Some days ago I discovered the awesome Scrumban Simulation Game GetScrumban and got infected playing it. With this post I share some learnings and hints how I reached the highscore leading position for both categories (full mode play and quick play).

12.09.2015 Leaderboard of GetScrumban Game

Learnings

During the game I reconsidered and newly discovered a lot of topics necessary to succeed in an agile environment. I really like the gaming approach for showing the effects of different artifacts like sprints, estimations, WIP, cost of delay, etc. It makes it handy and one can gain a high level and fast overview. 
  • Focus on the highest value items. This can be done via a short cost of delay overview (how much will I lose by having a feature not only for one day).
  • Bug fixing is important but also needs to be considered in the cost of delay calculation. It does not have to be fixed immediately.
  • Sticking with sprints will not work (see also my #NoIterations post for more details) 
  • Estimations eat time and relying on it leads to false assumptions (see also my #NoEstimates post for more details or just read the great new book on #NoEstimates by Vasco Duarte)
  • Decreasing WIP limits is important to focus as a team on finishing items (rather than starting new ones)
  • Visualizing your workflow in more detail (e.g. including analysis and testing) allows much better adjustments for distributing work force and finishing items (than the default Scrum workflow)
  • Agile Coaches/ScrumMasters/consultants can fail … keep an open mind in your team and challenge decisions if not understood or not based on good data
  • Consider your data – like lead time, burn down and due dates – when committing to feature delivery dates.
  • Every team member can work on every item (for sure not with the same efficiency).
    To deliver a highest value feature early and earn your money sooner – an invaluable consideration. Topic matter expertise work and helping the whole team to finish have to be balanced with care and need daily adjustments.
  • Replaying situations is really helpful (it’s another kind of a retrospective) to learn from situations. I played the game several times and it took some tries to discover the important steps.
    Maybe it’s a cool exercise for a next retrospective to really try to replay an iteration more deeply.
  • Deploy as fast a possible to realize your earnings.

Some hints for reaching the high score

Now let’s check for some tweaks to get the highest score. And maybe you will even reach the top level position? …. CHALLENGE started …

The game summary showing the lead time distribution (the 2 bugs took 14 and 19 days until I finished them)

  • There is a high bonus for reaching your lead time commitment. To increase your 90th percent percentile date range it’s necessary to not close the bugs that fast. If you don’t consider it, you’ll end up with a narrowed range of around 4-6 days for every items that is not possible for the highest value features. 
  • The blocking of an item occurs (If I remember correctly on day 37) and is affecting the first item in your development column. The order is calculated by the feature numbers. Try to have something blocked that is not that important.
  • You need to finish you first sprints without open items to reach the sprint bonus. It’s better to start with less!
  • Education counts. Send you team members to trainings if the sprint is not yet over and you have some time available.
  • Focus on the highest value items. Feature #24 and #25 and work with the whole team on finishing it. Take care on less parallel work to reaching your lead time commitment every 10 days. 
  • Don’t forget the deployment button. Deploy as soon as possible.
  • Prepare Feature #24 as a whole team as much as possible to compensate Carols terrible decision to block testers just for the testing column.
  • Consider the strength of your team members in their specializations and balance it with the need to work in parallel as a team on one story (parallelization is not necessary all the time).  
I’m looking forward for your results and learnings and maybe you can share it by your comment?

Further readings