Speed Boat meets SWOT, Innovation Games & Scrum, ScrumKnowsy and more…

One of best parts of putting this newsletter together each month is unearthing how Innovation Games are changing how people do work, all over the world. This month we have reported on Speed Boat, including a mashup with Swot Analysis, details on using Innovation Games in ScrumMaster training, the ScrumKnowsy iPad app, and more… 

 

Speed Boat meets SWOT

Show me someone in the working world who hasn’t used SWOT Analysis? Raise your hand if you’ve played Speed Boat. Ever mashed the two together?

No, well, Joshua Arnold of CostofDelay.com has and writes, “I’ve run a few SWOT analysis with senior managers and teams, to help them identify and share strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. What would be great to do is combine the boat metaphor [from Innovation Game’s Speed Boat] and the safe environment — and add to it a bit by identifying both negatives and positives, as well as make more explicit what is inherent to the organization itself and what is beyond their locus of control.”

Arnold’s combined game is covered in detail on his website. Do you have a game mashup to share? Let us know!

 

Speed Boat Short Takes. 

Arnold wasn’t the only person posting about Speed Boat. Check out these posts as well on how folks are putting the game to work:

Russian Speed Boat

  • The product manager blogger behind Tisquirrel.com writes about how Speed Boat can ease the most uncomfortable and most important part of retrospectives, what went wrong and what went right.
  • David Koss writes about attending an Innovation Games workshop at PaloIT in Paris in April, where he explores how to use Speed Boat to solve organizational problems.

 

Innovation Games + Scrum = Awesome 

Qualified Instructor and Enthiosys President Jason Tanner recently teamed up with Carlton Nettleton to co-teach a Certified ScrumMaster class. Innovation Games have long been used in the Agile community; the techniques work really well with common agile practices, but it’s still cool to hear about how the games are being put to use.

Changecamp treeIn this post, Carlton details how he and Jason incorporated both online and in-person games into the class, including 20/20 Vision, Prune the Product TreeSpeed BoatBuy a Feature and Knowsy (ScrumKnowsy, of course).

Carlton writes, “The online games are really powerful. During our course, Jason demonstrated how to use the online games for retrospectives, market research and release planning. Seeing the new and interesting ways that Jason had used the online games as a collaboration tool intrigued me.”  Read more about how Carlton and Jason incorporated Innovation Games here.

ScrumKnowsy: iPad or Browser-based? 

ScrumKnowsy is now available as an iPad app, allowing you to play the standalone, personal version withoutScrumKnowsy Personal a wifi connection and discover how your Scrum practice stacks up against such Scrum luminaries as Jeff Sutherland, Jim Coplien, Jens Østergaard and Jeff McKenna.

Want to play online, alone or with your team? Save and export your results as you improve and grow your Scrum practice? Register and play online at www.scrumknowsy.com.


BUILD HIGH-PERFORMANCE AGILE TEAMS BY PLAYING SCRUMKNOWSY®

The latest Knowsy® game from The Innovation Games® Company and ScrumTide help teams and individuals discover, challenge and improve their Scrum practice.

Mountain View, CA – August 13, 2012. The Innovation Games® Company, the leading provider of serious games for business, today announced that it has released ScrumKnowsy®, the latest game built on the Knowsy® platform.

 

ScrumKnowsy, produced in partnership with ScrumTide, is a browser-based serious game that allows an individual and organization improve their Scrum practice. Players can “challenge” Scrum Oracles like Scrum Creator Jeff Sutherland, or leading Scrum trainers like Jim “Cope” Coplien or Jens Ostergaard to discover how their Scrum practice compares, or play multiplayer games to track alignment on Scrum practices, roles, and responsibilities.

Jim Coplien Introduces Scrum Knowsy from Conteneo Inc. on Vimeo.

 

“The key to successful, high performing teams rests in alignment. Not just alignment of goals, but the alignment of roles, responsibilities, methods of work and communication,” Said CEO and Founder Luke Hohmann. “While there’s been a lot of discussion about of the importance of alignment and team integrity, a way to effectively test (and improve) team alignment hasn’t emerged. Until now.”

