At last! Featureban 3.0 and Changeban 1.2

As long promised, there is now an official 3.0 version of Featureban that incorporates the best of Changeban, making it easier to facilitate and more fun to play. Changeban itself has a new version 1.2 after some weeks in beta.

For the uninitiated, Featureban is (and I quote) our simple, fun, and highly customisable kanban simulation game. Since its creation in 2014 it has been used by trainers and coaches in Lean, Agile and Kanban-related events the world over. Changeban was derived from Featureban and retains many similarities, which is how improvements to Changeban have ultimately benefited Featureban too.

Which to use?

  • Featureban if you’re teaching Kanban in a development context and/or want to teach Kanban metrics
  • Changeban for most other purposes

I don’t go out of my way to advertise Kanban training. No big drama there but I have other priorities now and there’s no shortage of people who can do it. However, being the author of a recommended book has its privileges and I do get asked from time to time! In accordance with my experience before explanation” mantra I always start any training with Featureban. I get to use Changeban rather more often these days – it’s a fixture at Advanced Agendashift workshops (see public workshop listings at the end of this announcement).

Key changes:

  • For Changeban, version 1.0 represented the completion of a transition from the use of coins as the source of variation to the use of cards instead (more on those in a moment). Featureban 3.0 does the same, with a transitional (coins or cards) version 2.3 and a classic 2.2 version (coins only) still available for old times’ sake in the Dropbox.
  • Affecting Featureban only, its biggest source of confusion has been eliminated. There is now no mention of pairing and gone are the well-intentioned but non-obvious restrictions that went with that; instead players may “help someone” (anyone!) if they’re out of other options. There is a small price to pay and it’s the reason for my hesitation to address the frustration: the flow efficiency calculation in the spreadsheet is now merely an estimate.
  • Changes to the slides to make both games quicker and easier to introduce. Changeban has improved in this regard even since the recent video! Thank you (once again) to Steven Mackenzie for the nudge and for your own experiments.
  • For practical reasons, it was a mistake on my part to distribute Featureban by sharing links to individual files. There’s now a single combined Dropbox folder with all the files (original sources, PDFs, and translations) for both games. Once you’re subscribed, you’ll always have access to the latest.

Cards:

Coins are not only less ubiquitous than once they were (it’s amazing how times change), they’re fiddly to handle, and they lack the replayability of cards. Trust me, once you’ve made the switch, you won’t want to go back!

Regular playing cards work well enough but I prefer to use these printed cards with the colour-specific rules on them:

These 65mm square cards were done by Moo (advertised as square business cards). We’re very happy with the results from testing but will continue to experiment with other formats. One small niggle here: the accept/reject rule shown here at the bottom of each card applies only to Changeban; this is made clearer in the most recent sources.

Open!

Featureban was one of my earliest experiments in Creative Commons licensing, and never a moment’s regret! Both games are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

Check out blog posts tagged open for more on our commitments in this area.

Subscribe! Collaborate!

Go to either Featureban or Changeban and request your combined Dropbox invite there. It’s not essential that you subscribe to the two individually – the folder is the same but feel free if you want to signal your interest in both.

And if you haven’t already, I would strongly recommend joining the #featureban and #changeban channels in the Agendashift Slack.


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A new template for Celebration-5W

Nicely following on from my post a few days ago on ‘Open‘, here’s a community-driven enhancement to our Creative Commons-licensed workshop kickoff exercise, Celebration-5W, in which participants capture the ‘Who, What, When, Where, and Why’ (the journalistic 5Ws) of a celebration that will take place some months from now. I use it to capture or create some shared context not just for classic Agendashift workshops, but also for my ‘outside-in’ strategy workshops (more on those coming soon in Right to Left), where a sense of timescale is very helpful.

Mike Haber took my “Clean sheet of A3, portrait mode, big bold headings down the page” and came up with something significantly better:

This is great, and not just because it looks good – it’s really clever!

The original guidance as described in the deck and in chapter 1 of the book suggests that you start with ‘When’ (How long will we need to achieve something meaningful?) and work backwards through the ‘What’ and the ‘Who’ before finishing up with the ‘Where’ (a venue that makes some kind of statement) and the ‘Why’ (the importance of not just the celebration but the whole endeavour). With Mike’s layout, this translates to “Start with the When (bottom right) and work anticlockwise” – much more elegant! For presentation purposes, it’s natural to start either top left with the ‘Who’ and work clockwise or left-right, or in the visually impactful middle with the ‘Why’.

The Celebration-5W Dropbox now includes an updated facilitation deck with instructions for both old and new layouts, also a printable template (I just bought myself an A3 printer with very much this kind of thing in mind). Request access here.

