Agile / Design / Games

Game In Progress: Our Strategic Plan For 201X (ver. 4)

This is a game about strategic planning in software product development. People have different words for this kind of planning activity: product portfolio planning, project portfolio planning, strategic planning, product strategy, yearly planning etc.

Two theme cards from the third playtest.

Two theme cards from the third playtest.

I made first three versions of this game with the name Project Portfolio Planning game at the Play4Agile 2013 unconference. I made an earlier blog post about that version and the results of the playtest. In this blog post I share the next iteration of this game as it is at the end of March.

My objectives in designing this game are:

  • to illustrate the problem of lacking a clear and shared business strategy and having a transparent and shared way to evaluate business value in the context of different needs of different business units when deciding what to build next.
  • to be plausible as a simulation of a conventional software-based product or service company with multiple departments dependent on IT for software and with traditional software development practices.
  • to have an engaging and activating simulation that can be played in less than an hour with a small group of business and IT leaders.

For this version I dropped the objective of illustrating that it is a bad idea to have many projects, or themes, in development at the same time and that this causes unexpected delays to planned deployments as there are plenty of games to provide experiences that support people understanding this, such as The Name Game.

That means that I’m concentrating on the planning meeting part of the game. That leaves the development part in the background. The main feature of the game will be role-played strategic planning meetings with different kinds of context and environment in each iteration. With that setup, the players can explore what kind of principles, frameworks and information support effective strategic planning.

The game itself (in progress) is on its own page.

By the way, if you want to read more about how I designed this game, I can tell you that I pretty much followed my empirical game design framework.

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