Agile UX Sketching and Scrum

Posted: December 30th, 2013 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for team-building and alignment | No comments »

Last-Import-09-300x300“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” That was the advice of Arthur BrisbaneEditor The Syracuse Post Standard March 28, 1911. Despite originally referring to newsprint, the adage still holds true in the digital age.

Sketching for understanding” is an efficient and effective way to gather tons of ideas in a short period of time while cultivating shared understanding across agile teams. With the right structure and active participation, sketching with Scrum teams can really pay dividends throughout the release life cycle.

Use the following guide to help plan and facilitate your next agile sketching session. Read the rest of this entry »

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.4/10 (5 votes cast)

Wellbeing North Star

Posted: August 16th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Core Games, Games for any meeting, Games for decision-making, Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for opening, Games for planning, Games for problem-solving, Games for team-building and alignment, Games for update or review meetings, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
When things do not go according to plan, there are two ways we can change our outlook. One is to ignore what is wrong and solely focus on the positives. Although possibly leading to a better attitude when the circumstance surpasses your low expectations, this technique still leaves you with the negative aspects that are causing your cognitive dissonance. Changing your frame of mind is only helpful if the circumstance is impossible to improve, which is not usually the case. That being said, the most beneficial way to truly change the course of our lives is to alter the situation. Wellbeing North Star, created by Kimberly Wiefling, allows you to analyze all angles of your situation in order to reach your desired end state. By comparing what you like and dislike about different aspects of your product, meeting, work day, etc., you can identify where your efforts are needed most to ensure that you achieve your goal.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Before your meeting, draw a star in the middle of a large poster or whiteboard. In the center of the star, write the topic you are going to focus on (ex. Project X, Conference, Daily schedule). Around the star, write different aspects of the topic you want to discuss with your team (ex. advertisements, graphics, communication, functions).

2. At the beginning of the meeting, distribute plenty of pens and sticky notes (2 different colors) to your participants.

3. For 5 – 10 minutes, have your players to write what they like about the aspects you wrote around the star. Tell them only to write their ideas on one color of sticky note.

4. Ask players to jot down what they dislike about each aspect for the next 5 – 10 minutes, only writing on the other color of sticky note.

5. When everyone is done writing their ideas, have each participant present their notes and post them under the respective aspects on the chart. Cluster all of the “likes” and “dislikes” together to make the results easier to understand.

6. When all of the notes have been posted, collaborate to identify how the ideas can enhance your project. What can be changed? Could you improve your project by simply eliminating any of the “dislikes”? Encourage participants to come up with solutions for the problems they presented.

Strategy
This game can result in major changes, so make sure that everyone is clear on what alterations are going to be made to eliminate any “dislikes.” Consider assigning specific tasks to people to prevent social loafing and to ensure that the changes will indeed be made.

You can play this game with anybody related to your project. Ask customers what they like/dislike about different aspects of your product or service. Or, collaborate with your key partners to determine if your relationship is going according to plan. This activity is adaptable to your needs and can be customized for any audience.

Wellbeing North Star can also be used as a retrospective analysis activity. Rather taking time to correct inferior aspects of your topic before you reach your desired end state, play this exercise after you have finished your project to identify how it can be improved for your iteration.

Play Wellbeing North Star Online

You can instantly play Wellbeing North Star online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on the image above will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” You will see three types of icons in the upper left corner.

  • Note cards: area of concern
  • Happy face: what is working
  • Frown face: what is not working

Simply drag the note card icons to the squares and describe the concerns they represent. Then, players can drag the faces to the chart to organize the positive and negative aspects of the concerns.

Players can edit the placement and description of each light bulb, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move. After the game, the results will be organized in a spread sheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points
Opinions are valuable when it comes to determining what is and isn’t working. Rather than lowering your expectations and allowing for mediocre results, put in the energy now to enhance your present state. Play Wellbeing North Star to get back on the track that everyone agrees will lead to your goal.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.9/10 (21 votes cast)

Innovation Generator

Posted: August 15th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play
Innovation drives business; without it, companies would remain stationary and get trampled by the competition. Whether altering our products or creating new ones, we thrive on advancements. Scott Sehlhorst, President of Tyner Blain LLC, has illustrated a way of forming fresh ideas that solve customers’ problems by using current or potential inventions in his article “Product Managers & Innovation.” Scott’s strategy inspired the game Innovation Generator, which helps teams identify and address customer needs. The combination of value and invention provides the fuel necessary for innovation.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play

1. Begin by giving your players post-its and markers. Draw three columns on a large white board or poster and label them as follows:
A. Customers’/Prospective Customers’ Problems
B. Invention/Value
C. Innovation

2. Ask players to think of problems that customers within your market may have. After they write all their ideas on sticky notes and post them in the first column, discuss what the issues mean for your company.