I will of course be using this new template in my upcoming workshops; Julia might too. Check out details of events in Seattle, London, Boston, Berlin, Stockholm, and Oslo below.


Upcoming Agendashift workshops

See also the recent blog post: Agendashift workshops in Seattle, London, Boston, and Berlin, which includes a detailed description of the 2-day workshop. Workshops facilitated by Mike Burrows (yours truly) unless otherwise indicated:


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

 

Testing some changes to the 15-minute FOTO cue card

Subscribers to the 15-minute FOTO Dropbox may have noticed a new ‘ v12 BETA’ version of the cue card. 15-minute FOTO is our Clean Language-inspired coaching game, the name being short for “From Obstacles to Outcomes in just 15 minutes”. We’ll be testing this updated version – twice! – at the London workshop early next month (and while we’re here, note that early bird pricing expires tomorrow).

15-minute FOTO 2019 03 v12 BETA

Changes:

  1. Dropped the question “Is there a relationship between X and Y”. Quite simply, this question was more trouble than it was worth. That it needed health warnings was already a strong indication that it should go, and learning that this question seems to have few defenders among expert Clean Language users clinched it for me.
  2. Added “Where does X come from?” as an alternative to “What happens before X?”. I’m taking advantage of the space relinquished by the first change to add a question that I find useful. You can use it to follow system flows upstream (from Right to Left, so to speak), and also to explore abstract outcomes – “Where does that collaboration come from?”, for example (see also My favourite Clean Language question).
  3. The two questions “What would you like to have happen?” and “And when X, then what happens” are highlighted more clearly than before. In the game, when presented with (respectively) an obstacle or an outcome, these are the default questions to use, the former to ‘flip’ obstacles to outcomes and the latter to generate more outcomes, going deeper into outcome space.
  4. Additional visual cues: a boundary between the obstacle and outcome ‘spaces’, along with a reminder (the curved arrow) to use the WWYLTHH question in the event that the conversations lingers unproductively inside obstacle space.

For the time being, you can download a PDF here. For the source pptx file, the facilitator’s deck, and for continued updates, subscribe here. You’ll find a video there too.

Questions or ideas for improvements? #cleanlanguage in the Agendashift Slack. And see chapters 1 and 2 of the Agendashift book, where the exercise is described in depth and in context (twice).


Upcoming Agendashift workshops

See also the recent blog post: Agendashift workshops in Seattle, London, Boston, and Berlin, which includes a detailed description of the 2-day workshop. Workshops facilitated by Mike Burrows (yours truly) unless otherwise indicated:


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

Open sourcing our Discovery exercise, Celebration-5W

Here’s how chapter 1 of the Agendashift book opens:

Picture the scene: It’s some months from now, and you’re celebrating! Isn’t it wonderful to see everyone together like this? And you deserve it: over this period, you, your teams, and your entire organisation have achieved far more than anyone would have thought possible. You dared to aim high, and still you smashed it!

What makes this celebration so special? We’re going to explore that via some time travel and the classic journalistic questions of Who, What, When, Where, and Why, otherwise known as the five W’s.

Most Agendashift workshops kick off with this simple time-travelling and context-setting exercise – the first of four Discovery exercises – and now we’ve open-sourced it. Head over to the Celebration-5W page for more information, including a preview of the slides, a video, download information, and related tools and exercises.

The small print:

Celebration-5W is copyright © 2018-2018 Agendashift (a trading name of Positive Incline Ltd). Celebration-5W by Mike Burrows of Positive Incline Ltd is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

We warmly encourage customisations, adaptations, translations, etc to be made and shared. It seems however that not everyone gets how Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (aka CC-BY-SA) is meant to work, so I’ve added a guidance slide to the deck.

If you have questions, drop me a line or (better) go to channel #workshops in the Agendashift Slack. There are several people there who have facilitated this exercise before. I have used it dozens of times.

Enjoy Celebration-5W!

Screenshot 2018-12-11 13.40.42.png


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

Changeban has reached version 1.0

After several iterations (including runs at multiple workshops just this month) I’m delighted to announce that our Lean Startup-flavoured Kanban simulation game Changeban has reached version 1.0. As with its older sibling Featureban, it is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

changeban-crazy-wip-2018-11-26
Some crazy, off-the-board WIP happening there…

In recent weeks we have:

  • Removed all mention of coins (the source of variation in Changeban’s older sibling, Featureban), coming down firmly on the side of using playing cards.
  • Clarified instructions, with fewer slides and fewer words
  • Amplified certain concepts, most notably rejection (the positive, celebration-worthy decision to deem an experiment as failed), pull, and double-loop learning

I created Featureban in 2014 and it has been very good to me. In that time it has seen multiple adaptations and translations (thank you!) and has been used the world over. This year, I’ve played Changeban enough times to know that it’s a worthy successor, and it’s my preferred choice unless I have a particular need for Featureban’s metrics coverage (enough justification to use both with some clients, on separate visits). Changeban doesn’t just teach mechanics, it teaches a learning process, and because it feels less tied to a development process it removes a potential obstacle for some non-techies. In short: if you like Featureban, I think you’ll love Changeban.

