Why We Play…

It’s not uncommon for Agile coaches to engage their teams in games in order to experiment with new ideas. If you have ever participated in such activities, it’s likely that you have encountered individuals who dislike the idea of anything work related being transformed into a “game”.

So… why do we play?

We play to prototype and experiment with new ways of thinking and behaving. We play to open our minds to possibilities. Indeed, engaging in an activity “as play” actually helps us to explore many new ideas quickly and effectively as a team.

In short, playing brings us to a “personal edge” in a friendly and joyful way.

That being said, for some of us, the edge is simply to engage in play at all… and that’s an edge that I’m learning to see and understand better. In these situations, I would invite the individual to simply try the game and then to reflect on why we play… rather than focus on whatever other agenda I’m hoping to bring to the table by engaging in a game.

After all, when we play, we explore many ideas at the same time… and one of those ideas can certainly be “why do we play?”

Improv and the Agile Team

While at Agile Coach Camp Canada in Toronto last month, I had the priviledge of learning about how Improv can help the team’s Agility from Todd Charron (Twitter: @toddcharron  Web: http://www.planningforfailure.com).

This was the first time that I made the connection between Agile and Improv… and it was one of those ah-ha moments for me.

Good team mates learn when it’s time to speak and when it’s time to let someone else speak. They learn to explore ideas “thrown at them” from their fellow team mates and seek to build on those ideas. Good team mates understand and appreciate the connection that they have with each other. They make room for vulnerability. They trust and support each other.

They are fearless when they are together.