Gamification Background

The effectiveness of gamification as a problem-based learning tool on teaching agile project management

Hi there!

My name is Julio Oliveira. Currently I’m finishing the dissertation of my master degree (MSc) in Information Systems Management at the University of Liverpool (UK), with the title: “The effectiveness of gamification as a problem-based learning tool on teaching agile project management”.

Agile Project Management is an iterative process that focuses on customer value first, team interaction over tasks, and adapting to current business reality rather than following a prescriptive plan. It has a set of values, principles, and practices that assist project teams in coming to grips with such challenging environment (Highsmith, 2009).

The values and principles of Agile Project Management represent a big paradigm shift for professionals whom are familiar with traditional approaches for project management, where command-and-control-ism and micro-management are imperatives. This is a specific knowledge area that can take advantage of gamification to facilitate the knowledge transfer and the assimilation of the most important values.

The term “gamification” means the usage of game thinking and game-based mechanics to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems (Kapp 2013). Game thinking is a critical element to guide the gamification process, representing the capability to identify opportunities in all kind of activities where game elements can be inserted. Game-based mechanics, also known as game elements, are the toolbox of the gamification process.

The purpose of this blog is to share the findings of my dissertation, including experiences and learning materials, with agile instructors around the world.

Thank you!

Scrum Simulation With Minecraft – Free E-book

Scrum Simulation With MinecraftThe products of my MSc dissertation at the University of Liverpool includes two gamified learning activities, focused on teaching agile project management.

To design these learning activities I created a pre-exercise survey for agile instructors, that was answered by several agile instructors. There was a question asking them to rank the four values of the Agile Manifesto in terms of difficulty of comprehension by students, the best placed in the ranking was:

“Responding to change over following a plan.”

The same ranking was answered for the twelve principles of the agile manifesto. The three best placed in the ranking were:

  • Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential;
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams;
  • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely;

These results are a clear picture of the paradigm conflict for students. It evidencDSC_0089es that the mindset imposed by traditional project life cycles, based on predictive/waterfall models, remains dominant. The Scrum Simulation is a good place to fight against such mindset, as the students will feel for the first time what is to be “agile” – a great experience that can be a turning point for them.

 

The Game

Timing

8 hours (full day), divided in:

  • Minecraft Bootcamp – 2 hours;
  • Pre-Game – 1 hour;
  • Game – 4 hours;
  • Post-Game – 1 hour;

Materials and Resources

  • 3 sheets of cardstock per group;
  • 1 set of colored pens per group;
  • 1 pack of post-it notes per group;
  • 1 plastic ruler per group;
  • 1 roll of adhesive tape;
  • 1 notebook/desktop with mouse for the instructor (4 GB of RAM recommended);
  • 1 notebook/desktop with mouse per student (2 GB of RAM recommended);
  • Minecraft user licenses;
  • Minecraft server (if not using the Minecraft Education Edition);

Group Size

4 – 6 students per group. Maximum of 4 groups, otherwise it will be very difficult to keep a productive enviroment.

 

Instructions

All instructions and templates are available in a free e-book. To download the e-book and template files, please inform your e-mail.


 

Learning Points

DSC_0200The values and roles of Scrum represent a big paradigm shift for professionals whom are familiar with traditional approaches for project management, where command-and-control-ism and micro-management are imperatives. This learning activity provide to the students a great opportunity to experience the Scrum framework, with several elements of a real-world project.

In my agile classes, the Scrum simulation is the last mile of the training – the “cherry onDSC_0183 the cake”. This is where the students evolve their own comprehension, seeing how all the pieces fit together: values, principles, roles, ceremonies and artifacts.

If you whant to share your experience with this learning activity, please leave a reply 🙂

 

Creative Commons License
SCRUM Simulation With Minecraft by Julio Oliveira is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://gameagile.com/scrum-simulation-with-minecraft/.

 

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SCRUM Values & Roles Card Game

The products of my MSc dissertation at the University of Liverpool includes two gamified learning activities, focused on teaching agile project management. To design these learning activities I created a pre-exercise survey for agile instructors, that was answered by several agile instructors. According to the results, the most relevant set of game-based mechanics to be covered on the learning activities are: goals, cooperation and time.

With this set of game-based mechanics in mind, I do believe that a cooperative card game , with specific goals and a countdown clock will be a perfect match. The thematic of the game are the Scrum roles and values, which are important foundations of the Scrum framework.

 

The Game

Timing: 25 minutes.

Materials: 1 – 4 printed card decks.

Group size: 4 – 6 students per group. Maximum of 4 groups, each one must have his own card deck.

 

Instructions

There are four categories of cards: roles, responsibilities, values, behaviors. The objective of the game is to distribute the responsibilities cards below the roles cards and distribute the behaviors cards below the values cards. Example:

Rules01

Winning condition: The first group to complete the distribution of the cards – in a correct manner – is the winner.

The instructor is the arbiter. When a group claims the completion, the instructor must pause the activity and verify the distribution. During the verification the other groups must pause their actions. If the instructor discovers that the distribution is wrong, he/she should only state that “the distribution is incorrect”, the group whom claimed the conclusion must discover what is incorrect and the other groups are free to continue.

 

Learning Points

After the game I conduct a fast debriefing, to listen and solve in a collaborative way any questions and doubts.

The values and roles of Scrum represent a big paradigm shift for professionals whom are familiar with traditional approaches for project management, where command-and-control-ism and micro-management are imperatives. This learning activity will lead the students to discuss about the Scrum roles and values, also instructing them over the responsibilities and expected behaviors.

 

Cards

cardset_1 cardset_2 cardset_3

 

To download the cards in PDF format and access the source files, please inform your e-mail.


 

To see the full text of the cards, understand the distribution solution, suggest changes and/or new cards, please access the wiki: http://gameagile.wikidot.com/scrum-values-roles-card-game

If you whant to share your experience with this learning activity, please leave a reply 🙂

 

References

Game Icons Project – http://game-icons.net/

nanDECK Software for Card Games Designers – http://www.nand.it/nandeck/

Scrum Alliance – https://www.scrumalliance.org/

Scrum.org – https://www.scrum.org/

Mountain Goat Software – https://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/

 

Creative Commons License
SCRUM Values & Roles Card Game by Julio Oliveira is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://gameagile.com/scrum-values-roles-card-game/.