“ScrumKnowsy gives teams a fun and effective way to explore how well they are aligned with their mission.” Hohmann continued. “By formally testing, sharing and discussing the results of Scrum Knowsy® games, teams will explicitly reduce the degree of ambiguity and equivocality of the shared outcomes they seek to create.”

 

Key features of ScrumKnowsy are:

  • It’s a game, not another boring meeting. Discovering where teams are and aren’t aligned through collaborative play means improved engagement and more accurate feedback.
  • Access to experts. Through Challenge and Discover play individuals and teams can compare their Scrum practice with leaders in the Scrum community.
  • Individual or Multiplayer games. ScrumKnowsy lets you play on your own or with teams, tackling such topics as retrospectives, sprint planning, backlogs, impediment lists and more.
  • Real-time database. Playing ScrumKnowsy allows individuals and teams to track their game results over time, providing real-time information on improvement and performance.
  • Individual or Enterprise Licenses. Players always play for free, but Individuals or organizations can upgrade for additional features and capabilities like custom topics, game analytics and more. The individual can sign up for Starter accounts (individual play only) for free, or pay $19 for an annual Standard license, which includes the full range of capabilities, including multiplayer games.

 

“ScrumKnowsy is designed for ongoing self-assessment,” said ScrumTide partner Jim “Cope” Coplien, “because that’s what Agile is about. The goal is to have fun and create value, and ScrumKnowsy helps agile teams meet that goal.”

Forrester Analyst Tom Grant recently profiled ScrumKnowsy and it’s role in facilitating Agility at Scale, writing, “Clearly, the approach that ScrumKnowsy takes is a lot less obnoxious than the Agile standards star chamber and a lot easier to use for regular reinforcement than training classes.”

The Innovation Games® Company and ScrumTide will showcase ScrumKnowsy at Agile 2012, the leading conference for agile adherents, hosting a launch party on Wednesday, August 15. The first 500 standard account holders will get limited edition ScrumKnowsy t-shirts. For more details about the launch party, go to https://www.innovationgames.com/2012/08/scrumknowsy-launch-party/.

The Innovation Games® Company’s portfolio includes the Knowsy® platform of products, along with Innovation Games® Online, which launched in July 2009, and was highlighted in a recent Forrester report as a leader in the serious games industry for helping businesses “do work.” Innovation Games® Online includes both real-time visual collaboration and virtual market games, such as Buy a Feature Online, Prune the Product Tree Online, Speed Boat Online and Design Your Own Visual Game. The online games are based on Luke Hohmann’s book Innovation Games®: Creating Breakthrough Products through Collaborative Play. (For more information about ScrumKnowsy®, go to http://playknowsy.com/p/scrumtide.)

 

About The Innovation Games® Company
The Innovation Games® Company is the leading producer of serious games—online and in-person—for business. Innovation Games helps organizations large and small get actionable insights into customer needs and preferences to improve performance, through collaborative play, having worked with such companies as Cisco, Reed Elsevier, Yahoo!, Qualcomm, SAP, Emerson Climate Technologies and more. To learn more about Innovation Games® Online, our online game platform for real-time, distributed collaboration and our Knowsy® games, visit http://innovationgames.com.


ScrumKnowsy® Launch Party!

We just launched the newest member of the Knowsy® family, Scrum Knowsy®, and are throwing a party at Agile 2012 to celebrate.

So what is ScrumKnowsy®?
ScrumKnowsy® is a fun and interactive online game that helps individuals and organizations improve their Scrum performance by aligning teams on Scrum roles, responsibilities and practices.

We partnered with the good folks of ScrumTide to bring you the game; it includes Challenge Play, where you can test out your beliefs about Scrum Practice against such leaders in the Scrum community as:

  • Jeff Sutherland
  • Jens Ostergaard
  • Jim “Cope” Coplien

For more about ScrumKnowsy®–why play, how to play and more–check out this introduction from Jim Coplien.

 

Come to our Party!
Join our CEO Luke Hohmann for food, drink, and fun! Not to mention those limited edition ScrumKnowsy® t-shirts! (Thanks to VersionOne for hosting!)