3. Work as a group to choose about five inventions your company has or could create. Write these on post-its of a different color and put them in the second column. Ask your players to explore the values these inventions have — other than their current purposes — and to post their ideas around the invention notes in the second column. Think of how these values can resolve the problems noted in the first section. Doing so ensures that your team’s innovations focus on meeting your stakeholders’ needs.

4. Finally, collaborate to develop new innovations by combining the inventions with their values from the second column.

Strategy
Focus on innovations that address the notes from column one. This will ensure that the exercise leaves you with useful information that responds to customers’ needs.

Play Innovation Generator Online

You can instantly play Innovation Generator online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on the image above will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image will be used as the “game board.” You will see light bulb and sticky note icons in the upper left corner. The light bulbs represent the inventions in the second column, and the sticky notes symbolize all other ideas in the three columns. Simply drag icons to the chart and describe what they represent.

Players can edit the placement and description of each icon, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move.

Key Points
Using creative thinking to uncover various ways to apply a product inspires teams to develop new applications for inventions and form solutions that address stakeholders’ needs. And by identifying customer problems first, all ideas will be geared toward helping those who hold the key to your success. Whether creating new inventions or reusing past ones,  Innovation Generation is perfect for teams to brainstorm ways to help customers and stay ahead of the competition.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Customer-Centric

Posted: August 15th, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 comments »

Object of Play
Scott Sehlhorst, President of Tyner Blain LLC, has developed an ingenious way to guide the development of your product by identifying your stakeholders. Before laying out a framework of requirements that your product must meet, it is necessary to know your most important users. Doing so not only allows you to prioritize changes based on what people will actually use, but also provides you with the opportunity to build loyal customers by addressing their needs. However, this is easier said than done, as many unidentified users are incorporated into your sphere of stakeholders indirectly through connections with those closer to the system (product). With Customer-Centric – based on Scott’s Onion Diagram in his article “How to Visualize Stakeholder Analysis” — you can peel back the layers of the ecosystem in which your customers operate and uncover those who benefit from the outputs of the system. Play this game to identify stakeholders who can give you the requirements necessary to make your product succeed.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Start by giving your players sticky notes and pens. On a large poster or white board, draw four concentric circles and label them as follows:

  • Innermost: The product (ex. Pest Control Software)
  • 2nd: System – direct stakeholders (ex. Manager)
  • 3rd: Containing system – stakeholders of the system, even if they don’t directly interact with it (ex. Service technician)
  • 4th: Wider Environment – stakeholders outside of the environment (ex. Suppliers, customers)

2. Work as a team to identify people that belong in each area. This requires you to think outside the box (or shall we say circle?), as each user persona will be connected to many others within the ecosystem.

Strategy
For further organization, you can draw arrows between personas to identify who communicates with whom; doing so will reveal the tangle of relationships originating from the system and bring attention to distant customers who use the output of the product.

Play Customer-Centric Online

You can instantly play Customer-Centric online with as many members as you would like! Clicking on the image above will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com; simply email the game link to your team to invite them to play. In the game, the image to the right will be used as the “game board.” As with the in-person version, the chart organizes the various people who are impacted by your product. In the upper left corner, you will see a note card icon and people icons. Begin by dragging the notecard to the center of the chart and indicating the product you are focusing on. Then, work as a team to drag the people icons to the circles and describe who they represent.

Players can edit the placement and description of each icon, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move. After the game, the results will be organized in a spread sheet to maximize the benefits of the game.

