Kanjis at Agile Games France

The 2018 edition of Agile Games France just ended a few days ago. What is extraordinary about this unconference? The non-organization principle is pushed to the extreme, and reminded from the start to the participants: “If you want something to happen, do it” as it’s originator, Alexandre Boutin, repeats each year during the less than 2 minutes introduction.

The events gather less than 100 people in a new town each year since 2012. This maximum number of people was agreed upon by the participants themselves during the retrospective of one of the first events.

A lot of people wants to attend, and the less than 100-euros tickets sell in a few minutes. The participants are a mix of people who are coming for the first time, and people that are returning each year. Alexandre is making that visible during his introduction by gathering people around the number representing their number of participation. The visible representation is helping people that are coming for the first time to see that they are not alone in that situation, and also encourages people that are returning to support the newcomers.

How does it work?

A hotel fully booked by the participant is the best configuration we found so far. One of the locals, who chose the place, presents the available spaces for gathering subgroups. Then people who want to facilitate a game put the proposal on a sheet of paper on the wall with a few information about it, duration, number of players, and the learning outcomes.

People who want to play a game, write their first names on the papers to signal the facilitator that they are interested. And after some time, one of the facilitators takes one paper from the wall and signal to the crowd: “we will play that game in that space, we are looking for 6 to 12 people maximum”. The facilitator is followed by the ones who want to participate. And the process will repeat itself for two days.

As all the games have different duration, from short 5 to 10 minutes games, to 2-hours simulations, it could be dazing to try to create a formal agenda. So, no grid and no timing, always on time and never late. When people are available, they are coming back to the main room. In front of the wall, participants are sharing their review of the game. People are sometimes asking one facilitator to play a game again to give them another opportunity to play. People are switching from being a facilitator to being a player during the day.

For the first edition, in Nantes, in 2012, I proposed the Beer Distribution Game created at the MIT Sloane School of Management in the 1960s. The simulation game illustrates the bullwhip effect that could happen in a supply chain, when people have a limited understanding of the whole system, and limited communication. A really fun eye-opener that the participants enjoyed at that time, voting for that game as the best experience they had during the event.

Creating a safe space to play a game is helping people to experience a new approach freely. During the debriefing, they will connect the dots with their environment. And, at that moment, they will know that they need to change, and they will know that they can do it. They experienced the different kind of behavior people could show during a transformation, on a short time frame.

For the 2018 edition, I brought with me a new barely tested game: Kanjis.

The game is an icebreaker to warm-up the team for a long meeting.

A group of more than eight people is asked to watch a set of cards figuring Kanjis for 1 minute. The facilitator splits the group in half.

The first group is sent outside of the room for roughly 5 minutes, and the members are asked to introduce themselves.

The second group stays in the room and is asked to quickly introduce themselves in 3 tags while the facilitator is preparing the next step of the game. The second group is presented with a new set of cards, and ask to tell, as a group, which are the ones that are coming from the previous set. The facilitator marks the selected cards on the back, and prepares the set of cards for the first group.

When the first group is coming back in the room, the facilitator invites them to tell which are the cards they like.

What is happening?

The first group usually found very difficult to identify the cards that were part of the first selection. They could found some of them in their small pick, habitually because one of the participants made an association with something meaningful.

The second group, when asked the cards they like, is identifying the cards that were part of the previous set. They often pick all of them, and when they don’t, their wrong picks are similar to the one they should have picked.

When we are asked the first rationale question, we use only the logical part of our brain, and tend to activate limiting beliefs. People will say things like: I don’t have a good memory, the cards don’t make any sense. Also, the group is asked to answer “as a group” which will activate fears of being wrong and being judged by the others. The peer pressure will shut down some of them that will prefer to remain silent instead of making proposals.

When we are asked the second emotional question, we have access this time to all our brain. Of course, during the first phase, our brain recorded all the cards, and when asked which one we like, the brain is simply matching with what is already known. We tend to like what we know.

The words that we will choose as the facilitator or as participants will have a strong impact on the ability of the participants to engage fully and to access all their resources.

I had the idea of the game while listening to John Cleese speaking during a Talk at Google:

There was a very interesting experiment. A psychologist showed a group of people some Chinese ideograms characters. They came back next week, and they said to the people: “now we’re going to show you some more, some of the ones you saw last week, some new, will you tell us which ones you saw last week.” They were absolutely hopeless. Nobody could do it at all. It was exactly chance. Then they repeated the experiment the second time, they said on the second showing: “we’re going to show you some more ideograms, will you tell us which ones you like.” And the ones they liked were the ones they’d seen the week before. So, the information was in there in the unconscious, but it couldn’t be accessed in a straightforward way.

John Cleese, during a talk at Google in 2015

The initial version of the game is published today after several runs and improvements during Agile Games France 2018. I would like to thank all the participants for their immensely valuable feedback.

The game is published under a creative commons license, and the contributors will be credited in the revision log.

