Carlos Goes Agile

We played the GetKanban game today. Here’s our position at the end of Day 11. People who know the game dread this moment. They know: Carlos, the game’s most infamous character, is about to show up. Reading the event card, indeed: “Allison the CEO hires a new Director of Software Development named Carlos.” There we go again.

End of Day 11

But wait, let’s read the event card further. The game takes an unusual turn today.

Carlos starts an Agile transformation!

Ask the facilitator to remove all blue dice from the board as Carlos’ staff will spend tomorrow in team formation and chartering. The day after tomorrow, the blue dice will stay off the board, but you’ll get two points from each, six total, as Carlos’s teams will be storming. When the teams start performing, the facilitator will give you a new set of blue dice.

Carlos sees the Analysis-done column as his product backlog and says it makes no sense to limit it. Remove the WIP limit from the Analysis column, place a limit of 2 on Analysis-in-progress and infinity on Analysis-done.

CFO, please record a coaching expense of $100 per day for the next 6 days.

Here we are at the end of Day 12.

End of Day 12 - Carlos' Agile transformation in progress

Time to read another event card.

Carlos asks Allison to invest in an Agile tool to track his teams’ work. It happens that Glenn’s father — Glenn is the marketing intern — works as a salesman for a company making such tools. Glenn’s father demonstrates a feature called KanBan, which visualizes each team’s work on a visual board. Then he shows how Carlos can roll the data up from all the team boards. He creates a burndown chart with one click. Allison is impressed and gives Carlos the go-ahead to purchase the tool. Margaret the Marketing Director is impressed too, but agrees with Allison’s decision to limit the pilot implementation to Carlos’ teams.

CFO, please record a subscription expense of $100 per day for using the new tool.

End of Day 13 - grooming the growing backlogs

Carlos asks Allison to assign and train Product Owners to groom the growing backlogs. Allison is suspicious, but agrees to it after a long debate. Remove one red die from the board until further notice.

Meanwhile, Ken the Agile coach says Carlos’ teams are entering the hyperperforming phase. Ask the facilitator to return the blue dice to the board. Ken and Carlos expect all teams to achieve the maximum velocity of six points. The teams failing to deliver six points will have to attend a full-day retrospective with Ken.

End of Day 14 - time to fire Carlos?

Looks like Ken will be busy facilitating retrospectives.

Carlos notices the shortfall in teams’ performance and asks Allison to hire more Scrum Masters to improve team facilitation. Allison responds with two updates. First, the CFO has downgraded his revenue forecast for the next two billing cycles. Second, Margaret is complaining that she has less visibility into what’s going on after Carlos’ investment in the new tool. Carlos throws a tantrum, accuses Allison of being stuck in the Waterfall mindset, and complains that his efforts to transform his department are undermined by his peers who are also stuck in the past and don’t understand Agile values.

You’ve Seen This Movie Before

Allison fires Carlos on the spot.

For what it’s worth, here we are at the end of the game.

Position at the end of the game

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