Key Points
One reason products fail is because teams do not solve the problems that are important to the right users. These personas are not always obvious, as they may be associated with the product through indirect connections. With Customer-Centric, you can identify the vast web of people your product impacts and explore the complex butterfly effect; doing so reveals which stakeholders are most important and what your product requirements are.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Gamestorming for service design

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 | Added by: | Filed under: Facilitator resources, Games for design | 2 comments »

As part of the kickoff for the Global Service Jam, I was asked to offer some tips on how service designers could use gamestorming. So I put together a few thoughts in this short video.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (6 votes cast)

Facilitating with Constraints

Posted: December 13th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for decision-making, Games for design, Games for problem-solving | Tags: , , , , | No comments »

Many fields have long embraced constraints as necessary for creativity. Without bounding the problem you’re trying to solve, it’s difficult to see the big picture, to know where to start, or how to focus your attention – much like trying to write a paper without a thesis. Lately, there is increasing acknowledgement of the importance of constraints such as Jonah Lehrer’s Wired post highlighting the research of Janina Marguc at the University of Amsterdam.

It turns out that constraints are also an engaging and effective way to facilitate a conversation, something I’ve learned working with designer Scott Francisco.* Whether you’re trying to balance a budget, plan a meeting, or design a building, workshop activities that make the constraints visible enable better conversations and decision-making.

Here’s how it works:

1. BOUNDARY: Identify the key constraint that defines the problem you’re trying to solve. For instance, the budget (money), the duration of the meeting (time), the size of the building (area). Then create a boundary like a simple square on a large sheet of paper that represents this constraint at some scale (e.g.: a 1” square = $1000, 10mins, 100 square feet, etc)

2. GAME PIECES: Create “game pieces” that represent the different pieces your trying to decide on: different programs within the budget, different possible activities within the meeting, different spaces within the building. These can be color-coded slips of paper / cardstock / post-its. They must be at the same “scale” as the boundary so you can see the relative size of each idea or component. (This may help you realize that one proposed program would take up most of your budget, for instance.)

3. GAME PLAY: Gather a representative group of 12 – 18 stakeholders committed to finding a solution that works by the end of the exercise. Then, play out different scenarios arranging the components to see what “fits” inside the boundary constraint. This can be as one group or with teams working in parallel then comparing and combining results. Along the way, you can discuss and document the merits of each component, the trade-offs, and other options. Do this multiple times to take the pressure off getting it right the first time and photograph each iteration so that you can compare.

4. BONUS ROUND: As an additional option, once you’ve agreed on what fits inside the boundary constraint, you can also continue the discussion to relate the different elements by arranging the components on a sheet; for instance, which programs within the budget depend on each other? What should the sequence of meeting activities be? What spaces within the building should be next to each other?

By making the constraints visible and tangible, you enable a better conversation and unlock the creativity of your group to solve problems together. You also have a visible record of the decisions made as well as a shared sense within the group of what’s involved, how the different components go together, and what’ve you’ve agreed on.

————————–

*  Scott Francisco developed a space planning facilitation tool called the Sandbox which uses a kit of parts to try out different workplace design concepts within a limited amount of space. You can read more about it here and here. We subsequently took the principles of the Sandbox and applied it more broadly to the kinds of exercises described above.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.1/10 (8 votes cast)

2 Brains: Tell it & Sell It

Posted: August 17th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for team-building and alignment, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Gamestorming wiki | Tags: , , , , , | No comments »

Object of Play

Forming an attention-grabbing slogan or pitch can be difficult. Just like brain lateralization — the right hemisphere controls imagination and feelings while the left side manages facts and details – it requires the perfect balance of emotion and logic. To accurately identify this specific combination and maximize your pitch’s impact, Thomas J. Buckholtz has created 2-Brains: Tell It & Sell It. In this activity, you will include a left-brain fact (tell it) and a right-brain emotional idea (sell it) to connect the two aspects of persuasion and create a 2-brain message.

Number of Players

5 – 8

Duration of Play

30 min – 1 hour

(The game works most effectively if it is repeated multiple times over the course of a few days.)

How to Play

1. Before your meeting, draw a 4×4 graph on a large white space (poster, white board, etc.). Label the vertical axis “Emotional (right brain).” Higher on the chart is for “sizzles” (great emotional ideas) and lower on the graph is for “fizzles” (negative emotional appeal). Mark the horizontal axis “Practical (left brain).” Further to the left is for negative practical uses while further to the right is for very positive practical uses. The third row on the graph represents emotionally neutral. The second column represents neutral practical appeal.

2. Provide your players with post-its and markers. We recommend using four different colors for the four thought topics:

  • Right-brain post-its are for purely emotional.
  • Left-brain post-its are for purely practical.
  • 2-brain post-its are for emotional and practical.
  • Other post-its are for other types of ideas.

