Improvement doesn’t happen spontaneously. Whether you are a team or an individual, you have to create a challenge or respond to an existing one, compete with yourself or with your team and learn from your mistakes in order to achieve an improvement. The love for competing is in human nature — encouraging it brings great results, and encouraging it every day produces even better results.
We at Vivify Ideas came up with a creative and dynamic way of competing with ourselves individually and within the team on a daily basis. It was originally designed to suit our company’s needs, in the software development field, and the WinGame has done a great job for us. However, since the principles it uses are universal, so is our game — therefore, any working environment will be able to benefit from it. So, let us tell you the story of our WinGame.
In our common workflow, we would often face the impediments in different stages — like the code reviewing stage or the QA testing stage. The impediments would vary — sometimes the bugs found would be minor, but sometimes the issue would be a serious one, demanding a lot of fixing, thus leading to the time-consuming processes that would reduce the overall velocity and the efficiency of the team. Either way, we felt that something had to be done, and the solution we came up with — WinGame, proved to be an excellent one. We’ve implemented the WinGame in October 2013, and since then, it has been applied consistently in our company. So, how does the WinGame work?
One of the key segments of the work process and a prerequisite for overcoming the obstacles is recognizing the problem. That’s why we’ve made the stage of defining the impediment a crucial one to this game. WinGame is a way of recognizing and solving these problems. By playing it on a daily basis, the player sees the impediments faster and more clearly — therefore feeling a greater need for a change in approach to work that will eventually eliminate impediments. The player plays the game every day, competes with himself — these attempts are either successful or the player encounters new impediments. Either way, the result of the game is clearly visible, and the player becomes more aware of the impediments and more focused on their solving.
So, how do you play the WinGame?
- The first stage of the WinGame is defining an impediment. For example — “Too many bugs discovered after completing a feature”
- In the second stage, you define:
· A player (can be a team, a developer, a QA tester…)
· A table with two columns (left column is Win, right column is Lose)
· Clear rules on Win/Lose points (define clearly what is considered a Win point, and what is considered a Lose point — e.g., The player gets a Win point for every completed task or a Lose point for each detected bug)
· A time frame (define the iteration in which the game is played, for example, two weeks, or if you’re using Scrum, it can be a Scrum sprint)
- Inspection stage involves tracking of the occurrence of Win and Lose points and writing them down in the adequate column. The player’s goal is to try to achieve as many Win points and as few Lose point as possible.
- The fourth stage — the Score stage, calculates the ratio of Win and Lose points after the end of an iteration (Win points / Lose points = Score).
- In adaptation stage, the player sets measures to improve the Score and applies them to the next iteration.
- Measuring of the effectiveness of implemented measures is done after each subsequent iteration — the score of the last iteration is compared to the score from the previous iteration.
- If player estimates that the ratio of positive and negative points is satisfactory, and if the new adaptation measures do not lead to a further increase of the score, the impediment is marked as “solved”.
Now, to make this game even more fun, we’ve created Vivify WinGame Cards — this way all members of a team can self-track the playing/working process and constantly compete with themselves. Vivify WinGame Cards are designed as a deck of cards with the description and the rules on top of the deck. Each card represents a single game.
In the first row of the WinGame Card there is an “Impediment” field — write down the problem you want to solve. Below the impediment field, write the name of a player — your name, or a team (be creative). In the next row, you define the rules — Win is for this, Lose is for that. Two empty parallel columns are next, Win column on the left, and Lose column on the right. Mark those points in the proper column when the Win/Lose event occurs. When the iteration has ended, calculate the total of Win points and Lose points and write them down into the adequate “Total” boxes below. In the end, divide the total of Win points with the total of the Lose points, and write the result on the bottom of the card — in the “Score” box.
The final results that the WinGame produced for us were amazing. Playing the game created better team communication, the personal initiative was much stronger, and the commitment to work more noticeable. We sincerely recommend this game as a problem-solving approach that will increase the effectiveness of your team. Now, go and WinGame!