Last week, I completed the my Agile Team Training class. I had a really good turnout (~20) and it was a lot of fun! While reading the class reviews, a common refrains from the participants were they were surprised at how engaged they were in the simulation and how committed they were to the outcomes. One participant even wrote these kind words:
“I was skeptical that it [SIMSOC] would provide any valuable lessons. I was pleasantly surprised to observe behavior developed that mirrored my professional experience closely enough to be instructive. I joined in more fully than I anticipated.”
For those of you that might be curious on what we actually did for the day, here are some photos from the event.
In my experience, having the right venue goes a long way to setting up a good learning experience so I was pleased to have this large space for the class. This is the great space we had for the event, right on Mission Bay with plenty of natural light, windows looking outside and good food to eat.
During the simulation participants are divided into different regions. For this game we had three regions: Green, Yellow and Red. In this photo, the Red Region trying to understand the SIMSOC rules and figure out a game strategy. The members of this region quickly coalesced around a common goal, but had some initial difficulties convincing others. Unfortunately, their riot in the first session was unreported by the head of the mass media (MASMED) and did not have the intended effect of getting the rest of society to pay attention to their concerns.
While SIMSOC looks like people are just sitting around in chairs all day, the game is much more dynamic than the photos depict. This a member from the Yellow Region visiting the Green Region to discuss game strategy. Somewhere around the third session, there was freedom of movement and people began meeting face-to-face to discuss issues and share ideas. Very soon after that, the Red Region proposed a compelling national program to organize the society around and the game came to close during the sixth session.
Here are some the things the participants learned about teamwork during the class:
“Maintain the big picture to maximize individual contributions.”
“We were all seeking cohesiveness and cooperation.”
“Common goals across teams had an enormous impact of behaviors.”
“Finding common goals is really needed.”
“Not reaching out and trusting teams would have made that [reaching our common goal] impossible.”
“I was pleasantly surprised how cooperative we became with each other.”
“People do not start out in trust.”
“Working with different teams [can be challenging] because they have different local goals.”
“How very important trust is to building high-performing teams.”
“Define the common goal makes you more efficient and motivates the team.”
“Trust others on the team, they have best interest in mind.”
It would say it was a very satisfying, compelling and educational day for everyone. I look forward to the next time I host this game.