What: Scrum Knowsy® & Innovation Games® Games Fest!
When: Wednesday, 15 August 2012; 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Where: Texas 6, Gaylord Texan, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine, TX 76051

 

Now about those t-shirts …
The first 500 folks to sign up for a Standard subscription get a limited edition Scrum Knowsy® T-Shirt.

Standard subscriptions ($19) give you the ability to set up multiplayer games (that your team members can join for free!), track your progress and improvement, play “against” the Scrum Oracles to compare your Scrum Practice and more. Starter subscriptions are free and are for individual play.

Hope to see you at the party!


Get Your Scrum Knowsy® T-Shirt!

We’re pleased as punch that Scrum Knowsy® is live, and even more pleased that Scrum teams now have a fun and effective way of aligning their Scrum practice–not to mention discover how their motivations and practices compare with Scrum gurus like Jeff Sutherland, Jens Ostergard, and Jim Coplien.

You can try out Scrum Knowsy® here. There’s two modes of play–Starter, or individual play, which is free, and Standard, which lets you host games and track your team’s alignment and improvement. As always with our games, players play for free.

 

 

How to do I get those cool shirts!

To celebrate Scrum Knowsy’s release into the wild, we’re giving away limited edition Scrum Knowsy® T-shirt to the first 500 souls who sign up for a Standard subscription, currently $19.95* annually.

If you’re at Agile 2012 next week, Luke Hohmann will be on hand, passing out shirts to the first 500 sign-ups. You can follow him on Twitter to get an update on his location at the Gaylord Convention Center (it’s a big place after all!).

Or track him down on Wednesday, August 15 at the Scrum Knowsy® and Innovation Games® Game Fest in Texas 6, from 7:30 PM until 11:00 PM. (Thanks to VersionOne for hosting the bash!)

Thanks!
Thanks again to ScrumTide for their partnership in bringing Scrum Knowsy® to the world!

Follow Tweets @Lukehohmann to find out where to get your Scrum Knowsy® T-Shirt

*Pricing may change without notice. Scrum Knowsy employs dynamic pricing–each enterprise license holder controls the price of standard subscriptions.

Improving Team Performance Through Knowsy

If you’re lucky, you’ll have the experience of working in a high-performing team early in your career. As you continue working, you will soon realize that high-performing teams are truly magical and rarer than you might have first expected. And if you keep working, you’ll find yourself becoming committed to creating high-performing teams. You won’t succeed every time, but you’ll try.

It’s a mission I’ve worked towards for most of my professional life, and in this post, I will explore how Knowsy®, our latest gaming platform, can improve the performance of teams by helping them reach alignment on a number of dimensions critical to high performance. I will focus specifically on Scrum Knowsy®, a version of Knowsy that was created in collaboration with several leading experts in the Scrum Community from Scrum Tide.

 

High Performing Teams Really Are Different

Let’s explore two teams comprised of people of roughly equal intelligence, experience, and motivation. Let’s stipulate that the teams have roughly equivalent domain knowledge — meaning, if they work in automobile insurance industry, they have roughly the same amount of knowledge on “how” the automobile insurance works. Finally, let’s grant the teams roughly equal levels of knowledge and experience in the tools they use in their job.

Even with all of these aspects of teams being equal, we know that there will be differences in team performance. Researchers have studied this for a long time, trying to identify differences in performance so that managers can improve the same.

One consistent result is that high performing teams align on a number of key dimensions. They share a core set of values in what kind of work matters and how it should be done. They agree on how the work should be distributed within the team and in who should tackle specific assignments. And even if they don’t realize the influence of organizational, community and societal culture, high-performing teams find ways to agree with each other on a host of important items, such as when they take a vacation or what kinds of training are appropriate for the team.

