretty traditional scrum, what you've accomplished yesterday, what you're going to accomplish today and what blockers you're challenged with.  On fridays though, i take over the scrum and administer a 'Scrum Challenge.'  These are mostly team building games, questions, challenges etc.

Today's Challenge

White Lies

During Scrum
  1. Each person is handed a piece of paper.  (they've been told to bring pens)
  2. Each person has 2 minutes to write down three statements about themselves and their name on a piece of paper.
    1. the statements can be things like their shoe size, their birth place etc.
    2. one of the statements will be a lie.
    3. that statement should be marked as a lie.
  3. The judge reads out each person's statements anonymously, randomizing statement order for each person.
    1. going around the table each person votes on who wrote the three statements.
      1. the judge records the people that get it write, anonymously.
      2. a person voting for their own entry gets that point.
    2. going around the table again, each person votes on which statement is a lie.
      1. the judge records tallies against each statement.
      2. a person voting on their own lie doesn't get counted.
  4. At the end the judge tallies up the scores.
    1. one point for each person's vote for the right person.  ie if Joe has 3 people pick his entry, that's 3 points for joe.
    2. one point for each person's vote for the right lie.  ie if Joe has 3 people choose the statement that was actually a lie that's 3 points for Joe,
  5. Winner is the entry with the fewest points. 
An example of an entry

  1. More a dog person than a cat person.
  2. I have 4 nieces.
  3. I traveled to the D-Day beaches. (lie) 
This game was received by the team quite well. It took a minute or two extra to explain and it challenged a couple of people achieving it but they enjoyed all of the parts.  Two team members indicated later independently of one another that they had really enjoyed this game.  I don't normally receive that kind of post-game validation so i'm taking that as a very good sign.

What Went Right

  • The team understood the challenge and were able to play.  They were able to vote for one another. 
  • The team enjoyed the challenge quite a bit. 

What Went Wrong

  • Eight players meant that we were a little stretched for time.  we didn't get to do the scoring in the game together. public scoring is part of the learning and not having time for that is a miss.  i feel that we would have time for it if we play the game again because the learning curve will not eat up time and voting will be smoother. 
  • Didn't think to have the players mark which entry was a lie.  had to followup afterwards.  i've already corrected this in the rules above. 

Lessons Learned
As with all of the games that we play, i want there to be something that people can take away from it.  Predominantly this game brought with it the concept of getting to know your other team members.  There is the obvious, of course, of learning about your fellow team members both from their true statements and their lies.  But there is also the depth of getting to know your team mates through the way that they approach untruths.  There are hidden queues there about nervousness of lying, how clumsy the lies are, etc.

This game also brought with it some game theory.  A couple of the people chose items that they believed others would think was someone else in the group.  They also chose lies that they thought would misdirect.  This wasn't really all that successful through intent that i saw (although some very good accidental misdirection occurred) but you could tell that they were trying.

We will play this game again.