Agile Misfits - Part 1.. (4-36 ppl)

MisfitLab

Based on a game I used to play as a kid, this simple game is easy to setup and run. The general idea is 4 people individually draw each part of a body (head, body, legs, feet) without seeing what the other did. I’ve ran it with over 100+ people (and it could scale further it needed to!). At scale this is an ideal game for a warm up on a PI Planning Session.

The game will demonstrate the effects of silos, hand-offs, and how ideas can be scuppered by organisational constraints. With lots of fun and chaos the teams will also experience the power of self-organisation and continuous improvement with metrics and feedback loops.

About this article

o help get the initial idea across I have described the game with 4 people and then added the layers to show what extra happens when you have more than 36 for more information for bigger or variations my part 2 article is here.

Timings

1-4 People 30 Minutes

8-36 People 45 Minutes

36+ People 60-90 Minutes

Materials

Envelopes - 1 per 4 people playing.

Index cards 25 per person

2-3 sharpies per person

Flipchart

Flipchart marker

Setup (1-4 people)

Facilitator draw a head, body, legs and feet on 4 separate index cards - this is he “Master Misfit” everyone has to replicate.

Put envelopes on the start (Head) table. Use them so that each person can’t see what has gone before.

Create a chart with 4 round numbers with space for timings and Quality Score for each round.

Table Layout

1 person per table

Nominate each table as a body part (Department)

Table 1 - head

Table 2 - body

Table 3 - legs

Table 4 - feet

Introduction - Background

Describe the background that you are an engineer working in a Doll/Action Figure Factory.

Times are tough, with countless consultants and experts coming and going - the management has turned to you.. the engineers to save the company.

We are making a product called “Misfits” - a figure made of random designs.

Management wants ideas from you, the factory engineers...the idea is to self-organise to make production better. Continuous improvement is the name of the game, you have some simple rules to start with, but it’s up to the engineers to make things better.

Introduce (initial) rules

  • 1 of each body part per envelope (no duplicates)

  • 4 different engineers must be involved in production of a Misfit

Method

Practice making your body part (5 mins)

Each person belongs to a department to make only their body part. Ask them to go to the front to study the “Master Misfit”. They can’t bring it back, they have to remember what they saw and replicate. Give them 5 minutes to do this and practice.

Round 1 - Make a Misfit (5 mins)

Before you start get the stopwatch ready and make it visible to everyone (type stopwatch and use googles free full screen)

Explain how production works...

Starting with head department:

  1. Draw tables "body part" put in envelope (explain each department cant start until they receive envelope)

  2. Pass to next table

  3. When all 4 parts drawn (in turn), assemble on table

  4. Write timing down (When assembly complete).

We are only making 1 Misfit in this round.

Rate My Misfit

Facilitator rank the Misfit against “Master” from -5 (Awful!!) to +5 (Like a photocopy!) write on flipchart for that round.

Reflection (5 Mins)

Ask group "What was difficult about production"

Encourage them to change one thing

Ask them to choose a goal and decide how to achieve it. - Note goal on flipchart.

Round 2 - Make Another Misfit (5 mins)

Implement goal

Rate My Misfit

Facilitator rank the Misfit against “Master” from -5 (Bad) to +5 (Perfect) write on flipchart for that round.

Reflection (5 Mins)

Ask group "What was difficult about production"

Encourage them to change one thing

Ask them to choose a goal and decide how to achieve it. - Note goal on flipchart.

Round 3 - Production Line (10-15 minutes)

Given what happened in round one ask them to decide on a vision... what is possible?

Make as many we can make in 10 minutes.

Rate My Misfit

Facilitator rank the Misfit against “Master” from -5 (Bad) to +5 (Perfect) write on flipchart for that round.

Reflection (5 minutes)

Ask group "What was difficult about production"

Possible learnings

There are lots of learnings you can reflect on, it will depend on what the group notices. Some that I have observed are...

  • Difficulties in working in Silos

  • Collaboration is hard when split up

  • Self-organising lead to a choice of improvements

  • Speeding up doesn’t always improve quality

  • T-Shaped (draw different department parts)

  • Last rounds where quantity was important - did we have lots of waste?

Project Codes (8-32 People)

So far, I have described 4 people.. if you want more people per table, here is an outline.

You will need the same amount of people on each table.

Ask each person on the table to number themselves from 1 to number of people on table.

I call this number a “Project Code”. This will start to show how collaborating in silos is difficult. When you get to improvements, they may want to work outside their department,.

Play as before, but the people on a table pass the envelope to the person on the next table with the same “Project Code”

Suggested table layout and example flow.

And Finally...

I have tried to keep things simple in this design. You can obviously take it wherever you want. I have included the deck I used here. Again if you want to go LARGE.. see here! (I actually did it with over 100!)


Feel free to get in touch and ask questions or share experiences.

Mat.Hayes@white-isle.co.uk

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