Agile Bonding Games

Leonor Urena

How to Get Employees to Bond as a Team

Teamwork is essential to creating and delivering great products, but it takes time for teams to become effective and productive. That is where Agile bonding games comes in. Using Agile techniques can ensure that your team operates at optimal efficiency.  Agile promotes individual interactions and delivering frequent potentially shippable products. Agile is a set of principles adopted by a variety of practices such as Scrum. Agile is an organizational mindset necessary for team bonding to thrive. Team bonding games helps in this transition. The goal of all teams is to find a team cadence that is sustainable. At this point all members understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and where they fit into the team dynamic in order to optimize how they work. However, to get here agile teams need to bond and synchronize. Agile Team bonding is not something that occurs by force but could be reached by setting the right environment.

Steps for Agile Team Bonding

There are many different steps to build a great team and it would be impossible to include them all here. However we are going to look at just a few fundamental practices that will bring huge benefits to your organization.

An Agile Environment 

the team environment is vital and needs to be a space that facilitates open communication between members. An open place office with a break-out space that can accommodate the whole team is ideal.  You are looking to facilitate agile team building that encourages as much face to face time as possible.  If your team is distributed, get creative and find solutions such as Sococo. An agile environment also encourages teams to self-organize. To do this, teams need to feel empowered by the organization.  Self-organized teams are creative, motivated and vested in the work they need to perform.

Team Charter

A team set of working norms, that the team will hold themselves accountable to. This includes how they will deal with personality issues, when to escalate, what issues should be handled by the team and what will need to be escalated.  In addition, holding team retrospectives frequently should be part of these norms.  Reviewing what works, what doesn’t work and how you are going to make effective changes will help with the continuous improvement of the team as a whole. Agile is all about continuous improvement, through retrospectives teams get to review how they perform and how they will improve.

Gamification 

We are in a world of “team base work”, yet we fail to teach teams the skills they need to learn to work together. Gamification in the workplace utilizes game-style thinking and strategy in non-game contexts with the aim of engaging users in problem-solving in order to induce desired behaviors.  Essentially this is also exactly what Agile coaching is – supporting teams to drive specific behaviors that contribute towards more effective, productive and harmonious working relationships. With the similarities between the two, Agile gamification and game based learning has proven to be a natural evolution, combining all of the benefits of gamification such as agile game mechanics and rewards, but in an Agile software development setting. I’ve been known to create agile games on the spot in attempt to re-adjust team behavior.  I found that the earlier games are introduced the faster a team gets to synergizing.  The bond is created much earlier in the form stages of the team. The focus when I design a game for a team is not points or badges, it has a defining purpose.  When designing a game for a team, think of where they need help, you can read more of  Designing  Game Based Learning to Improve Employee Work Life  featured on Learning Solutions Magazine here. Target their needs and desires to get a response or adjust behavior. As an example, I am sure everyone by now has used the ball game where students make a circle and have to pass a sack of balls in a certain time. I take this game and change it up by making it a single ball. In addition, I want the class to understand that change is part of their every day, so I change the rules of the game as the game is played. Change happens every day of our lives, yet it is very difficult for some. If you expect something to change, it will be that much easier to accept later on. With the introduction of agile gamification and game based learning your organization not only gets to reap the benefits of cost effective training, it will reap the benefits of continuous reinforcement of positive behaviors. You see, when you introduce specific game based learning or gamification  at specific intervals as I do, the consistent application of this game play reinforces the skills and positive behaviors you want to teach.  These agile gamification techniques need not be hours long.  If designed correctly, they should be under 15 minutes.  I find a five minute game to be enough to help challenge your employees, and act as a catalyst for improved creativity, performance, and motivation. As an Agile coach and trainer I like to use agile gamification and agile bonding games to teach teams how to collaborate, coordinate, and communicate better. Gamification not only teaches teams the skills they need, but it helps them bond. The agile games become a shared experience, and one that reinforces the skills much needed to making a team bond.  Companies, such as Google, Cisco, and many more are using agile team bonding games to teach their employees. Gamification is an affordable way to teach skills as they have fun and keep teams motivated.

Agile Bonding Games

Agile games differ from agile gamification in that agile bonding games use real world simulations and rule techniques to create a safe environment where learners could make mistakes and learn quickly online. Gamification uses game like techniques to make things more engaging and change behavior. Examples of gamification techniques could be found in any onsite training exercises, and  board games. Another example of gamification is  tasty cupcakes , they have a plethora of agile bonding games for coaching agile teams. An example of Agile games is Gelling. Gelling is designed to help teams form correctly. Teaching agile teams to collaborate and communicate amongst. The environment separates the learner from the work environment into a world of learning with their team mates. Designed for teams to learn to fail and learn from failing. Each iteration reinforces the skills much needed for teamwork. Using Agile bonding games for your team building will prove to you that better teamwork leads to more efficient team cultures and better product development , ensuring that your organization can deliver high quality results every time.

About our guest writer

Sustainable Games
I am an Agile coach with a passion to help teams to collaborate, strategize, cooperate and to deliver solutions that are in direct support of strategic initiatives. An agile transition is all about people and interactions and that is my concentration. I apply gamification, and proven techniques to motivate teams. Through these techniques I support teams to drive specific behaviors that contribute towards more effective, productive and harmonious working relationships regardless of the methodology or framework used.

More posts on Gamification....

When it comes to playing games, many people associate it with entertainment, fun and leisure time. But games have the potential for much more - besides supporting learning process and effect.

Serious games are a games designed with an educational purpose. They aren't intended solely for amusement or entertainment. Serious Games use game based learning techniques to teach skills

Retrospective Games Retrospectives an are important part of effective Agile practice. Many teams who are new to Agile may well have been taught the theory behind retrospectives, but putting them into practice can be an entirely different matter...

Make change happen with gamification. Games and play are used as a method of learning and developing skills. It is a tried and tested method, and one that is used in most schools today.