Much of these agreements occur naturally within teams over time, if the team has the opportunity to remain relatively stable for a long enough time. The team forms a collective mind, in which the interdependent actions of the team create an “a separate transactional memory system, complete with differentiated responsibility for remembering different portions of common experience” [Weick, 1993]. More plainly, we not only know that Jill is an excellent analyst, but we rely on our knowledge of Jill being an excellent analyst and begin to assign her tasks capitalizing on her skills. We remember the tasks that she has been given and rely on her memory when we need information about those tasks. A collective mind enables the team to become more effective in problem-solving precisely because each member of the team can rely on other members to provide experience and skills we do not possess as individuals [Hohmann 1997].

Of course, we don’t want to wait to see if a high-performing team will magically appear over time, because we also know that not every team jells, let alone becomes “high-performing.” And it can be frustrating to try and improve team performance when we know that we’re working in suboptimal structure. For example, while we’re told that teams perform best when they’re stable, macroeconomic conditions, such as a very fast growing company, or a very poor economy that causes a company to engage in workforce restructuring, might make keeping the same people on the team impossible. As a result, it is quite natural for all of us to seek to improve the performance of our teams.

Let’s explore further how games such as Knowsy® can help improve team performance.

 

Scrum and Software Development Roles

To engage in coordinated work, teams typically define a set of roles. At times these roles become captured and described in methods, which are prescriptive ways to guide problem-solving in teams.

Scrum is one of the world’s leading project management methods. Created and predominately used in the field of software development, Scrum defines a structured, yet flexible, the framework for accomplishing a wide variety of work. The Scrum Guide documents the Scrum framework and is maintained by Scrum’s creators, Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, and can be found here.

When an organization or team chooses to adopt Scrum, they are also choosing to adopt the roles defined by Scrum. According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Team consists of a Product Owner, the Development Team, and a Scrum Master. Let’s briefly explore the Product Owner and the Scrum Master roles.

According to the Scrum Guide, “the Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of the Development Team. How this done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.” “The Scrum Master is responsible for ensuring Scrum is understood and enacted. Scrum Masters do this by ensuring that the Scrum Team adheres to Scrum theory, practices and rules.”

The Scrum Guide contains a number of very explicit statements about certain responsibilities of these roles, while also promoting considerable flexibility in the application of the framework. For example, while the Scrum Product Owner is the “sole person responsible for the Product Backlog,” the Scrum Guide explicitly notes that there is any number of ways in which to express, order and verify backlog items.

Similarly, Scrum Development Teams, “consist of professionals who do the work of delivering a potentially releasable increment of ‘done’ product at the end of each Sprint” and are explicitly self-organizing. While this grants a team considerable power, it also means that teams must identify how they will work together as a team. I’ve written about this extensively in my first book, Journey of the Software Professional: A Sociology of Software Development, and I won’t cover this ground again, but instead, focus on how a team can focus on roles and use Knowsy to drive performance.

 

Internal and External Alignment on Roles

Scrum has been successfully applied across teams and organizations of varying sizes–from small startups of just a few developers sitting in one room to extremely large organizations with hundreds to thousands of developers distributed across continents. And while each of these teams have found a way to leverage Scrum to meet its needs, it is safe to assume that these teams have honored the advice in the Scrum Guide and that there are indeed marked differences in how specific teams have defined the role of the Product Owner or the Scrum Master.

Let’s defer, for now, the potentially contentious debate on whether or not a given team has defined the role of a Product Owner or a Scrum Master in a way that is congruent with Scrum (the dreaded “Scrumbut” debate), and instead focus on the degree to which a given team is in alignment with the roles they have described for their team.

I define two kinds of alignment: internal and external. Internal alignment means that each person on the team rank orders the responsibilities of a given role in exactly the same way. Meaning, when presented with the question: “What are the responsibilities of a Product Owner,” each member of the team will rank order these responsibilities in the same way. Similarly, if they rank order the responsibilities of their Scrum Owner in the same way, then we say that the team is internally aligned. You can think of alignment somewhat like “preferences” in foods – if you and I were to rank order our five favorite kinds of Dessert, then we could say that we were “internally” aligned on food choices.

