1-minute movie: A New Agile Simulation Game

Zakaria BENTAHAR
Dec 9, 2019 · 4 min read
New agile simulation game: 1-minute movie

If each time you want to run a new Agile training session, you want to test new ideas, or just you want to try new things for your team; then this article is made for you.

For many years, I used the famous simulating game Lego4scrum. I recently tried to make several changes, but it didn’t satisfy my thirst so I wanted something new. I had looked for other techniques and found many interesting ones, thanks to my luck, a new idea came to my mind, a game to simulate not only the realization phase using Scrum but all project phases from idea to realization. I called it: “Make your 1-minute movie”.

Thus, each team would create a 1-minute movie video using their mobile phones, they should create the scenes and actors using Legos and modeling compound.


Game rules?

Length of this game: 3 hours

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to use the Scrum Framework
  • Learn the power of Time-boxing
  • The power of working increment at the end of every sprint
  • Experience high-performance teamwork
  • Learn about how learning about the product in each sprint is essential to build better products
  • Learn how early a customer’s feedback is critical to the success
  • Learn to be flexible enough to respond to change.

Needed supplies:

  • Something for the board (e.g, Paper)
  • Modeling compound (e.g, Play doh)
  • Crayons
  • Clear Tape
  • Scissors
  • Legos
  • Mobile phone
  • surprise toys

Rules of the game:

  • Sprints and the events are time-boxed.
  • The Winner team, who gets the highest score, will win a symbolic gift.
  • The team who missed any rules about time will have minus 2.

How does it work?

First, I split the students into teams of 3 to 4 persons.

I divide the game into three phases:

First phase — framing phase — 1 Hour 15 minutes

In this phase, the teams will have a clear idea and vision about the movie they will make and the potential customers using the Personas (30 minutes), the vision using the Product vision board (20 minutes) and the Story mapping workshop (25 minutes) to have the Product backlog.

Encourage them that first, they choose the movie category.

Then creating the 3 Personas (10 minutes each), the teams could know the points they should have in their movie to satisfy these fictive users (e.g, special effects, suspense, drama).

Template for creating agile Personas
Template for creating agile Personas

Because it’s vital to know the goal we are aiming at, the reason for creating the product, in this case, the movie. I thought it would be necessary to add this workshop of 20 minutes in the game. I use the Product Vision board.

Product vision board

To gather Agile requirements and to document them as User Stories. I could not find better than the User story mapping workshop.

I suggest you to introduce what is a user story and concept of Acceptance Criteria before starting this workshop.

Storymap workshop

Second phase — Realization phase — 1 Hour 21 minutes (3 sprints)

In this phase, the teams will build the product in three sprints. Each one lasts 27 minutes.

  • Sprint planning: 3 minutes

Day 1: 8 minutes

Daily Scrum: 2 minutes

Day 2: 8 minutes

  • Sprint Review: 3 Minutes
  • Sprint Retro: 3 Minutes

Giving instructions, tell them:

  • How the time would work.
  • To self-score
  • To follow all the Scrum Practices they have learned so far.
  • Check the big timer on the big screen.
Google timer

Start a timer (e.g, Google Timer) for 27 minutes on a big screen.

After the first sprint is over, I give a coaching report of what I observed about how the teams did as far as following the process went. Not more than a minute per team.

  • Did they do their Daily Scrum?
  • Were they following the Scrum Framework, sometimes because of the fun, they could forget entirely about the main reason for this simulation
  • Did they create a working increment at the end of every sprint?

In the second sprint, I give them a toy (e.g, animals) to use it in their movie. The point is to be flexible enough to respond to change during the project.

Third phase: Play the demo and give feedback — 25 minutes

It’s the final step, the showtime. One of the team members presents their realization to other teams.

Then, we calculate the score according to:

  • Respect of Scrum Framework.
  • Is their movie respond to their consumers’ expectations?
  • Quality of their decorations (anonymous vote)
  • Quality of their script (anonymous vote)
  • Quality of their video (anonymous vote)
  • Respect of 1-minute video
  • How they handled the last given toy (is it integrated within their script or not)?

Finally, I give to the Winner team their surprise gift.

(This video contains a Demo at the end, please have a look at https://youtu.be/BHmGGpdg2MQ)

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