User Stories by Collaboration - Agile Games 2018, Boston, MA

I presented "User Stories by Collaboration" at the Agile Games 2018, a very interactive session. It was delivered the first session after the Keynote; I am truly humbled by the audience and their level of energy and enthusiasm that they brought.
What’s most important about a user story? Collaboration! How many times have you heard about INVESTing in user stories, making them SMARTer, breaking them into SPIDRs, or biting the whole HAMBURGER? All great! Let me take you through an interactive game for the most important aspect: collaboration!
How would you go about teaching your team members about user stories? You have seen people talking about INVEST and/or 3Cs a lot. How many of those talks could be having longlasting effects? How can you make sure that the most important part of writing a user story, the conversation, to happen? How can you make that conversation in a truly collaborative environment for your teams to thrive? In this workshop you will learn how to write user stories by collaborating with others, we are going to divide into groups and work on user stories. No real experience is needed with writing user stories, understanding of them, or even have heard them before. Then we evolve the game into the next phase, user stories and teams. In this phase, we are going to work as a team on user stories, with again focusing on what’s most important. This is an interactive simulation that you can run with your teams. You can use this exercise to emphasize the value of collaboration in writing user stories. In the last phase, we touch on self-organization and leadership aspects of the team. Once you learned this game, you can shape it into what you really want. There are many aspects of an Agile organization or a team is heavily related to how close and collaborative they are, and this is a perfect foundation to build upon.
It was a great session, with a great audience. I really enjoyed the discussion as well as the discussion with the audience. Although there were many challenges, such as not moving the tables around and not sticking papers to the wall.

Figure 1 - The Awesome Feedback from the Session
Although I was crunched in time, we were able to run the 3rd iteration; which was about delivering the user story as a team. There was one team that was able to split the stories and deliver. This great achievement happened with no guidance from me. I just asked them to deliver the product, get them into the team, set the ground rules and let them roam free! This was amazing to see how they self-organize and were able to break user stories without no fancy techniques, but by just collaborating.

Figure 2 - The Original in the 3rd Iteration

Figure 3 - The Developed Product
You can take a look at the presentation below. There are more slides in the deck below than presented in Agile Games 2018. There are skipped slides (hidden slides) that can immensely help you facilitate the session of your own. It is embedded in SlideShares and Google Slides.




You can also use the Google Slides to view the presentation or even present it!



The following are the pictures from the session:

Figure 4 - Pictures of the Session
Disclaimer: User Stories by Collaboration is based on User Stories vs Requirements. I learned it from Jason Little, which he learned it from Sarah Klarich, which is not known where she learned it from.

Modern XP Game, Agile Games 2018, Boston, MA

Carlos and I presented "Modern XP Game" at the Agile Games 2018. As we mentioned in one of the opening slides, we took the original XP Game and added more concepts to it. In this specific instance, we added experimentation and modern collaborations to the original gameplay. The following from  Alistair Cockburn resonated with us and we applied it to the XP Game.
AGILE IS AN ATTITUDE, NOT A TECHNIQUE WITH BOUNDARIES. AN ATTITUDE HAS NO BOUNDARIES.
~ALISTAIR COCKBURN
It was a great experience, with a great audience of course. We really enjoyed the talk. It was great to have people with experience or running this game prior being part of our talk. It was a true pleasure to learn all enjoyed the session, were engaged. We had people even were engaging with us after the session.
Figure 1 - Feedback from the session
This is one of the feedbacks that I am really excited about. It says "Carlos + Shahin are excellent presenters at one excellent game". Thanks! It really made my day. 

Figure 2 - One of the feedbacks
This is the abstract we shared with the audience and the conference:
Take part in Modern XP game, a new twist and refined version of “XP Game”, to get a strong understanding of the principles and practices of “agile,” and a robust toolbox. We incorporated feedback after many iterations of facilitating it to make it fun, exciting and thought-provoking for everyone.
Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters are change agents in their organizations. To be successful, they need a strong understanding of the principles and practices of “agile,” and a robust toolbox to help teams onboard and move through their agile journey.
In this session, participants will experience a modern twist on the “XP Game” – a simulation for agile teams first outlined in Extreme Programming Explained (1999). Using the foundational principles of the original XP Game, Modern XP opens the simulation so participants, including non-technical leaders and team members, can gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of a high-performing team in a variety of frameworks and orientations, and what to expect (and measure) along the agile learning curve. Through hands-on learning, participants will learn how to build agile capabilities and some tangible tips on how to move through barriers and challenges along the agile learning curve.
After many iterations to many different groups, Shahin and Carlos have refined the exercise, ensuring its accessibility and use for experienced agilists and those new to the field alike. The activity not only provides a necessary educational frame, but participants are encouraged to draw from their experience, and implement the simulation (or elements of it) within their own training program, team lift-off or retrospective activity. 
You can use the following material for facilitating a session on Modern XP Game. Please take a look at the presentation below. It is both embedded from SlideShares and Google Slides.





The following are the pictures from the session:

Figure 3 - Pictures from the Modern XP Game session