Internal alignment alone is insufficient for team performance, precisely because the act of working together means that I must be able to make predictions as to the work that other members of the team are doing, in part because effective communication and work processes rely not only on actual behavior but also on the expectations of behavior created when the team agrees on an activity. Therefore, we define external alignment as the degree to which each member of a team can accurately predict how each other member of the team orders the responsibilities of a given role. Continuing with the food analogy, we can say that we externally aligned if I can predict your favorite Pizza toppings and you can predict my favorite Bagels.

Taken together, internal and external alignment provides a powerful tool for exploring and creating some of the accepted necessary conditions for high-performing teams.

 

The Power of Play: Determining Alignment Through Scrum Knowsy

Thus far, my discussion of roles and alignment has been anything but playful. Indeed, sitting down with members of your team to discuss everyone’s perspective on roles strikes me as a painfully boring meeting, at best. At worst, the team runs the risk of having a few strong and/or highly opinionated members of the team dominate the discussion, resulting in a less than accurate perspective. More likely, though, is that the discussion of how the team works, even in a team that strives for balanced discussion, is not likely to be very fun, and is likely to be overly influenced by whoever speaks first, regardless of their role.

So let’s make it a game!

Knowsy® is a simple, fun, and fast game in which the winner of the game is the person who knows the other players the best. Here is how it works:

 

  1. A game host assemble assembles a group of 4-10 players and initiates a game.
  2. Each player chooses a Topic. You can choose fun topics, like “Favorite Ice Cream” or “Favorite Movie Genre”, or work-related, and typically more serious topics, like “What Is Important in Scrum Sprint Planning?”
  3. Players then choose their top five items in the selected Topic and order them according to their preferences. We call these a “like list”, since it represents your likes.
  4. When a player has finished ranking their preferences, they then proceed to see how well they can predict the ordering of the other players. These are called “guess lists.”
  5. The game is finished when each player has guessed the like lists of the other players. The winner of the game is the person who could most accurately predict the preferences of the other players.

 

When you’re playing with your family, you don’t really care about internal alignment: The fact that my favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is Phish Food® and that yours is Chunky Monkey is just a fun way for us to get to know each other. And the fact that my children can predict their sibling’s preferences on a host of issues more accurately than me (and often their mother, which a source of endless laughter) is just a fun way for my children to demonstrate their knowledge of each other.

However, when you’re at work, it really isn’t all that fun to work in a team in which everyone ascribes a different set of responsibilities to key roles and in which no one can predict the expectations of their coworkers.

 

Knowsy is the Test for Conceptual Integrity

More than 20 years ago, Elliot Soloway, my advisor at Michigan, told me to read The Mythical Man-Month [Brooks, 1995]. In this book, which I still consider the single greatest book ever written on software development, Brooks discusses at length the need for conceptual integrity.

Brooks is correct: We need conceptual integrity to create any product, and the need for conceptual integrity is not dependent on the size of the organization. It doesn’t matter if you have eight developers or 800: You will move faster if your team has conceptual integrity. Unfortunately, Brooks never described a means by which a team can “test” that it has developed a high-degree of conceptual integrity.

That’s always been a pretty big issue for me because a lack of conceptual integrity really does impair team performance. And while it is great to say that we need conceptual integrity, providing teams with no concrete means by which to achieve it is frustrating. I’m deeply pleased that Knowsy provides a means by which a team can formally test its degree of conceptual integrity related to its functional values. And by playing Knowsy frequently, teams can “improve their integrity score” and build some of the essential foundations for high-performance. (As an aside, stay tuned for a future release of Knowsy® that will gamify this process so that teams in organizations can have even more fun demonstrating their alignment!)

By formally testing, sharing and discussing the results of Knowsy® games, teams will explicitly reduce the degree of ambiguity and equivocality of the shared outcomes they seek to create. (For the vast majority of Scrum teams, this is working software.) Ambiguity means something can be understood in two or more ways. Equivocality refers to our degree of certainty over a shared meaning. To say a “thing” is unambiguous means each individual shares the same meaning associated with the “thing.” To say it is unequivocal means we have a high degree of certainty as to the meaning we share. When ambiguity or equivocality are high, performance is low.