3. Have your players write right- and left-brain ideas on the sticky notes. These can be themes (phrases) or messages (sentences). When all ideas have been written, ask the participants to stick them on the chart. Right-brain (emotional) ideas likely should be placed close to practical-neutral while left-brain ideas (logical) likely should go near emotional-neutral.

4. Collaborate to form as many 2-brain messages as you can by combining the right- and left-brain messages. Write these new messages on sticky notes and place them in appropriate (likely upper-right) squares.

Strategy

Maintain a fun, positive environment so players will feel comfortable sharing their ideas. Encourage random creativity and give players breaks to keep them from burning out. Motivate people to build from each other’s ideas to create a perfect slogan or pitch.

As you play the game, continue to modify the sticky notes to reflect improved ideas. You can also add post-its to show new concepts or major breakthroughs. Organize the notes to portray the relative ranking of the ideas. Remember to document or take a picture of your chart at the end so you can refer back to the notes.

It is important to play this game multiple times over the course of a few days so players can improve on ideas. Keep the chart up so participants can consider how to combine the right- and left- brain ideas to make the most effective pitch.

Play Online

You can play 2-Brains: Tell It & Sell It instantly online! Clicking on the image to the right will bring you to an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com. The image will be used as the “game board,” which organizes the level of emotion and practicality of players’ thoughts. You will find a yellow sticky note icon at the upper left corner of the chart. Participants drag the sticky notes onto the board and describe what they represent. The layers and regions in the game will keep track of where the notes are placed.

Players can edit the placement and description of each sticky note, which everyone can view in real time. Use the integrated chat facility and communicate with your players throughout the game to get a better understanding of each move.

Key Points

The purpose of a slogan or pitch is to catch the attention of your audience, which is easier said than done. The visual organization in 2-Brains: Tell It & Sell It perfectly reflects the balance of the right- and left- brain ideas needed to capture your listener’s interest, and the extensive collaboration involved introduces multiple perspectives and ideas. By combining emotional and factual ideas, you can form a “sizzling” pitch that radiates compelling practicality.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Actions for Retrospectives

Posted: July 22nd, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for any meeting, Games for closing, Games for decision-making, Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for problem-solving, Games for update or review meetings, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Gamestorming wiki, Various | Tags: , , , , | 2 comments »

Object of Play
Analyzing past events can get repetitive, leading to a lack of creative ideas and dulled critical thinking. Without an engaging strategy, you could get stuck in a pit of unproductive ideas, causing you to lose all sense of direction and become blind to areas needing improvement. To resist this useless slump, Actions for Retrospectives, based on Nick Oostvogel’s Actions Centered, allows teams to examine multiple aspects of an event or project in order to form original ideas on how it can be enhanced in the future. Break free from the barriers of boring retrospective analysis strategies to discover how you can make your next project, meeting, conference, etc., a success.

Number of Players
5 – 8

Duration of Play
1 hour

How to Play
1. Start by drawing a large 2×2 matrix with a square labeled “Actions” in the middle; this is designated for the changes that the team commits to making as a result of the retrospective. The four quadrants surrounding it represent different aspects of your event:

  • Puzzles: Questions for which you have no answer
  • Risks: Future pitfalls that can endanger the event
  • Appreciations: What you liked during the previous iteration
  • Wishes: Not improvements, but ideas of your ideal event

2. Provide the players with pens and sticky notes, preferably different colored notes for each quadrant. Have the participants write their ideas for “Appreciations,” “Puzzles,” “Risks,” and “Wishes” one category at a time, allowing 5 – 10 minutes for each section.  
3. Once players have written all their thoughts, ask them to post their notes on the chart. As a team, go through the ideas and cluster related ones together.
4. Discuss the novelty, feasibility, and impact of the ideas, and collaborate to analyze how they can be applied to the next event. Use this process to create practical, efficient “Actions” in the middle.

Strategy
There are many techniques you can use to amplify the benefits of this game. For instance, making players feel comfortable sharing their ideas is crucial to attaining high-quality results. One way to do so is to describe “Risks” as possible improvements, rather than negative aspects that could ruin the event. This will encourage participants to share their ideas about what should be done to ensure the success of the event without them feeling as though they are criticizing others. Also, to increase players’ concentration, you can wait to write and describe the titles of each section until just before it is time to think of ideas related to them. This will force players to focus on one category at a time. Don’t forget to create a playful environment so participants will let their thoughts flow and form higher quality ideas.

