Simulation Game Comparing Scrum and Waterfall

Last post 10:52 pm August 14, 2019
by Ben Brumm
2 replies
12:26 pm August 14, 2019

Hi all!

I'm preparing with a friend a training for people being new to Agile.

We would like to use Legos, and we thought of the following setup: 2 teams will work differently, one with clear phases (Waterfall) and another with iterations (Scrum). Then there will be 2 scenarii:

  1. Scenario one: we ask them to prepare a play
  2. Scenario two: we ask them to build a house

Our intention is to highlight the creative work needed to create a play, that is close to software development that we actually do in the company. You need characters, sets, a story, a scenario, etc. It's directly inspired from Pixar which creates story iteration after iteration. You need feedback from the stakeholders also.

With second scenario, asking from something that is not complex, we intent to show the participants that yeah, iterations are not needed for every project. If the environment doesn't change much, maybe you don't necessarily need Scrum. Doesn't mean that you cannot highlight an Agile mindset of course!

What do you think of this idea? I'm searching for games that compare the 2 approaches and help them people understand the domain they are in (cf. Cynefin Framework).

Any feedback is welcome, thanks in advance!

12:33 pm August 14, 2019

Ok I just found this one that seems interesting: Traditional vs. Agile Approach of Managing Work

10:52 pm August 14, 2019

I've been on teams that have used Lego to compare Waterfall v Agile and it worked well.

We had a box of lego that made something, e.g. a race car.

We had one "product owner" and the rest of the group (3-6 people usually) were the "development team".

We first ran the Waterfall experiment, where the product owner looked at the box and the instructions (but the team were not allowed to see this), described what was required ("ok, it's a race car, black and red, four wheels..."), and the team could ask questions, in a set time period (2 minutes I think). Then the team would have 10 minutes to build the car, but could not ask any questions or get info from the product owner. At the end they would look at the race car and get feedback from the product owner, and the team would discuss their experience.

Then we would try the Agile approach, where the product owner would describe the car in one minute and the team has two minutes to build. Then they stop (simulating the end of the sprint), get feedback from the product owner and ask questions for another minute, and spend another two minutes building. They would do this 4 times (4x3=12 minutes). Then they would discuss the result and the process.

Most of the time the team would say it was much easier in iterations as you could get feedback and clarification.