Remarkably, low-performing teams often don’t realize that they are “low-performing” teams precisely because they don’t talk about their lack of alignment on roles, responsibilities, values, and goals. They inadvertently tolerate ambiguity, and, even when they manage to eradicate ambiguity, they do not operate with confidence. One of the greatest unheralded virtues of the Scrum framework is that the many meetings it prescribes work in concert to reduce ambiguity and equivocality. And With Scrum Knowsy®, your team can actually confirm, through play, that you’ve done this.

 

A Process for Improving Alignment

While playing Knowsy provides a team with a concrete test of conceptual integrity and can reveal their degree of alignment, it begs the question: “So what?”. In other words, what should a team be doing to improve their alignment on Scrum? And since a lack of alignment on functional roles, responsibilities, and processes suggests a lack of alignment on other aspects of work, what should teams do next?

Let’s break this up into the four quadrants of alignment that can be derived from Knowsy game data:

If you find yourself in the upper right – congratulations. Chances are good you’re a high-performing team. It is the other areas of the quadrant that require action – some much more than others.

  • We didn’t know we agree: This is likely to be an easy conversation with your team to identify why you weren’t able to accurately predict each others answers. Chances are good that you’ll find some mis-perceptions that will be easy to address.
  • This is a mess: Yeah, that’s strong language, but the reality is that your team is probably experiencing a boatload of problems. Take your Knowsy game results and sit down and take the time to talk through your differences. You might find that it is pretty easy to reach alignment. And you might find that you have some really fundamental disagreements about Scrum. While seeing your disagreements in black and white might be unsettling, it is the first step to having the conversations that produce the alignments you need.
  • We know we disagree: This could be the arena of your most challenging conversations: you know that you’re in disagreement, and Knowsy is merely revealing the undercurrent of the team. Good. Now you get to honor some of the values that you likely hold to be important, including such things as “No Hidden Agendas” at work.

 

The core step is that you need to work on getting into alignment. Talk. Play Innovation Games like the Vision Box variation of Product Box to build a common goal for the team. Refer to the Scrum Guide or other materials that you find as trusted references. Explore the advice of the Scrum Oracles contained within Scrum Knowsy (more on them, later). And then, after all, this is done, play more Scrum Knowsy – and prove to yourselves that you’re building alignment.

Now that you’ve achieved alignment on your functional values, you’re likely going to want to explore and reach alignment on other aspects of work, including team, division, product, or corporate goals; or, you might want to test alignment on the key initiatives associated with your corporate strategy; or, you might want to just have some fun and see how well aligned your team is on their favorite kind of food.

This is currently beyond the scope of the Scrum Knowsy offering, as Scrum Knowsy is presently focused on Scrum, and the Topics and Items within Scrum Knowsy are managed by ScrumTide. However, we can help you accomplish this broader goal through a custom-branded Knowsy for your company so that your entire organization can integrate the Topics and Items that are most relevant to you. Indeed, we’ve created branded Knowsies for several companies focused on using Knowsy to help their sales teams better understand customer priorities – see if you can find your company at www.playknowsy.com. And while these Knowsies help companies sell complex software solutions, we can help you target a Knowsy to help you build the alignment that leads to action.

 

Alignment Alone is Not Enough: The Value of Expertise

We use a Scrum-inspired development process here at The Innovation Games® Company. And I suspect some of my closest friends in the Scrum community would be able to point out a number of areas where we are not perfectly following the Scrum process

At one level, that’s OK: Our development team is very high-performing, as measured by its delivery of high-quality working software. We understand our roles, and how we’ve chosen to implement Scrum. We score pretty high on the alignment scale.

But, could we do better? Returning to a point I made earlier, it’s our collective responsibility as a team to see if we can improve our performance. For many technical components of team performance, this happens quite naturally as members of our development team scan the developer community to identify ways in which they can improve performance. For example, Dan, our CTO, recently shared with everyone several new approaches to scaling the server, while the Lucky Charms (hey, you know who you are :-)) showed off some very cool ways to show game results in a future release. And both will eventually get one of these approaches, as one has been added to the roadmap and the other to the backlog.