Actions for Retrospective has many applications in the business world. It can also be used for any product, service, or section of your company to identify how they can be improved. Take advantage of the game’s organized format and extensive collaboration to advance toward your potential.

Play Online
Clicking on this image will start an “instant play” game at innovationgames.com. Here, this image will be used as the “game board,” and there will be five different icons that players can drag onto the chart and describe to capture their ideas.

  • Puzzles = question marks
  • Risks = bombs
  • Appreciations = smiley faces
  • Wishes = stars

As with the in-person version, the chart is divided into five quadrants for the five categories of thoughts.

All moves can be seen in real time by each participant, so everyone can collaborate to edit the ideas. Also, you can use the integrated chat facility to encourage the players to expand on their ideas and come up with fresh insights.

Key Points
This unique strategy involves teamwork and spatial organization so your group can think differently about retrospectives and brainstorm changes for progress. Also, by writing thoughts down and working together, participants will be more comfortable providing ideas for how to improve the event rather than feeling as if they are criticizing past ideas. Play Actions for Retrospectives to reflect on the past in order to advance toward the future.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (11 votes cast)

Prune The Future

Posted: April 6th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for design, Games for fresh thinking and ideas, Games for planning, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Gamestorming wiki | Tags: , , | No comments »

Object of Play

People who work in large organizations know that most change doesn’t happen immediately or in broad sweeps. It happens incrementally by taking small, strategic steps.  Prune the Future uses a tree as a metaphor to show how the future of anything can be shaped,one leaf at a time.

Number of Players

5–15

Duration of Play

30 minutes

How to Play

1. Before the meeting, cut a few dozen sticky notes or index cards into the shapes of leaves. Then, in a white space that will be visible to the players, draw a large tree with enough thick limbs to represent multiple categories of the future.  Write the general topic under or above the tree.

2. Tell the group that the inner part of the treetop represents current states of the topic and moving outward means moving toward the future.  For example, if the topic is about growing the customer base, the inner leaves would represent the current customer demographics and the outer leaves would represent future or desired customer demographics.

3. Ask the players to write current aspects of the topic—one idea per leaf—on the leaves and stick them on the inside of the treetop.  Remove any redundant comments and cluster similar comments, with the group’s guidance, near the appropriate branches.

4. Next, ask the players to write aspects of the future on new leaves. These can be future states or variables already in progress, or simply potentials and possibilities.

5. Tell the players to “prune” the future by posting their leaves around the treetop, related to the categories of the limbs.  If you’d like, add thin or thick branches within to show relationships and let the tree grow in a natural way. If it grows asymmetrically, let that be.

6. With the players, discuss the shape of tree that emerges. Which branches have the most activity? Which areas don’t seem to be experiencing growth? Where do the branches appear to be most connected? The most disconnected?

Strategy

The picture of the tree is the working metaphor for this game—it represents the roots of the topic, the branches of the topic, and, of course, the topic’s growth potential.  This game is broadly applicable because you can use a tree as a metaphor for virtually any aspect of your organization that you wish to grow or shape.  The topic can be a product whose future features you want to brainstorm.  It can be a team whose future roles and responsibilities you want to plan.  Or you could use this game to discuss the marketplace and show where the players think it is changing or growing.

When the players start to shape the outer treetop, encourage them to “go out on a limb” with their ideas for the future. This game is about possibilities—realistic and otherwise.  And if someone requests fruit on the tree to represent ROI, draw apples where they should be. If the players request another tree (or even a grove!), draw quick rudimentary trees and let the players start adding leaves, following the original procedure. This game works well because it allows for a nonlinear, organic representation of what is likely a complex topic.  It results in a visual display of the interconnectedness of future conditions;  showing where some parts of the tree may be suffering while others are thriving.

The Prune the Future game is based on the Prune the Product Tree activity in Luke Hohmann’s book, Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play.

Online Prune the Product Tree

Prune the Product TreeGet started right away by playing Prune the Product Tree online! One of the important aspects of this game is tailoring the image – and meaning – of the tree to match the goals of your game. To illustrate online play, we’re going to use an “Event Benefits Tree”.

Clicking on this image will start an events benefits “instant play” game at innovationgames.com that is useful in evaluating the benefits of attending a conference. In the game, there will be three icons that you can drag onto your Product Tree:

  • Red Apples: Benefits you expected and got.
  • Rotten Apples: Benefits you expected but didn’t get.
  • Presents: Unexpected benefits that made the conference great.

