Agile Misfits - Part 2.. Super Size me!
This is how to run the game at Scale. I invented this idea, and had no idea if it would work until 100+ people came.. here is how I did it ;)
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.
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
In a my previous article I explained how to help get the initial idea across with 4 people. This article explains how to add the layers to show what extra happens when you have more than 36 people.
At the end of the article there are a list of some other variations I have tried out, each with different learnings available.
36+ People 60-90 Minutes
Factories (36+ People)
Add 4 more tables per factory.
Give each 4 tables a colour and call them a factory.
Works as before..
I ran this with 16 tables (4 factories), 6 people on each table (6 project codes).
Journal - I would recommend getting tables to write a Journal between each round and ask the question
"What was difficult about production?"
At the end, get a Factory to summarise from the journals collected to share issues and learnings.
Additional materials for Mega Scale
This whole thing scales pretty easily, so here are some other recommendations if you have a large group...
At scale I would recommend a facilitator per 2 tables.
Someone ready to show the clock too.
An audible horn or such for getting everyone’s attention so you can keep things moving.
Here is a deck I created. Feel free to use it to help you navigate the session (Please credit me if you find it useful :)
I have tried different variations which you can incorporate into rounds as you see fit. Below are some suggestions, they are quite varied and will enable different learnings.
(Note: They are applicable to any size not just the large scale)
Variations - Initial Design
Allow the group to create a master design. Take ideas from different designs individuals have drawn, pay attention to the artists! If they draw really intricate detail others will have trouble copying...
Variations - Quality
You can spend time accepting and rejecting Misfits based on criteria you want to make up. You can choose weather you share the rules or not ;)
If you do this instead of timings, there is definitely a different focus.
Variations - Integration
If the joints don’t match they will need to work with their project codes not departments to align. This is hard to do when you have lots of project codes and factories... so they may want to get the project codes together. You can reject or reduce points based on this and ask them to improve it. Using larger index cards or a4 paper makes integration more erratic.
Discuss comparisons with APIs and integration points..
Variations - Customer and Change
Another way to change this up is to have a customer focus group at the front. They can make demands about the design.. for example we don’t want misfits we want a Police/Space/Chewbacca outfit. The legs are too short/long (rotate the card so it’s different)
Then see how they organise to align... remember there are departments and project codes (which may illustrate organisational structure as an impediment)
You can send the focus group out to the tables to work with the engineers to change their design and align together.
Variations - Product owner
You could add a product owner in to make things difficult generally, or even get the Product Owner to choose what improvement to make. The product owner can be vague, picky, or absent and a bottleneck for accepting the finished product.
Variations - Speed/ Quantity
Ask them to make as many Misfits as they can in a certain amount of time (or) time how long it takes to make X misfits. In this way could measure W, Quality, Cycle time if you organise it differently.
Variations - Managers (Gemba)
If you want to illustrate Gemba (go-see), you can assign a manager to walk around and make suggestions, observations and help remove impediments.
Variations - Managers (Command and control)
Ask the managers to find poor performing t and tell people to speed up, give them other tasks to do, or take individuals away to help with other tasks. As the work is serial, it will slow production.
Variations - T-Shaped
Allowing a table to make a full doll where everyone is making all parts is a good way of illustrating role share. This may come out when the feet people are bored at the start.
Round Goals, Metrics and Continuous Improvement
You can ask the teams to write down what improvement they were trying to make, and add a measurement in to see if it improves. If you do this at the end of round 1, you can record things in round 2-3 to compare.
Cycle time and Queues
The process can mapped as a Kanban board. Recording timings between handoffs you can also look at CFD’s, cycle time, and queuing theory.
Variations - Colours / Queues
If you really want to be mean, introduce colours - but don’t have many of that colour around so the teams have to share ;) This can introduce waiting and queues.
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.
Feel free to get in touch and ask questions or share experiences.