Poker Face

Gamification of Scrum Learning Using Scrum Delegation Poker

Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches play a key part in the development and supporting of Agile practice within Scrum teams. Both hold key responsibilities to support and educate teams in the ways of the Scrum force. However, sometimes more than talking needs to be done to help squads. Occasionally, bad habits creep into practice that need to be addressed. At times, teams need stronger support to learn Scrum principles and ceremonies.

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Although the Scrum Guide is not volumes long, I regularly struggle to encourage individuals to read and learn to help them improve their Agile practice

Playing Cards

Applying an adaptation of Delegation Poker to this Scrum delegation seemed like a good opportunity to clarify some elements of Agile practice and encourage collective learning of Scrum best practices. In advance, you’ll need a set of delegation cards for each player. The set includes the key Scrum roles, as defined in The Scrum Guide, along with a few other common IT roles. Feel free to print off the below template, or add additional roles to ensure all members of the Scrum superhero squad that is playing are represented!

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My Superhero Scrum Squad Delegation Poker Cards can help you clear up common misconceptions and clarify team roles
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Select the scenarios you would like to cover, similar to squares on the Monopoly board

The Dealer

You will need approximately one hour to play. The rules of the game are simple. For each identified scenario:

  1. They are able to ask questions to clarify the situation.
  2. Place down one or more cards to represent the individuals who are responsible for addressing the event in question. Encourage participants to place them face down until everyone has voted.
  3. All players should reveal their hand at the same time.
  4. Spend a few moments asking players to explain the reasons for their selection. Encourage all viewpoints to be discussed.
  5. Reveal the true answer, clarifying the reasoning for those individuals being responsible to remediate the issues within this situation.

That Was a Crazy Game of Poker

We held our first Delegation Poker session in July 2020. Overall, I was very happy with the level of engagement. As a facilitator of any session, having a number of attendees contact you post-event commenting on how helpful and well-run the meeting was always leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling.

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We found it easy to encourage the players to show their hand for each scenario

The Winner Takes It All

The success of this session gives me hope that the game can be used again in other situations. We have a couple of other squads that currently hold onto certain misconceptions, or need similar support. It is clear that with a similar, or slightly modified set of scenarios, the game can be reused to help them recognise pitfalls in their own practice that require remediation.

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Gamification is a powerful learning tool

Lead software engineer with a strong interest in Agile, UX and Usability. Lover of cooking, tea, photography and gin!

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