The situation is not necessarily as clear-cut for the “software” aspects of team performance. For example, even though we agree on the responsibilities of the Scrum Product Owner (“me”), as our company continues to grow in size we will need to formalize the role of the Scrum Master (currently, Dan). I am confident that we would benefit from the knowledge and expertise of others in the Scrum community as we make these changes.

This is the role of the Scrum Oracles, a select group of individuals whose suggested ordering of a topic is presented in the Scrum Knowsy results from the screen after the game is played. By comparing our choices with those of experts, we have the opportunity to consider differing opinions. We don’t have to agree with the Oracles, because while their advice may be sound, we may have very good reasons to have differences of opinions. Alternatively, seeing where our team differs from the opinions of experts gives us a chance to consider how we might experiment with our processes in order to improve our performance.

 

The Evolution of Knowsy

Over the next several months, we hope to continue to improve Scrum Knowsy and the Knowsy platform to provide even more ways in which teams can work together to improve their performance by creating alignment on those dimensions that are critical to their work. For example, we will be developing enhanced analytic tools for larger development organizations, so that companies with large numbers of distributed teams can finally have a tool that allows them to institutionalize the shared goal of high-performance through team alignment. Please [email_me emailid=”info@innovationgames.com”let us know[/email_me] if you’d like to participate in the development of these tools.

 

Thanks, Scrum Tide!

The creation of Scrum Knowsy has been a remarkable collaboration with Jim Coplien, Gertrud Bjornvig, Jens Oostergaard, and Yujie Liang. At times sloppy, and times magical, and always deeply satisfying and impactful, it has been a lot of fun. I’m hopeful that the larger Scrum and Agile Community finds tremendous value in Scrum Knowsy.


Introducing Scrum Knowsy!

Available on an Internet near you on August 13.

There’s no denying the popularity of Scrum. Thousands of organizations and individuals around the world have gone agile, using Scrum every day to build working software. But how does their Scrum practice compare with their co-workers and teammates? Are they in alignment? Does their Scrum practice align with their boss? Or with Scrum Leaders like Jeff Sutherland, Jens Østergaard or Jim “Cope” Coplien?

The answer is Scrum Knowsy®, the latest Knowsy game from Innovation Games. Scrum Knowsy excels at helping individuals and organizations improve their Scrum performance by aligning teams on roles, responsibilities, and practices–all through a fun and easy-to-play game. (Check out Cope’s take on Scrum Knowsy in the video intro.)

Agile 2012 Debut
We’ve got a great coming-out party planned for Agile 2012 in Dallas next week, including limited edition t-shirts (and a sweet price on subscriptions) for the first 500 who sign up before August 17.

Luke Hohmann will be handing out shirts all week at Agile 2012 — and holding a Scrum Knowsy and Innovation Games Game Fest on Wednesday, August 15 from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM in Texas 6 at the Gaylord Texan Hotel and Convention Center. (Thanks a million to VersionOne for hosting the shindig!)

Be sure to follow Luke (@lukehohmann) and Scrum Knowsy (@scrumknowsy) on Twitter for the latest info on the launch. And be sure and check out http://playknowsy.com/p/scrumtide for info about getting your chance to play Scrum Knowsy!



Special Agile Event featuring James Coplien

James Coplien  will be presenting at a special event hosted by Linked In, the Silicon Valley Leadership Network, and Agile Learning Labs. The topic of the talk is below. Check out the meetup link here (SV-ALN) for more information and to RSVP. Our CEO Luke Hohmann will be in attendance.

The event will be held at Linked In building on 2025 Stierlin Court in Mountain View, CA from 6:30 to 9PM on Wednesday, August 8th.

Topic:

“Agility” in Danish is a performance sport done by trained dogs. While training and pedigree papers have certainly found a place in Agile’s human namesake, good Agile practice is more in the hands of the Team than the Trainer. This talk discusses a Kaizen-based approach to Scrum and a shift in focus from a facts-and-knowledge-based approach to an empirical, introspective, and experiential approach based on games.

Hope to see you there!