 

ScrumWine #15.2

Une nouvelle édition du ScrumWine s’est déroulée le jeudi 4 juin 2015. Nous étions pour l’occasion accueilli par CDiscount. Je remercie au passage Isabel pour l’organisation et adresse toutes mes félicitations à Damien Tourette, papa depuis la veille ! Notre hôte, Lionel Richer, expliquait dans son introduction que malgré une découverte récente de l’agile, 60 personnes travaillaient à présent en agile et que le bénéfice du rapprochement des métiers et des équipes de développement était remarquable.
Les actualités ont permis ensuite de mettre en avant les prochains événements consacrés à l’agile. Agile France bien sur, programmé pour les 18 et 19 juin, et pour lequel j’aurais le plaisir de donner une version courte et en français de ma conférence sur le bonheur au travail (Happiness is Coming). ALE 2015 qui se déroulera cette année à Sofia, toujours au cours de la dernière semaine d’aout, évènement remarquable puisqu’il inclut époux et enfants, ce qui augmente le niveau d’énergie positive de l’événement. Je termine par une mention pour AgileTour Bordeaux qui a annoncé la date de la prochaine édition pour les 30 et 31 octobre 2015.
Olivier Patou a relevé avec succès le challenge de la présentation en 5 minutes avec une présentation sur les histoires utilisateur : Comment faire de bonnes User Stories ?
Le programme proposait ensuite 2 sujets en parallèle :
– de l’OODA loop à l’innovation collaborative par Emmanuel Henriot, session qui a reçu un très bon accueil, et j’ai donc essayé de convaincre Emmanuel de la proposer pour AgileTour Bordeaux, car je n’ai pu y assister… puisque je proposais aux participants de jouer à :
Lego4Devops, un jeu simulatif utilisant les mêmes boites de Lego que le célèbre Lego4Scrum et dont j’avais participé à la mise au point lors de la dernière édition de Agile Games France. La version 1.0 est donc bien jouable sur un temps court, moins de 60 minutes, mais il semble préférable de pouvoir y consacrer plus de temps afin d’être moins pressé pour les explications initiales et avoir l’opportunité de réaliser plus d’itérations. Nous avons eu la possibilité d’avoir 2 équipes de 7 joueurs en parallèle, ce qui nous a également permis d’identifier de nombreuses possibilités d’amélioration. Nous sommes en train de compiler de façon collective ces idées d’amélioration afin de les proposer pour une prochaine version. Merci à Christophe Héral pour avoir contribué à la facilitation du jeu, et bien sur merci à tous les participants !
Rejoignez le groupe pour poursuivre la conversation et construire la prochaine édition :
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/sug-bordeaux

2015-06-04 18.26.30Et merci à Emma pour son aide 🙂

Agile Games France

flyer_AGF-2014_BETA-03La troisième édition de l’Open Space consacré aux jeux d’entreprises agile s’est déroulée à Lyon les 7 et 8 février. Le succès des 2 précédentes éditions (à Nantes en 2012 et à Avignon en 2013) ainsi que la limite à 60 personnes ont fait que les places étaient vendues en quelques heures pour cette édition… Et donc, qu’il ne fallait pas s’attendre à beaucoup de nouvelles têtes 🙂

LEGO-Serious-PlayParmi les jeux que j’ai pu essayer, je vais approfondir l’utilisation des Lego Serious Play grace à l’atelier de découverte animé par Jacques Couvreur et Romain Couturier.

Je suis également impatient de tester la prochaine version du jeu destiné à améliorer la réunion quotidienne (mêlée, standup, scrum…) de  Jacques Couvreur.

Le jeu de la licorne rouge proposé par Alexandre Boutin a démontré une nouvelle fois l’effet dévastateur de l’optimisation locale et de la compétition entre les équipes…

J’ai enfin pu expérimenter un jeu du Tao, un grand merci au groupe bienveillant avec lequel j’ai fait cette expérience et à l’excellente facilitation de  Romain Couturier.

J’ai pu tester deux jeux proposés par Claude Aubry, le premier utilisant un simple puzzle pour apprendre à utiliser les bacs de culture des users stories et un deuxième utilisant Djambi pour encourage la collaboration dont le but était de constituer 4 équipes pluridisciplinaires à partir de 4 équipes ne l’étant pas. Un grand moment !

Emmanuel Hervé nous a fait vivre avec brio l’expérience de Bobby McFerrin sur la gamme pentatonique.

Et si je voulais vous faire part de tout ce que j’ai vécu d’autres, il me faudrait encore au moins 5 fois ce nombres de lignes… Je m’arrête donc là et vous invite à rejoindre les joueurs d’Agile Games France pour la prochaine édition (qui aura peut-être lieu à Bordeaux… mais c’est une autre histoire).

Un grand merci à tous les participants !

Les ressources Agile Games France sont disponibles sur le Wiki Agile Games France