Friday, March 23, 2007

Games that you can plan with

Mike Griffiths from Leading Answers has a great post called "Release and Iteration Planning with Innovation Games". Here is his introduction:

In this post I outline some really useful techniques for planning releases and iterations. They are adapted from a great book called “Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products through Collaborative Play" by Luke Hohmann

I have never been a fan of suggesting the use of “games” in the enterprise workplace, as in XP’s “Planning Game”. The term does not sit well with some traditional-type folks; to them it sounds unprofessional and not serious enough for important work. Yet the Innovation Games described by Hohmann are high performance facilitated workshop exercises that produce great results. If the project is serious enough to engage busy stakeholders then I think we owe it to the business to use the most effective tools at our disposal. If calling them “facilitated workshop exercises” eases their acceptance then I’m all for it, because it is the results I’m really interested in, not so much what we call them.

In Luke’s book, he outlines a number of games (exercises) that can be used in a variety of settings. Some like “Design the Product Box” and “Buy a Feature” are probably familiar to many people working on agile projects, others will likely be new. To keep this post a reasonable length I will focus on adapting three exercises for use in release and iteration planning.

The three we will look at are “Remember the Future”, “Prune the Product Tree”, and “Speedboat”. I use slight variations on the last two, I call them “Shape the Product Tree” and “Sailboat” and I will explain the differences when we get to them...

Read more in his post on these three tools. Personally, I like tools like these especially for people who think more visually. Plus, by using stickers you have plenty of flexibility as you brainstorm with others and determine what the release will look like. I definitely plan on buying the book.

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