Thursday, June 7, 2012

Innovation Games Checklist for Distributed Teams

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Use of innovation games in Agile teams and their ceremonies is all the rage currently. While innovation games are fantastic for bringing out the best possible results for co-located teams, they pose a challenge and perhaps an irritant for distributed teams. To address these challenges, thanks to fellow Agilists I found checklists and tools (like, video conferencing) that can ease the pain of facilitating the innovation game.
However if you find yourself in a situation where the remote members of a distributed team are available on teleconferencing only, then perhaps my learnings can help you tide over:

  • Send a copy of the prop that you will be using with the local team, to the remote team. For example, if you are playing the Sailboat, then send the picture with the instructions ahead of the meeting so the remote team members can come prepared, and refer the instructions as you move forward with the game.
  • Ensure that the remote team members have access to the prop and material like post-its, markers. If required, enlist the help of one of the remote team members to organize the material.
  • In the local room, move the action area around the phone so its easier for the team to huddle and speak into the phone
  • Get a list of names of the remote team members. Address each of them by name throughout the session to keep them more involved
  • When you issue an instruction to the local team have the remote team do the same step
  • When sharing the outcome of the exercise, have the remote team members talk through their comments. Have a scribe jot down comments of remote team members  and post them on their behalf.
  • In addition to performing the activity, for example sticking the post-its around the positive winds area of the sailboat, have the local team members also announce or read out their post-it notes over the phone
  • Before voting, group options so its easier to call out and have the remote members write down the options before they vote on them
  • Ensure that a commentary of the happenings in the local room is ongoing - reminiscent of a bygone era of the radio :)
  • Have the local and remote team members take a picture of the end result of their innovation game and share it
  • Have a scribe note the action items and any other details from each location, merge, and circulate to all
Happy gaming!

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