Agile Game Night Kick-Off: Trust, Creativity and Decisions

This week was the kick-off to the new series through the Tampa Bay Agile community called Agile Games Night. 

The goal of having the Agile Games Night series is the following:

  • Provide games that cater to particular areas of focus or topics that the community can learn
  • Learn the techniques to create games for team building, group collaboration, training and other needs that keep people engaged and active throughout the sessions
  • Provide a safe environment for people to test out their own games or games they found with the group
  • Have fun with old and new agile friends

For our first night, we focused on showing games that focus on certain areas and introduced three games (more on the first bullet point where people have topics and games are provided to show how to make it more interactive and engaging.)

Focus: Trust- creating safety with agile teams

Game: Anyone Who? (Improv ing Agile Teams book)

I actually forgot to take picture of this first game, so no visuals on this one. We broke into groups of 10 and each group sat in a circle with one person starting in the middle. The person in middle starts the game out by saying something about themselves in a statement starting with “Anyone who.. has kids, is a Scrum Master, eats ice cream for dinner”.. the list goes on. It was a lot of fun to watch and by group feedback; a lot of fun to play. This is great ice breaker activity or team building to help create a more warm, safe and trusting relationship between the team members. The group enjoyed this game because it only lasted 10 minutes and did not require any prep.

Focus: Creativity- open the minds of what will succeed and removing the “Yes-but”

Game: Build it Up, Tear it Down (CTRL Shift book)

I gave the groups the product I wanted them to work with for this game. It was luggage.

The first activity required them to think in their groups every reason why this luggage product would NOT succeed. It was quite interesting to see how easy it is to come with negative views- never right?



After each group shared their list of items that would NOT let the luggage succeed, we moved onto the second part of the activity which has the group list off things that WILL Succeed with this product. We also had one volunteer to track how many times a team member says, “Yes but.”  After the game, people were now cognizant and aware how negative opinions can derail and discourage impacts creativity. Positive thinking, how we see the world contributes the success of ventures based on how we see the world.

Focus: Decisions

Game:  “Pain-Gain Map” (Game Storming book)

I added a little twist to this game. The game was centered around year 2007. The groups were tasked to convince Steve Jobs to include attachments in emails with the first release of the iPhone. Before they make their pitch to Steve, they have to get inside the mind of Steve and go through an exercise listing Steve’s pains with questions like “What does a bad day look like for Steve? , “What is he afraid of? .

After they look through the eyes of Steve on areas he feels pain, the group looks into the mind of Steve to what he gains from having an attachment including in the first iPhone launch by questions like, ” What does this person want and aspire for?” and ” How does he measure success?”  The team narrows the list of pains and gains by bubbling up with most important items that stand-out.

The twist to the original game is that they actually have to act like they are pitching Steve based on their results. This last piece made it more interesting as they had to show their results in front of the audience by an actual pitch to the ” Steve” audience.


The group came out of this game realizing a few things:

  • Nice to collaborate and brainstorm with other people when trying to come up a pitch, presentation to help influence decisions
  • It made them realize to look in their view point and understand their pains/gains versus their own needs
  • Had fun coming up with the pitch versus being stressed on what to do to influence leadership

More good things to come as we try to create a world of more active and engaging learning out there. Stop the death by Power Point!


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