The multi-layered regions of this tree are designed to capture a variety of information about these benefits. Where did the players receive these benefits (at the conference or at work)? What was the nature of the benefit (personal or professional)? And what about the conference infrastructure – the roots of the tree (before the conference or after the conference)? By exploring these dimensions with players, you can create better conferences in the future.

Don’t forget that this a collaborative game that allows you to invite other players to play. And when they drag something around – you will see it in real time! Of course, you will want to create your own trees after you’ve explored this one.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.3/10 (4 votes cast)

Graphic Gameplan

Posted: April 6th, 2011 | Added by: | Filed under: Games for decision-making, Games for design, Games for planning, Games for team-building and alignment, Games for vision and strategy meetings, Gamestorming wiki | 2 comments »

photo

Object of Play

Plenty of us are visionaries, idea generators, or, at the very least, suggestion makers. But ideas never come to fruition without a plan. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.” Following up on a big idea with an executable action plan is one of the monumental differences between teams and companies that are merely good and those that are outstanding. That’s why this activity deserves special attention. The Graphic Gameplan shows you how you’ll get where you want to go with a project.

Number of Players

Small groups, but can also be done individually

Duration of Play

30 minutes to 2 hours

How to Play

1. Before the meeting, think of one or more projects that need to get traction.

2. In a large, white space, preferably 3–4 feet high by 6–12 feet wide, draw a picture similar to the following.

3. Display the graphic on the meeting room wall and tell the players that the goal ofthe meeting is to get consensus around specific tasks required to complete a project.

4. Write the name of the first project to be discussed at the top left of the first column.As the group leader, you can write all associated projects downward in that same column or you can ask the players to add projects that they agree need attention.Either way, you should end up with the relevant projects listed in the leftmost column.

5. Based on the projects listed, either tell the group the time frame and write the milestones in days, weeks, or months along the top row, or ask what they think it should be and write that time frame along the top. (Note: you can also establish a timeline after step 8.)

6. Sticky notes in hand, ask the players to choose a project and agree aloud on the first step required to accomplish it. Write their contribution on the sticky note and post it in the first box next to that project.

7. Ask the players for the second, third, and fourth steps, and so on. Keep writing their comments on sticky notes until they’re satisfied that they’ve adequately outlined each step to complete the project.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for every project on your display, until the game plan is filled out.

Strategy

Completing a game plan as a group has two major benefits. The first is that it breaks big projects into manageable chunks of work, which encourages anyone responsible for a project. The second is that because the “group mind” creates the game plan, it raises the quality of the flow of project management. It becomes less likely that important steps are left out and more likely that the project is approached thoughtfully and strategically.But as you post the sticky notes, don’t assume that the first flow the group maps is the best one. Ask the players challenging questions about their comments: Does this have to happen first? Can these two steps be combined? How are steps related across projects?Do steps in one project affect the progress or outcome of another? Ask hard questions to help the group get to the best place and write any food for thought on a flip chart nearby.

When determining the timeline to write across the top, it’s important to note that it can be determined after the project steps are established. A time frame written beforehand can impact the steps people are willing and able to take, so think about whether it serves the facilitation process better by assigning time before or after the play is complete.

If you find that the players want to assign tasks to specific people or departments as they go, let them. Simply add the names of the responsible parties to each sticky note (obviously,these assignments should be realistic). And if the players want to discuss available resources, or a lack thereof, ask them to share what they expect to need in order to complete the projects and capture that on a flip chart in the room.

The game plan can be customized with several rows and columns in order to support more complex projects. You can draw however many rows and columns you’d like as long as you have sticky notes that will fit within. Whatever the matrix looks like, the visual that results from this group discussion can serve as the large-scale, step-by-step of a project, or its contents can be funneled into more formal project management software or some other platform used by the organization. Either way, the discussion around creating it will be of significant value.

  • Optional activity: Draw smaller versions of the game plan on flip-chart paper and have breakout groups tackle specific projects using markers and small sticky notes. Then ask each group to present their approach to the larger group and to get feedback on the steps they proposed.

The Graphic Gameplan is based on the Leader’s Guide to Accompany the Graphic Gameplan Graphic Guide from The Grove Consultants International’s strategic visioning process,which involves using a template of the same name.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
please wait…
Rating: 8.3/10 (8 votes cast)
VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (8 votes cast)