Description:

Games are frequently used at test conferences and within test teams to develop critical thinking skills. However, games can be used to help teams understand a problem or feature that they are working on, and the creative & curious outlook of testers are ideal for introducing games to their teams. For example, activities like "Lego serious play" are introducing creative ways to facilitate communication within teams and investigate complex systems. However tools like this can feel slightly disjointed from the day job - a bit of fun and a good way to get communication following but you're talking around the subject rather than playing with it.

To work through a particular feature I created a game which helped a project team to:

  • practice thinking as the user
  • fully understand the challenges the user is facing
  • start discussing solutions that would assist the user
  • realise that a single perfect solution for all users didn't exist, but that all users would be positively impacted by solutions to certain specific problems

Learning and exploration through play allowed for solution identification far quicker than the team had ever previously managed via the sharing of requirements, acceptance criteria, designs or brainstorming. All by creating a project relevant framework within which team members could each pretend to be the user in competition with one another to achieve a set objective. 

I'll share the details of how I created the game along with tips that will help you create similar games relevant for your own projects.

Key Takeaways:

  • role playing can quickly find and test solutions
  • play allows for greater understanding and exploration of a subject area
  • games aren't just for fun but can also be used for constructive business purposes
  • games can be used to demonstrate a live scenario