Attendees of my 2-day Advanced Agendashift workshop in Gurugram (below) will definitely get to play it, and attendees of 1-day Core workshops (Julia’s in Munich or mine in Mumbai) might also. In Core workshops it would be at the expense of other things, but that’s a trade that participants are often happy to make.

Want to know more? Head over to the Changeban page – it’s all there!

Registered users will be emailed download instructions in the next few hours. Agendashift partners will find it under the Commons folder in the partner Dropbox.


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

 

A small revision to Changeban

Friday was quite a big day! Agendashift’s second birthday, plenty of attention for the article Engagement: more than a two-way street, and an Agendashift Studio*, a small-scale workshop held in my studio office.

After lunch at our local farm shop we played Changeban. Changeban is based on our popular Featureban game, with slightly different mechanics, a Lean Startup-inspired board design (below), and an introduction to hypothesis-based techniques.

Screenshot 2018-09-18 11.42.20

It went down a treat, generating these interesting comments:

Featureban’s great but I think I will start using Changeban with my clients instead. By not simulating a software development process, people who work outside of technology will relate to it much more easily.
– Steve

Absolutely agree. Not once during playing the game did we reference or talk about anything tech-related.
– Karen

Always keen to make language as accessible as possible (something the Agendashift delivery assessment is appreciated for), I’ve done another pass on the Changeban deck and removed all references to “features”. Instead of “feature ideas”, we have “product ideas”; “feature experiments” becomes “product experiments”, and so on. Small changes, but every little helps!

These new references to “product” also help to reinforce an observation made in the Agendashift book: tools designed for the product development space often have applicability in the organisational/process improvement space, and vice versa. Lean Startup is the perfect example of that!

If you’re a registered Changeban user, you’ll receive an update by email from me sometime in the next few hours. If you aren’t registered and would like to be, sign up here. We’re now up to revision 0.4; it seems stable enough to go to 1.0 once I get round to preparing a page of facilitation instructions (there’s a #changeban channel in the Agendashift Slack meanwhile).

*There is no calendar for these Agendashift Studio events – they’re self-organised via the #agendashift‑studio channel in Slack. If 3‑4 participants can agree on a date that works for me too, then we’re on! We’re based in Chesterfield, UK, close to the Peak District National Park.


Upcoming Agendashift workshops (UK, IT, DE)


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based emergence of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…

True North, tweaked – and a couple more classic posts restored

At last week’s workshop there was a brief discussion on whether the last line of the Agendashift True North – the focus of one of my favourite workshop exercises – should make explicit reference not just to needs, but to “individual needs, corporate needs, societal needs” (or something similar). These have long been in my mind as a result of my several explorations into Servant Leadership – clearly I did not stop at the neutered, team-centric version typically taught in Agile circles.

Through our discussions in Slack and LinkedIn, the more it become clear that change was justified, but not the one I proposed. Here’s that line:

Needs anticipated, met at just at the right time

A conversation with Damian Crawford quickly convinced me to leave this line alone. As currently written, this line includes a range of needs that that hadn’t necessarily occurred to me, and we concluded that it would be unfortunate to exclude them. All it takes to dig deeper here is a simple question (thanks again Damian for asking this Clean-style):

What kind of needs anticipated?

A comment from Vincent van der Lubbe meanwhile reminded me that even whole organisations don’t live in a vacuum, and we turned to this line:

Individuals, teams, between teams, across the organisation

Very easily fixed:

Individuals, teams, between teams, across the organisation, and beyond

Scaling, anyone?

In full, from agendashift.com/true-north, where I’ve updated both the image and the text:

true-north-2018-02-13

Needs anticipated

That last line also attracted comment in relation to the phrase “Needs anticipated”. I dug out a relevant quote from Kanban from the Inside (published 2014) and it was nice to remind myself to find that I’ve been been banging the drum for needs and anticipation since 2013 if not earlier. Today I restored these two classic posts from positiveincline.com (explaining the sudden flurry if you’re an email subscriber!):

Enjoy those blasts from the past!


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We are champions and enablers of outcome-oriented change and continuous transformation. Building from agreement on outcomes, Agendashift facilitates rapid, experiment-based evolution of process, practice, and organisation. Instead of Lean and Agile by imposition – contradictory and ultimately self-defeating – we help you keep your business vision and transformation strategy aligned with and energised by a culture of meaningful participation. More…